What do your potential customers see when they Google your company?
Hopefully, they find your website, your social media accounts, and perhaps some positive reviews.
Some businesses’ Google results, unfortunately, don’t look so impressive. Perhaps the first few results include:
- Other companies or organizations with the same name
- Negative media stories about an unanticipated company crisis or even workplace violence
- Out of date information from old social media accounts
- Angry blog posts attacking your company
Negative reviews about your products
These can be enough to put someone off buying from you … forever. So how do you get on top of your online reputation?
One way is to invest in reputation management software: if you’re not sure why you might need that, though, or if you want to take more of a DIY approach, read on.
The Goal of Online Reputation Management
The goal of online reputation management is to conquer as much of the first page (top 10 results) of Google as possible. You want that page to be filled with things that give your prospective customers a positive impression.
This is particularly important if the first page includes negative results. You want to “bump” those results off the first page … if you can’t get them taken down altogether.
How to Dominate the First Page of Google
If you want to fill Google with results relating (in a positive way!) to your company, then here are some simple steps you can take:
Step 1: Create or Improve Your Company Website
If you don’t already have a company website, then it’s crucial to get one in place. Even tiny businesses can manage this: A website doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. You could build a free one using WordPress.com, if you pay a small annual fee for a domain name.
If you already have a website, make sure it’s pulling its weight. That may mean working on your communication skills: ensuring that you’re talking to your potential customers in a way that makes it clear you understand their worries and their goals.
Step 2: Create Social Media Accounts on All the Major Sites
While you may not want to use accounts on half a dozen or so different social media sites, it’s well worth creating those accounts. This prevents competitors or trouble-makers from poaching your name and posing as you … and it also gives you innocuous results to fill Google’s front page with.
Some key sites to create accounts or pages with are:
- LinkedIn: create a company page, and encourage employees to list your company on their profiles
- Facebook: create a “page” for your company, not a group or a personal profile
- Twitter: create a company account and come up with guidelines for its use
You’ll also want accounts on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Step 3: Tackle Negative Results
If you’ve got a good company website, plus several social media accounts, you may find that negative results get pushed out of the top 10 Google results.
If not, tackle these results. Contact the site owners and try to resolve any problems if possible (e.g. if it’s a customer service issue). If the information is blatantly false, you may want to seek specialist legal advice, as it may be possible to get it taken down — in the EU, this can often be done under the right to be forgotten.
Online reputation management is critical for the success of your business. Your competitors will be paying attention to it … and you should too.