Reputation Management Tips for Veterinary Clinics

Effective online reputation management is something every veterinary clinic needs to master.

Veterinary clinics, like every other business, can’t rely on word of mouth like they used to. That’s because, these days, people are less likely to ask a friend, co-worker, or family member for a recommendation than they are to simply google, “veterinary clinic near me.”

With the right online reputation management strategy, not only will you have the best chance of showing up for those “near me” searches in your area, but you’ll also have a lot more control over what people find when they look for your business online.

Knowing how to implement an effective online reputation management strategy is a skill that every local business needs these days, and veterinary clinics are no exception.

4 Key Reputation Management Tips for Veterinary Clinics

#1. Claim your listings on review sites and directories.

Whether or not you’ve taken the time to sign your business up to be on a review site or an online directory is irrelevant – chances are, your veterinary clinic is already listed. These kinds of sites pull their listings in with algorithms, which means that, whatever information was available at the time the algorithm pulled the listing, is the only information that the website in question will have.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you’ve ever moved to a new facility, changed your phone number, or updated your email address, the people who find you on that listing probably won’t be able to get ahold of you. This may leave them with the impression that your business is no longer operational for some reason or, possibly, that you’re just too lazy to keep your contact information updated — either way, it’s a lost patient for your veterinary clinic.

That’s why it’s important to claim your listings and keep them current. Not only will this ensure that people will be able to connect with your business regardless of how they find you online, but when your contact information is consistent across the web, it can help to improve your website’s ranking in the SERP (search engine results pages).

#2. Ask for reviews.

Most veterinary clinics claim to be committed to patient care and treating pets like family, so what sets a veterinary clinic apart from the many others that show up in the SERP when someone googles “veterinary clinic near me?” There are many possible answers to this question, but most people will choose a local veterinary clinic over the others because of its reviews.

Reviews play a vital role in the decision-making process when people are searching online for any local business. As informative as a veterinary clinic’s website can be, it can feel like a gamble to entrust your pet to a clinic you don’t have personal knowledge of. Reading a clinic’s reviews helps to ease some of that doubt.

This, of course, means that you have to have reviews to read in the first place. If you don’t, it can give the impression of inexperience. At the very least, it doesn’t give the consumer any peace of mind about working with you, because they don’t have any real idea of what their experience will be like. Luckily, it’s easy to generate reviews. In fact, the best way to get them is to simply ask.

#3. Respond to reviews — and do so promptly.

While it’s true that most people will write a review for you when asked, it’s also true that most people won’t write one on their own — even if you provide a next-level experience for them. Let’s face it, most of us lead stressful, busy lives, and we just don’t think about it. So, when someone does take the time out of their schedule to write a review for your business, it’s important to show them that you’re listening to their feedback by responding to it (and make sure you do so promptly!).

Respond to every review but, in particular, respond to the negative ones. Negative reviews can hurt a veterinary clinic’s online reputation, but you can mitigate the damage in the kind of response you leave.

When responding to a negative review, always apologize for their negative experience with your clinic, even if you think the review is unfair or inaccurate. If their feedback is valuable and you can use it to make a change within your clinic, let them know! Always give them a chance to talk with you directly about the situation, by inviting them to call or email you. This will prevent a public argument that will only make you look petty, and it will tell the reviewer, and anyone reading the exchange, that you value any feedback.

#4. Monitor your online reputation.

People not only expect a response to their reviews; they expect a prompt response, which means that you need to know when someone leaves you a review. That’s partially why it’s so important to closely monitor your online reputation on a consistent basis. It’s also just as important to know what people are saying about your business online and what people find when they look for you online.

You could monitor your online reputation by logging into each individual review site one at a time, or you could simply sign up/claim your Top Rated Local® listing! Top Rated local offers numerous ways to stay on top of your online reputation.

Top Rated Local businesses enjoy a plethora of monitoring benefits, including real-time notifications when they get reviews, monthly reports on their overall online reputation, and a Rating Score™, which gives them a score out of 100 based on their reputation across every verified review site they’re rated on.

Start monitoring your veterinary clinic’s online reputation by signing up/claiming your listing online today!

