You’ve been Googled!
Joe Blog has been a specialist surgeon for over 15 years with a near flawless record. Two years ago he made an error during a procedure, and recently lost the case in court. Name suppression has been lifted, and Googling Dr Joe Blog now brings up negative press articles and reviews. Joe understands he needs to manage this negative publicity and restore his online reputation, but is not sure what to do.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation Management is the practice of monitoring the reputation of an individual or organization on the internet, addressing content which is potentially damaging, and promoting positive content.
Current research indicates 80% of people search online before they buy a product or service. If you are a businessman or woman, a dentist or a plumber, or a surgeon like Joe Blog, what will people find when they Google you or your company’s name? Will they find negative press articles, or a poor Google review cautioning them to not use your services? Or will their search results include positive reviews and feedback? This is your online reputation, and effectively managing your electronic profile is critically important in this digital age.
Why Online Reputation Management is becoming more important
Brand Yourself reports that over 1 billion names are Googled every day. So, unless you live in a cave, you’ve been Googled, and probably more than once. Eventually every transaction we make will begin with a search, and a dubious or non-existent online reputation will influence a prospective customer against using your products or services.
Marketing Land recently reported that the first three search engine optimisation results account for 55% of all clicks, and that the first organic ranking position gets 31.24% of these clicks. So just pushing negative press from first to third can have a dramatic impact on any sales. And online reputation management is not only about promoting the positive and counteracting the negative, search results that produce a deafening silence can be as damaging to your online presence.
Top online reputation management tips
There is a significant opportunity for individuals and organizations to build a competitive advantage by promoting a positive reputation online. So what can be done?
- Don’t wait for negative content to appear. Be proactive; develop an effective reputation management strategy.
- Make sure you regularly publish positive content so that if negative content does appear, it will be overshadowed by the content you want to be seen.
- Google your organization’s name, brands and products, and senior executives and see what shows up. Look at the first three pages of your search results, a negative piece of content on page 3 can make its way to page 1.
- Create a baseline ‘positive, negative or neutral’ spreadsheet that contains all of the search results from the first three pages, and make a note of which ones you can control or influence, and the ones you can’t. Periodically repeat this exercise.
- Have a policy for dealing with negative press. Immediately respond to customers that generate negative content online.
- Make brand evangelists by rewarding positive reviews with a thank you or a coupon. Google supposedly gives higher search results to listings with a higher number of positive reviews.
- Posting videos, images, and good blog content can help push negative content further down in the search results.
- Be cautious about your personal activities. Many reputations are compromised by non-business related activities rather than actions taken on the job.
- Developing positive relationships with the media should be part of your overall marketing and reputation management plan.
As we increasingly live our lives online, we are finding downsides to all the social media over-sharing, with little control over how we appear on the internet. There are few obstacles to a reputation being tarnished online, and mistakes atoned for don’t always stay in the past.
Many businesses and individuals rely heavily on how they are perceived on the web. At Clickthrough, we’ve developed essential web services and tools to assist in the monitoring, improving, and repairing of digital profiles and online reputations.
This article was written by Clickthrough, a web company on the North Shore (Albany),Auckland, New Zealand.