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The reputation revolution: How Google reputation management is changing the game for businesses

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by Rockey Simmons

People with raised fists at a demonstration in the city. Multi-ethnic group of people together on strike.

In this article, we will explore the concept of Google reputation management and how it is revolutionizing the way businesses build trust, attract customers, and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Do you trust what you read online?

How much weight do you give to the reputation of a business before making a purchase or booking a service?

Those are serious questions to consider. Because if you’re thinking about them, so is your customer.

Let’s face it.

The internet has obviously changed the way businesses need to manage their reputations.

Before the internet, it was handshakes, word of mouth, and newspaper ads.

The internet has drastically changed the way people and businesses are perceived. Social media and online reviews have made that evident.

Effective Google reputation management requires the use of various tools beyond Google

To be frank, there’s so much more than just managing your reputation on Google.

But this is a great place to start.

Reputation management is essential for any business wanting to protect its image and succeed in the modern, digital world.

Google is one of the primary vehicles used in this effort since improving search results can do wonders for how customers and other people perceive your company.

But … while improving your business’s reputation through Google is necessary, it’s not enough; there are multiple facets to successful reputation management that you must take into account.

Did you know it’s possible for malicious actors to interfere with rankings and create a poor impression with potential customers and partners?

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That’s right, the internet is a maze with trapdoors and uncertainty.

To truly manage your online reputation across various platforms, you’ll need to take these steps:

  • Engaging on social networks like Facebook and Twitter
  • Responding publicly to official reviews
  • Creating informational content that targets your core customer base

These three simple things prove equally beneficial.

That’s because these areas potentially establish trust with visitors while strengthening relationships between you and legitimate sources.

There are more advanced steps you can apply, but we’ll talk about those later.

First, let’s dive deeper into what Google Reputation Management is. Then, we’ll go over the techniques you can do today to build a formidable online reputation.

What is Google reputation management?

Google Reputation Management (GRM) is the active technique of monitoring, managing, and improving a business’s reputation on Google Search.

With Google being the biggest search engine, managing your brand’s reputation online should be focused on Google’s search environment first.

A good GRM plan ensures that potential customers find positive content when searching for your brand and diminishes the chances of them finding negative content.

This approach also helps you outshine your competition, so that prospective customers find it easier to trust in what you say you can do.

But how do you implement an effective strategy and ensure your brand remains competitive and well-respected in today’s digital world?

That starts with leveraging the power of Google search results.

Understanding the power of Google search results

Success starts with understanding how search results affect your reputation, not just your rankings.

People trust what Google says, but more important than that, they trust what consumers say online about the number-one search engine in the world.

This makes understanding the power of Google search results crucial for you. 

Why Google search results matter

For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when they want to learn about a business is to conduct a Google search. That’s why controlling how you position yourself online matters so much.

You’re not at the mercy of Google and what they want to show people. You do have some control over what people find.

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The power of Google search results lies in their ability to influence the perception that consumers have about your business.

Negative reviews or damaging content that appear at the top of search engine results can have a significant impact on whether your business thrives or only manages to squeeze out a few leads every month.

How to use Google Business Profile for reputation management

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that can help you manage your business’s online presence across Google properties, including search and maps. When used correctly, it can be an effective reputation management strategy.

Setting up and using your Google Business Profile

1. Claim and verify your Google Business Profile: Ensure that your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and business hours are accurate and up to date. This will make it easier for potential customers to find you when searching online.

2. Monitor and respond to reviews: Keep an eye on your online reviews and respond to both positive and negative feedback in a timely and professional manner. This shows that you value customer feedback and are actively working to improve your customers’ experience.

3. Use posts: Posts allow you to share updates about your business, including promotions or upcoming events, directly in your Google Business Profile. This can help you to build a positive online reputation and engage with potential customers.

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Just creating a  Google Business Profile and following this simple list above as part of your online reputation management strategy can improve your visibility online, help you connect with potential customers, and build a positive reputation.

4. Use the Q&A feature: Answering questions from potential customers can help to build trust and transparency. Make sure to respond to questions promptly and provide accurate information about your business.

Let’s talk a little more about leveraging your GBP reviews using best practices as it’s a big part of catapulting your credibility.

Tips for responding to negative reviews and content on Google

Negative reviews and harmful content can sometimes be unavoidable no matter how impeccable your service or products are.

But the way you handle negative feedback will directly influence the perception of your business. So, let’s talk about how to respond effectively and professionally.

Best practices for responding to negative reviews

Below, you’ll find some of the best practices when responding to negative reviews.

Publicly acknowledge mistakes with courtesy

Respond to the negative review, apologize for the poor experience, and assure the author that the issue will be addressed.

Give customers a time frame

Never leave a customer in limbo. With email marketing tools that create automated responses, you can easily tell them a time you can address their concerns.

This shows other potential customers that you’re a caring business owner and you’re willing to rectify unsatisfactory experiences in a timely manner.

