The Internet may be an ever-changing sea of information, but content that is posted online never really disappears. If you're not paying attention, negative content about your business can float to the top. Fortunately, there are reputation management best practices that you can use to promote positive content and push negative content out of the crucial first page of search engine results.
You can't make negative content disappear completely from the Web, but knowing how to manage it goes a long way toward ensuring that users searching for information about your business find the information you want them to see.
Own Your Social Media
One of the most important factors in reputation management is social networking. If your business doesn't already have your own pages on services such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, you should create them. Post often. Address consumer complaints, link to your website and post business announcements regularly. Always stay on message. Though it may be tempting to post about social or personal issues, don't veer off into uncharted territory with your business account. Keep everything as professional as possible.
Get Your Positive Content Out There
If you aren't putting out your own content, you are essentially giving negative content free publicity. When nothing official exists for your business, search engines simply post pages with some relevancy. This is true even if those pages include negative content without much information.
Putting your own content out there pushes unauthoritative content down the search results and allows you to control what information about your company consumers see first. Don Sorensen, president of Big Blue Robot spoke with Forbes recently. He recommends starting a blog and updating it regularly. He states, "Blogging also attracts more traffic than static websites, so it helps your reputation and your lead generation."
Counter Negative Content
It's every business owner's worst nightmare - a negative review or comment goes viral. It begins to spread across the Web and rises to the top of search results. If this happens, the first thing to do is respond to the negative content using all available channels. Address the negative remarks directly using social media and your company's blog. Depending on the situation, you may consult a reputation management service with a specialty in crisis management.
Though sales and operations may drive daily activities at your business, you should make sure to give serious thought to online reputation management. When you look at the first page of search engine results, you should feel that the content truly represents your business. If you don't like what you see, try these strategies to manage your reputation online.