Before we discuss the steps involved in monitoring and managing an online reputation, it is important for us to figure out what type of asset we intend to build an online reputation for. This is usually a personal name, a brand, business or product. While there are several ways to build an online reputation for the various assets mentioned above, the way people, clients, customers search and find information about us and our businesses will likely stay the same — which is through the internet.
To kick things off, let’s first take a look at the some of the most important stats in the industry today. Each of these numbers will help us with a better understand of why what people find online about our personal or brand name is so important.
• – 85% of consumers claim to read online customer reviews for local businesses.
• – 37% of consumers use the internet to search for local business at least once monthly.
• – 65% of consumers prefer brands that have a plurality of good online reviews.
• – 79% of consumers consider online reviews to be equally as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
• – 71% of consumers say positive reviews increase their trust of a business.
The basic conclusion that can be drawn from the above statistics is that most people on the internet are basically searching for reviews, coupons, and information before they purchase a product. In the same vein, they are sharing this information with others and thus influencing what is being said or promoted about individuals, brands and products.
To put this into perspective: if person A searches for our business online, they would find a person B review of our business. If it is a positive review they are most likely going to tell person C about it whereas if it was a negative review they would in the same vein discourage person C from patronizing us.
These numbers are very influential towards the bottom line for our brands and businesses, so much so that clients investing in online reputation management services are said to be paying from $5,000-$25,000 a month.
There are several factors that come into play when it comes to building an online reputation; factors such as online reviews, SEO and Google ranking and much more. Most local businesses today have become completely transformed through the use of online reviews leaving them to worry more about maintaining their reputation.
How local markets are affected by online reviews?
In 2014 a research company released an in-depth analysis of 2012 and 2013 businesses that detail almost every facet of reputation management. One such statistic is on what type of local businesses are being searched for online more than others. As expected, restaurants are at the top of the list, while professional services and hotels fill in the rest of the list.
Top 5 local business types by review consumption:
• – Restaurants – 61% (up from 46%)
• – Doctors/Dentists – 32% (up from 21%)
• – Hotels/B&B/Guest House – 27% (up from 22%)
• – General shop – 18% (up from 9%)
• – Hair/Beauty Salon – 17% (up from 9%)
With sites like Yelp, TripAdivsor and Google Local ranking at the top of the search results for nearly every local business, it’s important to ensure that all our reviews and comments are not only monitored but also responded to if they are portraying a negative light on our brand. Now it can be a daunting task to effectively monitor our online reputation with over a billion active sites on the internet and over three billion users spread across the entire major social networks. It would be quite impossible to try and monitor our online reputation without the help of reputation monitoring tools.
Each of these solutions is unique in their own way. The common benefit is that they will allow us to receive notifications every time our name, brand or specific keywords appear within the search results, social media or across the internet.
The key takeaway to successfully tracking, monitoring and improving our reputation online is all about management and scalability. While there is going to be a never ending supply of content on the internet, through the use of preparation and software automation, the process is more attainable than ever before.
Another very important way to build an online reputation is through SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of creating or improving content to make sure it shows up as high as possible in web search results for the right keywords (in the case of personal SEO, Your Name).
Why Is Personal SEO Important?
Every time someone conducts an online search, search engines like, Google and Bing, use complex algorithms with hundreds of factors to make sure the most relevant results show up highest—but sometimes they make mistakes.
You probably know somebody who has made an entire personal website, yet it may not show up on the first page of search results for their name. There are a number of factors that could result in poor results, such as a poorly structured page, which makes it difficult for the search engine to understand. Other times, the site does not seem as credible as it actually is. Worst of all, sometimes the search engine isn’t even aware the content exists.
How Does SEO Help?
By employing general SEO tactics, or using an online reputation management tool, you can make sure all of your best content is as search engine friendly as possible. This means your best content will be:
• Quickly found by Google
• Structured so search engines can quickly tell it’s about you
• Linked to and stored incredible databases and directories across the web so search engines know it’s trustworthy
We hope that you now understand the importance of an online reputation to not just our personal brands and business but to our lives generally and can now implement the strategies we have shown you, using the tools mentioned here.