How Should A Business Monitor Their Online Reputation?Katie Pray
As a business owner, there are a lot of things to keep track of. Do you have enough inventory? Can you pay your employees? How can you increase your sales? What are people saying about your business? With so many different outlets for people to speak their mind and leave their opinion, it can be a slippery slope. It is great to get your name out there in a positive light, but if people don’t have nice things to say about you, that can really hurt the reputation of your business. For some reason, people love to share their negative experiences that they have, but often forget to leave a positive review for a business if they had a good experience. Dissatisfied customers typically tell nine to 15 other people about their experience, while a customer who has a positive experience, on the other hand, is unlikely to leave a good review, UNLESS ASKED!
A strong online reputation is imperative for businesses because it can really affect their sales. But how can a business owner possibly keep up with what is being said about them online to make sure they are maintaining a positive reputation online? Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Online Reputation Management platform is the answer to that question.
There is no question that the consumer buying process has changed. These days most people do research online about a product, business, or service before they make the purchase. One of the first things many people do is check for online reviews. The social proof in reviews and star ratings helps consumers shortcut their research and make decisions faster and with greater confidence. Not only do great reviews help give consumers trust in your business, but reviews can also help you rank higher on search engines, with reviews also impacting how a website ranks in the Google Snack Pack and in organic local search results.
Search Engine Optimization, Online Reputation Management, and reviews are all kind of like dominoes in the sense that one affects the other. If you have good reviews and a good online reputation, you’re going to have a better ranking in search traffic. If you have negative reviews, that could decrease your ranking, so you want to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps in order to have the highest ranking on that first page of Google. Ninety-two percent of searchers click on the results they find on page one of Google. Now, I certainly wasn’t a math major in college, but it’s not hard to do the math on that one and realize that only leaves 8% of the population going past the first page of Google.
Google looks at over 200 different factors in their algorithm when it comes to where a website ranks, but how is one supposed to keep up with that? There are certain things that a business owner can do to maximize their ranking for free, and then there are other things a business should look at hiring a professional for. One thing a business can do on their own is maximize their Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a free listing dashboard that Google uses to learn about a business, and Google likes to see that it is being optimized. This is a simple tool that a business can use and log into where they can update their hours, upload photos, share posts, etc., to let consumers let know of any changes that might take place.
When it comes to the more technical side of things, that’s where a business might want to have a professional look at their SEO because again, there are over 200 factors that Google looks at, and they are constantly changing and updating. If you are looking at a company to help you with Search Engine Optimization you should ask them if they include all of the following optimizations:
- Title Tags
- Meta Description Tags
- ALT Tags
- URL Structure
- Quality and Freshness of Content
- Site Maps
- Inbound/Outbound Links
- Website Loading Speed
- Error Messages
- Voice Search Optimization
- Submitting to Online Directories
- Submitting to Search Engines
- Online Reputation Management
One of the off-page factors we’re going to dig into a little deeper is the Online Reputation Management tool. This is a platform that consist of monitoring, improving, and maintaining the publicly available information that is listed online about a business, all in one location. With this dashboard, a business can log in and see a plethora of information that is found online. Here is an example of what the “Overview” tab looks like that includes the average review summary, insights, listing summary, top review websites, competition, and any mentions of a business.
Review Summary- Total reviews and the average those reviews have received
Insights- See what customers are saying about the business
Listing Summary- How many listings are found on the internet and how many have accurate information, possible errors, or no information found
Top Review Sites- What review websites are receiving the highest review activity
Competition- A local search presence versus a competitor
Recent Mentions- Any mentions found about a business
If we dig a little bit deeper into the platform, there is a lot of information that a business can uncover about what is being said and found about their business online. Let’s start off and take a look at the “Reviews” tab. As I mentioned earlier, customers reviews can have a significant impact of a business’s reputation since 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.
Under the “Reviews” tab, if you open the subtab of “Manage Reviews”, here is where the business can log in and monitor various key sources across the Internet, all from one place. Here is where they will see the average aggregate rating of all reviews, along with the total number of reviews. They can also compare themselves to the industry average to make sure they are ranking above the industry average.
