10 Online Reputation Management Tips for Businesses

When people search for your business, they should ideally find your company website, your social media accounts and positive posts on review sites. These 10 tips will help your efforts to achieve that lofty goal.

By James A. Martin
Mon, August 27, 2012

CIO — Your company's reputation is its most important asset. If it's tarnished, you can lose customers, sales, employees and partners.

That's not exactly breaking news, of course, but it's worth repeating. So many businesses don't pay full attention to their online reputation—how good (or bad) they look in Google searches.

The key to protecting your brand, according to online reputation management experts, is to be proactive, optimize your content appropriately, monitor your search results regularly, be ready to spring into action if something negative shows up and, above all, be realistic about the outcome of your efforts.

Here are 10 online reputation management tips to help your business protect its brand.

1. Optimize Your Site with Your Company Name.

Optimize several pages on your website using what's probably your most important keyword phrase—your company's name—advises Andy Beal, CEO of social media monitoring company Trackur.

Why? Google will likely see your site as the ultimate authority on your company. Authoritativeness on a topic is one of many important signals the search engine considers when matching content to a search query and then ranking that content among other results, Beal says. By properly optimizing more than one page for your company name, you'll help keep those pages at or near the top of search results. Not only does this give your site greater visibility in search results, it may also help push down not-so-positive content about your company that you can't control.

The best practice is to use your company name in important places such as the HTML title tag and URL (if possible), particularly on pages that describe your company, such as About Us or Contact Us.

Also, some companies refer to themselves in the first person on their websites, Beal notes&Mdash;"We build widgets that last" instead of "The Widget Company builds widgets that last." Using the third-person voice is a better option, he adds, because it reinforces your company name to the search engines.

2. Diversify Your Web Presence.

Your goal should be to proactively own as many slots in the Google top 10 search results for keywords you care about, says Don Sorenson, president of Big Blue Robot, which offers corporate online reputation management services. For one thing, it shows your companys dominance in that topic. For another, you'll have a better chance of keeping negative content about your company or its products out of the top 10.

"You'll never be able to just get rid of negative stuff you can't control," Sorenson says, citing examples such as bad Yelp reviews or negative newspaper articles. "But you can at least balance it with positive content you do control."

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