If appropriate, compensate the customer as a last resort

Offering a free product or service can show that you value their good opinion and want to make things right.

Follow up if you can

If the issue requires further attention or clarification, then you can provide them with your contact information and encourage them to reach out.

Address complaints or issues about your product or service with no excuses

Improving your product or service is the most important part of this entire process. But, if you make excuses, then you undermine your customer’s feelings, which may make them unhappy enough to tell all their friends about how badly you treated them.

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Really hearing the truth and making the right changes to your company processes can help prevent similar negative experiences in the future and show you’re committed to improving your business.

Following these best practices can go a long way towards solving the damage from negative reviews and creating the right trajectory for improving your online reputation.

Dealing with unscrupulous competitors posting fake negative reviews

Let’s address the elephant in the room. This happens. So, you should know how to deal with it when it does.

Dealing with unscrupulous competitors who post fake negative reviews can be frustrating and damaging in ways that hurt more than your bottom line. The first step in combating this issue is to stay vigilant and monitor your online presence for any suspicious activity or fake reviews.

Responding professionally and diplomatically to negative reviews can help mitigate any damage caused and even turn the situation into a positive customer service experience.

It’s also important to flag or report any fake reviews to the review site in question.

Utilizing your loyal customer base to write positive reviews can help to balance out any negative or fake reviews that may be harming your reputation. However, if fake reviews continue to persist, it may be necessary to enlist the help of a reputable reputation management service.

Removing or de-indexing negative content from search engines

Removing negative content from search engines is a multistep process that requires effort and determination.

The first step is usually to contact the website owner and request that they remove the negative content from their website. If this is successful, the content will eventually no longer appear on search engine results.

However, if the owner refuses to remove the content, it can be challenging to get it removed from search engines.

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One solution is to promote positive content about your brand to help bury the negative content in search engine results. By creating and publishing high-quality content, you can build your online reputation and take advantage of the opportunity a strategic content plan can provide.

Another strategy is to work with an online reputation management expert.

These services will conduct an online reputation audit to assess your current reputation and develop a custom online reputation management strategy.

The bonus here is you can also get help with review generation and review response, managing your business listings, and monitoring your social media profiles and online reviews.

De-indexing harmful content from search engines can be a time-consuming process, and results are not guaranteed. But, with professional help, you can boost your results.

ReputationDefender has over 15 years of experience cleaning up and bolstering individual and brand identity.

With that said, you’re probably wondering how social media plays a part in all of this. Let’s unwrap this part of Google’s reputation management now and tie it all together.

Utilizing social media sites for reputation management

Social media has become part of the DNA of online business. Even if you’re not convinced yet, your online reputation is married to social proof.

Every day, social platforms are working hard to improve how businesses interact with customers. That’s why having an effective social media strategy to maintain a positive online reputation and humanize your business is so important.

Creating profiles that positively represent your brand

Creating online profiles that positively represent your brand is key to building a strong brand and maintaining a positive reputation online.

With potential customers relying heavily on online reviews and information available on social platforms to make decisions, it is essential to ensure that the data available online portrays a positive picture of your brand.

Here are some top stats to support our claims:

  • 98% of consumers feel that reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions.
  • 94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business.
  • Three-quarters of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that replies to reviews.

As a result, creating an online profile clearly benefits your online business strategy.

So, what do you do once your profile is up and running?

Once you begin to create your community, posting regularly on social media platforms is a great way to engage with customers, build relationships, and drive traffic to your website. Posting content that adds value for your target audience can also help improve your online reputation.

Do you have a good online reputation? Find out with our free
Reputation Report Card.
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By promoting positive content about your brand, you can help drown out any negativity and increase the visibility of your brand overall.

But the big thing here is to monitor conversations surrounding your brand on social networks and respond appropriately.

Respond quickly to any customer complaints or negative comments and apologize whenever necessary. Your response should be clear and professional, so the customer feels heard and respected.

Mastering the carousel of social media can be a challenge, but these simple tips will help you master the basics for increased online credibility.

The overlooked advantage of a reputation management expert

You can definitely do all of these strategies yourself. You don’t need any special skills to learn them.

In fact, the resources ReputationDefender provides for free can teach you everything you need to know.

But, if you want to bypass the trial-and-error stage, get a personal website, control search results, and suck in excellent online reviews like a vacuum while monitoring them on autopilot, working with a professional online reputation management firm is key.

To get started, grab your free reputation report card.

It instantly shows you how people searching for your business online see you right now.

In the end, Google’s reputation management is a puzzle that requires constant time and dedication to solve as it’s always changing.

If you want to free up your time to work on your business without the stresses of having to manage the complexities of online management yourself, grab your free reputation report card, see what you’d like to improve, and speak with an expert to see how we can help.

This post was contributed by Rockey Simmons, founder of SaaS Marketing Growth.