Establishing an online presence is certainly an important part of making your business visible, but managing your online reputation is critical to ensuring your business is visible in a favorable light. A good online reputation can help your business to strengthen and grow, while a poor online reputation can cause it to remain stagnant at best, and suffer damaging effects at worst.
Managing your online reputation consists of far more than simply keeping your website fresh and up-to-date, and while it may seem like a simple process, it is far better to be thorough than overlook something that has the potential to cause great and lasting harm. It is for this, and many other reasons, that many businesses choose to hire an online reputation management company.
Online Reputation Management Company Services
The goal of any online reputation management company is, of course, to help a business establish and maintain a strong online reputation which will help them to grow. While each online reputation management company can offer a different variety of services, there are five main services that are normally offered:
- Push down negative search engine results. When a consumer searches for information regarding your brand, products or services, the results they are confronted with on the very first page can have a big impact on their decision. For example, if they are immediately confronted by negative results, regardless of where they have come from, they will likely choose to avoid your brand. This can seem incredibly unfair, and it is, but it can happen when negative results rate highly. One of the top services provided by online reputation management companies is therefore to push negative search engine results down off the first page, or even off the first few pages, where it won’t do as much damage.
- Defend positive search engine results. Consumers often begin online searches very broadly, usually with generic terms, and then refine them as they go along. Part of the reason for this is that they may not actually know for sure what it is they want, but as they learn more through positive search engine results, they may dig into a specific brand to learn more. If they encounter problems along the way, they will often abandon one type of search and take up another one instead, which is why it is important to defend positive search engine results that garner positive attention.
- Remove false and defamatory results. False and defamatory content in search engine results can have an enormous effect on how consumers view that brand, especially if it shows up high in the search results. Considering that one recent study indicated that nearly forty-five percent of consumers changed their mind about doing business with a specific brand based on negative search results, it is definitely in a company’s best interests to have false and defamatory content removed entirely.
- Improve online reviews. Most consumers choose to read online reviews before deciding whether or not to partake of a business’ products or services, regardless of how appealing the business’ description of these products or services may be. In fact, many consumers place the same amount of trust in online reviews as they do in personal recommendations. Businesses that seek to build and maintain a strong online reputation must therefore manage and improve their online review process so they can benefit enormously from their reviews.
- Monitor and improve the business’ social media reputation. It’s no mistake that social media has grown steadily in popularity, and that many individuals invest a great amount of their time in visiting and contributing to social media websites. A business needs to both take advantage of this trend, and protect their image, by monitoring and improving their social media reputation. After all, it only takes one social media post that goes viral to completely destroy the image a brand has worked hard to establish and grow.
When it comes to a business’ online reputation, the time and effort invested in building and strengthening this reputation will always bring about a great return on investment. While it may seem that many of the above areas can be well-managed in-house, it can bring about great peace of mind to hire an online reputation management company and allow experienced professionals to build your online reputation stronger and faster than you had even hoped.