How damaging could a negative review really be? When 40% of consumers won’t use a local business after reading negative reviews, we’d say it could be pretty damaging. So the question becomes: What can you do to minimize the SEO impact of negative reviews?
The answer lies in SEO reputation management, and you can’t get by without it. Whether you have a negative review already dominating the search engine results pages (SERPs), or you want to bolster your brand against negative attention, search engine reputation management is the best way to reclaim higher rankings with positive brand links.
Of course, you can always respond to negative reviews to try to improve the situation–and you should do that. But that won’t stop the negative press from showing up in top SERPs. This guide will help you SEO manage your online reputation.
We’ve got 7 tips for you to help you make a positive impact for your brand now, while cushioning your company against any negative press down the road. Keep reading to learn more.
SEO Reputation Management: 7 Tips
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of getting consumers and search engines to notice you online. But, you want them to notice you in a positive light. By engaging in these 7 tips starting now, your brand can be more positively perceived.
Any of these are tasks you can complete yourself, but if you find that they’re too time-consuming or you want the many benefits of working with a professional, you can engage the services of an SEO firm like The Gallas Company.
Now that you know the importance of reputation management and what SEO is, let’s move on to the tips themselves.
1. Ask Customers To Leave A Review
One of the best ways to balance out negative reviews is to have plenty of positive ones online for your company. If you’ve worked with a consumer and the consumer is pleased with your product or service, try asking for a review. 70% of consumers will leave a review if asked.
You don’t even need to have a designated space for testimonials on your website–though you can. If you’ve claimed your business on Google My Business, for example (always a good SEO move), consumers can leave their positive reviews on your brand’s profile. You can also use social media or review sites like Yelp.
2. Start Another Blog
Chances are, you already blog for your company. If you don’t, you should start. But have you thought about the benefits of starting another blog?
Choose a topic related to a hobby if your brand is a personal one. If your brand is a company, you can choose a topic related, even loosely, to your business. Start a new blog for that topic and include your brand name in the domain name.
You can even link from one blog to the other.
3. Get Social
Do you use social media for your brand? If not, you should start now in order to maximize positive perceptions of your brand. If you do, now is a great opportunity to make sure you’re using it the right way.
For starters, you don’t want to overextend yourself regarding social networks. Sometimes, people think if they have accounts with every social media network under the sun, it’ll help their SEO. There are a few problems with this approach:
- Not all social networks are equal in SEO
- It lacks clarity
- It causes burnout
- It’s a waste of time and resources
You want to use the social media networks that a) have the biggest chance of positively impacting your ranking on SERPs and b) connects you to your ideal audience. The 5 social networks that have the largest impact on SEO are:
If you can find your audience on any of these, you should start there. If not, then you can branch out to other networks, and sometimes other social sites can have a significant positive impact if you’ve found your niche. But these five are a good place to start.
Having too many social profiles can leave you or your social media team burnt out. It’s not enough just to have social profiles. You need to engage with your brand’s audience.
If you’re spending time and money working with social networks that are hindering instead of helping your SEO and reputation, they’re not worth the effort. Rather, pick two to start with and make sure to:
- Choose profile names aligned with your brand
- Completely fill out profiles
- Follow or friend your existing contacts
- Find new people to connect with
- Be consistent and patient
Above all, make sure your social media use is authentic. Audiences love to interact with authentic and transparent brands. Don’t just post at people, engage them.
4. Write A Stock Bio
You should have a bio you keep on hand for your brand, yourself, and any team members who might represent your brand. That bio should include organic language with natural links to your online properties. You can send this bio along with any press, media, or event information.
Tip: Check and make sure your links get posted in your bio after it goes live. Often, people need a gentle nudge to remember to put links in a bio.
5. Use The Right Keywords
Remember the goal here is to suppress negative press and reviews beyond the first SERP. Keywords should be relevant to your brand and your consumers’ needs. By getting positive press and your own pages to rank for these keywords, you can take those higher rankings back.
6. Post A Job Ad
Job ads are backlink sources. They’re also not negative–in fact, jobs are viewed in a positive light because not only does it mean your company is expanding, but you’re also positively impacting the economy. There are some guidelines to keep in mind when posting job ads:
- Have a job to fill
- Where you post matters
- Use keywords but don’t overstuff
- Link to your online properties
It may seem obvious, but before you post a job ad, you should have a position to fill. Don’t just post an ad for the SEO benefits even if you have no intent of filling the position. If your company isn’t ready to take someone on full time, that’s fine.
You can post an ad for part-time, volunteer, work-from-home, or internship work. Structure the job posting so it benefits your company, but don’t mislead people. Doing so is a great way to earn yourself some negative attention and we’re trying to prevent negative attention.
If you post to a site like Craigslist, your job ad is likely to be found by more people. But Craigslist ads disappear after a given period of time. Why not also post your ad somewhere it will stay active longer?
Better yet, post somewhere you can create a profile. This is also a great place to use that bio we talked about in tip #4.
Incorporate those keywords you chose in tip #5, but make sure your language is natural. Don’t just slide keywords in because you need them. Make sure they add to the text’s meaning.
Finally, you should link back to your social media profiles, blogs, and website. Job seekers will use these links to learn more about your company and its culture. Search engines will use these as backlinks and they could potentially boost your SEO.
7. Be Charitable
In addition to making us feel good, charitable acts and donations help those in need and have the added benefit of shining some positive light on your company reputation. Your donation might even get you listed on a charity’s website. This provides high-quality bio sharing opportunities.
If you and your team donate time to a charity, you can blog or vlog about it. Do so on a regular basis, and you can add a page to your website for all of your charitable contributions. You can also share those contributions via social media.
There are numerous opportunities for charitable actions to positively impact your brand–and the world around you.
Now you have the power to create a positive brand image, which can save you from negative attention that may someday come your way if it hasn’t already.
We’d all love to prevent negative reviews entirely. Unfortunately, there is always the chance a customer will be displeased with your brand. With a solid reputation management strategy, you can protect your brand against being completely taken over by negative reviews when they do happen.
Following these seven tips can help you keep negative reviews from populating on page one of SERPs. Since 93% of searchers never look beyond page one, you can prevent negative press from being seen by most of the population. Instead, let them see the positive press surrounding your brand.
SEO reputation management can seem tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can actually be a fun challenge with the additional possibility of boosting your bottom line. If you’ve still got questions about how you can manage your online reputation, contact us.