fbpx

Do You Have a Bad Reputation?

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing, SEO Tips

Using Local SEO Services to Support Online Reputation Management

Running a business is one of the hardest challenges you can take on. Simply starting a business means accepting some sacrifices and a significant investment of your time and energy. Stability, success, and security are not guaranteed. These days, your business needs every advantage it can get. Naturally, that means signing up for SEO services to increase your business’ digital presence. But what happens when every one of your competitors has the same advantage? How do you stand out from the crowd? Worse, what happens when the thing that was supposed to help you winds up hurting you? What do you do when your business’ digital presence becomes ground zero for negative reviews, angry customers, and frustrated comments?  The simple fact of the matter is that, as we mentioned, stability, success, and security are not guaranteed.

An animated image of Joan Jett singing
You might not, but maybe you should.
It’s true of business, and it’s true of digital marketing. Things can and will go wrong—which is why it’s so important to understand the ins and outs of major SEO services and to maintain strong online reputation management strategies. So what fire do you put out first: the SEO strategy that hasn’t hit the mark or negative feedback? Before we answer this question, let’s take a closer look at how ORM can help your business.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management (ORM) is a set of digital strategies and services designed to help businesses connect with their customers to address reviews, feedback, comments, and more. ORM seeks to improve and maintain a business’ reputation to support its goals. Simply put, ORM is public relations on a digital stage. Reputation is a difficult-to-quantify factor that nonetheless plays a significant role in digital success.

SEO TWIST's local Google listing, showing the company's address, contact info, and reviews from clients.
As an example, here’s our Google listing.
You’ve likely seen a few ORM strategies in play as you’ve browsed the web. Responses to reviews on Google My Business listings or social media pages are among the most common ORM practices. This is a real-time process that focuses on addressing feedback directly, and its end goal is to turn a negative review into a positive one. After all, an unhappy customer is an opportunity to improve a relationship. A user taking their concerns online is frustrated by their experience and clearly want some acknowledgement of their situation; otherwise, why go online? Taking the time to address their concerns and make things right can frequently save the relationship, and doing so over social media demonstrates to other, potential customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile. Transparency speaks volumes, and negative reviews are more credible than positive ones. What’s more, Google’s search algorithm assesses things like ratings on the Better Business Bureau. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate a willingness to address feedback, both positive and negative. By managing your online reputation, you maintain control of your brand.

Avoid These ORM Pitfalls at All Costs

  • Buying fake reviews. Don’t do this! Not only is it dishonest, but people can almost always see right through it. Leave fake testimonials in the 1990s where they belong.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. It’s never a good idea to exchange barbs with people online, especially while representing your business. It can be tempting to clap back against online vitriol, but at the end of the day, the downside is far too great.
  • Building fake profiles. Also known as astroturfing, this strategy is for people who have no earthly idea how to run a business. It is almost impossible to manage, completely unethical, and if discovered will destroy your reputation overnight.
  • Ghosting your customers. If a customer reaches out, always respond. If you are being criticized online, put out a statement that shows you are aware of the feedback and working towards a positive outcome. The worst thing you can do is ignore the very people who are taking the time to comment.
  • Don’t hide criticism or remove reviews. For one thing, you can’t remove Google reviews; it’s up to the author to update or remove them. For another, it creates an image that you’re only okay with comments and feedback if they’re positive.

How are Local SEO and Online Reputation Management Connected?

The fact of the matter is that Local SEO and ORM are inextricably linked. Actions taken as part of an ORM strategy have an impact on SEO. Reviews, feedback, and ratings on sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google’s local listings all feed into how Google Search returns results to users. For example, if you run a plumbing business and have a number of negative reviews from frustrated customers on the Better Business Bureau or on Yelp complaining about poor quality of work, you’ll likely see an impact on your SEO efforts. The good news is the inverse is also true. SEO’s broad improvements to your website to better address user needs and concerns quickly translate into a better reputation. Remember, negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. They’re an opportunity!

Four people smile as they hold speech bubble signs above their heads.
Give your customers a reason to leave amazing feedback.

