Reputation Management has become an increasingly large portion of most SEO’s business. By reputation management, I mean keeping bad news, comments, reviews, and other negative stories about their clients off the first few pages of the search engines. A good example of a bad online reputation management is Countrywide Home Loans. When the fifth listing on page one of Google is “Countrywide Home Loans Sucks” and the 9th listing on page one is titled “The Worst Company in America,” I’d say there’s a problem. But I’ll cut them some slack. There’s a lot of bad news in the financial sector these days. Let’s take a look at a company that should be squeaky clean: Whole Foods. About half way down page one of Google there’s an article titled “The Dark Secrets of Whole Foods.” Uh-oh, that doesn’t sound good. There’s also an odd little website on page one called Stuff White People Like featuring Whole Foods. Do white people like Whole Foods? Well, judging by the amount of basil infused organic tofu I’ve seen in the refrigerators of white people’s homes, I’d that yes, white people do in fact like Whole Foods. However, I’m pretty sure this isn’t how the executives at the Whole Foods corporate office would like to be viewed.
So what’s a business owner to do?
1) Search online for your own name, your business name, and products/services you provide. No need to become obsessed with it. Once a month or so is fine for most companies. More than once a month if you think there is a need for it.
2) Create more online content. It’s generally going to be much easier for your web pages to rank online for your own name than it will be for someone else.
3) Contact your online nemesis and make peace. A lot of the times an upset customer just needs to vent. Let them. Make peace with them.
4) Don’t engage them in the first place. Try to play nice in your online sandbox. I’ve seen many companies come to blows with each other in little online wars. This typically hurts the business of both companies.
5) Think of your customers. They don’t care about the inner workings of your company or ongoing battle with a competitor. They want information about your company, products, and services.
They’re probably Google-ing you right now. What will they find?