Do you remember the last time you went out for dinner? Why did you choose that particular restaurant? Well, if you’re like most people, you probably found a place that had good reviews and a good online reputation.
This social reassurance tactic isn’t just limited to restaurants. Everyone relies on the internet to find trustworthy products and services when they need them. The last thing you want your prospective customers to are negative reviews and other hindrances that can affect your reputation.
When you have a bad reputation online, it usually means people will simply take their business elsewhere. This is why online reputation repair can be vital for
In this article, we’ll cover 25 actionable and mostly free tips you can take to fix your online reputation now.
Online Reputation Repair: 25 Actions You Can Take Today
Your online reputation matters, and you have to do everything you can to control what pops up online when people search your brand name.
Follow these tips below to repair your online reputation now.
1. Audit Your Overall Brand Reputation
Before you do anything, you need to first take a look at where your reputation really stands online. You need to see what people are saying about you and your business.
Simply put, in the eyes of your customers, what’s your true brand image?
You can begin to get a feel for your reputation by asking friends, business partners, customers, and other stakeholders how they feel about your brand overall.
The next thing you’ll want to do is perform a simple Google search. Google your brand name and see what results show up. When people search for your brand, are you coming up as a one-star business with hateful reviews?
See what news outlets and bloggers are saying about your brand. You can use a tool like The Brand Grader to gauge your online reputation by looking at recent mentions on social media. It can also help you see how your competition is doing online.
If The Brand Grader doesn’t show any results, don’t be disappointed. This means you have a great opportunity to start building up your brand image with a clean slate.
You can also use a complaint search tool by Go Fish Digital to search your brand name over 40 complaint websites to quickly check out any negative reviews about your brand.
Once you’ve gotten a sense of your current online reputation, it’s time to fix any negatives concerning your brand image.
2. Buy Your Brand Name Domains
You need to build a name for yourself. Something you should do to secure your brand reputation is to own your brand name.
Owning your brand name looks like protecting it across popular platforms. To start, you need to ensure you own the domain that corresponds to your brand (even if you don’t have a website yet).
For instance, if your business name is Oakhill Realty, make sure you own the “oakhillrealty.com” domain.
Apart from the .com domain, you should also own the .net, .info, and, .org.
The last thing you’d want is for your competitor to buy your brand name domain and impersonate your brand.
3. Create All Social Media Accounts
After you’ve secured your brand name domain(s), you’ll want to capture your brand name on every top social media platform. Your prospects won’t just search for you on Google. They’ll also search for you on social networks.
To put things in perspective, 62% of Instagram users discover new products on the social network.
Even if you aren’t around, your customers may be talking about you on a social media platform.
At the very least, you should have an account on these top platforms:
You don’t have to commit to posting consistently on all of these platforms. At the very least, add a profile picture and fill out your bio
4. List Your Brand in Online Directories
Back in the day, businesses would list their brands in telephone directories. Now, you need to get listed in online business directories.
There are a variety of directories out there. Aim to get listed in local and industry-related directories that are relevant to your business. Then add your name, address, and phone number.
5. Leverage Reviews
The last time you bought something online, did you check out reviews first?
Well, you’re not alone. Nowadays, people will rarely try a new product or service without looking at online reviews first.
When it comes to a buyer’s purchasing decision, reviews are a crucial part of the process. It’s all about social proof.
In fact, according to Bright Local, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before they’re able to trust a local business.
Forgetting about reviews is detrimental to your success as a business. You need to focus on leveraging reviews by encouraging people to leave them and responding to negative reviews.
6. Get On the Top Review Platforms
There are a variety of review websites you need to get yourself on to fix your online reputation:
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Yellow Pages
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Remember to claim profiles across each platform in order to secure more positive reviews and respond to negative reviews.
7. Ask for Reviews!
This may sound too simple, but it works. In fact, a Harvard Business School study found that a one star increase on Yelp ratings increased overall revenue by 5-9%!
While some people will naturally leave a review without you having to ask them, most people don’t. It’s not that people don’t think highly of your business either. They’re just not thinking about it. That’s where you can come in and ask for one.
You can ask your customers to leave a review in person, by phone, email, or on your website.
