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Brendan Egan

SEO Reputation Management: A Lesson From Politicians

As a resident and business owner in Illinois, and more specifically Chicago, when I think of politicians I don’t generally have a very positive image come to mind.  With our last two governors in federal prison and dozens of other senators, representatives, and local politicians under investigation or on trial, I’m simply in the majority of people who have little faith in many of our elected officials.  And coming from that background, it’s about this time of the year through November that I turn off the TV because I’m sick to death of political commercials.

Okay, I won’t make this article about politics, let’s get back on track here — one thing I noticed early on in 2012 during the Republican primaries was the importance of online marketing.  I don’t have the exact figures, but I know Mitt Romney spent a good deal of money on online marketing and branding.  Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, didn’t appear to spend quite as much.  As many of us know, Newt had some negative stories swirling around his presidential campaign, including marital issues, and when you Googled phrases like “Newt Gingrich ex wife” and other search phrases, you found all sorts of negative stories on various news sites.  In my opinion, Newt didn’t engage in proper online reputation management.

Imagine if Newt had invested a little bit of money in writing a high quality article addressing all his marital problems in a forthcoming, honest, and positive manner.  Then he had a firm do a little basic SEO to rank that article and variations of it on the top of search results, on top of all the negative stories from the media.  The cost and time associated with this would be negligible for a presidential candidate, but he would be reaching thousands potentially millions of searchers who were looking up his personal information before they went out to vote in the primaries.  And best of all, they would be finding the truth and viewing Newt as a truthful man who was forthcoming with his problems (sounds like political gold to me).

Now I know most of us aren’t running to president or any sort of political office, but let’s apply that to your business.  It’s a reality of running a business that some customers are going to be upset with you or your business.  Whether the customer is just a little off and has unrealistic expectations or maybe you were having an off day and something slipped through the cracks, it happens, but it shouldn’t ruin your business’ reputation because overall you have hundreds of other happy customers.  And we all know — a customer who is upset is exponentially more likely to go write bad review than a customer who is happy with your business.  So now you’re stuck with that one negative review killing you — when someone searches for your company name and testimonials, reviews, or complaints, that one review comes up time and time again.  It isn’t going away–it will likely be there for the life of your business.

Now there’s a simple solution — try and ask the angry customer to remove the review if you can reach some sort of resolution — a refund, free service, etc.  That’s just a good business practice no matter what the situation.  But many times it won’t work, which is where SEO reputation management can come into play.  Since we can’t remove the review, what if we just burry it in the search results by having other pages rank on page 1 with positive reviews?

It’s a fairly easy practice, just takes a little bit of time, leg work, and some positive reviews from your current happy customers,  But it’s completely doable, and relatively affordable.  Most consumers don’t understand that sometimes there’s going to be an upset customer, they ignore your 100 positive reviews but focus on those 3 negative reviews and do business elsewhere.  I know it happens because I catch myself doing it sometimes.  But with reputation management SEO, we can hide those negative reviews with positive reviews or with other information about your business so a few bad reviews won’t ruin your entire business’ online presence.