How the Banking Industry can Improve Their Online Reputation

Banks are notorious for having bad reputations, and things have only gotten worse during the recent economic downturn and financial crises. For that check this Finance Blog here. Knowing which factors influence a poor reputation and some specific steps to take can help banks large and small rebuild their good reputations.

A 2012 Study by American Banker concluded that some of the largest banks: Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America have the poorest reputations.

4 Reasons Contributing to Banks’ Poor Reputations

1. Fee Increases During Hard Times

According to CFO.com, banking profitability is down from from about 26% in past years to about 14%. While fee increases support bank profits, in the context of a larger economic downturn they have a strong negative effect on reputation. Both real and proposed new fees and fee increases create a reputational backlash.

2. Lack of Direct Interaction & Communication

According to AmericanBanker.com, direct interaction and exposure to the company’s messaging (including “advertising, marketing, public relations activities or social responsibility efforts”) have huge impacts on a bank’s reputation. A lack of either or both has a large detrimental effect on reputation.

3. Relative Value Mindset

Banks often see reputation as just another way to beat competitors. While reputation can be a major differentiator, building a good one is not a race to the finish line.

4. Recent Scandals

Banks seem to have more scandals than most other businesses. All scandals adversely affect all banks. They prompt customers and investors to pay more attention to bank behavior so even the littlest problem can become a major concern. If scandals lead to criminal indictments against banks, the net effect is even worse because no one wants to do business with a criminal.

5 Ways Banks Can Rebuild a Good Reputation

First, improve communication both externally and internally.

External communication includes:

  • positive brand messaging
  • asking for and responding to feedback from customers and investors
  • showing that your bank is a responsible, trustworthy lender in tough times

Internal communication means:

  • making it clear to employees what kinds of behavior are rewarded or unacceptable
  • talking about the company’s strategy, mission, and values
  • accepting and responding to feedback from employees

Second, focus on consistency.

If you’re communicating one thing but doing the opposite, your reputation will align with your actions. Compensation and reward structures must match your internal communications to employees. Acquisitions, lending policies, customer service, and other actions must align with your external messaging to customers and investors.

Third, work on existing relationships.

Because bank profits are decreasing and other industries are moving into the banking sector, banks cannot afford high customer churn rates anymore. That means it’s important to work on retaining customers and improving their experience and direct interaction with you.

Fourth, live up to expectations.

According to Anthony Johndrow of Reputation Institute (source), customers expect banks “to engage in citizenship, good governance and innovation, along with having solid financial performance and trustworthy products and services.” A bank’s ability to meet those 5 expectations will be reflected in its general reputation.

Fifth, use social media more aggressively.

Because social media promotes both communication and direct interaction, it can be a more powerful positive influence on reputation than other sources. Use it more aggressively to help customers and provide accountability and transparency, this is one of the main reasons why customers love services like Treasury Management Solutions | Atlantic Union Bank.

Travel Industry Online Reputation Management

According to eMarketer, the number of people who research and book a trip online increases dramatically every year, and the trend will only continue. That’s why it is so important for hoteliers, agencies, and other travel marketers to take control of their reputations online.

Start your online reputation management off on the right track with these ideas.

Drive prospects to owned media

The eMarketer report indicates that branded travel websites are the second most common source travelers use when researching and booking travel online. That means your branded website, blog, and other owned media are the most important resources you have to help customers and influence a positive reputation. Absolute Back Packers helps you a your traveling issue. If you need different blogs for traveling tips Check this page and get more details about traveling.

Use a strong, comprehensive search engine optimization and paid search strategy to drive traffic to the media you own and control. Publish lots of unique, useful content on your website, social channels, and other owned media to help them appear high in search results.

Incorporate ads and reviews

Paid media such as search ads, Facebook ads, and promoted tweets can be the catalyst that introduces travel researchers to your brand and inspires engagement. Use them in conjunction with strong SEO and reviews.

Earned media, especially reviews and positive social mentions, increases your credibility and is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing, making it very powerful. Use the following ideas to generate positive reviews and mentions:

  • ask for reviews on social media
  • host a contest or giveaway with the prize going to a randomly selected reviewer
  • use email to encourage customers to talk about their experience

Use social media aggressively

According to iProspect, the very first thing travel brands should do to control their reputations is claim brand presence on social platforms. The biggest social media–Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor, and various listing sites–are the perfect channels for generating powerful reviews and recommendations and spreading awareness of your brand.

