“The best place to bury a body is on the second page of Google.”
This advice that might likewise be useful to companies that manage online reputations for businesses. They need to ensure their customers have a presence on the first page of Google in order to get views and clicks. By not being found on the first search page of Google, a business is effectively buried alive in cyberspace.
A Google search is typically among the first things done by an online searcher to see what others say about a business. Links and information that appear on Google can make or break that consumer’s buying decision. Even if great reviews and endorsements about a business exist online, poor or nonexistent search-engine optimization or SEO practices can render that valuable content invisible. Positive information, especially coming from sources outside of a business, promotes high ranking on Google search. This is the magic behind SEO in online reputation management.
With the right SEO tactics, you can accentuate the positive about a business and stifle the negative. Keep reading to learn three SEO strategies to improve the online reputation for your website and business.
What is the role of SEO in online reputation management?
SEO is the effort to bring customers and traffic to a website through the use of keywords and other search-optimization tactics to improve organic search results. It can be a highly technical process, involving optimizing website structure to allow for Google to crawl and index the site. Here’s more information about how Google search indexing works.
ORM is the act of managing online reviews and mentions of the business. Effective Online reputation management (ORM) ensures potential customers find the most complete information about a business online. This can be done through review generation tactics and review monitoring and responding strategies.
Search Engine Optimization and online reputation management are two different marketing tactics. SEO is in fact a component of reputation management. SEO and reputation management share the same goal: to strengthen a business’s brand authority and credibility online.
3 SEO strategies for improved online reputation
1. Claim social profiles, especially Google My Business
Google describes Google My Business as, “a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.”
When someone searches on Google for your business, the top-ranking results ideally should be controlled by the brand. This could be their website which has been optimized for SEO, online review sites as well as social media profiles. If you aren’t managing this, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.
If you can spare 10 – 30 minutes each week, using all the social media sites available and relevant to the business is a good start. This includes Google My Business, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Essentially, any property outside of your website where they can still maintain and own their presence should be claimed.
Because these websites rank well, it’s important that businesses “own” this online real estate, to connect with customers and ultimately help with marketing the business.
It is recommended that all of the social profiles are active and contain a wealth of useful information for customers such as contact information and hours of operations. These profiles should also offer unique content in areas such as company descriptions to help these profiles rank better. Online reputation management for doctors, for example, is essential for a doctor’s office to establish social proof and positive reviews. Who wants to go to a doctor with 2-star reviews?!
Google My Business Posts
Again, to quote Google, a Google My Business (GMB) profile, “helps your business show up when it matters most: the moment customers search for your business or products or services like yours on Google Search and Maps. By logging into your Google My Business account, you can update your company name, address, phone number, website, open hours, and more to help customers find and connect with your business. Make sure this information is accurate to avoid ranking penalties.
Keep your profile updated with fresh photos, special offers, and promotions to make it easy for customers to choose you.” Make sure to claim their profile and keeps it updated with correct hours, payment information, photos, and more. It goes a long way to creating a great first impression with customers.
Then take advantage of Google My Business Posts. Google My Business Posts are similar to other social media posts but appear when customers find the business on Google Search or Maps. These posts have an added benefit to regular social media posts in that they allow to inject timely offers, events, or news right into Google search results, without waiting for indexing. These tips from Google can help you create engaging posts to help disseminate information about the business quickly to their customers.
Since 91 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, monitoring what people say about a business is crucial. This is especially true with Google reviews, which are highly visible to anyone searching for the business. Reviews on Google appear next to the Business Profile in Maps and Search, and help the business stand out on Google. While negative reviews can seldom be removed, good reputation management is just as much about handling the negative as it is positive. Take the time to respond to negative reviews to offer a good customer experience, and hopefully turn something negative into a positive for the customer.
Google Q&A is a simple tool that allows Google users to ask and answer questions about a business online. It is yet another way to provide customers with useful information, right in the knowledge panel of a Google My Business listing. Potential customers are able to ask any question they want, and Google users have the opportunity to provide meaningful, or completely bogus, answers. The information that potential customers find can have a strong impact on their decision to call or visit a business. Check out this blog for more information about Google Q&A.
Google Q&A should be monitored in the same way as online reviews. Questions and answers can be submitted by anyone, and content can be just as persuasive. It’s crucial to stay on top of Google Q&A as it’s highly visible to searchers looking for information.
2. Establish a presence on review sites
Monitoring online reviews is a good practice for online reputation management and likewise effective for SEO. Getting frequent Google Reviews and responding to them, specifically, can help improve search rankings and optimize SEO efforts. Start asking your friends and customers to give reviews!
Plus, qualitative and long-form reviews that include keywords such as menu items, products, or services are likely to show up in search results. These are items that potential customers may be looking for.
Even if your business doesn’t have a profile claimed on Glassdoor, Urbanspoon, or other review sites, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t talking about a business. Monitoring all sites relevant to your business ensures that if and when reviews are posted, you can be alerted, respond to it, and keep a pulse on customer sentiment.
3. Build a content marketing strategy around keywords
Do your research
SEO and other online tactics can shine a light on the best things about a business. When creating new content for social media, such as a blog or text on a company’s website, do keyword research. Determine the words and phrases used by people who search for similar businesses, products, or services. A little bit of research can go a long way!
A simple Google search can be very insightful. Google the business or the main product and see what kind of content shows up in the ‘People also ask’ section. Building content around these phrases and questions can help the business appear as featured content.
Map the competitive search landscape
Once we know the keywords we are seeking to rank for, it’s then time to do competitive research on “share of voice.” This measures how often a business is mentioned in web content and turning up in local searches, compared to competitors. Keeping track of the conversation, and the attention of consumers, they can gauge brand awareness, brand equity; and target audience engagement. Use this as a metric to guide your content marketing strategy and measure its effectiveness over time.
Monitor brand mentions
It’s difficult to catch every instance when someone mentions a business online. So, alerts for mentions is an important and effective solution. It makes it possible for a business to share or promote positive mentions, like blogs or news articles, or squash a negative mention before it festers. Monitoring mentions keep the pulse on what people say about the business and may inspire possible topics for content creation. Be sure to test and measure results to determine your focus.
How to unlink my name from a keyword in Google search?
There is no way to request removal. What you need to do is create more “associations” between your name and some other entity. That way Google will associate your name with something else rather than the “undesirable” topic.
Essentially, that’s what SEO does–creates associations. For example, by creating a website and a brand, and then associating a topic with that brand. Then, the website through links, profiles, articles, and other forms of content, the search engine “learn.” Learn what exactly? That your name or your brand is associated with a certain entity or topic.
Take Control of Your Online Business Reputation Management with Frasca Digital
As evidenced above, managing a business’s online reputation can be a complex matter. Local businesses often look to an expert for help in getting a handle on their online reputation. Frasca Digital’s tried and true approach to online reputation management for businesses brings all the components that contribute to a business’s online reputation into one actionable dashboard.
Take the first step now and Contact Frasca Digital today to get started!