5 Ways to Check Your Online Reputation

This is a guest post by Peter Nevins.

You have traffic, but no leads. What could be the problem? Maybe your online reputation is killing you. From bad reviews to malicious forum posts to negative word of mouth, your reputation precedes you for good or for ill.

online-reputation-management
Photo Credit: John Uhri of Sketch Note Artist on Flickr.

The only way to increase sales, when this happens, is to tackle the issue head on. But first, you have to find the problem. Then you have to fix it. Here’s how to do it.

Play Detective On the Internet

Find out where all the negativity is coming from. Google is excellent for this kind of thing. Search for your business (or your name) and append the words “scam,” “review,” “problems,” or “issues” to the search query. These should turn up anything on the Internet that is written about you in a negative light where someone claims to have been taken advantage of by you.

For forum posts and other word of mouth press, use your company name and append it with words like “forum,” “blog,” “Facebook,” or “Twitter” to catch major social media sites, blogs, and forums. Or use these tools to monitor your reputation online.

Engage Bad Press

If you find any serious complaints, address those. It’s worth the effort to sign up to a forum or respond to a blog post and engage your antagonists. It’s especially worth it if the allegations are untrue.

Many times, people might feel like they were ripped off if you gave poor service or they felt like they didn’t get everything they expected. It happens. You can’t please everyone. What you can do is offer to make things right in their eyes. Even if they reject your offer, that kind of engagement will show other people that you do care about your customers.

Always be civil and business-like in your responses to negative comments. This gives you the moral high ground and allows honest engagement. Remember, other people on the forum might believe an allegedly wronged customer over you without ever hearing your side of the story. It will look worse if you post something unprofessional or defensive.

Use Negative Testimonials as Bait

Collect negative comments that seem far-fetched and “out there.”

Many people who complain about a company do so in poor taste. Create a special section on your site that highlights all of the negative comments that seem too ridiculous for a rational person to believe, then juxtapose those negative comments with positive comments. If you’re offering stellar service, it will show through in the positive comments.

In this way, you’re not hiding the fact that you get negative press. You’re just illustrating how irrational the negativity is while simultaneously showing off what your best customers really think of you. It’s a controversial strategy, because few businesses want anyone to know that someone doesn’t like them.

The truth is that everyone complains about someone. Don’t hide from it. Embrace it, and show potential customers that you’re not afraid. While it might seem counter-intuitive, it has a way of increasing sales.

Create Good Press

Good press will help to counter bad press.

Give interviews, write gust blog posts, encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback for you on review sites. Don’t write fake reviews, but rather promote the good reviews that you do get. Fake reviews often come off as being, well, fake.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t do press releases, or interview satisfied customers. By publishing good press, you may be able to overwhelm the negative reviews. People tend to give weight to the number of bad reviews vs. good reviews on the Internet.

It doesn’t matter that most of your customers are satisfied. If you have three bad reviews, but only one good review published online, it makes it look like you offer shoddy service.

Use SEO

SEO, or “search engine optimization,” is a way to make your website better for visitors and for search engines. Good SEO focuses on high-quality content but another element of SEO is building good-quality backlinks to your site.

If you do everything you can do to promote your site through links, Google may rank your site high in the search engines for your niche. If you do a good job linking to positive reviews and good press, there is an excellent chance that it will push negative press down in the search engine results pages.

This kind of SEO strategy has been used by some large companies to hide the fact that they offer poor quality products and services. However, if you use it honestly, and responsibly, you can minimize the effect of lies and nonsensical ramblings about your company thus polishing your image.

In Conclusion…

Regardless of what you do, negative press won’t go away. The goal should be to minimize the impact of negativity and balance out the bad with some good. If you can create a compelling reason why the negative press should be ignored, your traffic will start converting for you.





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Comments

  1. says

    A lot of scheming going on here in your article! Yet, when it comes to sheer push and popularity some of the most-hated and most-ridiculed and most-criticized bloggers make the most of life, money and success! (I’m thinking Xiaxue now!)

    If a blogger or marketer is smart, he or she can turn negative into positive with a little PR alchemy – follows along with your advice to “engage bad press” – just like in the schoolyard – never run from a bully!
    Dave Lucas just posted Puzzled by a tweet!

  2. says

    Hi Kikolani,

    I tried searching at Google my name with the terms scam, problems and issues, I’m glad there were no significant results. Your topic is enlightening for those some bloggers like me, who could not pinpoint the root cause of not being able to sell. Thanks and more power.
    Jena Isle just posted By: Ajchtar

  3. says

    Peter you covered all the aspects of reputation management on the web. A strategic approach to dealing with bad reputation is the key, and the points you have highlighted here are the right ones and the best way to do it. It was not a long time ago I wrote a similar post, however it covered the various tools bloggers and small businesses can use to monitor their brand reputation.
    Eddie Gear just posted How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? Is It Really A Source For Passive Income?

  4. says

    I’m not big enough to have people creating threads on forums or blog posts about me yet. I like to think that I would embrace the negativity and try and reply to it in a calm manner.

    Some blogger thrive on it, I remember when I first started my blog John Chow absolutely loved the negative comments on blogs and forums and would even sometimes link to them, especially if it was a complaint about one of his blog reviews.
    Dean Saliba just posted 4 Ways to Start Making Money From Your Blog

  5. says

    I always like to keep track of where my traffic is coming from and follow it back to the source. A couple times that has put me in a good situation to jump into a discussion and address any problems before they start. I do what I can to not set fires and prevention is always the key when it comes to keeping a good reputation, but sometimes you have no choice but to get involved. Once you do though (and if you are honest in your response) it usually takes care of things pretty quickly.
    Garrett just posted Trading with Range Bars – What They Are and Why You Should Be Using Them

  6. says

    I agreed with perter, online reputation can’t be clean but what we can do is minimizing negative result while searching by brand name or keywords.

    We also should keep analyzing what people talking about the brand? go there a see if someone want “refund” coordinate with them and settlement the issue
    Mark just posted Employment Relations Consultant

  7. says

    I love these guidelines, good to keep in mind when you get to the stage where negative reviews do slip in. For example, I have a fiverr gig where I design HTML email signatures for people.

    On this particular gig I am doing quite well and until recently I had 9 positive reviews on the gig with a rating of 100%. Then the unimaginable happened and I failed to deliver within my time frame and the client immediately just cancelled the order, without discussing it with me and went to write a bad bad review (well I’m a little over exaggerating as he only said “failed to deliver on time” but still it felt like swords through my body) which no brought my rating down to 90%!

    This was shocking and I’m sure this has a negative impact to a certain degree. The good thing though is that all the positive reviews I have are really really GOOD ones, with clients praising me for the services I delivered.

    Hopefully, although I can do nothing about the negative review, those will weigh a lot more than the tiny (HUGE) negative one.

    Great article!
    Ruan just posted New Release: “The Best Website Traffic Generation Strategies By 10 Top Bloggers | A Tribute”

  8. says

    I agree with Garrett. Keep track of where your traffic is coming from and follow it to the source. Address any problem before they start. It’s better to response and clarify the negativity and better still turn the negative into positive. As well-said by Dave– never run from a bully!

    Great post!
    Richard just posted Why Authors Should Use Kindle Publishing

  9. says

    Hello Peter,
    I am agree with you, Online Reputation matters with your brand because negative reviews also rank with your Branded keywords, negative reviews is the few of the main reasons in which visitors move out from your site and select another companies services or products. so it is essential for us to keep watching negative reviews if we holding well known Brand.

    Thanks for sharing
    Brainpulse just posted Precise Flex Development Practices Revealed



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