Lots of updated content and the judicious use of ads on all these platforms can make a huge difference to both your bottom line and how you are perceived.

Make your media more visually appealing

Like the food and real estate industries, travel depends on visual elements to perform well. Using beautiful, high-resolution videos, photos, and other multimedia impacts your reputation in a few ways:

1      If you invest the time and money to create appealing visual media, your services are more likely to be high quality as well.

2      Great multimedia are more likely to be shared, increasing your brand’s exposure and creating indirect recommendations.

3      Visual media are easy to publish across many different platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Flickr, etc.), making them more likely to show up in a video or image search.

Having an appealing and easy-to-use website makes a big difference, too. It encourages reviews, makes it easy to research and book a trip, and is more likely to show up in search results thanks to better navigation and user experience.

Focus on your customers

Your online reputation directly reflects your reputation in general. Take ownership of your reputation in all its facets by making customer experience as remarkable as possible.

SEO services: The Cornerstone of any Online Reputation Management Strategy

Although online reputation management works in a variety of ways, it often depends heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) to fill the first page of search results with positive content about your brand. Optimizing a webpage to increase its relevance and quality so it appears high in search results isn’t easy, and to top it off, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to ensure they return the most relevant and high-quality results. If you’re thinking to start out limo business then you ought to have sound knowledge about this business. because it is claimed “Owning your own business isn’t a bit of cake”. There are some steps so as to start a successful limo company that’s lucrative and ready to sustain the business load. The foremost common serious mistake made in business isn’t picking the proper one to start with. Within the spade work evaluation techniques should be in mind. For marketing a limo company, First you have to study about its cases. If you cannot answer any of these questions confidently, then your online marketing is not doing as well as it can. As long as you have a web presence, you need a competent SEO agency in Florida to help transform your digital marketing experience. If people cannot find you on the first page of Google -specifically the map pack and the first three organic listings, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table. Websites that take up the first three positions routinely make a killing, particularly if they’re ranking for high converting keywords.

 

Simply having an abundance of positive content about your brand isn’t always enough. All that positive content needs to be optimized to appear in search results. Search engines use a combination of links from reputable websites and high-quality content–content that is not only positive but also well-written or professional-looking–to determine a webpage’s relevance and authority to a search query. You can also visit australianseocompany.com.au for getting more information. Digital marketing has been gathering a high attention due to the various benefits it provide as compared to the value that’s invested in it. This digital marketing field has developed such a lot that always companies hire professionals to seem after their internet marketing. The experts within the digital marketing services really know what must be wiped out which way and at what time. Although it seems that internet marketing is simply another easy task which will be achieved through looking for different articles and methods available on the web. To know more about digital marketing go through https://webdesignottawa.com/hosting-services/ link.

The more relevant the page is to the query and the more authority it has earned, the higher it will show in search results.

So how do you make the positive content about your brand more relevant, and the websites that content lives on more authoritative?

By using the right tools to give search engines what they want. The more freshness, diversification, and support you can give your positive content, the better. These are some of the biggest indicators of relevance and authority the search engines look for.

Freshness

A website’s freshness means how often it is updated. The more often a site is updated, the more often search engines have to “crawl” the site in order to find and index new content.

You can teach search engines to index your site more frequently if you publish new content regularly. If your site is being indexed often enough, it will start to move up the rankings on search results pages.

Another important component of freshness is what all those regular updates tell the search engines. If the website is worth all the activity of regular updates, then it is much more likely to be a relevant, authoritative resource for searchers.

The trick to maintaining freshness on the webpages you want to appear on the first page of search results is to always be on the lookout for positive content. Your marketing and public relations teams need to keep a sharp eye for any positive content that can be used to protect your online reputation.

Diversification

Diversifying is as beneficial for online reputation management as it is for investment portfolios: it reduces risks and increases the likelihood of gains.

There are two important aspects of diversifying your online reputation management.

The first is using multiple types of content. You can have all the glowing testimonials in the world, but if all you have is testimonials and no case studies or data to back up your results, that starts to look a bit suspicious. And search engines will only return so many results of one type of content, leaving plenty of room on the first page for negative content.

This means in addition to testimonials, you want to harness the power of reviews, success stories and case studies, press releases, YouTube videos, articles about your expertise, and more.

The second important part of diversification is using multiple websites. The more websites you own and control, the more spaces on the first search results page you can potentially fill, with positive content you have complete control over.

