Did someone slam you online, leaving you reeling from unfounded claims and comments that are untrue and could possibly hurt your business?
You could start addressing the complaint by contacting reputation management companies with quotes starting in the $7,500 range. Online Reputation Management is very tricky once an issue arises. Without constant work and upkeep the tiniest comment could bring it all back to life and place it atop search results on every search engine. Most well-known reputation management companies can take steps to control these issues from reappearing, but at a premium cost small businesses sometimes can’t handle.
If you wish to address the issue yourself and avoid the pricey contractual obligations offered by reputation management firms, here is a little DIY I put together.
Who made the negative post and is there any truth to it?
The remark could have been from a competitor, unhappy customer, or ex-employee. Making negative comments and posts on certain complaint boards will automatically cause Online Reputation Management companies to contact you via email or phone peddling their services or unique tools.
Stop the mudslinging! If the complaint is real your best method of removal is to address it with the customer, resolve the issue as best you can and move on. That customer’s positive response and appreciation of your handling of the dispute will pay dividends for your company’s online presence. If the negative post, review or comment made was a total fake, turn your attention to how you can keep the comment from ranking on search results or push it back far enough that it won’t be seen.
Preventative solutions can include addressing the usability, functionality and presentation of your site. These three simple steps improve customer interaction and register with the major search engines. Add new content, provide expanded service locations and (if you have the budget) purchase similar domains and optimize each homepage on every domain and website.
Snippets, Description or Keywords
Research titles and keywords related to the negative comments so you can turn the tables and use them in your favor. If posts continuously make an untrue claim, utilize the key keywords for a domain or as the title for an article. Then load said article or domain with positive information, reviews and said keywords with one or two phrases. Include your company name, your own name, brand, event or applicable information repeatedly with posts and articles and focus on all the positives as well as vague referencing to the negative post. Be smart about your posts; stay clear of breaking news or scandal.
Spread Good News
Start by using content you have already created like articles, biographies and even edited webpage content from your original website. Here are some sites where you can start posting as a business or an individual for free, with the help of editing tools and website templates.
If you have never written anything longer than your name at the bottom of a birthday card and have been unable to create any posts, comments or content you may want to look around for help online. Plenty of sites like Odesk.com, SEOclerks.com or even Fiverr.com will provide affordable assistance from a range of sources, remote writers with years of experience that you can hire for a 1000 word article. Remember, you get what you pay for, so research writing services wisely.
Good Ole Link Building
Link building will only do so much to deter the progress of, or bury the comments made against you, it’s especially dependent on the complaints board page or site it was made on. Google is very particular about links you build for and against, and fast to react to anything affecting the complaint board. A couple of bad links can lead to your own demise. Instead continue on the avenue of posts, comments and articles that provide better results from Google.
Creating friendly video content changes people's perception of you and creates the opportunity for positive remarks and posts to appear all over your videos. You can use TOSH.0 methods of comedic video stunts or straight laced brand commercials, either way online video is an incredible way to advertise. Best thing is you can post something no matter how old, tag and spread it through social media. With your video you make sure to insert your message when possible in the titles or in the description and remember it is all about creating positive remarks about YOU!
Not to mention YouTube is an incredibly valuable asset to SERP’s. Take advantage of that!
When trying these recommendations, do keep in mind that you can hire help long term, short term or per project on Odesk.com, Fiverr.com or SEOclerks.com from all over the world and the USA. Don’t be tempted by Black Hat retribution options like Google Bombing the complaints board, posting similar venomous vitriol against the original guilty party anonymously on other boards or using a proxy to review and vote down their business “lest you feed the troll”. As mentioned you want to stop the mudslinging as opposed to encouraging nuclear exchanges.
Alerts, Emails and Prevention
Set up content alerts to help avoid future issues, if something does come up don’t panic, remember what you have already learned and repeat the process. If you still have an active network of profiles, domains and working blogs, it should take even less time to rid yourself of any false complaints.
Always remember the best advice is to address legitimate complaints immediately, which will provide the best end result as well as a positive response and review from the otherwise disgruntled party.
The information above is a good way to start repairing your reputation online; results will vary. If you’re not seeing the results that you want, it may be time to consult with a reputation management firm.