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If you are just starting out your online business, even if you have a strong offline business, you’ll soon get lost into the sea of the Internet – there are thousands of people competing to be on the first page of Google because there is where the competition is.
But ranking on the first page of Google isn’t an easy walk in the park. You need to set yourself as an industry expert in your niche so that people will trust you, visit your site often, order what you have to offer, which ultimately contributes into setting up a strong online brand.
So you see, you simply cannot overlook the online reputation of your business, but here are few tips.
Reputation Management for Small Business Owners:
1. Optimize Everything
Your potential customers won’t go beyond the first page to find the information, products, and services your offer.
So, if you’re NOT in the first page for brand keywords, no one will find you on the Internet. As a result, few people will know who you are and what you represent.
In order to build a strong online reputation, you have to rank on the first for at least some of the major niche-related keywords.
To rank for keywords, learn the basics of SEO or hire a professional SEO consultant to look after your site.
Follow these 3 simple steps to optimize and promote your site.
Do a keyword research to know which keywords people use to search what you’re offering
Optimize your site and content based on those keywords
Get backlinks from wide variety of sources to generate free traffic to your site (backlinks)
2. Be Active Online
Next you’ll have to take charge of your online business as online reputation doesn’t come out of a thin air. You have to be active online, but it doesn’t mean spending hours on the Internet either.
Simply post a fresh content once or twice a week, offer customer support on your social profiles, and you’re done!
Over time, you’ll have more useful content than your competitors. As a result, you’ll stand out in the eyes of your potential customers.
Once you start to get a decent number of traffic, Google and other search engines will see this as a positive sign (you have something valuable at your site), and hence, they’ll display your website content over others.
Bingo! You have a strong online reputation than your competitors. All your hard work pays at the end, though.
So start a blog, share your ideas, thoughts, product offers on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc. Make sure to keep things fresh, fun and balanced!
3. Focus on Providing Genuine Services
People may say anything about your business as you don’t have control over it. But you have total control over one thing – i.e. the quality of your services and products.
So, focus on offering products and services that will help solve people’s problems and enhance their life. When you have more happy customers, their positive reviews and feedbacks will help create a strong online reputation for your business.
4. Encourage others to Post Positive Reviews
Ask each of your happy customers to write honest reviews about you (if you want to become an expert), your business and its products. Most entrepreneurs sigh away from asking their customers thinking they’re too busy, but in fact, your customers will be more than happy to share their positive experience using your products and services if it truly helped them solve their problems.
5. Know How/When to Respond
If you find some negative comments about your business for valid reasons, contact them personally and apologize. Issue a refund for their losses, and follow back with emails as how their problems are taken care of.
However, if the negative reviews are totally “invalid,” do not get angry at them, even if it was a fake post written by your competitor. Instead, contact them personally, and send an email regarding how you could take positive steps to ensure better customer service.