Tips to Keep Your Online Reputation Healthy

Manage and Maintain Your Business’ Healthy Reputation

Any successful business in 2019 knows the importance of a healthy online reputation. An online reputation plays a huge part in the overall success of a business, and for that reason, it’s wise to focus on it when working on your marketing strategy. In this blog, we’ll teach you a few ways to maintain a healthy reputation across the internet for your business. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to boost your online reputation, be sure to read through more of our blogs, like Reputation Management Tips For Local Businesses and The Many Different Kinds of Reviews and How to Respond to Them.

Get The Right Domain

Even if you don’t want a website for your business (you should absolutely have one, but that’s a different blog), you should own all of the web domains that include your business name. Not only does buying these up early ensure that you have options, but it helps to ensure that no one can overcharge you for a domain later on. So many businesses have made the mistake of leaving their best domain names on the table and have had to pay thousands, if not tens or hundreds (in rare cases) of thousands of dollars to claim them later on. You don’t want to be one of those businesses, so snag your rightful domain name while you can.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is an incomparably valuable tool for businesses. Not only can it be a stellar review source, but its main utility is in its name — it’s social. Your customers can recommend you to their friends and build a community around their affinity for your business. After all, people lead their lives on social media now. Why shouldn’t your business be a part of that? Plus, complete and oft-updated profiles are great for SEO (search engine optimization).

Work To Be On Page One of Google

We’re sure you know this already, but it bears repeating. Being on the front page of Google is a goal each and every business should strive for. There’s a good reason web marketing companies are so heavily SEO focused right now  — being on the first page of Google is vital to a business’ success. You can do this by taking an active role in your business’ SEO strategy. 

Blog Your Heart Out

Speaking of “taking an active role in your business’ SEO strategy,” blogging is the number one way to do that. Uploading new and relevant content on a regular basis is the best way to make sure that you are giving it your all to get your business to rank on Google. Always use relevant keywords and category tags, as that will help address the specific questions your target audience is asking their search engines.

Lean On The Professionals

Allocating funds to pay for professional reputation management is a phenomenal choice for any business. Although it certainly pays to be educated about reputation management and take an active role yourself, the professionals have the tools and knowledge the typical business owner simply does not. Seek out a reputation management solution that accommodates you, your schedule, your budget, and your experience.

Want to make your business’ reputation shine online? Sign up for Top Rated Local® today. We collect reviews from all over the internet to come up with a cumulative Rating Score® that gives us an all-over view of what your online reputation really looks like. See what our proprietary Rating Score system can do to help you get a grasp on your overall online reputation.

Reputation Management Tips for Local Businesses

People who own local businesses often make the mistake of ignoring or failing to maintain their online reputation. Don’t miss out on the many benefits of online reputation management for your local business!

From restaurants to plumbers, every local business needs a great online reputation.

Your business’ online reputation matters, and that’s true regardless of how much business you actually do online. Whether you’re a mom-and-pop coffee shop or operate a full-blown retail store on your website, you absolutely need to take ownership of your business’ reviews and online reputation — the future and success of your business depend on it!

If you’ve had a chance to read our last blog — The Importance Of Reviews For Local Businesses — then you already have a good understanding of why reviews are so essential for your business’ online reputation. Today, we’ll be going over the many things you can do as a local business to build your business’ online reputation and keep it strong.

10 Reputation Management Tips Every Local Business Needs to Know

#1. Commit to providing great customer service.

A lot of things go into your business’ online reputation, but the most visible aspect of that reputation to prospective customers consists of the reviews your customers have given you. While a negative review here or there won’t hurt you, most business owners would prefer to have as many five-star reviews as possible. But here’s the thing — in order to get five-star reviews, you have to provide five-star service.

Great customer service is something that every business needs to prioritize, especially when you consider how much competition your typical local business has. For example, say you run a pool service company. Most other pool service companies offer similar services as you, and for a similar price as well. So what can you do to make your business stand out? Provide the kind of customer service that will wow your customers and make them want to go online to tell the world about it.

#2. Claim your business listings.

The first step any business should take in building and maintaining their online reputation is to claim your business listings on any and every possible review and/or directory platform. After all, your business is already listed, so you may as well reap all of the benefits that come with claiming the listing. Why is this important? Here are a few of the top reasons:

  • Build trust with your audience – When you claim your listing, you’re also making sure that any information about your business is accurate. That’s also why consumers tend to trust verified listings more than nonverified listings.
  • Respond to reviews – One of the biggest benefits of claiming your listing is that it allows you to respond to reviews about your business.
  • Increase your business’ visibility – Having multiple verified listings means that a link to your website exists on all of those sites — trusted sites that Google sees as authoritative — will help to improve your business’ rankings in the SERP (search engine results pages), making you more visible and getting your name in front of more people.