8. Create a Review Us Page on Your Site
If you really want to ramp up your reviews, you should create a dedicated web page for reviews on your site.
This is an easy way for people to easily leave reviews, ratings, and comments. Then, link this page to your Google My Business reviews URL and your ratings will show up on both your website and on Google.
9. Respond to Reviews & Comments
If you want to fix your reputation quickly, then one of the best ways to do this is by responding to reviews.
Just how much does it matter to respond to online reviews?
Well, according to Bright Local, 97% of review readers also read a business’ replies to reviews. Responding to reviews will show customers and future customers that you care about their opinions. Plus, people like when they know their voice is heard.
You should also try to respond to people’s comments on social media as this has the same effect.
You should keep in mind that each platform has its own rules on how you can manage and respond to reviews, so remember to read the terms and conditions.
10. Respond to Negative Reviews
A negative review can leave a terrible taste in your mouth and especially your customer’s mouth. However, these are inevitable when you’re in business long enough. While some negative reviews are justified, some are downright malicious.
Since you can’t avoid them, it’s best to address them. You should always respond to a negative review. You don’t want to ignore upset customers. Even if a negative review is unjustified, you should always respond.
Since most people who read reviews also read a business’ response, it actually gives you a great opportunity to represent your brand in a positive light.
If you respond back with anger or poor judgment, it will turn customers off. However, if you respond respectfully, honestly, and with understanding, it can be a great way to win over new customers.
11. Apologize When You’ve Made a Mistake
Sometimes, mistakes happen. And sometimes, people will leave a review to make your mistakes known publicly. You have to deal with them appropriately.
If something negative happens within your company, whether on purpose or by mistake, and someone leaves a review about it, you need to apologize.
Take the time to address your customer’s concern, and ensure you reach out to them to have a further conversation about the matter. It’s always best to apologize if you’ve made a legitimate mistake or were in the wrong.
People understand you’re only human when you admit your mistakes, and it can help to uplift your brand reputation.
12. Dominate Google’s SERP for your Business
Everyday, millions of people are searching for products and businesses on Google. In fact, 64% of people trust search engines. It’s one of the most powerful ways to research a business in 2020.
You need to take full control over what shows up when someone searches your brand name. This means your website should be the first thing to come up when someone Googles your business name. You should also “own” at least the top three results.
Here are a few things you can use to dominate the search engine results page (SERP):
- Your website with site links
- Twitter cards
- News stories
- Map packs
- Knowledge panel
- Google Ads
You should use the first page of Google as a way to provide an online business card to those searching your brand.
13. Start Producing Blog Content
Consumers don’t just use Google to look at products and brands. Oftentimes, they’re searching for useful information.
So what does this have to do with your business?
Well, this provides a great opportunity to show off your expertise and build a solid reputation for yourself by providing that useful information to your audience.
You should start a blog on your website and consistently post new content. Not only will this help provide information and solutions to your audience, but it will also flood the search engines with positive brand content.
14. Double-check Blog Posts Written About You
If people are talking about your brand, that’s a good thing. Bad press is better than no press.
However, some articles or blog posts might have outdated or inaccurate information which can hurt your reputation. This is especially important for any blog posts that get a ton of traffic.
You should double-check these posts regularly by doing some keyword research on your brand name. Look for articles and blog posts with outdated images, inaccurate or outdated information, features, and pricing.
Then, reach out to the website owners and politely ask them to update their content with the correct information. You could even edit and send the right information or send new images if you’d like.
15. Bury Negative Search Results
Sometimes, there will be inaccurate information about your brand online. Sometimes, someone will rant about you whether it’s true or not.
There’s only so much you can do in asking people to remove inaccurate information or responding to negative posts. Sometimes you just need to drown the negative results out with positive results.
You can do this by finding which keywords the negative search results pages are ranking for. Then, create content that outranks the negative search results.
16. Build Up Your Reputation on Social Media
Nowadays, one of the most important reputation management strategies is by taking control of your social media.
You should aim to always engage with your audience by creating valuable content and creating a strong following. Social media will help humanize your brand image, showing there are real people behind the business.
Remember, you shouldn’t just post content. You need to actively engage with your followers by replying, messaging, and following them back.
