Whether an ex-employee writes something bad about you in an online forum, an unhappy customer complains about you on Twitter, or an unscrupulous competitor posts a false negative review of your business on a local website, you’re bound to get bad press online at one point or another. The slanderous content could come back to haunt you if you don’t do something about it immediately. As the old proverb says, “Bad news travels fast.”
If potential customers who are researching your business online come across negative reviews or comments about your business, it may lead them to do business elsewhere. According to a recent survey by Lightspeed Research, nearly 21 percent of consumers said they would change their mind about buying a product or service after reading two negative reviews. 37 percent of those surveyed said reading three negative reviews would make them decide against buying a product or service.
Don’t let bad press put a damper on your sales. Keep track of what people are saying about your business online. While it’s not always possible to remove negative information about your business from the internet, there are several steps you can take to push it off of the first page of search results and clean up your online reputation. Most of the following strategies focus on spreading positive publicity about your business in order to bury negative results.
Get your own website with a branded domain
This might seem like obvious advice, but according to advertising firm Borrell Associates, 14% of SMBs still don’t have a website. Establishing a website with your company name as the domain name is essential if you want to take the reins of your online presence and snag one of the top 10 search engine listings for your company name.
Create several social networking profiles
Own the search results for your company name by creating profiles on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other relevant social networking website. Social networking profiles that are optimized for your company name are likely to rank well.
If your website doesn’t have a blog already, add one. Write blog posts that are optimized for your company name and post often. Build rapport with other bloggers in your industry via blog commenting and social media marketing, so you can attract links and improve the rankings of your blog posts.
Post your company’s logo and photos of your staff, products, etc. on a photo website like Flickr or Picasa, both of which rank well in major search engines. Label the images with your company’s name.
Submit guest articles
Build name recognition and spread positive PR by writing and submitting guest articles to blogs and websites in your industry. Include your company name and a link back to your website in every article that you submit.
Get listed in relevant business directories
Get your company listed in trusted business directories, including local directories and industry-specific directories.
Publish press releases… often
One of the most effective ways to spread positive news about your company is by distributing online press releases on a frequent basis. Press releases tend to rank well in the search engines and could potentially get you press from other websites.If you search for your company name online and some negative results pop up, follow the steps above so you can gradually undo the damage. Your business’s online reputation is one of your most important assets – do whatever you can to protect it.At BusinessCreator, we have over 10 years of experience performing online reputation management, using the latest search engine techniques. For help pushing bad publicity down the search engine listings, contact us for a free consultation.