If you’re shopping for a firm to execute a reputation management campaign there is an excellent chance that you’ll come across a firm or two that are going to use black hat SEO techniques to occupy the top rankings in the search engine results pages.
These techniques may include the creation of link farms that post thousands of links originating from duplicate content that is spammed across the internet. Other techniques include:
Reputation management can be a difficult task to execute well. Most people either ignore reputation management altogether, or aren’t exactly sure how to repair or create their reputation. Tens of thousands of press releases fly around Internet on a regular basis, filling cyber space with poor attempts to build a company’s reputation.
The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article recently about reputation management and how certain tactics can actually take a situation from bad to worse. In the article a reputation management company named Reputation Defender is criticized for its method of reputation management which centers on reaching out to blogs, websites, and forums that post negative comments.
When a company selects a reputation management firm to initiate a campaign the assumption is that the end result is going to consist of burying negative articles and improving that company’s reputation through positive articles and posts distributed and optimized around the web.
If you’re running a local business you need to take every opportunity to both manage your business’ reputation while reaching out to your local clientele, especially when that opportunity comes at no cost. Some of the best of these no-cost resources for local businesses are the local listings such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Yelp.
There are three primary reasons for claiming your local listings through these providers:
1) Claiming your local listings provides an easy to use platform to publish your contact information, hours of operation, directions, etc. You can also engage in reputation management practices such as responding to negative reviews and building optimized profiles. Photos, video, coupons, and special offers can also be added to these sites.
2) Neglecting to claim your listings can reduce your local visibility, pose risks to your company’s reputation, and assist your competition. While some local resources will publish a skeleton description of your business, others may not post anything at all. For example, if someone is trying to find your business but you’re not listed, the chances are that they will move on to a business that is listed. An unclaimed local listing can also look sloppy with fuzzy pictures and random information – not what you’re looking for in terms of making a good first impression.
3) Local pages give you another opportunity to occupy rankings on the front pages of the search engines, a critical element of proactive reputation management.
The search engines have made huge advances in terms of helping local businesses to get found by their local customers. Gaining that visibility while managing your reputation at no cost is the kind of deal you just don’t see every day.
When Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” he probably wasn’t talking about the way in which everyone, since the advent of search engines, has become a public figure to varying degrees. Much like the experience of pre-search engine public figures in traditional media, fame on Google can have its ups and downs too. The problem now is that, while everyone still has their shot at fame, there is now a risk of public infamy as well.
It doesn’t take much to generate a bad review on a site like Yelp. In fact, for businesses with heavy customer traffic, whether online or at a physical storefront, it’s really a matter of time before something happens that rubs someone the wrong way. The unfortunate aspect of this new dynamic is that a negative review is a negative review; whether the person posting it is has a legitimate beef or not. So how should you handle a negative review?
As review sites become a larger factor in reputation management strategies as well as the decision-making process for consumers, business owners increasingly face the temptation of gaming the review process for ratings and recommendations. To be sure, there are right and wrong ways to generate reviews.
The initial reaction to a complaint or a negative review targeting your business can make the difference between a situation that gets handled quickly and one that necessitates the reputation management cavalry to ride to the rescue. While negative content pointed at a business can easily be taken as a personal affront, responding in a defensive manner is a sure way to put yourself in a position that requires a lot more time and energy than would otherwise be spent to get to a point of resolution.
As ascension of social media continues, the strategies used to surface positive content and the web pages of sponsoring companies in reputation management campaigns are undergoing massive changes in terms of how they incorporate these networks. These changes are necessary due to the fact that sticking with a “business as usual” mindset will ultimately lead to failure in achieving even the most elemental objectives of any reputation management initiative.
The reasons a reputation management campaign will not reach its objectives without a social media presence include:
For reputation management campaigns to reach their objectives, participation in social media networks is mandatory. Additionally, this participation brings with it a long list of opportunities that can change the accounting status of reputation management from that of an expense to a series of online assets.