When you’re having a reputation management issue you want results yesterday. We totally understand. While we always take reputation management issues seriously, and of course we get right to work for you, results are not automatic. We ask our clients to give us 3 months minimum to start seeing results. The good news is that once you’ve begun a reputation management campaign you’ll reap the benefits for months or years to come.
Why do results take so long?
Often reputation management becomes the obvious solution after a problem has been growing for some time. If the problem has existed for months, it’s going to take at least months to get to the solution too. We know that’s probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but we’re here to explain why it works this way.
Reputation management campaigns work in a similar way as SEO campaigns in that we are going to be creating content for your brand. This takes time to get on Google’s radar, as Google doesn’t recognize new articles or pages instantly. In fact, it can take up to 6 weeks for Google to index new pages. If the harmful stories and sites have been around longer than your new content, it will take time to move them from the top slots in Google and get your new pages to show up.
That’s why here at Zonion we work on a long term strategy that builds up your online reputation over time. By the way, anyone who tells you that they can fix the problem in 30 days or less is probably not going to actually solve any problems for you. It’s a long game, but we play to win.
Here’s what the process involves:
Know thy enemy
In order to effectively combat negative feedback related to your company, we’ll need to fully understand the problem. While we will do our own due diligence to make sure that we find everything we can, it’s also helpful for you to send us anything that you know about the situation.
For example, you’ll want to honestly assess the situation and understand whether or not there is any truth in what the negative reviews or articles say. While we don’t intend for you to focus heavily on the bad info, if there is any truth to their claims, it’s good to know what they are saying, why they are saying it, and how we can address it in a way that puts a positive spin on the situation.
Should we even address the negativity?
We believe that negative information about your business needs to be addressed so that you can get your side of the story front and center. For those that don’t bother to address the situation, it can get worse. Every brand has issues, and by addressing those issues upfront, you become more transparent, which helps to build your likeability and trustworthiness to future clients.
Alert us to any future threats
Sure, this might feel a bit like an episode of Scandal, but if we’re going to help manage your reputation properly we’ll need to understand future zingers the other guys might have ready so we can beat them to the punchline. Anything that would be available publically or easily researched about your brand should be brought to our attention so we can map out the right strategy and watch your back, while also creating positive content on your behalf.
SEO Strategy & Research
If you read our previous article on SEO – Why Does it Take So Long? then you’re already aware of the work that goes into this type of campaign. And, the reality is, reputation management is very much an SEO project.
The difference, of course, is that not only are we going to be researching search terms that your ideal clients are using to find you, but we’re also going to research the terms that your naysayers are using to give your brand a bad name.
In order for reputation management to get results, there has to be a game plan in place. What does that look like? Depending on what damage is being done online, there are many different strategies that your team will want to take on your behalf. One thing we’ve learned from our work in reputation management is that there is no cookie cutter strategy that works for every brand. Of course, creating new strategies from scratch means we’ll need time to create and implement the tools that will help your reputation grow in a positive way.
Creation of New Content
Now that the research has been done, and keywords and topics have been decided on, it’s time to create new content. The creation of new content can involve creating new landing pages, articles, social media, ads, you name it. The best strategies will include several of the above content creation strategies.
Now, before you run off and just create random content, it’s important to remember how important it is to have good content. What do we mean by good content? It’s got to be readable, interesting, credible, and educational. This happens with the implementation of both copy and design.
The quality of your new content is going to be very important for your campaign. We can’t stress that enough. You need to have articles and pages that people actually want to read. In the far gone days of SEO writing, it was acceptable to create a page that just repeated phrases over and over again without really giving much thought to the reader on the other side of that page. Those days are thankfully over.
You see, Google’s algorithm is so smart that it is able to judge whether content is useful for the end user or not. Useful content ranks higher than non-useful content. The knee jerk reaction that many people have to this fact is one of frustration, “Why can’t I just put up pages with strings of keywords and see results.” However, if you think about it, this is actually a very good thing – for you.
How is this good? Well, when you work with us, you get expert copywriters creating your content. They understand the way SEO works, as well as what makes copy compelling. Put those two techniques together, and now you have a powerful resource at your fingertips. Having engaging copy keeps people on your page longer – reducing your bounce rate, which of course helps your rankings too.
Of course with this good news comes just a bit of bad news. Ready for it? Good copy takes time. Trust us when we say that you don’t want us throwing together a bunch of articles for you in a week just so you can get them out there fast. It will do you no good. First of all, there is research involved with any good piece of copy. Research takes time. Then, there is the draft writing stage, followed by a revision round that happens before you even see a first draft. Then, you’ll get the draft to review and be able to request edits. Since copy is part science (research, formulas, best practices) and part art (creativity) you can’t rush it and expect great results.
Compelling design is also an important aspect of having pages that Google ranks well and that compels your visitors to stay and become readers.
The good news is that your design doesn’t need to be over the top – just good clean design that makes sense for the product or service you offer and helps the reader enjoy your content. Images should be complementary to the writing. The pages should look professional and be easy to read (For example, forget red text on a black background, unless you’re going for that conspiracy theory vibe).
The good news is that when you work with us, we’ll make sure your design is top notch, but that of course takes – you guessed it – time. You just can’t rush greatness!
Repeat previous steps
Once your initial reputation management campaign kicks off, it’s time to monitor, revise, and create new content on a repeating cycle. This is where the time factor really comes into play. As your reputation management team goes into management mode, they will need to reassess the SEO terms that are used, consistently add new terms, create new content, and they will also have to make changes and edits to previous content for optimization.
Can’t we just ask Google to take down the negative reviews and call it a day?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. While there are instances where Google removes listings from the search rankings, it is rare for them to do so, and you shouldn’t rely on it as a valid solution to your problem.
Long term strategies are the best
The good news is that while we can’t necessarily get the negative content removed, we can help it to become less relevant. As your own positive content starts making its way higher up in the search rankings, the negative content will start shifting to later pages on Google. As those negative sites move lower on the search rankings, they will start to get less traffic/clicks. Less clicks tells Google that the content is less relevant, and over time the ranking for that site could drop even further to page 3, 4, 5…etc. As your content starts moving up.
By consistently building your brand reputation online, not only will you start to see those negative reviews and feedback go away, but you’ll be building a reputation that will be harder for someone to dull with a bad review in the future.
Are you ready to get started with reputation management? Please get in touch with us here and we’ll respond with next steps on how we can remove the smudge from your online reputation so that your brand can shine.