SEO Discussion: Reputation Management
We’re going to be providing a regular series of articles focusing on different aspects of search engine optimisation. Since we’re based in the UK, many of these articles will naturally centre on the industry in this country. But we’re sure that plenty of the issues discussed will be relevant to a broader audience.
In this issue, we’re going to take a look at online reputation management. You may not be familiar with what this area is all about, or you may have questions about some of the specifics.
We’re going to address many of the key elements. You’re welcome to ask for further information in the comments section that’s attached to this blog post. If you’d like to stay “under the radar”, then feel free to contact us by email.
What is Reputation Management?
Ok, so you may not yet know what Reputation Management is all about, but don’t worry – we’re here to enlighten you!
Basically, it involves monitoring the search engine results relating to a particular individual, brand or business. The aim of this is to identify articles, reviews and websites that show the client in a bad light.
Examples might be disenchanted customers who felt the need to write a particularly damaging online review – or maybe unhappy former employees who have decided to hit out at the company that once provided them with employment.
The key to Reputation Management is to push those negative reviews and comments down the search engine listings, in an attempt to bury them.
The advantage of this approach, to the client, is that it means that new (and potential) customers won’t be confronted with bad reviews when they are considering using a service, or buying from a particular company.
Who uses this service?
Well, it’s something that would be considered by just about any online business where current search engine rankings are becoming cluttered with negative reviews.
In worst case scenarios, a negative review could appear above the actual “official” listing of the business.
How does it work?
From an SEO point of view, there are a number of potential approaches to Reputation Management. These options aren’t mutually exclusive – typically, a campaign of this nature may involve in implementing multiple strategies. These might include:
- Asking for negative reviews to be removed
- Having negative websites taken offline (an option if there is some sort of illegality involved)
- Contacting those who have had bad experiences and trying to put things right
- Working on promoting websites that offer positive reviews
- Attempting to claim more positions on page one for the client
- Creating new websites that show the client in a popular light
- Using social media to take up more page one positions
What about ethics?
This is an interesting area! If a business provides a poor quality service, then shouldn’t consumers be allowed to find out about it?
Many people would answer “yes” in this instance! There’s certainly a danger that Reputation Management could be used as a tool to hide the truth. In reality, it’s a strategy that should be used to correct previous problems, with the aim of providing a better service in future.
But this isn’t how it’s always being used. To some extent, it falls upon SEO consultants and agencies to look at what a client is providing. How are they proposing that Reputation Management should be used?
It’s also true that many consumers are more likely to post an online review after a really bad experience, than they are in the case of an average, or slightly positive experience. This may mean that established retailers and service providers can find themselves overwhelmed with negative reviews, even if such comments don’t provide an objective reflection of the way that they do business.
Do You Need Reputation Management?
Have you ever searched for the name of your company or brand online? The results on Google (or your preferred search engine) may provide something of a shock!
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