Best Practices for Online Reputation Management

Your company has worked hard to grow and build a great reputation in your industry and with your current and potential customers. It can be extremely damaging to your brand to have negative content and denigrating websites appearing when people search keywords related to your company or industry.

The web is driven by user generated content these days which provides great transparency and the opportunity to connect. However, this also means that practically any type of content or message can be released on the web regardless of its merit. Content driven sites like social media pages, review sites, and complaint sites are very powerful in the search engines and will generally rank very well.

It is very difficult to have negative content removed from sites like this and can turn into a long legal battle should your company choose to pursue that strategy. In the meantime, how does a company protect itself from potential lost revenue and a tarnished brand name? The answer is simple. Online reputation management will provide both offensive and defensive maneuvers that will help your brand maintain proactive control of your online message.

The following are some best practices for dealing with potentially damaging content in the search engine results pages.

Have a Strong Customer Service Model:  The priority in managing you reputation is to have a great business with good customer service!  Don’t give people a reason to post negative content on the web.  The majority of the negative content out there will generally come from unhappy customers or disgruntled former employees.

Continually Develop and Distribute Great Content:  With more great content comes more search engine rankings.  More rankings will ensure that you take up more “shelf space” in the search engine results pages therefore leaving less room for negative content that you can’t control.

Acquire Relevant Domains:  Also, consider acquiring other domains with URLs relevant to your business or brand name and create microsites, FAQ pages, blogs, and informational pages.  If negative content is out there, create a rebuttal page that address the issues.

Focus on Branded Keyword SEO:  Typically, websites with denigrating content that will rank in the SERPs will most likely rank for your brand name, possibly key people within the company, or variations of these.  Therefore, you want to make sure that your website, other web pages, and content are tagged with brand related keyword phrases.

Have a Communication Plan:  Create a plan for communicating with unhappy customers and for general messaging.  You want to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in this process and that everyone knows the plan!

Don’t Ignore the Problem, Get Involved:  Once  you have your plan get involved and communicate transparently with your customers.  It is better to face the issues head and be involved in what is being said about your brand online.

If You Have Negative Content on Page One, Get Rid of It:  This is where you bring in the Special Operations Team and their ORM Tool Kit!