A bad review on Google or Yelp! is something most businesses have to deal with eventually. Bad reviews and ratings online can dramatically impact the way potential clients view your business, so even if the review is baseless, it has to be managed. The good news is there are plenty of tips you can use to protect your online reputation from plummeting. While some situations do call for the help of a professional online reputation management company, consider the steps outlined below to assess whether it can be managed within your company.

4 Steps to Evaluate Whether Your Business Should Seek Professional Online Reputation Management

Figure out your company’s strategy to combating negative online reviews by performing the following four steps:

1. Compare the Position of Your Business’s Primary Keyword Ranking to the Negative Review Sites

Before deciding that your business requires the help of an outside organization to manage your online reputation, pause for a moment to evaluate how your primary target keywords rank in comparison to the negative reviews on both Google and Bing. Input your primary keywords on both search engines, particularly keywords that contain your business’s name, and pay attention to where the review site(s) fall in contrast to other sites.

Most potential consumers will search on Google to learn more about companies before hiring their services or purchasing their products. The last thing you want is the negative site ranked at the top of the list. Should this be the case, it’s an excellent time to seek professional help managing your online reputation.

2. Measure the Impact of Your Company’s Owned Media

Before reaching out to an outside company for help managing your online reputation, measure the impact that your company’s owned media has on search engines compared to the negative review sites. Owned media includes your:

  • Website
  • Mobile site
  • Blog
  • Social media channels

For most companies, their owned media leaves a significant online footprint that, when optimized, can outrank negative review sites. If the negative reviews are sitting at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), make sure all owned media (especially your company’s social media profiles) are linked appropriately to primary websites that should be ranked. If the negative review site still outranks your owned media, consider professional help with online reputation management.

3. Analyze How Your Company’s Earned Media Ranks on Search Engines

While you’re measuring the impact of your company’s owned media, consider the rankings of earned media related to your company as well. Earned media includes social sharing and other activities like:

  • Shares
  • Mentions
  • Reposts
  • Recommendations

A couple of ways to capitalize on free websites to boost traffic to your website include answering questions relevant to your industry on Quora or posting your business’s blogs on Medium. Create shareable content on your social profiles that other companies might share.

If necessary, you can give your company website’s traffic a boost using paid media and pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media ads, and premium directories. For example, law firms might consider premium directories, like lawyers.com, to improve SERP rankings that outshine negative reviews. These steps are simple and often highly profitable.

4. Understand How Negative Review Sites Might Affect Your Business

If left unchecked, negative review sites that rank highly for primary keywords can be devastating to your business’s success. Managing your business’s online reputation takes time. Whether it’s managed internally or through an outside company, it’s a long-term process with the goal of both enhancing your company’s image and sensibly addressing the concerns behind the negative reviews.

As a business owner, you need to weigh the cost of pushing the negative review site down versus the cost of that negative review ranking higher than your company’s owned, earned, and paid media. A tarnished reputation is costly to repair. While the previously mentioned tips in this blog can make a big difference in pushing down the negative review site ranking, professional online reputation management may be worth the investment if the negative reviews affect your business’s rate of return.

Managing Your Online Reputation is Essential in Today’s Digital World

Consumers of all ages look online now more than ever to research a business before buying into their products or services. Once a negative review has been posted online, it takes a thoughtful strategy to address it and push the review down in rankings before it impacts your business’s profitability. Providing quality customer service and maintaining a strong social media presence while capitalizing on owned, earned, and paid media can work wonders.

However, suppose the negative review or online reputation crisis has significantly impacted your leads and sales. In that case, it might be a good time to consider hiring a dedicated marketing team like Market My Market to implement creative strategies and repair your online reputation. To learn how we can help catapult your website to the top of search engines and improve your digital reputation, contact us for a free consultation by completing our contact form.