Make the Most of Your SEO Services

Search engine optimization is such a broad topic that boiling it down to bite-sized tips won’t ever quite do things justice. Make no mistake, you can’t overlook SEO today. But simultaneously, it doesn’t need to be all-consuming. It’s one aspect of your overall marketing strategy and an important one at that. Still, it needs to work in cooperation with your reputation management efforts, your advertising campaigns, and so much more to generate genuine lasting success. Smartly implemented SEO strategies take time and careful consideration, but here are a few quick and dirty rules of thumb you should be aware of:

  • Keywords are so passé… but not really. This one’s tricky, because honestly, as important as keywords are, they’re not the be-all, end-all of search. Think of your primary keywords as broad topics. For example, you want to rank for “plumbing company,” and it gets a good monthly volume. Instead of tailoring each page to this broad term, build out mid- to long-tail keywords that people might actually be looking for to establish your authority and reputation as a leading plumbing company.
  • Mobile-first is old news you shouldn’t forget. By now, you’ve likely heard that Google’s index prioritizes mobile results. It’s old news at this point, really, but never ever forget that most of your users are going to be running a quick search on their phones for your services. Plan accordingly.
  • Never ignore users. User intent and user experience are huge, huge topics, dismissed at your own peril. Keep them in mind when developing any design, strategy, or piece of content.

If you’d like to learn more about some of the most common SEO issues out there and how you can address them, check out our piece on the biggest pitfalls we see and how we help our client fix them. You can find it here: https://creativetrnd.com/digital-marketing/common-seo-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them/

10 Principles that Support Reputation Management Success

If you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed by online reputation management, then think of it this way: your online reputation is your reputation, period. We’ve got 10 guiding principles to help you stay the course and maintain your stellar reputation, equally applicable online and in-person.

1 – Be Transparent and Honest

Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t hide information from customers. If you’ve made an error, own up to it, apologize, and promise to do better—and then make sure you see that promise through. Replying to negative reviews and asking to make it right only matters if you’re going to act on your words.

2 – Make a Good First Impression

Consider your Google My Business listing. This is likely one of the first ways a customer will interact with your business, so take the time to find high-quality photos, claim the listing properly, and ensure all appropriate information is included. Think of this as your digital business card.

3 – Be a Well-Respected Authority

Easier said than done, right? This can be a challenge, but by developing your site’s content to offer true value to your users, you can establish your authority with helpful guides and information that goes above and beyond what the client is looking for. Other options include features in local news, industry journals, and the like. It all adds up, and can quickly help you earn high-quality backlinks.

4 – Listen to What People Have to Say About Your Brand

We can’t say this enough: listen to the criticism. Most of the time, criticism (no matter how frustrated it might sound) comes from a pain point. These are often incredibly easy to deal with, but you might not even be aware of these issues until someone points them out. Remember, you’re all about making your customer’s lives easier. Listen to what they have to say, and monitor social media for other mentions or conversations that might be close at hand.

5 – Don’t Dismiss Criticism

Okay, this is a tough one! Yes, listen to everybody—even the haters. Most of the time, their feedback won’t be constructive, but criticism gives you an opportunity to learn more about your audience. Obviously, you shouldn’t engage with overly negative or vitriolic users, but don’t dismiss criticism out of hand. Try and see things from another perspective. It’s an opportunity to learn and build relationships.

6 – Respond Promptly and Politely

Don’t let negative reviews linger unanswered. Answer promptly and politely and offer users a quick and easy way to contact you through a private message to address their concerns more directly. It’s that simple.

7 – Address (And Invite) Criticism

Criticism gets a bad rap. It’s not an insult to you or your work, but rather a way for customers to say, “Hey, you’ve missed the mark, and here’s why it bothers me.” You should welcome feedback and constructive criticism and address it directly. Again, put yourself in their shoes and see it from their perspective.

8 – Own Your Mistakes, Apologize, and Learn from Them

If you’ve made a mistake, it’s easy to get defensive. Resist that temptation, own up to the mistake, apologize for it, and take it in stride. Think about how the mistake was made: was it a simple human oversight? An error in procedure? Take your lumps and learn from them; mistakes are an opportunity to do better.

9 – Stand Up For Yourself

In some cases, critics become overly vindictive, rude, or otherwise vitriolic. Don’t let it get to you! Stand your ground, push back against their attitude (politely), and if push comes to shove, remove their comments. Bad language, hate speech, harassment, and misinformation are all grounds for removal on various review sites. Lies and slander about you, your employees, or company should not be tolerated, and you may be able to take legal action in these instances.

10 – Don’t Give Up!

