One of the biggest nightmares online (and even offline) businesses face is negative reviews or comments that pop up when someone Google’s them. This can crush your reputation instantly, flatten conversions and in extreme cases even ruin your business overnight.
Luckily, it’s easy to prevent this from happening, and in this article, I’m going to reveal exactly how, step by step.
First Off, You Need To Take A Proactive Approach
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The time to start protecting your online reputation is NOW, before someone comes along and tries to ruin you (like a jealous competitor).
The good news is, there’s tons of authority sites you can use that will rank well naturally in Google if you optimize them for your business name. The best example right now is YouTube.
YouTube Is Your Online Reputation BFF
As you know, Google owns YouTube, so although they’ll never admit it, in my experience they favor this site in their search engine results. It’s actually really easy to get YouTube videos ranked, even for so-called “competitive” keywords.
Here’s what I recommend you do:
Ask some of your most satisfied customers to film a testimonial for your business. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production, but the more professional the better. Two to five minutes should suffice.
Now, your customers don’t have to go overboard or lie. No one’s going to believe them if they say your business is the best thing since sliced bread. But what they can say is what they like about your business and how you’ve helped them.
The more of these testimonials you get, the better. But for the time being five or six should suffice.
Now You Need To Get Them Ranked In Google
As you may or may not know, the key to getting ranked in Google is quality backlinks from authority sites. Well, in terms of getting YouTube videos ranked, throw all that out the window.
In my experience, you canspam the death out of YouTube videos, and still get them ranked. The reason is simple. YouTube has a large amount of authority in Google’s eyes, so they’re not going to discount them because of shady links.
There’s several options you can use to get your videos ranked, but without a doubt, the best and most powerful is guest posting on related blogs.
For example, if your business sells golf equipment, then find popular golf blogs that accept guest posts. Then take the time to write high quality articles that their readers enjoy, or if you can’t do that, outsource the article writing to a professional.
When you link back to your YouTube videos, be careful with your anchor text. Whatever you do, DON’T use your business name. Instead, use a natural link that a blogger would use, like “click here” or “check this out”.
In other words, the more natural your links and efforts, the more effective they are both in the short and long term.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Squidoo, Wikipedia, Twitter & Google Plus Are Your Other Online Reputation BFF’s
Apart from YouTube, in my experience, LinkedIn, Facebook, Squidoo, Wikipedia, Twitter and Google Plus properties all rank well (often naturally without any backlinks) in Google.
So, use them to your advantage. Here’s how:
First off, if you don’t already have one, set up a profile for your business on each site. Make sure to include your business URL, your business name in the title, and as much information about your business as possible.
Whatever you do, don’t spam these sites. Take your time to fill everything out naturally. Again, include as much information as you can, especially photos, contact information and opening hours (if applicable).
Some of these sites may allow you to embed your YouTube customer testimonial videos. If so, this helps.
If your business operates a charity (or even donates to a charity), set up a website that includes more information about what you do. Use a “.org” domain, for example “yourbusinesscharity.org”.
If you operate an online business and have affiliates, encourage them to “product jack” you. What this means is they create reviews about your business, products or services, rank them in Google, and promote your business with their affiliate links at the bottom of the review.
If someone clicks that link, they make an affiliate commission. Without a doubt, this is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your online reputation, because other people are doing the work for you, and they’ve got an incentive to say nice things about you.
Just a few words of caution if you go down this route:
Make sure people are being honest in their reviews. Don’t let anyone lie to or manipulate others. If they do, threaten to cancel their affiliate ties with you permanently unless they reword or remove the review.
Encourage people to be thorough in their review. There’s lots of affiliates out there that take shortcuts. The best and most effective reviews are always where the reviewer takes his or her time to do the job properly.
Here’s a perfect example I found. As you can see, it’s comprehensive, straight to the point, honest, straight forward and the reviewer offers a bonus for those who purchase through his affiliate link. This is very smart marketing.
Patience Is A Virtue
Once you’ve completed your profiles, the next step is to wait. Over time, Googlewill rank these properties naturally, as long as you haven’t done anything spammy or unnatural.
A few months should be enough time to see how everything worked out. Hopefully, your business name will be at the top, and the other profiles below it.
If you’re still not happy with the results (after waiting enough time; again, patience is a virtue), then I highly recommend to do continue guest posting, but this time link to your various internet properties and reviews.
Again, it’s time consuming, but the end result is more than worth it.