In the previous section, we explained various methods for pushing down bad results when people search Google or other search engines for your business.
Even if you don’t have any prominently negative “hits” right now, you never know when one might show up. That’s why it’s critical to protect and improve your company’s online reputation.
Google your own business regularly, because if you don’t know what’s being said about you, you’re powerless to deal with it.
We won’t repeat the steps from the previous section, but they’re all important to maintaining an excellent online reputation. Take those steps first. Additionally, consider these strategies:
Stay on top of social media: Merely having a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account/page for your business is just the starting point. If you don’t update these regularly, Google won’t consider them influential, and they’ll fall in prominence on SERPs.
That doesn’t mean you need to spend hours every day creating lengthy posts. Posting small things regularly is far more important than posting large things a few times each month.
Try to take time out to update your company’s social feeds several times a week. Start off small if necessary — just make sure you’re posting.
Monitor the online reputation of major players in your business: If people who hold high-ranking positions in your company have negative online reputations, this can really bite you on the backside.
This is especially true if they have distinctive names, because it’s easy for the Google algorithms to put two and two together and connect them to your business. Monitor what shows up on Google searches for your top people. Take the aforementioned steps to push down any negative hits.
Blog, blog, blog: Let’s be honest: Most people who are busy running a local business don’t want to take time out to regularly create and publish blog posts. That’s totally understandable. You want to focus on what you do well, not constantly be creating online copy.
Regardless, blogging remains one of the best ways to create positive hits for your business. Many freelance bloggers will be happy to create content for your site at a reasonable price.
Just be sure you hire someone who’s experienced and professional. Bad blogging is often worse than no blogging. Monitor your blogger’s posts and correct course as needed.
Don’t be shy about apologizing: If your company messes up and someone reports it online, don’t just let it sit out there. Make a genuine apology to whoever’s been affected. Be sincere, because a disingenuous apology just looks worse.
To err is human. We all make mistakes on occasion, and it will happen to even the best businesses. The key is to own up to a mistake and promise to do everything in your power to prevent it from recurring. If you haven’t already made amends to the upset customer or client, do so immediately.
Remember that appearances count more than reality. It’s always better to make nice with an upset customer than battle over who’s “really” right and who’s wrong. Show that you’re concerned with every customer’s experience and that you’ll do whatever you can to make it right.