Not long ago, it was easy for businesses to hide a bad reputation deceving potential clients but at present, anyone who wants to find out about a business’ reputation will google it and have access to positive and negative comments straight away. We all strive to give an excellent service but it is very difficult to keep everyone happy. One single negative comment can shoo a lot of potential clients away.
I attended a fantastic talk by Keith Griggs from Reputation Management Expertsat the Business Show a short while ago on this topic and I want to share my notes with you. There are great companies which can bring back a perfect reputation to your business but you can always try to do it yourself. It is not difficult but it is time-consuming and you need to have good analytical skills. There we go:
7 STEPS FOR A PERFECT ONLINE REPUTATION
1. ANALYSE * Analyse the first page on Google and then pages 2 and 3. This way, you will be able to know which pages need pushing down and know which sites with good comments can be pushed up. * Look for variants of your company name too (and add location).31 % * Look at other search suggestions by Google (sometimes your company name can be suggested followed by the word “complaints”).
* Make a screenshot to use as benchmark for the subsequent “reputation cleaning” process.
2. QUANTIFY DAMAGE Establish how damaging the findings are for the company. How to do this? * Compare levels of sales to new customers before and after negative reviews/comments. * Estimate damage from Adwords keyword planner. Get search volume for keywords and calculate estimated average searches. * Translate results into money. What percentage of the searches are potential customers? How many of these see negative reviews? What is the profit loss per customer?
ASK NICELY... OR PAY OUT There are 4 possibilities to move the page down. * Ask the poster to remove negative comments. You can compensate them somehow. Sometimes and apology might be enough.
* Ask the owner of the website or server to remove the negative posting(s). In this case, you are likely to have to pay out a sum if you want them to agree to remove the comment(s). * Take or threaten legal action against all the above. This is obviously to be avoided if possible as it will be both costly and time-consuming. * Ask Google in your country to take the posting down. In theory, there are cases when Google should do this because of ruling in the European Court but since they have a huge team of lawyers who are well-prepared and payed to fight with words for their company, this does not usually happen.
So, as you see, it can be a bit difficult to push down bad reviews if the poster or the owner of the relevant websites are unwilling to cooperate. However, it is still possible to push the page with the bad reviews down in other more time-consuming ways.
COMMENT ON THE POSTING If the negative review or comment is a post or is in a forum, you can chose to respond to them to try and “clean” your reputation with your reply. However, this option is not recommended because when the page is updated, it is pushed up on Google. You could comment when the situation of the company has changed: i.e. a new ownership, the reason for the complaint has been put right, etc.
CREATE A PLAN Consider changing future behaviour to avoid future bad reviews and plan how to push negative comments down: *Create new content using keywords (the ones you used for the analysis on step 1) using social media profiles (create new ones if necessary), youtube clips, press releases, etc.
* Optimise existing sites you control: - Internal linking. - Meta data. - Link to positive and neutral new content from sites ranking well on Google.
IMPLEMENT PLAN Get cracking with all that´s been mentioned on the previous step!
MONITOR Use Google, Bing or sites such as Webposition. Tweak the strategy if necessary. Monitor again and tweak, tweak until you are satisfied with the results.
I hope you never find yourselves in the situation of having to push negative reviews down on Google. Thanks to Keith Griggs for the talk. You can here him talk about Amazon and Starbucks reputation on the clip below:
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