17. Watch Your Social Media Mentions
Once you’ve established yourself on social media, you need to begin keeping track of when people are talking about your business.
You can use a handy app like Mention to see what people are saying about your brand on social media, forums, and blogs.
18. Use Twitter as a PR Outlet
Twitter is all about communication. It’s easy for people to connect with businesses and vice versa, through open conversations on a variety of topics.
Twitter is a great place to show off your brand image when it comes to things like complaints, since you can display your response publicly.
Since Twitter is open to anyone, you need to be extra careful to interact respectfully with your customers and audience. When used right, Twitter can be a powerful tool to create good PR by communicating with your customers.
19. Get Influencers to Spread the Word
Another way you can fix your online reputation is through social media influencers. Since influencers have large fan bases in their respective domains, you can partner with them to create new levels of trust with your audience.
This is a great way to create a positive brand image online without having to wait weeks and months for search engines to start showing the results of your SEO work.
20. Get Involved in Relevant Online Communities
Building up your reputation isn’t easy. However, one of the best ways you can make a positive name for yourself is through online communities. The golden rule is essentially to go out of your way to help other people.
By actively participating in various online communities around your niche, you’ll be able to build up your brand reputation, gaining incredible exposure which will help build up your tribe as well.
21. Put the Facts Online With a Press Release
Sometimes, your reputation can suffer due to negative online press, inaccuracies about your brand, or confusion. One way to clear up incorrect information is to simply make your side of the story available on your website or even media outlets.
Making a public statement through a press release may be the best option for you to clear the air of negativity or inaccuracies concerning your brand, especially for bigger escalations. This is a great way to bring clarity to your audience if you’ve tried to contact those publishing inaccurate content and they won’t remove or edit the information they’ve published.
22. Make Sure You Have a Great Website
Sometimes, a bad reputation isn’t caused by one single event, but it could be the sum of a few things. One way to build up your reputation is to ensure you have a great website.
You should start by auditing your website. Is it easy to navigate? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Is it slow or fast? Do you have clear call-to-actions?
You need to make it easy for people to discover and understand your brand. Your website should make it easy for people to learn who you are. First impressions matter and this is something you should do to help build up your brand.
23. Ask Google to Remove a Web Page
In some cases, negative information will hit the web that’s extremely difficult to remove. Some people are malicious and seek to destroy others’ businesses by posting inappropriate or defaming content about those businesses.
If this is the case and you can’t get a web page or website removed, it might be time to take it to Google. You can reach out to Google and ask them to remove a web page or an entire website from its listings if it breaks their policies.
Google has the authority to remove a web page or website from its listings. However, this just means that it’s removed from Google’s search engine. People can still access the website or web page, so you’ll want to keep trying to reach out to the page or site owner to have the content removed.
24. Continue Monitoring Your Reputation
It can be destructive to your reputation to let bad reviews or other negative content hang out there for extended periods of time without taking action on them. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to monitor your online reputation by any means.
You should try to do a reputation audit once a month. Do a Google search of your brand name, check social media mentions, and keep watch on Google Alerts. Check out the review sites you’re listed on.
This doesn’t have to take you a long time. Even 5-10 minutes a month is better than nothing and can be the difference maker in fixing your online reputation in just a few months.
25. Invest in an Online Reputation Repair Company
If you don’t have much time to spend fixing your online reputation, or you’ve tried everything but it’s still more than you can handle, then you might want to try using an online reputation repair company.
Online reputation repair isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s often quite complex and involves a reputation campaign that includes multiple services to fix a person or company’s poor reputation and transform it into a good reputation.
Online reputation repair often involves services like review management, content removal, listing creation and optimization, search engine suppression, PR, content creation and promotion, and reputation protection services among others.
Ongoing Reputation Management
Your online reputation is crucial to your success as a business. A negative reputation and low star rating can hurt your rankings, reduce traffic, and drive customers away.
However, a positive reputation can help build trust with prospective customers, boosting your bottom line.
Thankfully, even if you’re struggling with a negative reputation online, it can be fixed. Customer issues are inevitable, and complaints will happen regardless of the success of your brand.
How you respond to negative reviews, comments, and content, and the effort you put into monitoring your reputation will greatly impact your ability to build up a great online reputation.