#3. Prioritize social media management.

Social media management is an essential part of any effective marketing strategy these days, but it’s simply not enough to have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, etc. You need to be active on social media. Social media a powerful tool for any business owner this day and age, because these platforms allow you to interact with a wider audience, develop your brand and learn all about the customers you’re targeting.

Another big benefit of being more active on social media is that it will help your posts — as well as your website — rank better in the SERP. This is especially important if there’s any negative information about your business out there. The more positive content you have, the further down in the results the negative information will be pushed.

A good social media management strategy includes researching your competition, getting to know your audience, sharing your story and posting interesting, original content on a regular basis.

#4. Pay attention to your online reputation.

Your online reputation is there — either growing or diminishing — all of the time, whether you are actively managing it or not. You can’t wish your business’ online reputation away, and ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t exist won’t help, either. That’s why, if you take nothing else away from this article, we hope you learn why it’s essential to pay close attention to your online reputation.

How can you possibly build the kind of online reputation you want, if you don’t know what kind of online reputation your business already has? It’s imperative that you monitor your online reputation closely so that you can be proactive about addressing any issues that come up. Plus, when you have a better understanding of what the online reputation your business already has, you can form a better plan to help you mold it into what you want it to be.

A few things you can do to stay on top of your business’ online reputation:

  • Set up Google Alerts – Google will notify you when new content containing keywords you preselect — like your business name — is published.
  • Monitor your reviews – Reviews can be published across a variety of platforms, but no matter where they are posted — or whether they are negative or positive — it’s important to respond as soon as you can, which means that you need to monitor your reviews.
  • Monitor blog comments – Blogging, as we’ll learn more about soon, is a great reputation management tool, but if you’ve opened comments up on your blog, you need to make it a point to monitor those comments.
  • Ask your customers! – It never hurts to ask your customers what they think about your business and how it’s perceived online.

#5. Write blogs on your website!

SEO is a vital part of your business’ online reputation management strategy. When you can ensure that the first few results in the SERP for specific keywords consist of your website, your Facebook page, your Instagram page, your LinkedIn page, etc., you can push down any results that may not be so favorable or positive for your business. But how do you ensure that your website ranks well on Google and other search engines? Publish new content on your website regularly!

The phrase, “content is king,” has been a mantra in the SEO industry since the beginning, and it still rings true today. Blogging is one of the best ways to do that, and as an added bonus, you can use your blogs to better inform and educate your customers. Blogs are also very shareable on social media sites, and they help to establish your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.

#6. Start asking for reviews.

A lot of business owners get hung up about the idea of asking their clients for reviews, and some of them even think that reviews that are asked for somehow aren’t legitimate. However, if you’re really dedicated to building an effective online reputation for your business, failing to ask for reviews is no longer an option.

A lot of people simply don’t write reviews on their own, because they don’t think about it. And if they do think about it, it’s probably because they are unhappy and want to vent a little about their experience. The simple fact is that people are much more likely to write a review on their own if they’re unhappy than if they were satisfied with their experience.

Asking for reviews helps to ensure that all customers, whether they’re happy or not, will get a chance to share their feedback with you and the world. Plus, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for reviews! As long as you’re not bribing customers to write a review or directing what your customers are saying in the reviews, there’s absolutely no reason to feel uneasy about asking for a review.

#7. Respond to every review.

While it’s important to ask for reviews, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to control what your customers choose to put in those reviews. You can only control what you do and how you respond to their feedback, and you absolutely should, regardless of whether that feedback comes in the form of a glowing, five-star review or a bleak, one-star review.

When someone leaves a five-star review about your business, make sure that you thank them for taking the time to write that review. As we mentioned, writing reviews doesn’t exactly come naturally to most people, so recognize the effort they took to write the review. And when someone leaves a negative review, it’s even more important to respond to it!

If the negative review consists of honest feedback for your business, take it to heart, apologize and take steps to make it right. And if the negative review consists of misleading or, worse, wasn’t even written one of your customers, responding will help you to set the record straight.

The bottom line is that responding to reviews allows you to control the conversation.

