Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a major benefit for small business, but it’s about more than just visibility. Your brand needs the right kind of visibility. Having negative press or reviews online can alter how prospects view you and cause “improved” visibility to backfire, which is what makes online reputation management a crucial and often-overlooked aspect of SEO.
Reputation management is all about shaping and controlling the conversation around your brand. Here, we’ll talk about the potential impacts of your online reputation and how you can optimize it.
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How Important Are Reviews For SEO?
The majority of consumers commence looking for a product or service with an online search. SEO for contractors is simply about ranking higher in search results: making your business one of the first results that comes up when those searches happen. The related art of contractor reputation management is about ensuring, as much as possible, that what comes up in those search results actually attracts prospects instead of turning them off.
Of course, it’s not possible to control everything. Bad press and negative reviews can happen to anyone. Sometimes they’ll be the product of an off day or a genuine misunderstanding. Sometimes they’ll be the consequence of simple cupidity, online trolling, or otherwise inexplicable circumstances that are out of your hands.
Reputation management can’t eliminate this part of life. What it can do is compensate for it. If the first five results that come up about your brand in a Google search are negative online reviews, your visibility is costing you business, not accruing it. An online reputation management tool can help you dominate and shape the most visible conversations about your brand.
How Online Reputation Management Works
Reputation management is an ongoing project. You should think of it as an essential part of marketing: Just as you might craft your content for SEO, you should also manage the brand identity associated with that SEO. There are three essential ingredients to successfully managing your brand’s identity.
The sheer volume of business data on the Internet can lead to unintentional duplication of information through human error or glitches in automation. Accidental or erroneous duplicate listings on platforms like Yelp can spread outdated information about your business, negatively affect your local SEO results, and damage consumer trust by conveying an impression of sloppiness. In worst-case scenarios, they can even get you kicked off a platform for violating spam-related terms of service. The most basic layer of reputation management is about making sure that ranking searches for your business lead to the correct information and to your current website.
While negative reviews can certainly happen, it’s always best for your business if you’re aware of that kind of feedback and able to respond to it. A good reputation management tool will track ratings and reviews, provide alerts in real time, provide response templates and allow for bulk responses, and perhaps most importantly of all, help you carry out campaigns to solicit positive reviews from customers you’ve had positive interactions with. That kind of positive feedback is something that satisfied customers don’t always think to provide, but prompting them to do so can make a huge difference in framing the online conversation around your brand.
With any kind of marketing initiative or tool, it’s critical to be able to measure success and know which tactics and campaigns are working for you. Quality reputation management software will enable you to track factors like URL clicks, click-to-call ratios, and keyword searches and keep you up to date on your overall internet presence and the accuracy of the information associated with it. With that kind of analysis in hand, it’s then possible to identify where you can focus your efforts with the best prospect of returns and closable sales.
The Benefits Of Contractor Reputation Management
There’s no business where reputation doesn’t have a direct impact on consumer attitudes and sales, but for home improvement contractors, it’s especially important. Potential clients need a personally anchored sense of trust in someone they’re relying on for help with the biggest single investment most of them will ever make.
That may seem like a lot of pressure, but the good news is that effective reputation management can yield great benefits for contractors.
One of the first steps in attracting prospects is being able to stand out from the competition. If you have an accurate, attractive, and consistent brand identity online and your business ranks high in local searches, you considerably improve your odds of being the first stop for new customers.
Positive Word Of Mouth
Aside from simple online searches, one of the key sources of information that prospects will turn to when seeking out a contractor is recommendations from people they know. If your business is professional, is well-reviewed, and has a strong brand identity, that improves the likelihood of customers passing positive word along to friends and family.
A positive reputation is a marketing tool in itself. When you’re able to positively frame the conversation about your brand online, you make it a lot more likely that positive buzz about your business will spread organically across the internet and beyond and considerably improve your marketing ROI.
Trust From Other Businesses
Banks and investors, much like the public at large, will often go online to research a company before getting into business with them and pay close attention to customer reviews. Having a strong online reputation is just as important for your B2B relationships as it is for your sales.
Online Reputation Management Made Easy
Important as reputation management is, it can seem overwhelming. The right tool, however, can help you tackle this area of marketing productively and effectively. One thing is certain: Paying close attention to reputation is essential to getting the most out of SEO.