“The best place to bury a body is on the second page of Google.”
It’s advice that might likewise be useful to companies that manage online reputations for businesses. They need to ensure their customers have a presence on the first page of Google in order to get views and clicks. By not being found on the first search page of Google, a business is effectively buried alive in cyberspace.
A Google search is typically among the first things done by an online searcher to see what others say about a business. Links and information that appear on Google can make or break that consumer’s buying decision. Even if great reviews and endorsements about a business exist online, poor or nonexistent search-engine optimisation or SEO practices can render that valuable content invisible. Positive information, especially coming from sources outside of a business, promotes high ranking on Google search. This is the magic behind SEO in online reputation management.
With the right SEO tactics, you can accentuate the positive about a business and stifle the negative. Keep reading to learn three SEO strategies to improve the online reputation for your clients.
1. Claim social profiles, especially Google My Business
Google My Business Posts
Again, to quote Google, a Google My Business profile, “helps your business show up when it matters most: the moment customers search for your business or products or services like yours on Google Search and Maps. By logging into your Google My Business account, you can update your address, phone number, website, open hours, and more to help customers find and connect with your business. Keep your profile updated with fresh photos, special offers, and promotions to make it easy for customers to choose you.” Make sure your client claims their profile and keeps it updated with correct hours, payment information, photos, and more. It goes a long way to creating a great first impression with customers.
Then take advantage of Google My Business Posts. Google My Business Posts are similar to other social media posts but appear when customers find the business on Google Search or Maps. These posts have an added benefit to regular social media posts in that they allow your client to inject timely offers, events, or news right into Google search results, without waiting for indexing. These tips from Google can help your clients create engaging posts to help disseminate information about the business quickly to their customers.
Since 91 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, monitoring what people say about a business is crucial. This is especially true with Google reviews, which are highly visible to anyone searching for the business. Reviews on Google appear next to the Business Profile in Maps and Search, and help the business stand out on Google. While negative reviews can seldom be removed, good reputation management is just as much about handling the negative as it is positive. Take the time to respond to negative reviews to offer a good customer experience, and hopefully turn something negative into a positive for the customer.
2. Establish a presence on review sites
Monitoring online reviews is a good practice for online reputation management and likewise effective for SEO. Getting frequent Google Reviews and responding to them, specifically, can help improve search rankings and optimize SEO efforts.
Plus, reviews that include keywords such as menu items, products, or services are likely to show up in search results as items that potential customers may be looking for. Look at this image, below, as an example using the search term, “pad thai.”
Do your research
SEO and other online tactics can shine a light on the best things about a business. When creating new content for social media, such as a blog or text on a company’s website, do keyword research to determine the words and phrases used by people who search for similar businesses, products, or services.
A simple Google search can be very insightful. Google the business or the main product and see what kind of content shows up in the ‘People also ask’ section. Building content around these phrases and questions can help the business appear as featured content.
Once your client knows the keywords they should be seeking to rank for, it’s then time to do competitive research on “share of voice,” which measures how often a business is mentioned in web content and turning up in local searches, compared to competitors. Keeping track of the conversation, and the attention of consumers, they can gauge brand awareness, brand equity, and target audience engagement. Use this as a metric to guide your client’s content marketing strategy and measure its effectiveness over time.