We’re presenting a Webinar on Online Reputation Management (ORM) in a few weeks. As we pull things together, we thought it would be nice to share some information and tools to help you as an individual and as part of a business to follow and manage your online reputation.
First, what exactly is Online Reputation Management? In a narrow sense it refers to the practice of trying to get any negative comments/pages/mentions about a person or business to appear lower on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In a broad sense it means taking inventory of what people are saying about you online, and doing what you can to have the most positive view of you or your business represented. This includes responding to negative reviews or ratings that may be out there.
Now that you know what ORM is, you need to take inventory of where you currently stand. There are plenty of tools you can use, and some of the more popular ones are:
- Search Engines: Just do a search on your business name and see what comes up – are there any negative results?
- Review Sites: Head to review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to see what people are saying about you.
- Social Media: Visit Social Media communities (large ones like Facebook and even smaller, niche ones) and see how people are talking about your business.
If it seems that there are only positive things being said about your business, great. But some times you may find a negative review or post. What do you do then? There is a two part answer to this.
If the site allows, develop a professional response to the post. Be courteous, and address the issue at hand. If need be, see if you can take the conversation offline. Always keep in mind that whatever you type could be there forever, so don’t take a defensive stand and don’t attack the Poster personally. (If the Post is totally false, try and get it removed, as many sites have a process for this.)
The second part is to develop positive content for your business that has a chance for showing up in the search engines and pushing the negative comments down the SERP (Please Note: The new content does not have to be related to the negative comment). So if you found negative web pages when you searched on your business name, you will want to develop new content optimized for your business name. Some places where you can post the new content:
- Your website
- Your blog
- As a press release that you distribute
- In online communities
- As an article that you distribute
You’ll want to be sure not to duplicate content as you spread a positive message about your company, as search engines will tend to only choose one version of similar content to rank on SERPs. So if your plan was to submit content to each of the above, the plan may look like:
- Develop a new About Us page for the website
- Write a blog about a charity your business is supporting
- Write a press release about a new product you are launching
- Post to your Facebook Page about promotions within the company
- Write an article about why a product that you offer is such a good solution for a problem, and be sure to include company name and backlink in your boilerplate
Remember, if you don’t control your reputation online, somebody else will.
Do you currently monitor your online reputation? Will you start? Do you think it is important? Let us know.