Failing reputation management plan

Your company’s online reputation is absolutely vital. Companies with excellent plans all tied up look amazing on a quick online search, and that often translates into bigger business revenue. After all, most consumers check out the companies they do business with, long before they drop that first dollar. If your plans are great and those searches go well, dominance is right around the corner.

But how do you know if your company’s plans are really great? How can you really be sure that all of your hard work is paying off?

Here’s a cheat sheet. Run a quick search for your company on Google and look for these 4 signs. If you see even one, your plans need a tweak.

Here goes.

1. You See Anything Negative on Page 1 of Google Results

Google is built to pull down relevant content on terms you type into that little search box. Typically, you’ll get dozens of pages of results on any given search term. But, most consumers won’t really look at anything past that first page of results.

Here’s proof: In a comprehensive study published on the Moz website, the author found that 71.33 percent of searches ended with a click on a link on page 1. Links on page 2 got only 5.59 percent of the clicks.

Sure, you may have consumers out there that are willing to go the extra mile and dive deep into a Google search. If you have damning information available, someone will find it.

But studies like this show that ruling that first page is a great way to clean up a corporate reputation. If you haven’t managed to keep the dirt away from the first page of results, you have a lot more work to do.

2. Google’s Autocomplete Feature Contains Negative Keywords

Google’s goal is to make searching quicker and more accurate. The autocomplete feature helps with both goals. Here, users begin to type in a phrase or a company name, and the algorithm looks for other words that searchers have used when they’ve been looking for the same thing.

As you type in your company name, look for nasty autocomplete terms like:

  • Fraud
  • Rip-off
  • Liars
  • Bad

A warning: Whatever you do, don’t click on those autocomplete words. Each click tells Google that it’s on the right track. Don’t add to the damage by adding to the clicks.

But if you see those terms, it’s clear that every search has the potential to ruin your company’s reputation. You need to work on that damage ASAP.

3. Reviews Attached to Your Company Name are Overwhelmingly Bad

Consumers love review sites, and they tend to have pride of place on Google. If someone searches for your company, those reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor or Google’s review program tend to pop to the top of the page. And, they’re graphically interesting results, stuffed with stars, photos and pull quotes from users.

When it comes to searches, graphics matter. After all, Tech Crunch tells us, most searches and other online doings happen on mobile devices. Those screens are small, so touchable, pretty images stand out. Reviews are more important than ever, in this context.

One or two poor reviews won’t hurt you. But if all of your reviews are negative, and that’s easy to see with all of the graphics Google displays, you have a lot left to do.

4. Content You Generate for Reputation Management Isn’t Ranking

This is a tricky one, but hang in there with me.

If you’re really working on a reputation management program, you’re consistently generating content. You’re blogging, you’re working on social and you’re putting your company out there. You’re in the game.

That kind of work should (if you’re doing it properly) give you a great deal of control over those Google results. And when you have control, it’s easier to handle an attack.

Think of it this way: If you are the source of your company’s reputation in the eyes of Google, you’ll find that it’s easier to drown out the voice of someone else. If someone else mentions your company in a blog post or a social media post, that entry will rank. But your work will come first. You’re considered an authoritative source in the eyes of Google.

If you’re running searches and you don’t see your content right up top, you have more work to do to get that authoritative voice.

Fixing a Failing Reputation Management Plan

If you’re seeing nothing but bad in your searches, don’t despair. You’re certainly not alone, and the badness doesn’t have to be permanent. But, you will need to buckle down and do some homework to turn the problem around. Companies much like mine can help a great deal with that, of course.

Just remember: Don’t give up! Work hard enough, and adjust your game plan as needed, and you can clean things up and get the reputation management results your company needs.

Anyone out there found success? Share those stories in the comments, won’t you?

Photo credit: Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net