The business can analyze the top ten keywords that customers use most often in reviews. This section right here will provide a lot of insight as to what customers are saying about the business. The most important action on this page is going to be responding to reviews, both positive and negative. The nice thing about this platform is that if you’re unsure of what to say, the dashboard has review response suggestions to use. These are recommend based on the sentiment of the review, so you’ll be confident in your response.
Under the “Statistics” subtab, the business can see their reviews showcased over time and can analyze and see what time periods they were receiving good, bad, or even no reviews at all. If they see a lull in reviews, this is a good time to reach out to customers and ask them to leave a review. Here they can see the average time that takes to respond to reviews, which is important for keeping current customers happy, but it also shows potential customers that the business is responsive. They can see what review websites are garnering the most reviews by checking out the Top Review Sites.
The “Insights” subtab allows the business to dig deep a little bit deeper into their customer reviews. The “trending keywords” are analyzed for sentiment, which means how positively or negatively that word is used in the reviews. For example, the word “boots” is neutral, and if you click on the word, you can then see how many times it has been used in various reviews, and you can even see if it is on an up or down trend in sentiment. Here is where you can see how customers describe that keyword, and when those words are clicked on, you can see all the reviews that mention that keyword. You can use these statistics to see what customers really love about your business, and areas that could use some improvement.
It’s important to make sure that a businesses’ name, address, and phone number is listed on as many listing sources as possible, but you also want to make sure that data is accurate and consistent. Under the “Listings” tab is the “Primary Listings” subtab, and this is going to analyze key information on search engines, review sites, directories, and social media sites. Under “Listing Score”, this is the percentage of directory listings that have correct information about the business. The “Business Information” listed at the top is what is used to match the information that is listed on the various sites, so if the details listed in the “Business Information” section are incorrect, you want to be sure to edit that, so it is displaying the correct information. This is something we work on as well as part of our SEO campaigns – making sure all your information is correct across all the major online directories.
Continuing under the “Listing” tab is the “Citations” subtab. Citations are all of the websites that display the business’ phone number and they tend to be smaller, hyper local, and industry specific sites. This platform will pull in lots of interesting information, so if you click on that result, it will bring you to that page where the citation is found.
Within the “Statistics” subtab, the business can monitor the listing score of that business and the total number of citations found, and this is good information to have because you see how that business has improved over time.
Under the “Google Q&A” subtab, this is where a business can see all the questions and answers that the public has left in the Google My Business Listing info that appears in your Knowledge Graph on the Google search page when someone searches your business name. This is important to monitor because the business wants to make sure the answers to those questions are correct and professional, because anyone is able to answer a question asked within the Knowledge Graph of a listing. The business is alerted each time there is a new question asked, so be sure to utilize that feature so you are the first one to respond. You also want to make sure that there are not any unanswered questions. A good practice is to ask and answer your own questions (sort of like FAQs) so that you’re providing new and potential customers with frequently asked questions about your business.
The “Competition” tab is a great place to keep tabs on other companies in the area and industry. Here, the business can monitor their presence on search engines and compare it with competitors. They can also benchmark their social media audience against that of their competitors so that you’re able to determine if customers are finding your business online, or if they are finding the competition.
A lot of people like to express their opinions on websites, blogs, news articles, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but as a business owner, wouldn’t it be nice to know what they’re saying about your business? With the “Mentions” tab, you can discover what people are saying about your business on other sites in order to maintain that positive online reputation.
Then under the “Mentions Timeline” subtab, you can see if that particular mention was positive or negative.
The “Social” tab is where a business can monitor likes, followers, and see all their posts in one place within a specified date range.
The “Reports” tab is where you can see weekly reports. When you click on a certain week, you will see a recap of everything the dashboard is monitoring including recent reviews, top keywords, the average time to respond to reviews, etc. It’s a good idea to refer back to previous reports and compare where you stand today so you can see how you have improved in certain places, and make sure you aren’t slipping in others. For example, if you start to see that it is taking longer and longer each week to respond to reviews, that is something you will want to address.
There is no denying that there is a lot that goes into maintaining all the information that is available about a business out there in cyber space. By having one dashboard that can serve as a roadmap and gather all sorts of information in one spot, it makes it that much easier to stay on top of reviews, mentions, and directory listings, which in turn helps in getting your business listed as high up on that Google search page as possible so more people click to go to your website and gather information, and eventually become a customer or a repeat customer.