To understand what online Reputation repair is, it is important to be aware that the strength of online reputation can make or break a business. The Covid-19 pandemic at the start of 2020 gives examples of both reputational successes and disasters as companies attempt to deal with the threat. If we consider that 60% of consumers say that negative reviews make them not want to use a business, while 75% trust a company more with positive reviews, the importance of a strong reputation is evident.
Moreover, reputation builds up brand equity, which has a direct influence on bottom-line profit. Customers are willing to pay more for a product from a brand when they perceive it to be trustworthy, high-quality, and good value. An additional one-star rating on Yelp increases business revenue by up to 9%.
However, in an exponentially growing digital ecosystem, it is near-on impossible to ensure that everything said about a brand or business is positive. The average consumer mentions brands 90 times per week on social media, with every comment likely to create either a positive or negative impact.
What is Online Reputation Repair?
Online reputation repair is the process of fixing the negative impression and search results that relates to your name or brand on the internet. It is not something that works overnight, but several tactics operate incrementally to repair your online reputation. The strategy is about showcasing your personal or business attributes in a way that positively promotes what you do. It is not always possible to delete your past from the internet, but you can undoubtedly optimize it in your favor.
Steps to repair your online reputation
Before fixing your online reputation, the first step is to find the root cause. Common causes are negative reviews or bad press that put unfavorable links towards the top of search engine results. For example, a competitor could post a comparison between your products and theirs online, casting you in a more negative light.
Repairing negative content
Unless there is a case against data privacy (such as with GDPR), Google will not delete content from search results. The answer is to try and repair the problem at the source. For example, if a negative article exists about you online, try reaching out to the author about editing it. The same can apply to customers who post bad reviews. There may be a way to appease the customer and ask for them to edit the feedback. It is sometimes possible to remove or hide harmful content.
Suppressing search results and new content
In a 2019 survey, 7% of people say they click beyond the first page of Google. In context, if you can push content off page one, it may as well not be there 93% of the time. The key to this is creating top-quality, positive information, to highlight your business and force the unwanted content out of results pages.
Although content writing is a time-consuming activity, it is a worthwhile exercise to repair negative reputation.
Other popular forms of new content that Google indexes in results are video, listings, and images. A well-crafted YouTube channel appeals to the modern-day consumer, acting as a faster way to build a positive reputation.
Optimizing existing content
As well as writing new content, optimizing what is already out there can have similarly positive results. One of the easiest ones being expanding and optimizing your Bio or About Me on Social Media profiles and listings to have ample info and include your name or target keyword a few times. Additionally, staying active on social media and getting people to link back to you or mention you can help increase those positive search results.
How long does reputation repair take, and what does it cost?
The time and cost of repair depend on the complexity of the issues. Removing content and editing reviews can take a few days, but to fully impact search results could take months. In terms of cost, small businesses may need to pay between $2,000 and $20,000, whereas a larger enterprise could pay a fee for ongoing monthly. The other option is to manage it yourself, but this will be resource-heavy, or expensive to hire internally.
Example of Online Reputation Repair
Let’s say ABC Company Ltd has four negative search results, rank at the bottom of the first page in Google search results, has below average domain authority, and a long-form article with no backlinks. The poor reputation came due to some bad press over three years ago.
In this case, the journey to online reputation repair lies in content creation. Google prioritizes new content. The first step should be to write a more up to date article, which will start pushing the negative one off the first page of results. Following that, a series of high-quality content will usurp the negative search results within three to six months.
Although there is not an exact science here, in a situation where we cannot delete results from Google, the approach needs to be in writing new, more reliable content to affect the way the rankings present ABC Company Ltd.
The bottom line is that a poor online reputation equates to fewer and less profit for a business. A company can easily find customers going to competitors, dwindling Google rankings, little brand equity, and low volumes of traffic. Taking steps to review and repair an online reputation is imperative to success. Best Reputation Repair research and test dozens of agencies to help businesses find the best firms to help with their needs.
Your online reputation is vital to a growing business and taking action early to prepare for the long-term, will ensure success.