What Is An Online Reputation?
When customers perform a Google search to find information about your company -- to find out what others think about your brand -- the results they see on the first page typically include sites with positive comments, but also sites with negative comments.
Your online reputation is the sum of these comments. It is how you are perceived in the online community, as presented in the Google search results. Your online reputation is also based upon how you are coming across, being rated and valued. It includes what is good about yourself and brand, as well as what is bad. True or false, each post, comment, review, like, share or swipe creates a digital profile. For people and organizations seeking to polish what they find in searches, they need a qualified online reputation management approach.
Online reputation management is a dynamic intermixing of marketing, public relations, legal and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, which all combine and align to promote, protect and safeguard your online image, aka your online reputation.
The most effective online reputation management strategy is to get positive mentions and articles about you or your company to appear among the first results, which cause the negative results to be pushed farther down and out of the Top 20. These positive articles typically include items such as: news search, social media/tags, standard search results, blogs and forums. The sites to place these positive articles include: Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, RSS feed subscriptions, Yahoo & Google News, BlogPulse, Social Media (via tags: tagbulb.com, tagfetch.com, keotag.com).
Why You Need It
Online reputation management aims to engage and address the cause of negativity, as soon as the negative mention happens. This is where online reputation management services for your brand become a specialty of any good public relations company.
Imagine the effect on your brand reputation, if a search engine returns pages full of websites filled with stellar reviews, flattering articles and adoring testimonials. Admiration, adulation and applause!
In a perfect world, customers would only receive positive reviews about you or your company. However, we all know this ideal scenario is far from reality -- this is where online reputation management comes in -- it focuses on what people see when searching online. Since this is the way potential customers, salespeople, and the media learn about your brand these days, managing what they see -- your online image -- on the results pages, becomes a vital part of public relations activities.
The best way for how to improve your online reputation is to make sure that the positive sites rank higher. This is done by performing SEO (search engine optimization). SEO reputation management puts relevant keywords and positive content on your web pages, social media, blogs, third-party publications, etc., then works the search engines and algorithms to create a positive PR Echo Chamber that tells your story in a positive light. The walls of the PR Echo Chamber are created from “backlinks” or third-party sites with notable influence, that give your new, positive content more weight. Google and other search engines measure the value of a web page based on how many other sites link to it. The more backlinks to the targeted website, the better the odds are that it will be ranked higher.
Negative websites, articles, posts and comments damage your brand and hurt your bottom line. You can cross your fingers and hope your online reputation will repair itself, or you can take matters into your own hands by managing your online reputation as if it were equal to all the other critical components of your enterprise.
All successful business people will tell you that getting out ahead of problems is how you achieve success. These days your online reputation can be your primary representation, and it’s often the first impression any new customer receives. Assuring your brand ranks among the best is the job of any good public relations firm. Managing your brand’s reputation and protecting it from harm is the mission of both the CEO and the PR company.
Today, online reputation management is the method which proves the best results -- the ones which show up in the Top 10 -- the ones which do nothing but rave, extol, and recommend your product or services. It’s is about assuring that your online presentation is positive. And that is achieved by 24 hour surveillance and rapid engagement processes, which are ready to fight negative mentions with positives -- to put enough positive criticism out there that it drowns out the negative -- to eliminate the negative by accentuating the positive. Up with the good reviews and down with bad.
Thumbs up on your brand or thumbs down? Online reputation management and the PR Echo Chamber is now as important as cybersecurity, customer service and product quality.
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Author: Mike Emerton, Founder, BridgeView Marketing