Keep at it! It’s that simple. Don’t stop, don’t give up, and keep up the process. It’s an ongoing one that will help you reach your goals. Our reputations are all we have in the eyes of an online audience. By prioritizing a strategy that addresses your brand and implements solutions when necessary, you will find it easier to maintain that path towards success.

Lia

Locally Sourced SEO Success

08/09/2018

Why Your Small Business Can’t Afford to Skip Local SEO Marketing

To make the best donuts on this side of the Ottawa River you have to follow a recipe without skipping an ingredient. The same principle applies for business management. Too often the things that can help your business are neglected. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for years, your business can’t afford to skip local SEO marketing. Local SEO improves your website’s visibility when potential customers search for products and services on search engines. Many consumers also prefer to support local businesses over big chain stores, giving you an opportunity to get a leg up on your competition with local listings. Local results appear at the top of a search results page, so local SEO is absolutely necessary for long-term success. While the research and implementation of a successful SEO strategy may seem like a lot of work, agencies are always available to lend a hand. From leads to increasing your bottom line, a local SEO service can help you reach your business goals. Here’s how.

A person takes a photo of their strawberry filled donut using their smartphone.
Get online, claim local listings, and get started!

Take the First Step: Get Online

About four out of five consumers search for products and services online via search engines. 86% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business. Online search is also the first choice to find information on local businesses for 72% of consumers. If your business doesn’t have an online presence yet, especially a local listing, you are missing out on being found by hundreds if not thousands of users each day. Think of all the donuts you could be selling! If you haven’t already, get online, create a local listing, and start reaching a larger customer base. But having a website isn’t enough. If you don’t rank well (i.e. on the first page) of search engine results pages (SERPs), you will still have limited visibility online since the majority of search users (some estimate peg as many as 90%) don’t look past the first page. But when SEO is paired with other online marketing strategies, such as social media and blogs, you can boost your search rankings and visibility online, along with your brand awareness. In turn, this ultimately leads to more business for you and more tasty treats for your customers. Yum.

Go Mobile for a Local SEO Focus

More consumers are using their smartphones and other mobile devices for online search and activity instead of desktop computers. So to reach this growing mobile audience, you need a mobile-friendly site. Sites that promote user experience, especially mobile-friendly sites, will rank higher on SERPs than sites that don’t have a mobile version. You also need to ensure that all versions of your website, social profiles, and web presences have complete, up-to-date contact information (i.e. business name, location, phone number) to make use of local SEO on social media platforms and for mobile users. Business location is the main search focus amongst local search users. Once a local search has been made by mobile users, about half of them will visit the business within 24 hours. Local searches, local visits, and local sales are all related. Many people search for a local business in their area while in transit, with the intent of visiting the business soon after.

Three people stand at a subway station, each one staring at a smartphone in their hands.
Search: best donut shop near me

Local SEO Improves Business Visibility

Better visibility online directly correlates with an increase in sales. If your business appears near the top of a SERP, more people searching for your products or services will see your business and be more likely to click on your website. And if they like what they see on your website, then you’ll have a better chance at increasing conversions and sales.

Build Brand Awareness and Trust

While having a website is better than nothing, you still need to build brand awareness online. Brand awareness is one of the benefits of ranking higher on SERPs with the help of local SEO. But you have to work to maintain a high ranking. Posting useful, quality content with relevant keywords on your website will help. As will a strong online presence on social media that utilizes SEO best practices.

Make Your Brand More Trustworthy

Search users usually only look at the first SERP because they are more likely to trust brands that appear at the top of the results. Local SEO helps you rank higher because your local listing is placed in a different class than PPC and organic results. Search engines, like Google, are placing local results at the top of SERPs. By boosting your rankings with local SEO, you can build brand awareness and appear more trustworthy to consumers. Users also tend to favour local listings on SERPs. These listings appear more authentic and trustworthy, especially when maps, verified contact information, photos, and customer reviews are present.  

Barista at a coffee and donut shop carefully pours an espresso while a line up of customers wait.
Building awareness can mean the difference between waiting to serve a customer and being so busy you need to catch your breath.

Increase Traffic and Conversion Rates

Local SEO services use intensive research and keyword analysis to find effective keywords that are relevant to your business. These are keywords used by a target consumer population searching for products and services related to your business. This process will target consumers who are more likely to contact you and visit your website and/or storefront. And when geolocations are added to the mix, users searching for products or services in your area will see your site. As a result, SEO generates high traffic and conversion rates.

