Online Reputation Management- Why it’s Important

As some of you know, my family and I recently relocated back to the beautiful Northwest to be closer to our extended families. During this process of moving our house sold freakishly fast, so we were scrambling to find a place to live.  We decided to rent for the time being, and eventually, find a house to buy.  When I was searching online for apartments or townhouses I, naturally, found myself looking at the online reviews of every single property.  During this process, I noticed something interesting; no matter how many good reviews a property had, if it had just one bad review, that is what I focused on and that is what ultimately made up my mind. When it came to online reviews, one bad review had more weight than all the right ones.  

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve had a clients’ Yelp or Google My Business receive a bad review (hey, it happens) and directly after we noticed an adverse change in metrics.  When this happens, we have a process we can follow to get that negative review pushed down the line and hopefully out of the site of future visitors. We do this because we know how detrimental one bad review can be for your business.  And if we’re honest, more often than not the bad review is that one customer that had a slightly bad experience and decided to be dramatic about it online.  If a company is actually as bad as the one bad review implies- they wouldn’t be in business much longer.  And that rarely is the case.  However, once they are read, potential customers can’t unread that.  It’s almost like the words run across your brain like a reader board.  

So how does our SEO folk manage a bad review and potential reputation issue? Doing what we call,“ reputation management.” While most bad reviews are one here and there, there are times the business’s reputation is at stake. And with that, your name.  The ugly truth about the internet is that no matter if it’s real or valid, information about you and your business stay available forever.  There’s no deleting this stuff.  There are some companies that have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their image online completely revamped and fixed. It takes a lot of time, a lot of new press, and a lot of expertise. But- it’s worth it.  So here’s a few reasons why reputation management is something all businesses need to have:

  1. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest on fire.

Personal reviews are that small spark. If you saw a small little spark or flame in your trash can, I’m pretty sure you would act fast to put out the fire.  Well- one bad review and the next thing you know your entire business is in flames.  It’s that rash that won’t go away. It’s that stone in people’s shoes.  It just begs to tell people to continue looking at other businesses that offer your service.  Well, reputation management is the “in case of an emergency break glass” fire extinguisher.  More often than not, you won’t even know there was a bad review if you don’t want to. We’ll just work our SEO magic on it, and it’s business as usual.

  1.  Google Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump

I’ll wait.  I’m guessing you found her official site, twitter for her, latest headlines, and overall some boring things. Nothing earth shattering, nothing too bad, and nothing too great either.  Just you know, stuff.  

Let me tell you- that’s exactly what her marketing team wants.  I also guarantee that she’s got some bad a$# SEO.  With all the laws she’s been accused of breaking, with all the controversy surrounding her (and him), with everything her life has entailed- wouldn’t you expect her image to be a bit different than just a primary presidential candidate? I mean, where’s all the drama?  Leaving all conspiracy theories behind about her control on media, she looks pretty great on Google.  This isn’t to say she’s NOT great, but you and I all know there’s always some dirt.  The reason, though, you’re not finding it with a basic Google search is her reputation management (aka SEO slayers, PR team, marketing team) know what they are doing.  If you had a few days and all the time in the world, you could find all the dirt, but these days nobody has time for that.  Make sure, no matter what, you’ve got people from your marketing team keep an eye on how your reputation looks online. It’s the difference between an open sign and permanently closed sign.

  1. There’s no such thing as bad press?

I don’t subscribe to this notion anymore. I’ve seen too many businesses, and lives, destroyed from a bad review or even a momentary lapse in judgment.  I have some friends who owned this pet store in town for decades. It was loved by all residents, and they were a fixture in the community.  Sadly, due to an un-diagnosed mental illness- the owner’s husband made some bad choices and word spread like wildfire. It was shared over and over- even becoming a national story.  Not surprising these good friends were forced to close shop.  Nobody wanted to be associated with their brand.  Even their innocent children were subject to rejection. It’s been heartbreaking to see.

These friends are still in the thick of it, and their lives have been changed forever. They have accepted responsibility where needed and shortly after they closed up shop, a diagnosis finally came, and treatment began. Everything made sense.  But the news won’t cover that, and now they are left with what to do.  Everyone in this city knows who they are, and knows what happened.  How do they even begin to repair their image?  How do they even begin to build trust again?  How do they even get the access to the masses to do that?  They do it through reputation management- where we use our SEO knowledge, skills, and networking to reach thousands of people- and it works.  

Though we can’t change people’s minds- we can certainly give customers the access to the entire story and access to the other side.  And this is powerful for businesses that have a tarnished reputation.

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