#8. Learn from your business’ reviews!

You can learn a lot about how your customers perceive your business by reading and paying attention to your online reviews. Of course, stuff happens, and one bad experience isn’t necessarily indicative of the kind of service you offer day in and day out. However, that doesn’t mean that those one-off issues aren’t important, or that you can’t learn anything from reading your reviews.

One of the best ways to learn what areas of your service need a little improvement is to look for overarching themes in your reviews — particularly the negative ones. For example, if eight people have complained about your technicians showing up late, it’s not a one-off issue — it’s an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed.

#9. Know what to do about fake reviews.

Fake reviews, as well as competitor reviews, occasionally happen. But like with everything else, it’s how you deal with those fake reviews that makes the biggest difference. Here’s what to do when you get a fake review:

  • Never point out that a review is fake – If you craft a response to a fake review, it’s not helpful to point out that it’s fake — this will only make you look petty. Instead, say something like, “We don’t have a record of having done business with you in the past, but we’d love to address your concern. We invite you to call or email us to discuss your experience.”
  • Flag the review with the website’s administrator – Some review sites allow businesses to flag reviews that aren’t appropriate. However, you should know that it can take a long time for a fake review to come down — and that’s if it comes down at all. But it doesn’t hurt to try!
  • Generate more authentic reviews! – The very best way to deal with fake reviews is to drown them out with legitimate reviews, so make it a point to start asking for them!

#10. Consider hiring a reputation management specialist.

An effective reputation management strategy won’t happen overnight and isn’t a one-time thing. Reputation management is a long-term strategy that has a lot of moving parts, and it can be a lot for a business owner to take on. If you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to your business’ online reputation, you aren’t doing it any favors.

Hiring a professional to help you manage your business’ online reputation will free you up to do what you do best — which is running your business!

Start managing your business’ online reputation with Top Rated Local®!

Your business’ online reputation can make or break your success, and we hope that these tips will give you a good idea about how to create the kind of reputation you want. One of the easiest things you can do to start taking control over your online reputation is to claim your listing with Top Rated Local today!

New York’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2019

At Top Rated Local®, we are all about supporting local businesses. That’s why we are so incredibly excited to announce New York’s Top Rated Local businesses for 2019!

The total number of verified review sites, the average overall star rating a business has on those sites, and the total number of ratings/reviews they have posted on those sites all play a role in the overall Rating Score™ calculation. The more ratings/reviews a business has posted on verified review sites, as well as the higher the average overall star rating, the higher the Rating Score. The highest possible Rating Score is 100.

All of these businesses shine because of their service and quality of work. We would like to give a special shout out to Remedi Spa, the number one business in the state!

Our New York award winners have an average Rating Score™ of 95.80 with an average star rating of 4.89 on verified review sites, and they are a shining example of what New York local business can be. You can find the full list of New York’s Top Rated Local award winners here.

Congratulations to all of our New York winners for 2019! We are thrilled to celebrate this accomplishment with you. Keep serving your customers well and making your state proud!

Ask A Reputation Manager: Zach and Nolan

Who is Nolan?

Nolan is half of the reputation management leadership dream team at Top Rated Local. He has been doing reputation management for more than two years and worked in search engine optimization before this

Who is Zach?

Zach, coincidentally, is also half of the aforementioned reputation management leadership dream team here at Top Rated Local. He has been working in reputation management for a year and a half and comes from a military background.

We sat Zach and Nolan down to get an overall feel for reputation management and what it can do for businesses. Here’s what they had to say:

What drew you to reputation management?

N: I think there’s a big opportunity in the world of online reviews, specifically for small businesses. There’s also quite a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding about what is the proper form and cadence when it comes to dealing with online reviews. With the growing significance [reviews] have in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), it was a no brainer for me to join the team.

Z: I kind of went into the role not knowing what all it included, but I definitely learned how important and imperative this role is for small businesses. 

How did apply your previous experience to reputation management?

N: First and foremost, I come from a background of leadership. Also, being confident in my writing definitely helps. It helps me to respond to reviews and work with clients better, as well as develop the strong communication it takes for our clients to be successful. The thing Zach and I have in common most is our dedication to continued learning

Z: I was also a very competent writer in college. One of my degrees is in communication, so a lot of writing goes along with that. The knowledge that the Marine Corps would let me be in charge of lives helped me lead this team. I gain knowledge from our team and incorporating it into my daily work.

