A business reputation is based on several factors. One is actual performance: quality of service and fair pricing or poor service and over-pricing. Another is what customers write to a business directly (references and testimonials). Third is what clients say about a business over the internet to the general public or to others in person. A body of evidence builds up online and in the community either for or against a firm or individual.
What Can You Control?
Companies really only have control over the first of these: their performance. They can’t force clients to write referrals, send in positive testimonials, or post five-star reviews about excellent service. Sometimes they are even at the mercy of fraudulent negative reviews their competitors pay for or even write in an effort to damage a reputation. It might not be the competitor but an aggrieved client taking things too far. Even the best businesses cannot satisfy everyone.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services Include Reputation Management
Not all but many SEO companies help their clients to build a stronger public standing in several ways. They utilize all the tools at their command such as social media, review sites, and posting testimonials on a business website in order to build a picture of excellence and reliability and to make a business seem established even when it’s fairly new. Experts look at ways a firm can encourage customers to say nice things even if they were not initially going to bother.
How to Encourage Reviews
Besides offering service above and beyond expectations which would inspire clients to write five-star reviews, firms can also provide incentives for positive postings. One example is encouraging customers to visit Facebook and “like” them to receive coupons or be entered in a prize draw. Regular customers might receive loyalty points at a store in exchange for sharing a purchase or writing a review, as long as the review passes a vetting process.
A firm should allow good and bad comments to be posted on their web page, but not all reviews will make it there. Some contain foul language or are unnecessarily aggressive. They can also be too promotional, unrealistically positive, and come across as “fake.” SEO clients do not want to go overboard, but would-be customers are less suspicious if a few negative write-ups pass the review process.
Watch Out for Smear Campaigns
You can’t do a lot about people who want to wreck your business except report sites to your web host if they appear suspicious. If consumers say bad things on Yelp, respond to them calmly and respectfully. Professional reputation managers trawl the internet for any signs of good or bad ratings about the client’s services and weigh them up, determining if some more positive campaigning is needed to tip the balance in favor of a company.