Creating multiple websites isn’t as daunting as it sounds at first. Instead of putting all your content in one place online, simply spread it out by assigning a specific purpose and audience to each different website.

For example, a pharmaceutical online reputation management strategy might include a website for consumers and doctors, another for pharmacies and vendors, a separate blog, and another website for publishing survey results and other data.

Diversifying content in these two ways makes your content more relevant and authoritative because each website and type of content appeals to specific audiences and search queries.

Support

Good support means earning plenty of links to your website(s) from many different reputable sources over a long period of time. Flooding your website with too many links all at once is very suspicious and you will almost certainly be penalized for it. And trying to get links from low-quality websites won’t help your rankings, either.

The trick to getting good links is to create content so valuable you could practically sell it. When your content is that unique and useful, it draws attention from the kind of websites you want to link to yours.

Earning links that way takes time, though. When you don’t have a lot of time to devote to getting that support, you can create some of it yourself through press releases, article marketing, and blogging. Just make sure this content is as helpful and valuable as possible.

Building good support for your websites is an important part of online reputation management for two reasons.

First, it improves your off-page SEO, which helps your content appear higher in search results, Pro SEO Group Buyprovides affordable packages to improve your site traffic.

Second, the webpages linking to yours can also show up on search results pages, so searchers see even more positive content about your brand.

Getting plenty of support through high-quality links tells search engines that other people online think your content is relevant and authoritative, which strongly influences how search engines rank results.

Freshness, diversification, and support are not the only SEO tools to use in your online reputation management strategy, but they are some of the most important. Implement all three and you’ll be well on your way to presenting searchers with the best information about your brand.

The Rise of Mobile and Your Online Reputation

It is predicted that mobile internet use will outpace desktop internet use worldwide in 2013. Right now there are already more mobile internet connected devices than have ever existed and the numbers are growing daily—especially in emerging economies like India and China.

For proof you can look at the sale of Apple devices. It took 3 years for Apple iPod sales to reach 10 million units sold. The iPhone reached 10 million units in 2 years. And the iPad took only 9 months to reach the same number. More and more people are using mobile devices for internet access. But most of our websites are built for traditional desktop-based browsers.

If you’ve ever seriously tried to find information on the internet with your smartphone, you know how frustrating it can be to visit websites and landing pages that are not optimized for mobile, since phones are so popular now a days and that’s why accessories sites as ProductExpert online. The text is small, and so are the buttons. You have to zoom in to see pictures or make any sense of what the text is saying.

In fact, 50% of mobile users are not willing to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load on a mobile device. And 1/3 will return to the search results to find a mobile optimized site if their first click did not result in a mobile-friendly site.

In terms of reputation management, that means that you need to start thinking not only about your customer’s online experience, but their mobile experience as well. It would be terrible for a mobile user to click through to your main websites only to find that it isn’t mobile friendly, and for that user to turn back to the search results and click on a blog post by a disgruntled ex-employee that is optimized for mobile use.

Your Mobile Reputation

First and foremost you need to make sure that your main site—which should be the first result in a Google search for your company name—is optimized for mobile. And there are three ways you can go about doing this.

1) Separate mobile and desktop sites
Instead of redesigning your entire site for multi-platform use, you can simply make a separate mobile site and reroute all mobile users to that site for a better mobile experience. This is a reasonable solution, but it isn’t always the most elegant, and it is not the preferred method Google likes to see. Still if you prefer to redesign your site, contact Web Design Ottawa.

2) Separate HTML for mobile and desktop

With this method, users are visiting the same URLs, but the HTML served to them on each page is different, depending on the device they are using. This is a more efficient way to tackle the problem, but it is still a hassle to have to deal with what are essentially two sites in one.

3) Responsive web design

Responsive web design would require a reworking of your entire site so that the HTML remains the same across the board, but the CSS changes the looks and feel of the site based on the size of the screen. Best web design houston has to offer by top web designers! This is the most efficient and elegant solution—and the one preferred by Google, but it requires a site redesign, which is not always an option. If you are a lawyer looking for an agency to take over your web design then  you must visit social fire starter.

All Web Properties

Seeking an optimized mobile experience for your users is your first step to ensuring that your reputation stays intact. Not only will it prevent your mobile users from bouncing from your site, but it will improve your reputation by building trust in the people who visit it.

