:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::
If the first impression you make is a bad one it’s likely to be your last.
Your online reputation can make or break your business, today we are going to show you how to build and maintain a great online reputation in just 30 minutes per day.
1. Search for Your Brand Mentions
The first thing to do is to search the Internet to find phrases and search terms associated with your name and your brand. Once you understand how people are searching for your company, you will know exactly which SERPs to check first for less than flattering information.
2. Respond Immediately to any Negative Reviews
If you do business with many people, chances are you are going to get at least a few reviews that are less than accurate or flattering. Sometimes customers report legitimate issues and other times it is former employees throwing a public temper tantrum about your company. Either way you should identify all of the reviews and chatter about your company and respond. If the complaint is a legitimate issue, take the time to speak to that customer if possible and work to resolve the issue. If the review is fake or from a former employee, many sites allow you to request the removal because of the circumstances.
3. Increase Your Brand Footprint
There are a ton of places where you can list your brand or create branded pages on authority sites. There are also niche-specific sites you can list your business on. If you are an attorney, Avvo is one such example. Check out sites like KnowEm to find a list of general sites to list your business on or conduct a search using a simple search operator like “add listing” + attorney to uncover some niche sites. Since many of these are authority sites they will populate the first page for branded searches of your company, allowing you to control how you are viewed by potential clients. Local citation sites are also a great place to list your company, and as an added bonus, the listings you create will help your SEO efforts as well.
4. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media is a critical component of taking control of your online reputation management. Leverage social media by gaining control of all primary accounts that represent your name and brand is good start. The real magic happens when you identify social sites that your target audience is active on and engage with them. Use social media as a means to build rapport with your audience and show them the people behind a brand.
5. Dominate the SERPS for Brand Mentions
Ensure that when people search for any terms that are associated with your name and brand, it is your social media pages, website and blogs that are ranked top in the search results. As mentioned above, listing your business on trusted sites is one way to accomplish this. If the listings alone do not rank for your branded terms, building links to social profiles and listings is your next step. If you are not sure where to start, check out "Where to Get your First 44 Backlinks" for some great ideas.
6. Establish a Reputation as an Expert in the Niche
It is much easier to enhance your online reputation if you are respected as an expert in your niche. If you brand yourself as the go to person in your field, people are going to do a lot of the work for you by mentioning, sharing, and positively reviewing your product of services. That is not to say you shouldn’t actively promote your brand though, the best scenario is to do both.
7. Monitor Brand and Personal Mentions
After you have done all to build your online reputation, you need to manage it by ensuring that you keep track of all name and brand mentions. Google Alerts is a simple and free way to be notified on new mentions of your brand.
If you are feeling a little lost or confused still, be sure to check out "Building Brand Signals for Better SEO" for some more ideas on how to start and improve your online brand presence.
Over to You...
Have you ever had any issues with Yelp or Ripoff Report tarnishing your online reputation? Any other sites to watch out for?
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Marion, IL. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz