Earlier this year I wrote an article about Search Engine Reputation Management, which explained how to combat negative reviews. That article was written in response to a subscriber who asked me for help, because he had negative content showing up when prospects searched his business name.
So every time a prospective customer searched for his business, she would see the negative review right on the first page of Google. Clearly that was hurting sales, so my subscriber was understandably stressed out trying to find ways to remove the review from Google’s results.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to remove something from Google’s results. The best strategy at that point is to try to crowd out the negative content using the Piggyback strategy Pete explained in SEO Growth Hack: Piggy-Back For Fast Rankings.
That’s the equivalent to playing defense, or being reactive. Most business owners are reactive with reputation management so they wait until a negative review or article pops up on the first page of Google before taking action. Then they frantically scramble to fix the problem. And in many cases no one is sure exactly when the negative content popped up because no one was really monitoring this sort of thing.
Sound familiar? If not, then just wait. No business is immune to negative reviews.
The good news is you don’t have to be reactive. Every business can and should be proactive with their online reputation management. Not only will it help prevent negative content, but it’ll actually improve your image, drive more traffic to your website, and improve online sales conversion rates.
How to Play Offense
Here are two strategies to be proactive with your online reputation management:
- Control Google’s First Page
- Consistently Get Online Reviews
1. Control Google’s First Page
The first step I recommend is to take control of Google’s first page for your business name. For example, when you google “Main Street ROI” then you’ll see a page like this:
As you can see, we “own” or “control” every single result on the first page of Google for our business name. That means whenever a prospect is checking us out, then she will most likely go to a page we designed ourselves. So we control the messaging and can funnel the traffic from each of those pages to our main website.
Again, that means we control our brand image in the search results, we’ll drive more traffic to our website, and we’ll convert more prospects to customers because they aren’t going to see negative content.
To control Google’s first page, use the Piggyback strategy Pete explained in SEO Growth Hack: Piggy-Back For Fast Rankings.
2. Consistently Get Online Reviews
The second step to be proactive with your online reputation management is to get reviews on a monthly basis. Negative reviews are inevitable because there will always be a few disgruntled, or downright crazy, customers. So the best offensive strategy is to make sure you have enough positive reviews to outweigh any negative ones.
Of course, getting positive reviews all starts with providing high-quality services. And if you provide high-quality services, you’ll get some reviews naturally without soliciting at all. But to get ongoing consistent reviews you really need to ask EVERY customer and make it a priority within your company.
You can ask in-person, over the phone, or via email. And try to ask when you know your customer is most likely to be happy with your business to increase the number of positive reviews you get online.
In sports, there’s a saying, “the best defense is a great offense” and the same is true with online reputation management. If you are proactive and launch an aggressive offensive attack, then you’ll greatly reduce your need to be reactive, or play defense.