Additionally, if you’re serious about building an iron clad SERP for your reputation management, you’ve probably built multiple sites and that all rank for your company or brand name. Now is a good time to make sure that all these sites are optimized for mobile as well. It might actually be easier to optimize these sites with responsive web design than your main site because they are smaller and built simply for ranking purposes.

Of course you cannot control the way other people build their websites. But if you are trying to get 3rd party sites to rank well in your branded SERPs, try to ensure that these sites are mobile friendly as well. If not, that okay. But if you have a choice, choose mobile optimized sites over desktop-only sites.

Mobile is on the rise and those that are prepared will succeed in the new mobile world. Those who cannot adapt now will only be playing catch up. So make the choice now to get ahead of the trend and the technology by being aware of the mobile compatibility of your web properties. It may affect your online reputation more than you know.

Using Author Rank for Better Reputation Management

Google has stayed at the top of the search engine game for so long because it continues to innovate, introduce new products, and continually improve its search algorithms to reflect changes in the real and online world. Overall, their goal is to make their search results the most useful on the web.

However, if you’re dealing with an online reputation management problem, sometimes it can feel like Google’s practices are unfair. If someone with high authority has written nasty things about you online, Google shoots it to the top of the results for your name—damaging your reputation and good image. But now Google has started to roll out a feature that can help you build some authority for you name on the web. It’s called “author rank,” and by implementing a few simple practices into the way you create and distribute content on the web, you can gain some great screen real estate in the SERPs.

What is Author Rank?

Google has now devised a way that you can link published content on the web to your personal profile. This creates two results. First, it means that your image will appear in the search results when someone searches for an article or other piece of content you’ve written on the web. Second, Google will be able to link ALL the content you create back to you, so you can start to build a solid reputation and some authority on the web. In fact, Google has said that when author rank signals are incorporated into your content, the amount and quality of that content will be used as a ranking factor for yourself and the websites that you spread content to.

In other words, the better online reputation you can build with author rank signals, the better your content will rank on the web. Then you can use your author authority to influence the rank of content around the web, bringing more positive results to the SERPs for your name and anyone associated with you.

How Do You Do it?

To start using author rank signals as part of your reputation management strategy, you need to implement a few pieces of code on your website and within the content you produce around the web

1) Get on Google+

If you’re web savvy and concerned about your online reputation you probably already have a profile, but, if not, create one now. Google can only track your authorship if they know where to find you on the web, and they’ve determined that Google+ will be where they can find you. Is it monopolistic? Sure. But that’s Google.

2) Create an author page

On your personal or company website, create an author page with a small blurb about yourself and a link back to your Google+ profile using rel=”me” or rel=”author” tags in the link. For example:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/109637006071618937451/posts”>Your Name</a>

3) Link Your Posts to Your Author Page

If your blogging platform has an automatic author bio section added to your posts, make sure it links back to your profile page. Alternatively, you can manually link to your author page in every post. Also, when you author content for other sites, make sure you link back to your main author page, so that Google will recognize that the credit for the content goes to you.

Alternatively, on 3rd party sites, you can use the rel=”author” tag with a direct link to your Google+ profile. But if Google is going to encourage you to link back to an author profile on your site, why not benefit from the link juice that those 3rd party sites will create when you link back to your own site?

Improved Reputation Management

When you can successfully use the rel=”author” tags and show Google where you are publishing content on the web, you’ll benefit from increased rankings and an improved SERP—creating a better online reputation.

 

4 Reputation Management Tips for Millennials

The US population ebbs and flows just like the ocean. After WWII there was the baby boom, when the US saw the highest birth rate it had seen since it’s founding. Since then we’ve seen Generation X and the Millenials (Generation Y). The Baby Boomers are getting older now, and they are settling down, retiring, and becoming empty nesters. The Gen Xers are in their mid 30s to late 40s—in the middle of their careers—but the Millenials are just getting started. And growing up in the internet age, surrounded by technology and endless accessibility to data, has given them a different perspective on information sharing and personal reputation not shared by older generations.

Boomers aren’t interested in learning new technologies unless it helps them talk to their children and grand children. And Gen Xers are pretty tech savvy, but they understand that technology is simply a tool and a proxy for interpersonal relationships. Millennials, on the other hand, have grown up sharing all types of personal information online through social networks, blogs, and more.

Where Boomers aren’t concerned about online reputation, and Gen Xers are aware of how damaging it can be. Most Millennials have yet to face the consequences of bad reputation management. And for a generation that has shared so much online, that’s a problem.

