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Your online reputation can speak volumes about who you are and how your target audience sees you. This of course, can heavily affect your business. There are times however, when a company or an online business entity is given a bad reputation because negative comments or reviews were posted on the Internet by a disgruntled customer or even a former employee. Unfortunately, anything posted online can go viral in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, everyone has caught on. In this case, turning the other cheek is not the best course of action.
Allowing these negative reviews to fester on the Internet will only make matters worse. Taking a proactive approach is your best line of defense. Below are a few steps that you can do to regain your positive image online.
1. Utilize search engines and do a search on your company, your name, or any of your products or services, especially the ones mentioned in the negative reviews or comments. It is recommended that you use major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo as these are generally the ones being used by the majority of online users. Take note of where the negative results appeared. On which page did they appear; first, second or third? Were you on top of the page, somewhere in the middle, or at the bottom?
2. Use online monitoring tools to alert you every time you are mentioned online. These tools allow you to keep track, in real time,of when and how many times you were mentioned on various review sites, forums and social media platforms.
3. Create a reputation management team. If you have the resources, you can put together your own in-house team. You can also hire the services of a professional reputation management company. Whichever route you choose to take, having a dedicated team to address the situation is critical to the success of your campaign. The team can handle complaints, manage the monitoring tools and basically oversee the campaign from start to finish.
4. Create new content. This is perhaps one of the most important steps to take to clean up your bad rep. This is the time to make full use of the Internet. Do not simply rely on your existing website or social media accounts. It's time to create new ones. Your old website or accounts could already be linked to the negative reviews. Give your audience a fresh take on everything about you. Remember Step 1? Your page and list ranking can give you an idea of how far you have to go in terms of creating new content.
A critical factor in content creation is the content itself. Highlight your positive qualities without going overboard. Spread your articles and posts within a specific time frame. Additionally, content creation should take into consideration the search engines' algorithms. You don't want an article peppered with keywords or key phrases. Remember that spammy content will be bypassed by search engines' crawlers.
Over time, these positive articles and posts will override the negative comments or reviews yielded by Google, Yahoo or Bing. If you follow these steps carefully, you will be back on track in no time.