You want your business to have the best possible reputation online — here’s how to make sure yours is in good standing.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What brand reputation management is
  • Why managing your online rep is important
  • How reputation management factors into SEO
  • Expert tips for managing your reputation online

What people say about your business directly affects its success. From online reviews and word of mouth to social media comments, having your business discussed in a positive light is key for maximum lead generation, conversions, and retention.

When people look into your company online for whatever reason, what they find can impact their perception of your business. But while it’s impossible to retain full control over your brand reputation, you can take a consistent approach to managing it.  

Let’s take a closer look at brand reputation management and its importance for search engine optimization (SEO).

businesswomen discussing reputation management

Managing the perception of your company as it appears on SERPs should be part of your overall SEO efforts. (Image via Unsplash)

What is brand reputation management?

Brand reputation management involves monitoring users’ reactions to your business activity online and taking action whenever your brand image needs improvement.

As mentioned above, it’s important to understand that brand reputation is never fully under your control. However, it’s possible to work out a maintenance strategy that keeps your reputation in the best shape possible.

In the digital realm, brand image maintenance revolves around your brand’s reputation on search engines, on social media, and in online reviews. After all, 89% percent of consumers worldwide make the effort to read reviews before buying products. Since online reputation is highly volatile, this strategy requires your consistent attention. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a huge undertaking or take up a significant amount of time.

Reputation management and SEO

Managing the perception of your company as it appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) should be part of your overall SEO efforts.

More than 50% of shoppers go online before making a purchase. The first thing they see when skimming search results can affect their decision. (As a side note, this also goes for potential hires.)

That’s why reviews, links, and content that appear on SERPs or on social media need regular maintenance. Otherwise, no matter how well you design and implement your SEO tactics, you may still get negative results, such as:  

  • Lost organic traffic – Negative reviews often have a direct effect on your organic search traffic. If a poor review comes up when someone searches for your brand or products, they’re bound to keep looking elsewhere.
  • Lost paid search traffic – Even if your ads appear on top of the SERPs, negative reviews can offset their effect. No matter how much time and money you spend on ad design, you won’t get the number of clicks you otherwise would.

Even the most excellent SEO strategy can falter if it constantly has to fight against poor online brand reputation. Focusing on reputation management first can allow you to maximize the efficiency of your SEO campaign.

Reputation management for SEO: Best practices

Here are a few practices you can include in your reputation management strategy for SEO purposes.

1. Respond to reviews and comments

Reputation management involves responding to both positive and negative reviews and comments.

For positive reviews, you thank the customer and express your desire to work with them again. Consider using data you’ve collected while interacting with the consumer to add something personal to the review.

Standard reply: “Thank you! We are so happy to hear from you. Can’t wait to see you again.”

Personalized reply: “Dear Leslie, we are so happy you found the time to leave a review. We hope your dog is enjoying her new leash. Thank you!”

Negative reviews are more complicated, but are just as deserving of a response, if not more so. The key is acknowledging the problem, apologizing professionally, and expressing your willingness to solve the issue.

Ideally, you continue the conversation offline. Once it’s successfully resolved, you can always ask the customer to change or update their review.

Pro tip: When responding to comments or reviews, try to use keywords in your replies when it makes sense.

2. Claim and maintain social media profiles

When a customer looks for a brand, social media profiles often show up in search results. Since social media pages have high domain authority, they’re likely to pop up in top 10 results.

If you still haven’t claimed your social media profiles, now’s the time to do it. Social media profile maintenance is the key to online reputation management. If you don’t monitor them regularly, you could miss the opportunity to address negative feedback. Not only that, but you could lose access to valuable information about your target audience.

pointing to a printed out marketing strategy

The more valuable content you post, the more likely you are to improve your brand reputation online while gaining benefits for your SEO strategy. (Image via Rawpixel)

3. Use Google Alerts

Knowing when your brand is discussed on the web can be highly useful for your reputation management efforts.

Google Alerts notify you every time your brand is mentioned somewhere online. You can also use this tool to track mentions of your competition for competitor analysis.

4. Audit your content

Content marketing stimulates consumer interest in your brand. You need to audit your content to see if any of it is generating negative discussions, comments, or reviews. By analyzing this information, you can make changes to your content marketing plan.

The more valuable content you post, the more likely you are to improve your brand reputation online while gaining benefits for your SEO strategy.

Client testimonials on the HawkSEM homepage

Client testimonials featured on the HawkSEM homepage.

5. Put reviews on your website

Once you’ve shared a glowing review with your team via email or Slack, don’t just let it languish. Use the review to your advantage by including it somewhere on your company website (with permission from the reviewer if you use their name or company). 

Consumers who interact with reviews are 115% more likely to convert, and the more reviews you have, the higher your conversion rates, according to Power Reviews.

The takeaway

Brand reputation management allows you to monitor your company’s online reputation regularly and make appropriate changes in a timely manner. As a result, you could see boosted sales, an improved brand image, client trust, and more.

Your SEO efforts are dependent on your online reputation. By implementing the right management tactics, you can know that your SEO strategy is well-rounded and thorough to boot.

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