However as they leave college and enter the workforce, the problems of sharing anything and everything online will start to become apparent. Not only are prospective employers cruising social networks to check out job applicants but being easily found online is quickly becoming a mark of prestige. As a result, negative and embarrassing online content is a bigger liability now than it has ever been in the history of our culture, and a lack of being easily found can be a sign of lack of experience and engagement.

So it is now the tricky job of Millennials to walk a fine line between sharing too much information and sharing just enough content online to build a positive reputation. Millennials have to be vigilant reputation managers of their identity like no other generation has been. But they can get things straight and cultivate a positive online reputation if they start early and follow a few basic principles.

1) Be mindful

First and foremost, Millennials need to be aware that what they do and say online matters. In high school it’s easy to think, “I can do and say what I want, no one cares.” But you have to keep in mind that the thing you didn’t think was important four years ago is still there, and people you want to impress can find it easier than you think. So the first step in cultivating a positive personal reputation management strategy is to only post positive content to social networks and blogs. Don’t post embarrassing information or (heaven forbid) brag about doing something illegal or unethical.

2) Get a head start

Because most Millennials are not concerned about these things, those that recognize the importance of reputation management have a fantastic opportunity in front of them. Grab up as many personalized online properties as you can while you’re young. And hang onto them. For example, personalized social profiles, name specific domains, and more. You may not need to use them now, but one day they will come in handy. And you want to grab them before someone else does.

3) Create

One of the best things you can do to cultivate a positive online reputation is to create content. That is, start a blog, curate content through your social networks, and become an influencer online. Even though you may still be young, start building a professional profile now. Colleges and future employers will be impressed with the work you’ve done so early in life, and you’ll be a shoo-in compared with applicants who aren’t aware of their online reputation at all.

4) Take care

As you look toward the future, think about reputation management as you go about your digital life. Look toward the future with a goal of being easily found online (for positive reasons) and work toward it. If you don’t take control of your online reputation, then your carelessness will. Stay on top of new technology and new platforms as they arise so you can always be ahead of the reputation management game.

7 Tips for Reputation Management With Twitter

Just a couple of years ago, many companies balked at the idea that Twitter could be useful for their business—“It’s just a bunch of people talking about what they ate for breakfast, right?” Today, social media marketing is the mainstream, and those who aren’t doing it are missing the train to better customer relationships and higher conversion rates.

But Twitter isn’t just about telling customers that you’re having a sale this Friday or informing them about your latest press release. Twitter is also a great tool for reputation management. Because Twitter allows you to deal directly with the public on a near-realtime basis. and it allows you to monitor all public tweets, it can be a great place to listen to the chatter surrounding your brand, address potential problems, and build positive relationships online.

For starters, here are some great ways you can use Twitter as part of your reputation management strategy and reap the benefits of increased positive sentiment about your brand.

1) Monitor

Twitter is like a giant fire hose of consumer information. People tweet about all kinds of products and services. They tweet about the latest Sony TV they bought or the dress they just got at a steal from a Nordstrom’s sale. If you have any sizable customer base, and that base is fairly tech savvy, chances are that you are being mentioned on Twitter—and you may not even know it. Once you create an account, you can set up a keywords search for mentions of your company and product names. When you see users talking about you you’ll begin to understand how Twitter can be a useful reputation management tool.

2) Identify issues

One of the great weaknesses of Twitter is that people use it to complain about the products and services in their lives. But that also means that, as a reputation management specialist, you can use those complaints to your advantage. If many customers are complain about a new feature you just added to one of your products, you might reconsider that feature. If they’re having trouble loading your website, it’s time to walk down to IT and see what the problem might be.

3) Give thanks

You can also build positive sentiment on Twitter by thanking people who compliment your business and products. Just shoot them a quick “thanks for your kind words.” They’ll be impressed that you’re paying attention and feel personally closer to the brand. You just made a life-long customer.

4) Respond to problems

You’ll gain some great business insights if you monitor Twitter for complaints, but you’ll gain more customers if you actually respond to those complaints. If someone Tweets in frustration about one of your products, send a tweet and ask them how you can help. Point them toward resources and offer to fix the issue yourself. When you can do that, you’ll have changed that customer’s mind about your company and product.

5) Be a resource

Once customers understand that you are online and want to interact with them, you can become a great resource by fielding questions about your products and services. Give your audience the resources to solve their problems and give them tips and tricks to have a better experience with your product. They’ll thank you and recommend you to their friends.

