This is a subject that I have covered before but this post is an update on how essential it is to take pre-emptive steps to manage your Business Reputation online before you or your company hits a crisis on Google.
In previous posts I have pointed you in the direction of Igniyte’s free and downloadable Ebook. An essential read for businesses who want to learn more about this subject and how to manage yourselves online. It covers the basics that businesses need to address when considering the long term future of their online reputations.
What is becoming increasingly clear from the inbound enquiries that we receive at Igniyte, is the greater understanding amongst potential clients that if you leave Online Reputation until something negative appears on Google (e.g. negative media coverage, bad reviews, disgruntled ex-employees, etc.) it’s often too late and costly to rectify. We’ve found that the more forward thinking businesses are addressing their images online at an earlier stage, to avoid any last minute panic over negative posts appearing on page one of Google search results.
This has had two positive effects:
- It protects the business from potential adverse content on page one, acting like a buffer to Google page one.
- It ensures that the business controls the majority of page one clicks for the business name searches.
The first point is well known and established amongst businesses whereas the second point isn’t quite as well known.
It’s a myth that many marketeers believe that the business and brand searches on Google are served only by occupying position one in Google with their company web site.
From our collation of available research, we’ve found that the link in position one of Google receives only 32.5% of page one clicks. The natural conclusion from this is if the remaining links on page one are not controlled by you, you can’t control the remaining 67.5% of clicks and traffic for your search term. Imagine paying for an ad in traditional media and not controlling the majority of what is being said about your company? Would you be happy with that? No.
If your page one on Google consists of listings, comments, media and content that is not under your control, it’s more often than not sitting there by default. This could be due to you not proactively seeking to own these slots yourself, assuming that your company website is adequate enough to direct all clicks to its own site, managing the Google searches on its own.
The reality is that when people search for brands and businesses online, they are often researching or checking out your business. The way that they do this, is by clicking on the other links on page one of Google, but not your actual website. This is to see what other consumers or businesses are saying about you. Just as importantly, they will be looking to see if you have any stamps of credibility, such as; Press Coverage, Social Media, Industry Memberships, Wikipedia Page, etc.)
This is where foresight and good planning can enable you to get control of page one and direct all clicks to relevant, business websites.
Here is a quick guide to an online Business Reputation Management Strategy:
- Don’t neglect social media. Take advantage of the benefits of this tool. It’s free and it’s useful. By failing to use social media, companies are less likely to impress customers and are potentially at risk of losing sales and status.
- Social media has a real and lasting impact on a company’s online reputation. It allows a huge range of consumers access company information and news.
- Please remember that negative reviews also have the power to create a positive effect. It alerts you to problems that you are unaware of, allowing you to take action and rectify the problem before it can escalate.
- Generally, companies with sustained media campaigns are more successful in clearing ‘bad press’ from their page one results. Negative stories have to compete with other, better established content. By publishing unique and relevant articles on your website and social media networks, you will be strengthening the company’s online profile and improving its Google listings.
- If material published online is defamatory or slanderous, you should report the comment and the commentator to the website directly or to the authorities.
- Consider using the Google Removal Tool for the negative content in the search results. Google will only do this where the content is clearly defamatory or of an adult nature.
- By monitoring and being vigilant for online mentions of your company, it will help alert you to any potential problems. By setting up Google Alerts for your company name and relevant search terms, you will be notified of negative and positive mentions, when and where they are published.
- Make the most of your resources by carefully selecting keywords and phrases for your business to optimise searches for your business to existing and potential clients.
“A good reputation is more valuable than money.” Publilius Syrus – Latin Writer