Businesses all over the world are frequently faced with Googling their own business name and finding a range of negative opinions and reviews out there, many of which are untrue. This may make them feel as if all is lost. After all, a bad reputation is said to be impossible to recover from. In reality, however, there are significant damage control options out there, and this links very closely to search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It is important to first assess the current damage, find all negative reviews and opinions and ensure the situation does not escalate from that point onwards. A number of complex strategies are used to achieve this. Three of these, however, are the most common.
3 Vital Strategies in Online Reputation Management
- Asking the site owner to remove the content about a business. Sending the owner an email or other message explaining that the information listed about that business is incorrect may be sufficient to have it removed. This is generally easiest if the information is also highly inappropriate or otherwise not suitable for certain viewers. Unfortunately, however, if a business comes across someone who actually has a grudge against them, this tactic will not work. Suing for libel is not a recommended option, unfortunately. Not only does that involve lengthy and expensive court battles, these cases are rarely successful.
- Addressing the issue directly. If a negative comment appears and a business becomes aware of this, they must address it as soon as possible. In other words, they must respond to the comments in the right way and within the right timescales. There are many different ways of doing this and choosing between them tends to depend on the comments that are placed. Some options include Tweeting, posting a blog in which a particular issue is addressed, speaking to the person who left the reviews, creating a video and so on.
- Ignoring it. This is generally not a good course of action, but it can work. If, for instance, the comment is so ridiculous, ignoring it can be a good option. It can also be a good option if the business already has excellent SEO practices in place. This is because if they already rank very highly as a page, the negative reply could be so far down the Google search results that people simply will not see it. Another reason why ignoring can be a good option is because taking action can at times lead to a heated debate, in which the business will always look bad, no matter what the eventual outcome of the debate is. As such, they could actually damage their reputation even more by engaging a disgruntled customer. However, it is vital that businesses understand that the ignoring option is one to use with extreme caution.
Every situation requires a response that is applicable to it. This is why it is also so important that companies work together with an excellent SEO consultant in order to have a range of strategies available to them and to know which one to use in which situation. Reputation management is a highly complex element of overall SEO practices. It takes a lot of work and most businesses are already too busy managing their regular operations to also focus on managing their reputation. As such, enlisting the services of a professional is usually a better option.