How to Get the Most Out of Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the best weapons in any local business’ arsenal.

When someone is looking for the right local business to work with — say an accounting firm or maybe a physical therapy clinic — they’ll often start that search online, on Google specifically. And, when someone looks for your business online, what will they find?

If, let’s say, someone was looking for your business email address or phone number, how easy would it be for them to find it? Or, if someone wanted to know if you’ll be open on the weekends or during a holiday, would they be able to easily find that information?

This is where Google My Business comes in. Although a lot of that information can be found on your website, Google My Business makes it easy to find because it shows up right in the search results. That’s also why it’s so essential that you either sign up for Google My Business if you haven’t already, or claim your listing if there’s already one for your business.

Be sure to check out our previous blog to learn how to claim your Google My Business listing.

Get the most out of your Google My Business listing by optimizing it!

Signing up for Google My Business or claiming your listing is a great first step, and once you do, you’ll need to learn how to make the most out of it. Optimizing your Google My Business listing will help to ensure that your business gets found online, which is what it’s all about, really.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Google My Business listing:

#1. Update your information.

Your core business information — business name, website, phone number, address, category, attributes, and, finally, description. A part of your optimization process should include making sure that all of this information is up to date and listed exactly the way that it’s listed on your website.

Google Maps uses this information to index your business, which makes it the basis of your SEO strategy, so it’s essential that you get it right. If there are any inconsistencies between your Google My Business listing and your website, it can hurt your website’s rankings in the SERP (search engine results pages). For instance, if “drive” is spelled out on your website and abbreviated on your listing.

#2. Add high-quality images.

Your Google My Business listing is often the first interaction potential customers will have with your business online, and it’s important to make the right kind of first impression. Using high-quality, high-resolution images is one of the best ways to do that.

Blurry, low-quality images make it all too easy for people to skip over your listing. After all, there’s a lot of competition out there, and you need to give people a reason to choose your business over the many others. That’s why, if necessary, hiring a photographer that can help you capture your business in the best light is not the worst idea.

#3. Generate more reviews.

People check out your Google My Business listing for a lot of reasons, but the two main ones are to learn how to get ahold of you and to read reviews about your business. Think of reviews as the word of mouth of yesteryear.

Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is still a powerful thing — probably the most effective form of advertising there is — it’s just not as common for people to ask for personal referrals as it used to be. Instead, most people will turn to Google, and they’ll read reviews to help them determine whether or not to work with your business.

If you have only so-so reviews, only months- or years-old reviews, or, worse, no reviews at all, most people will move on to the next listing. That’s why it’s important to put an effort into generating reviews for your website. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Ask for reviews! – Asking is the most effective and most straightforward way to get reviews. You might be surprised at how many people are more than willing to write a review for you when you just ask.
  • Send follow-up emails – After the sale has been made or the service has been completed, follow-up with your clients or customers in an email, telling them how much you value their feedback and letting them know where they can write a review for you (make sure to include links!).
  • Incentivize reviews – Offering to enter customers who write reviews in a drawing or sweepstakes is an effective way to get more reviews. But, be careful with this one. Google does not look kindly on businesses that bribe customers for five-star reviews.

#4. Respond to your reviews!

When your customers do take time out of their busy schedule to write a review for your business, it’s important that you also take the time to respond to it. Responding is important, and you should respond to every review, not just the positive ones. In fact, it’s especially important that you respond to negative reviews.

Your response to a negative review is your chance to share your side of the story, but make sure that you’re not minimizing their experience or responding in a defensive manner. And don’t get in a public argument with someone, either. You’ll only come out looking petty to anyone reading the reviews. Instead, give the reviewer your phone number or email address, and invite them to contact you directly to discuss it.

When done correctly, your response to a negative review gives you a tremendous opportunity to turn a negative experience around, earn a customer for life, and let any prospective customers know how much you value providing a great experience for them.

Take your online reputation to the next level with Top Rated Local®.

Optimizing your Google My Business listing can do great things for your business’ online reputation, but it’s not the only thing you can do to keep it strong. Claim your Top Rated Local listing today to take your business’ online reputation to the next level!

