What is “Reputation Management SEO”, and how can it help you grow your business?
Read on to learn how Google rewards you for a good online reputation.
“He’s THE Go-To Guy…”
First, a quick personal story to illustrate how reputation works in the “real world”…
Do you have a special activity that’s pretty much pure self-indulgence?
For me, it’s playing music on occasion. Country fiddling is my vice of choice.
Last week I realized suddenly that my favorite fiddle bow desperately needed new hairs.
So, I called the one and only bowmaker in the area worthy of rehairing it. (IMO, but I’m 100% right — as anyone “in-the-know” on this issue will attest)
He also happens to be the original maker of the bow. And it’s an amazing bow, unlike any I’ve ever tried…
Makes even a rank amateur like me feel like he can really play.
Reputation Comes From Service
I mean this guy is good, a real craftsman…
Has a national reputation.
In my mind, nobody else in the area even comes close to his level.
Now, he’s a great guy and all… But honestly, not all that easy to do business with.
He works out of his home, in an out-of-the-way suburb…
Keeps talking about how he wants to retire…
Serves only his past clients because (like me and other players) he doesn’t believe anyone else can fill the bill quite like he does.
He only takes calls and visitors at certain hours…
And he won’t commit to completion dates for any projects you bring him, such as the bow rehairing I had in mind,
That said, I practically do somersaults to get on his calendar.
And, except that he’s not interested in referrals, I’d refer him hands down to any fiddler I know.
In a word: Reputation.
Why Your Reputation Needs Careful Protection
Wouldn’t you love to have customers practically knocking down your door to get your product or service?
Just look at what billionaire Warren Buffett says about reputation:
On the dangers of reputation risk, he said:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
From a letter to managers of subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s holding company:
“We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.”
And in a message to employees of Salomon Brothers, a former holding whose reputation was in jeopardy in the late 1980s:
“Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”
Okay so how does all this relate to “Reputation Management SEO” for your business?
If you want Google, Yahoo, Bing and all the other search engines to send you qualified leads, you need to polish your online reputation.
Here are three quick steps you can take to get started:
Type in your name, or your business name into your search bar and see what comes up. If you like what you see, great! If not, you’ve got some work to do.
What you want to see is positive clear references that your ideal customer would find appealing. At the very least, it needs to not offend that type of person
Deal With Fake Negative Reviews
Trolls posting one or more bad reviews is more of a problem for small businesses than ever. So know you’re not alone. Deal with it. This is no time to hide your head in the sand.
If the bad comments are fake and they go against Google’s terms of service, ask Google to remove them from their search results. It may take some time, but a little patience here could pay off.
If Google doesn’t remove them, let your audience know. Talk about the issue on social media, in your emails, newsletter, blog posts, and in any other ways you have direct communication with your target audience. They may even stand up and defend you — especially if you’ve served them well.
Reward Good Behavior
Ask for feedback early and often.
Customers appreciate it, and you may some real gold nuggets that could make a big difference in your business.
And when they respond positively, invite them to share their comments publicly. These days it’s easy to automate the process, so don’t be intimidated by the tech.
“What Goes Around…”
The key to all this is to serve your market well. As comedian Steve Martin (and others) say, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Do that and the search engines — and your target customers — will reward you with a great reputation.
And, a great business.