Get Ahead of Your Competition

There’s a very good chance that your competition is already using local SEO. Try searching for them now and see for yourself. Are you confident that when people search for the best donut shop in Ottawa that your going to be visible on the page? If you want to have a chance at success in your industry, you need to implement an effective SEO strategy that will get you on the same page as your competition, and then eventually ahead of them with a higher search engine ranking. Even if your competition is much bigger than your business, small businesses can outrank larger businesses with the proper use of local SEO.

Deliver High ROI

When done properly, SEO is a cost-effective and affordable marketing tool that provides an excellent return on investment (ROI). The ROI is long-term since SEO provides non-stop organic traffic that would otherwise cost a fortune with paid advertising strategies alone. SEO is also customizable to your budget and the needs of your business.

How Bad SEO Marketing Can Negatively Impact Your Business

A poor SEO strategy will directly affect your bottom line. No one will be able to find your business online as your rankings will be too low or non-existent. This means no one will be able to read your content or learn about your brand. Simply put – your donuts will go stale before anyone gets to take a box home. Ultimately, bad SEO results in your business spending resources without any ROI. You won’t have web traffic, leads, or sales generated from search.

Why A Professional Kick-Start Is the Best Option

When done correctly, SEO works. It can deliver constant traffic to your site and boost conversions. But it’s not a simple feat. The world of SEO is constantly changing as Google releases updates and algorithms. These can change your ranking in a heartbeat. But there are professionals who stay up-to-date with SEO best practices so you don’t have to worry about it. Contact your local Ottawa advertising agency today to get started with local SEO services.

read more

Maximize Your Business Exposure with Local SEO

01/10/2018

How Local SEO Services Can Benefit Your Business

All businesses need online exposure if they want to compete in online and local markets. These days, more people use online search to find local businesses, so if you have yet to optimize your business online, you’re missing out. Local search engine optimization (SEO) services can help optimize your online presence, improve your site’s rankings, help customers find you easily, and keep you ahead of your local competition. Local SEO is all about giving your business the best exposure possible in a growing sea of competitors. Here are a few ways local SEO services can help your business rank higher—and maybe even outrank competitors—in local search results.

Optimize Title & Meta Description Tags

These tags show up in search results, providing users with a brief overview of your website content. How you use these tags will influence whether or not users will click on your website. Local SEO services can write compelling and concise descriptions to make your business stand out from the rest—and boost click-through rates. Here are some tips to help you avoid using poor titles and descriptions—i.e. being cut-off for search results for being too long—and to make the most of the space you have to attract local customers:

  • Only use page names—i.e. Home, Contact Us, Products, Services, FAQ—that help users navigate your site easily;
  • Include the name of your city and service area;
  • Use one targeted keyword near the beginning of the tag.

Create Online Local Business Listings

“Find me on Google!”
Online local business listings are necessary to help users find you through online search. It’s incredibly important that these listing are accurate and consistent across the web. Use major online listings and local listings for your city through a local business directory. It also helps to have accurate business information—name, address, and phone number (NAP)—on citation data aggregators—these distribute your business information online.    

Claim Your “Google My Business” Page

Local SEO Services can help you finalize the "Google My Business" process.
Google My Business
If you want your business to show up on Google’s local search results—most notably, the three-pack of the top three local businesses—make sure to claim your business on Google My Business. Once you’ve gone through the verification process, local SEO services can complete and optimize your business page with descriptions, categories, business hours, accepted methods of payment, and quality photos of your logo, products, and services. The same should be done with Bing’s local business directory.

Increase & Monitor Reviews

This review is for you.
Online reviews matter, a lot. Good reviews can help you rank higher on search and persuade customers to choose your business over another. Local SEO services can help you get reviews, manage them, and respond to them across different platforms. Reviews always need a professional response to show that your business cares about customers. Aim for reviews on your Facebook page and your Google My Business page since these reach a wider audience. The more positive, quality reviews you have on Google, the better your ranking will be.

Add Structured Data Markup to Your Website

Structured data markup should be added to your website’s code to give search engines your business information—including products, services, and reviews. This will give your business a competitive edge in local search. This data helps Google’s spiders read and understand the content that is on your website. Whether you have many competitors or few, exposure with local SEO is necessary for today’s world of online search. Get more visits and reach more local customers with the help of local SEO services.

read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *