With so many people spending more time at home and online due to the coronavirus, your online presence is more significant than ever. And it’s not just your website that has an impact but review sites and directories too. Basically, any site that has information about your business has an influence on your online standing.
At this point, your glowing industry reputation is no longer enough. When it comes to the internet, details are key: one bad review or inconsistent directory information can waylay an otherwise perfect impression to customers.
Improve Your Company’s Online Reputation in 5 Steps
1. Audit Your Company’s Online Presence
The first step is to assess your online reputation. Start by searching for your company name in a Google search. Review the top 20 listings for your company name, skipping your own website, which should hopefully have the most accurate information. These search results will often include industry directories, company social media profiles, Google maps and Yelp, to name a few. It’s worth individually searching on each industry directory as well, in case your business name is misspelled somewhere.
Also, do a search for all industry keywords that might lead to your business, including searching for your CEO’s full name. Take a moment to assess how much information is available about your CEO (or other top employee.) If the information is negligible, consider adding a dedicated bio page on your own site. This page will then most likely rank high in the search results for their name, giving your business one more access point.
Through this internal audit, you’ll be able to see how easily your potential clients can find you and the information online about your business.
2. Fix Major Errors About Your Business
Once you’ve identified all your listings, you’ll need to fix any major errors. If you’ve been in business for a couple of years, you’ve most likely changed your office address or phone number at times. It’s common for little things like the address, a digit in a phone number, or hours of operation to be inaccurate or for the company name to be misspelled in some places online.
While it’s obviously important to have your business name spelled consistently and accurately across the board, things like location and phone numbers are important as well, as mistakes in this category can hurt Google Local listing. Take the time to check all links to your website, and confirm they’re all functional and directing the visitor to the right page. Lost links are lost opportunities.
If you feel you’re in over your head with the number of listings for your business, you can use a citation review service like Moz Local or Bright Local to scan and search for every listing of your business. They will then make sure all your details are consistent, which improves your rankings in SEO, and makes it easier for potential clients to find you.
3. Establish a Cohesive Digital Brand
A consistent online presence isn’t just about your name, address and contact information. It also refers to maintaining a cohesive digital brand, so that your audience can easily recognize your business.
To that end, dig up the style guide that was created by your website designer from when your site was created. Within this guide, you’ll find the fonts, colors and styles present on your site. Use this style guide everywhere your company appears; this will help your business to appear professional and reliable.
If you can’t find the style guide, go straight to your website for this information and repeat the same fonts and colors you see there. For a B2B web design or B2C business, it’s important that your logo and brand colors match your website design, and are consistent through all industry directories and social media. Even social media banners should match the design and styling of your website with the same branding colors.
Additionally, make sure you use the same spelling across the board, and that the description of your business is updated and reflects your current services. If you’ve recently edited your logo, follow up by replacing it across all platforms.
4. Nurture Online Reviews from Customers
People now trust online reviews almost as much as word of mouth referrals – and if that’s not reason enough, they also influence search ratings.
As you encourage online reviews, focus first on the trusted review sites. Google, Facebook, and Yelp are three major ones, and a great place to start. Reviews on Google can directly improve your SEO listings, and responding to customer’s reviews can boost your trust factor. In order to respond, you’ll need to sign up for a Google My Business account.
Asking for reviews from clients is the best way to get them. Be careful, however, as you solicit reviews, and be sure to follow all requirements for different platforms. Some platforms frown on businesses requesting reviews, while others encourage it. In some cases, you may even be able to send them a specific link for where a customer can post the review. If you have a B2C website and sell products, consider adding a review section for the products and encouraging customers to provide feedback.
5. Focus on Directories & Social Media
Once you’ve got the basics of your online presence covered, it’s time to expand your range. If you haven’t yet ventured into the world of social media and directory sites, they’re marvelous places to spread the word and connect with prospective clients.
Directory sites are often a go-to during a client’s research phase, so your presence on the site can help confirm your professionalism. Some directory sites not only list businesses, which in itself can direct more traffic to your site, but often create “Top 10” lists for different industry sectors. For example, a financial advisor may try to be featured on a “top 10 financial web designs” list, creating more opportunities for your company name to be found.
These lists are usually related to a specific geographic region as well, and making it onto the Top 10 list for your hometown can further boost your standing. But in order to be considered, you’ve got to take the first step and set up a profile on the directory.
As far as social media is concerned, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are effective places to start. Each social media post helps to build brand awareness and is another way to drive traffic to your site. And if creating one more stream of traffic to your site isn’t enough, social media profiles often rank in the search results for your business.