Are You Getting Loads of Negative Press from Ripoff Reports, Consumer Affairs, Your-Company-Sucks.com? Then read on!
Go ahead, Google yourself. Yes, I do it myself, too. Unfortunately, the UK pop star Lisa Cardarelli is a little more popular than me, as her MySpace page shows up #1 in Google.
Now Google the company you work for, or the company you own? Most likely, your company’s corporate website will be in the top position organically. (If it’s not stop now and read our SEO Basics posting.) Now read on a little further, what do you see below your company website? Hopefully, like when you Google Bayshore Solutions, you’ll see additional site listings right below, maybe your podcast or blog pages, probably a press release or two you’ve done.
But what if you see negative press written about your company? What do you see if ripoff reports, consumer affairs, p$ssed off consumer, or maybe even your-company-sucks.com? (sorry guys no link to your sites!) Unfortunately, that has happened more and more of the years with the increase in social networking and the decrease in control of your brand. Well maybe I don’t mean unfortunately – because now everyone that engages with your company has a voice – all stakeholders that interact with your organization own and control your brand. The key is knowing how to manage it. Some companies have yet to have their Google SERPs tarnished with negative press, others have reached out to online or SEO reputation management firms like ours to help them push that negative press down in the SERPs. So how does a company manage their online reputation?
Well, there are the aggressive ways- cease and desist letters, commenting on their-company-sucks.com, fueling their fire even more. But these aren’t the methods we suggest or have seen be very successful. Instead, we like to beat them at their own game -
Start out by monitoring your company name or product name using Google Alerts, or purchase a relatively cheap Online Reputation Management Tool like Trackur. Sometimes companies scurry to get rid of the bad press, but they forget that possibly a customer service issue or product issue is valid and changes need to be made to the organization. Dedicate a person or team to reach out to those ticked off customers, find out why they had a bad experience, and see what you can do to fix it. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can actively reach out to try and better your organization. And if you change even one customer’s perception and they post a nice comment about you on an industry blog, well then that’s a bonus! Don’t forget – Listen to your Customers. Then join the conversation.
How do you join that conversation? Here are some quick tips:
- Create a blog with an engaging dialog – post industry news, tips, questions, funny stories. Don’t just talk about yourself, give your customers something beneficial to read that says “Yeah, that company really is the expert” (thought leadership, anyone??). Blogs that live on your website can get great rankings very quickly. Tag your postings with the phrases that are getting the negative press.
- Join Social Networks that not only get good Google rankings (MySpace, Facebook, Spoke), but that your customers partake in. If they fit the demographic profile of the site, they’re most likely on it. Start making Friends, and gathering Fans!
- Create a YouTube channel and upload videos – or make your own. Upload demos, funny commercials you’ve done, and tag them with your company name. YouTube, being owned by Google and all, tends to get good search engine rankings as well.
- If you’re participating in Paid Search, start bidding on your brand name and it’s variations and misspelling. (If you’re not, start!) Having a paid search listing above your organic listing can not only increase the likelihood it will get clicked on, but research shows it enforces the brand. And don’t forget – competitors can bid on your brand name, they just can’t use it in their ad copy. If they are using it, reach out to Google, and they can help you stop them from using your name in their ads.
- Press Releases- negate the negative press with positive! Let your consumers and stakeholders know about the good things your company is doing. Have high customer service ratings? Share them! Distributing your press release via online outlets like PRWeb and MarketWire that have SEO packages can help you increase your rankings for you site as well by brining incoming links to your site.
- Establish a local search presence. Having a Google Map listing will help to push that negative press down. Local sites like Superpages, Yellowpages, and CitySearch also can get first page Google rankings and knock ticked-off-consumer.com to the next page. Some of these sites have free listings, some have paid listing opportunities.
These are just a couple steps in fixing your online reputation.
So to recap –
- Reach out to those writing the negative press and try to change their perception of you by FIXING THE PROBLEM.
- Create a strategy for pushing the negative press down in the SERPs.
- Engage in conversation with your customers – don’t just market to them, strike a conversation where they like to talk. Find your brand evangelists.
And if all that doesn’t work – well contact an expert of course!
Don’t forget – how you handle what is said about you is more important that what actually is said about you.