6) Listen

This is similar to “monitor”; however, listening is like monitoring with your heart. Be open and welcoming to your customers. Don’t shrug them off when they ask what you think is a stupid question, but rather encourage them to talk about their problems and issues with you. Be sympathetic and give your brand a human ear.

7) Offer suggestions

When you notice a customer struggling, offer to help before they even ask. Your company has a lot of expertise and knowledge. Offering to help with their issues will go a long way to building trust with the customer and help them form a positive reputation of your company.

Tips for Using PPC as a Reputation Management Strategy

Most people in the world are completely unaware of how search engines work and how it’s possible to use search algorithms to manipulate the results you see on the page. As a result, many SEOs and reputation management professionals are thought of as magicians who use dark sorcery to “trick” Google into doing their bidding. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many people are flummoxed as to how Google makes any money. They don’t sell anything, right?

Well, those in the industry know that besides a handful of premium services, Google makes the vast majority of its money selling advertising. And you can use Google’s ad system to help your online reputation, just like you can use any other tactic to mold a results page that is optimal for the reputation of your company.

PPC (or pay-per-click) advertising are the ads that run at the top and sides of a Google search page. They don’t take up a spot in the results, but they do push the “natural” results lower on the page, taking up screen real estate. And many users can’t tell the difference between the paid and non-paid results on a serach—which is one of the reasons these ads work so well.

Google sells these ads on an auction basis. In other words, whoever is willing to pay the most for the ad space gets the best spot on the page. In terms of reputation management, it’s not likely that many other companies will be bidding for space on a search for your company name (however in some industries this is the case), so your PPC rates should be fairly small. Perhaps as little as a few cents per click.

If you feel that it might be worth it to buy ads on a search for your company name and take up some extra page real estate, here are a few tips you’ll need to keep in mind to save money on your campaign:

1) Use the ad scheduler to limit your ads to peak search hours

When you buy ads from Google, you have the opportunity to use the ad scheduler to specify the times of the day you want your ads to run. Running your ads 24 hours a day is a good way to catch everyone who searches for your company names, but it could cost you a lot of money. Instead, use your Google analytics tools to find out what days of the week and what times of the day are most ideal for capturing the maximum amount of people with your ad. Then schedule your ad to run during those times, saving you money and giving you the most benefit at the same time.

2) Use “standard” delivery method

On the other hand, if you are on a budget and can only devote a small amount of money to PPC, you may opt to limit placement of your ads to the amount you can pay each day. If this is the case, you’ll be offered two options when buying ads: standard delivery or accelerated delivery.

With standard, your ads will be evenly spaced out through the day. With accelerated delivery, your ad will run on every search possible until you run out of budget. In some cases this means that your ad will appear in searches for your company name only in the morning—leaving the afternoon wide open.

Although some PPC marketers advocate for accelerated delivery, with reputation management, you’ll want to opt for standard so you can save the most money and still get exposure throughout the day.

PPC and Reputation Management

Granted, PPC is not usually the first option for a reputation management strategy because searches for your specific company name are generally low-competition keywords. But if you’ve had trouble with certain results showing up near the top of a search, or if your competitors are buying ads for branded searches, then PPC is an option you might consider. And these basics will get you started down the right path to a stronger reputation management strategy.

Stop Banging Your Head Against the Wall: 4 Reasons to Change Your Reputation Management Strategy

Why would you want to bang your head against a wall? It hurts, it wastes time, and it looks pretty silly to boot. But many companies are metaphorically banging their heads against a wall with their reputation management strategy. Although the search world keeps changing, these companies still employ the same tactics they always have in an attempt to mold a great search engine results page and solidify their online reputation with continually diminishing returns.

Albert Eisntein once said, “The definition of stupidity is doing same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So why are these companies using the same reputation strategy they’ve used for the past 2-4 years? Mostly because they don’t know they need to change, or they simply don’t want to put the effort into creating a new strategy.

Well, if you aren’t changing your reputation management strategy to reflect the current trends in search, get ready for some headaches. On the other hand, if you’d like to try something different, here are some reasons to update your reputation management strategy.

1) The Google Crackdown

Ever since the Panda update early last year, Google has been going after content farms and link spam much more aggressively. And they’ll continue to do so in the coming year. Not only are their algorithms getting more complex and harder to “game,” but Google is handing out warnings and penalizing sites that don’t more strictly adhere to their policies and guidelines for quality sites. If your reputation management strategy has employed questionable tactics in the past, now is the time to change up your strategy to avoid penalties that could leave you open to attack.