Are there any stories that stand out to you from your experience as a reputation manager?

Z: My second or third client when I started here, their reviews did so well with our help that they were able to put up a fourth location — in a pretty tough industry as well.

N: One common thread we see is people’s frustration with other review platforms and their restrictions. They say “I hate reviews” because they’ve only had bad experiences with these platforms. So, I think that says a lot. 

What is the benefit of having a whole team of reputation managers working together with their own individual clients?

Z:  Ideas are always flowing everywhere. We all bounce ideas off of each other first. That’s what has led us to create a powerhouse of Reputation Managers. Everyone’s on the same playing field because we have that knowledge pool all together.

N: That’s the number one thing for sure. I think it also helps that the people on our team are really different. That really works to our benefit in a lot of ways, because we get a lot of different perspectives. Our clients and the people responding to their reviews don’t come from one background, and neither do we. 

Why is it important for businesses to have a solid understanding of reputation management?

Z: When you’re dealing with businesses that don’t have much of a name for themselves or aren’t very well established, reviews can be the only thing that makes them noticeable next to the guy that’s been on the block for 20 years

N: At Top Rated Local, we’re looking primarily at local businesses. When those businesses are competing for attention in a local market, it’s on the internet now. They don’t go to their aunts, uncles, and cousins to ask for recommendations anymore. They take the opinion of a total stranger, so they need those gold stars. 

If you could leave our readers with one vital reputation management tip, what would it be?

N: Not a shameless plug, but you need to be using Top Rated Local. That’s my number one power tip.

Z: Get yourself out of the mindset that on-site testimonials are a benefit to you. Everything you do with reviews needs to be online now.

Thank you so much for your time, Zach and Nolan! If you’re interested in seeing what Top Rated Local can do to elevate your business’ online reputation, sign up here today.

How to Keep Your Corporate and Personal Reputations Separate

Keeping Your Personal and Professional Social Media Separate

One of the biggest mistakes you could make when it comes to your business’ social media management is letting your personal life bleed over into your professional life for the world to see. You want all of your content to directly reflect your business’ brand. That means keeping personal things personal and professional things professional. In this blog, we’ll teach you some of the dos and don’ts that will help you make your business stand out on social media — for the right reasons.


Always Have Separate Accounts

This goes along with the whole “keep it professional” thing. Your business should have an account of its very own where you can really nurture and grow its brand. Not only does this allow you to make sure your brand gets the attention it deserves, but it makes it far easier to keep separate the things you want to share with friends and family and the things you want to share with the entire world. This also helps to ensure there is no crossover of your personal and business social media presence. Just make sure to keep business matters on the business profile and personal things on your personal profile.

Show Them Who You Are

Social media can work as an excellent, invaluable tool for branding. But, in order for it to do so, you need to be clear on what your brand is in the first place. A good way to determine what you want you voice to be is to learn a thing or two from your competitors. Scope out the competition and see what their audiences seem to respond to and what they don’t. Then take the things you learn and apply your brand’s very own spin to make it unique.

Keep It Casual — But, Business Casual

No matter what industry you’re in, you want your target audience to think you’re approachable and friendly — but not too friendly. Always keep it professional on social media, whatever your business is. You can decide how much of your business’, well… business is aired on social media. But, it is of the utmost importance that you make sure to always respond promptly and courteously to your followers.


Air Your Grievances on Your Personal Profile

Running a business is hard, and seeing as social media is a place where many people go to vent or unload their frustrations with all aspects of life, it can be tempting to complain about the challenges that come along with your business on your personal social media profiles. However, it can be incredibly harmful to put it all out there when it comes to your business. Keep your complaints private, it’ll really enhance your professionalism.

Knockoff Someone Else’s Brand

Individualism is key for any business’ social media presence. Although it is absolutely beneficial to check out what your competitors are doing on social media to get ideas, the last thing you want to do is completely copy their branding. All that does is make you blend in, which is absolutely not what you want. Apply strategy and thought to your business’ social media presence and carve out your own space on social media. 

Feed The Trolls

This one is actually good advice for both personal and business profiles, but we’ll focus on the business side of things. There are going to be people who don’t like what you’re doing, and often, those people are a vocal majority. Don’t feed into genuinely rude comments or posts regarding your business. If someone has a genuine concern, address that as you would a negative review, but don’t get mean. Bottom line: keep it professional.

Interested in finding out how Top Rated Local® can help you manage your business’ online reputation? Sign up today.