How to Repair a Bad Online Reputation
This guide will help you fix the three most common online reputation problems – Bad Reviews, Negative Search Results and Social Media Mistakes.
Who Should Read This Guide?
This online reputation repair guide is specifically written for high profile individuals and businesses who are impacted by damaging reviews and search results.
What do Bad Reviews Look Like?
A bad review is negative feedback that usually results in a one star rating that is visible when someone searches for you or company in a directory like Yelp or professional directory like Health Grades.
Here is an example of a hotel that has multiple complaints on Yelp. After reading this review, it is easy to see why they went out of business.
What do Negative Search Engine Results Look Like?
A negative search engine result is an undesirable complaint or bad review that is visible when someone searches for you or your company in search engines like Google.
Here is an example of a financial services company that has a complaint listed below their website. Every month thousands of people see this damaging result.
How Damaging are Bad Reviews? Why Does Your Online Reputation Matter?
Just to put it into perspective. Imagine for a second that you are looking to open a retirement account where you plan to invest your entire life’s savings. You search Google for “best retirement account” and our example company shows up. You visit their website to get some more information.
A few days pass and you are ready to open an account. Only this time you search the company’s name and you see this complaint website. For due diligence or out of curiosity, you just can’t help yourself and have to click the negative result. It’s irresistible.
In only a few minutes, the article you read has changed your mind. The business you were prepared to have manage all of your money, you no longer trust. Chances are they aren’t a bad company, but it is too risky to work with them.
You are going to find another option and this is exactly what potential customers will do to you or your company if you have a bad online reputation.
Thankfully Some Reviews Can Be Fixed
In the case of many review websites, you can correct the problem by getting more positive reviews. As a result, the star rating will increase and a negative search result can become positive. We’ll discuss strategies for fixing this later.
The biggest problem most individuals and businesses face is negative search results caused by news, blog and complaint sites that cannot be corrected by getting new positive reviews. Oftentimes, it is and editorial piece where a writer is simply told to report the news or write a controversial story.
Do You Suffer From A Damaged Online Reputation?
If you Google your name or the name of your business and the first page contains negative information it is only a matter of time before this happens to you. In the best case scenario, the customer will avoid doing business with you. Worst case, they will tell everyone they know.
In the digital era everyone has a voice, generally speaking, that is a good thing. However, it gives anyone that has a problem with you the opportunity to share that with the world. For some business owners, it was a small misunderstanding that blew up to become a huge issue. For others they may have broken a law or were sued, they fixed the issue and put the misgiving behind them. For others, it’s a bad news story that just won’t die.
Whatever the problem is it can cost your business thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
If someone Google’s your company’s brand and on the first page they see negative articles, especially if those articles are in the top five results then you have a damaged reputation.
What Damaging Information is Out There?
Each company is a little different. Depending on what happened, the size of your business and the amount of money your customers spend will impact the types of content found online.
For businesses with legal trouble, the issues can be court documents, news stories, press releases, mugshots, and arrest records. For businesses that wronged (intentionally or unintentionally) a customer, they can see negative reviews, ripoff reports, BBB complaints, scam advisor reports, videos and even entire websites maintained by those customers. Business owners and board members can have mugshots, negative press, and embarrassing photos.
While each scenario is slightly different, the problem is still the same. When a potential or even current customer sees these reports, they can be scared to do business with you. Not just because of being ripped off but also because they don’t want to be associated with those types of issues.
Do I Need Reputation Repair?
We cannot give a blanket answer but if you Google your company and you see negative information the chances are high that your current and future customers will see the same thing. If this doesn’t bother you, then you may not need to do anything about it. However, if you are like most business owners you understand the damage that this can cause. Even if what is being shown is not true, a lot of customers won’t know for sure and will choose another business just to be safe.
Still have questions? Click on the button below to learn if you need reputation repair.
Hopefully by now you understand the damage that even one negative item showing up on the first page can cause your business and why you need to fix it sooner rather than later.
In the next chapter, we will show you how to assess the damage of an online reputation attack. The assessment phase is helps you learn what people are saying about you and how to best handle the situation. It is natural to want to hide and avoid the issue however facing it head on will be the best thing you can do for your business long term. Go to the next chapter.