One of the most common issues that SEO Gold Coast deals with these days is the issue of online reputation management. Thanks to the widespread popularity of smartphones and tablet devices it is becoming increasingly common for shoppers to look for reviews of businesses before they make use of them – whether those businesses are restaurants, hotels, computer repair stores, or online-only businesses.
All it takes is one disgruntled customer – or a disreputable rival business owner who uses astroturfing services to write some fake reviews, and your online reputation could be seriously damaged.
Repairing Your Reputation
The good news is that it is possible to come back from a string of negative reviews, and you can do it without doing anything unethical. One common misconception is that the only way to fix negative (or inaccurate) search issues is to purchase fake reviews yourself. This is not the case. We have helped many clients push negative content down the search results, and repair their reputations without resorting to such tactics.
The way that we repair damaged reputations is to flood the search results with other content that we, or the brand owner, controls. When the first few results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) are a company's own website, their social media profiles and a handful of positive news articles, many consumers are unlikely to bother to look any further, so those negative reviews on a relatively obscure review site are unlikely to do a lot of damage.
Of course, no matter how much you push positive up the search results, if your negative content is in the form of Yelp or TripAdvisor reviews or comments on other high domain authority sites such as popular forums, you may still find that you are losing customers, because a lot of shoppers use apps to access the content on those sites directly. We encourage business owners in that situation to reach out to their most loyal and satisfied customers, thank them for their custom, and politely nudge them to write a review. Soliciting reviews is a grey area in terms of online reputation management, and it must be done tactfully. Demanding reviews, or paying for them, is frowned upon and goes against the guidelines of a lot of sites, but suggesting that someone review you to “help their friends and family” is something that is more acceptable.
Show Off Your Customer Service
Another thing that we suggest that a lot of our clients do is reach out to reviewers – both those who write positive content and those who have negative comments. Thank the positive reviewers for taking the time to leave a review, and tell them that you are glad they were pleased with their experience. Thank the negative comments too, and ask those reviewers to get in touch with you so that you can solve their issue.
In many cases, if the negative comment is a real one from someone who was unhappy with your service (rather than someone who is simply impossible to please), they will get in touch with you, have their problem solved, and then update their review.
Even if they never respond, if a prospective customer sees that your customer service team is willing to help, it may take some of the edge off the negative review. I have found that this technique works well with social media as well as with review sites, but only if you do follow through and try to solve the shopper's issue. Simply commenting, but never following up, is likely to alienate more people than it impresses, and with good reason.
Online reputation management is one of the most important parts of PR today, and it is well worth investing some time into getting it right.