A business’s Online Reputation is one of its most important assets. In many cases, the results that show in a search engine are the first thing that a prospective customer sees about that business. Online reviews, even if left by a complete stranger are seen as a valid endorsement, or otherwise, in the eyes of the searching public.

Businesses should be doing everything they can to protect their online reputation by encouraging positive endorsements wherever possible. However, if you see that your business already has some negative reviews that show up in searches don’t worry, there are steps you can to take to repair your online reputation. Of course, if the negative reviews are not isolated cases you might need to consider a more in depth overhaul of your working practices!

Understand the situation.

Search for your business name and keywords across all the main search channels to get an idea of what exactly searchers can see about you. If anything shows up on the first page you need to try and address that first.

Don’t make it personal.

If someone has written a bad review and you feel it is an unjust or untrue representation of what has happened remember not to take it personally, even if it seems like a personal attack. On a personal level, the review might make you angry so that your blood boils, or frustrated to the point of screaming at the reviewer. If that’s how you feel the best thing to do is to take a step back from the situation. Under no circumstances should you respond with an angry and frustrated reply of your own!

Approach the reviewer

If the reviewer has left their name with their review then it might be best to contact them directly. Try and resolve the problem, and once it is sorted ask them if they will remove or edit their review to acknowledge that you’ve solved the problem. If your reviewer has left a pseudonym or no name at all then it might be a bit more difficult. It might be that you have a good idea of who they are and may be able to approach them discretely, otherwise reply to them publicly sympathising with their experience and ask them to get in touch so you can help them personally. Remember, the more interventions you make the more fuel you’ll be throwing to the fire which in turn will gain you more prominence in the search engine results. Try not to get drawn in to a public war of words!

Promote positive search results

It’s unlikely that you will be able to remove every negative review. Instead, make them less relevant by giving the search engines more results to find! Make it a priority to ask customers to post reviews if you know they have had a good experience. Just make sure they are genuine comments and don’t be tempted to write your own positive reviews, the search engines will soon realise the reviews are coming from the same source. As well as focusing on asking customers for reviews you can also optimise your social media pages like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so that they show up in the search engines. Writing regular blogs and articles is also a good way to ensure that your content is easily found across multiple sites, therefore filling up search engine results as well!

Following these steps will not only repair a damaged reputation, they’ll also help promote a healthy reputation. If you would like to know more about how we can help your business manage its online reputation then please get in touch!