2) The Growth of Social

Just a couple years ago, it was still okay for a company to ignore the social web. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others were still considered toys that kids played with. But that is no longer true. In fact, the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is the 55+ crowd. Today, social needs to be a part of any marketing strategy and is essential to your reputation management strategy. Social profiles are easy to create and they take up space in the results, giving you a stronger reputation management profile.

Plus, Google is increasingly relying on social signals to determine page rank. If you’re not using social at this point, it’s time to change your ways.

3) The Rise of Mobile

Many experts in the industry agree that 2012 will be the year of mobile. A larger portion of the population is using smart phones and other wireless devices to access the internet. This means that a larger portion of users are taking advantage of mobile devices to search for your company name as well as upload and create reviews and other content on the fly. And it is entirely possible that Google will begin optimizing results for content that is mobile friendly. So you need to be more vigilant about online reviews affecting your brand-targeted searches, and you need to get on the bandwagon with mobile.

4) The World is Changing

There is a reason you don’t see beeper stores anymore. Technology has moved on and the culture with it. As the access to technology and communication becomes easier and more affordable, the channels people use to access information about your company will grow, and you need to grow with it. Look for trends and be ready to adapt to those trends, or your online reputation may suffer.

Stop the Headaches

History has proven that companies and individuals who were unwilling to change and try new strategies and new technologies have dried up and failed (remember MySpace?). It’s a new year; a time for renewal and change. Take this opportunity to update your reputation management strategy and stop banging your head against a wall.

How Google’s New “Google+ Your World” Affects Reputation Management

If you had any doubt that 2012 was going to be the year that social media takes over the world, those doubts should be expelled by the recent introduction of Google’s new “Google+ Your World” features that more heavily, and more prominently, feature “personalized” results.

For a little while now, Google has been tying your Google+ social graph info into the search results, and we’ve already seen Google+ profiles rise in prominence in the search results—generally outranking Facebook and Twitter profiles (even though Google+ has fewer users). Now Google gives users the option to narrow their results to only their Google+ connections.

Simply put, if a user only wants to see what their friends have said about your company, they can completely skip the general search results and simply search through their personal connections to find out who has +1’d your company, mentioned it, or written a review about it.

For many companies, knowing that people can go directly to their social connections to find out about their company is a bit scary. But if you’ve been playing your cards right, you should be just fine. If not, here are a few things you need to start doing right now.

1) Join Google+ (and make a page for your business)

If you’ve been avoiding Google’s new social network up till now, it’s time to join. And it’s time for you to create a page for your business. If you already have a Gmail account, simply create a Google+ profile and start creating circles, and don’t forget to +1 your business—every +1 counts. The more information Google has about you and your business, the better it will be able to show that information in the personalized search results, helping your online reputation.

2) Add +1 buttons to everything

The more people that +1 your company website and other websites that you need to rank well for a branded search, the better. So make sure you have prominent +1 buttons on your site to make it easier for people to click them. (Notice the Google+ button on this page.)

3) Encourage people to +1 your web properties

Lastly, encourage people to click +1 on your websites. If you have a large company, give incentives to your employees to +1 your sites, and offer specials or other incentives for customers to do the same. The more people that click your +1 button the more your site will gain a favorable light online and with other users around the web. And both of those outcomes are good for reputation management purposes.

Be a Good Company

Slowly, Google is trying to move toward a system where good websites naturally rise to the top of search results without any manipulation necessary. And part of the way they are doing that is by leveraging the power of social networking. If they can show you only the things that your friends have liked or are connected to, they’re more likely to give you the results you are looking for.

However, Google’s goal is in direct opposition to many companies tactics of simply brushing bad press under the rug and turning a blind eye to bad user reviews. But the inclusion of Google+ connections in the results make a strong case for why your online reputation management strategy needs to encompass more than linkbuilding efforts to mold the search engine results page you want. It should go further than basic SERPs, by engaging users through social networks and creating fantastic content for your websites that show users what an amazing, helpful, and friendly company you are.

Search engines will continue to move in the direction of relying more on social signals than algorithms, so now is the time to get on the bandwagon and enter the world of Google+, so you can strengthen your reputation management strategy and rise to the top of any search.

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