The recent McKremie Online Reputation Management Survey 2012, set down certain facts that businesses would do well to heed. The survey established that:
- 87% of people researched companies online before doing business with them.
- Only 3% of people did no research at all.
- 71% of people posted a product or service review online.
- Contrary to popular perception, 68% of the reviews posted had positive comments.
- 76% of people went through at least the first three pages of results generated by Google.
- 67% of people used social media to research the reputation of a company.
- 88% of people trusted the reviews posted on Google, Yelp and Angie’s List.
Each of the points mentioned above, serves to give you an idea of how people are turning to the internet, for the most routine of queries, before selecting a specific company to do business with. The rise and rise of Reputation Management is something that many business enterprises are only coming to terms with now. Go through that last observation once again. What it effectively means is that 88 customers out of 100, who have never transacted business with you earlier, will only show up if what they find written about your business on the internet, is mostly positive. It also means that they would be far more willing to trust the review of someone they’ve never seen, as opposed to taking your word for it. Scary? It should be.
So what can you do to ensure that your online reputation does not get tarnished by a negative review? Small steps to take include:
- Using SEO on several pages of your website with the name of your business so as to convey the impression of being an authority on the subject. The more pages returned by Google with your company, the lesser the chances of that negative review being noticed.
- Diversify the keywords that fall within your purview and ensure that your business appears in the Top 10 searches for those keywords.
- Use anchor text (hyperlinked words that lead to another, often authoritative and trustworthy website) to increase the search results ranking, as search engines use anchor text to determine the relevancy of the page being linked to.
- Monitor the content being posted on you by doing a Google search on your business regularly. If you do happen to find a negative posting, contact the reviewer and understand the issues being raised. If possible, try and redress the situation or explain the reasons behind the incident. At the very least, leave a comment behind that lists the steps you’ve taken to remedy the situation.
Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, said: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. Yelp wasn’t around when he said that, but the need to protect reputations, remains a constant even today.