You know the old saying, “The best defense is a good offense.” Well, turns out that’s true when it comes to your online reputation, as well.
All it takes is one unfortunate situation with a customer or one disgruntled employee to wreak havoc on your business. Today, when someone wants to check you out, they ask their friends and then turn to Google - even when their friend gives a strong recommendation.
They type your name into a search engine and find your website. But, around four or five search results down, they also see a nasty review or a blog post using hyperbole and calling your business “the worst ever” or a “shame to the neighborhood.”
Pretty much anyone, for any reason, can publish information about your business, for better or for worse. And that information gets indexed by search engines. While I’m not suggesting you hide your flaws, I am suggesting you not let them define your good work.
I’ve been suggesting this very tactic since about 2006, and it’s still just as valid. When someone searches for your company, why not work to make the first 10 or 20 listings they find something in your control?
And the good news is that it’s not really that hard. Sure, you have to put in a little work, but the rewards and potential risks you avert are well worth it.
The first thing you need to know is that Google loves social networks. Claiming, linking to, and promoting your company social media profiles is a great start to your reputation offense.
I have a number of websites that I use for my business and also have other branded assets such as a podcast and books. But a search on Google for the term “Duct Tape Marketing” still turns up my company Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, Wikipedia page, Instagram page, YouTube channel, Google+ page, and even a CrunchBase profile -- all on the first two pages.
Even a search on my name turns up half a dozen properties that I control, including personal profiles on many of the networks mentioned above.
When someone asks me if they really need to be on all of these networks or if they need to guest blog and create Tumblr pages and submit their podcast to Stitchter, I say, maybe you don’t need to be in all of these places to survive, but your reputation may need you to build brand assets in all of these places in order to thrive.
The same can be said for reviews. You always have customers that keep returning and are happy with your business. Asking those who haven’t reviewed your business to do so will help keep positive reviews on top, and push down the negative ones.
Again, the point is not to mask shoddy work, it’s to make sure that one bad experience or unreasonable customer doesn’t control what the world gets to see.