Simplifying SEO for Local Businesses

SEO isn’t as complicated as you may think.

Being visible online isn’t something any local should take lightly in this day and age, and there are two basic ways to ensure that your website is visible online — paid ads and organic results. Paid search ads are a great way to get your name out there when you’re just starting out, but when you’ve dominated the organic search results, you’ll save money with each and every lead that you get.

SEO (search engine optimization) is all about increasing both the quality and the quantity of the organic traffic that your website gets from search engines. And it’s something that every local business should think about. After all, a business that learns how to dominate local search results through SEO not only saves money on paid search ads but also benefits from better, more qualified traffic to their website.

As important as SEO is, it’s often an overlooked piece of the online reputation management puzzle for many business owners. That’s because SEO can seem like an overly complicated thing, and while it’s true that it takes time and hard work, it’s actually a lot more simple than you probably think.

The Basics of SEO for Local Businesses

Keyword Research

Keywords are what people type into Google, Bing, or other search engines to find the topic they’re searching for. Identifying the appropriate keywords to optimize your website for is done through keyword research, and it’s the first — and arguably the most important — aspect of your entire SEO strategy. The bottom line is that you need to be able to identify which terms you want your website to rank for, and once you do, you’ll be able to base the entire rest of your SEO strategy off of it.

The keywords you choose will have a direct impact on both the quantity of the traffic your website gets and the quality of that traffic. Choosing broader, more general keywords will mean more competition, and choosing irrelevant keywords will hurt your ranking and diminish the quality of your organic leads.

Want to learn all about how to find the best keywords for business? Check out our previous blog.


If you’ve talked to many people who work in digital marketing, there’s a common saying about SEO you’ve probably heard — “content is king.” Everything in SEO has to do with content, and it’s one of the easiest and also one of the most challenging aspects of SEO for local business owners.

The good news is that SEO won’t require you to have a whole lot of technical knowledge or marketing savvy, but the bad news is that it requires you to create original, high-quality content on your website, social platforms, and beyond on a regular basis. That can be daunting for business owners who may not exactly think of themselves as writers or who may already have an over-flowing schedule to contend with.

Luckily, Google doesn’t expect every business owner to be Hemingway, but they do expect them to create content that adds value. And for the benefit of your website’s SEO, that content should be built around your keyword research. Keep in mind that it’s more important to use keywords naturally than it is to force them into your content as many times as possible.

As a business owner, you have a lot of knowledge about your industry that the average consumer does not, and a great strategy is to use that knowledge to create content for your website. Tips, how-to articles, and client testimonials are the perfect things to put in your blog.

It’s important to know that content isn’t just text. There are many different types of content that should be added to your website, and when optimized correctly, videos and photos can be valuable commodities when it comes to organic rankings.

Not many businesses think of them this way, but reviews are actually another type of content that can help a business rank higher organically in the SERP, and the best part about reviews is that you don’t have to write them yourself! Google also weighs what other people say about your business more heavily than what you say about yourself, and reviews can be a major boon for your SEO.

In addition to adding content to your website consistently, posting on social media should be a regular part of your SEO strategy. Excerpts from blogs on your site, tips and tricks, photos of your team, and client testimonials are just a few examples of the kind of content that works well on social media.


The other major aspect of SEO is link building. Link acquisition can be challenging, and it will take a solid investment of time and hard work to achieve it. One of the most straightforward ways to acquire it is to email website owners directly to earn links.

Contacting website owners directly is just one aspect of earning links; you also need to have link-worthy pages on your website to link to. What makes a page linkable? Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine linkability:

  • Is the content useful? – Link-worthy pages are informative and useful. How-to guides, advice, and concept explanations are just a few examples of the kind of pages that are linkable.
  • Is the content original? – In order for a page to be link-worthy, it can’t have the same information that’s available everywhere else. Use your industry expertise by taking a new perspective on something, or share original data or research to create link-worthy content.
  • Is the content entertaining? – There are a lot of ways to make an impact with your content, but the best way is by creating content that entertains. Humorous content, as well as interactive content, like quizzes or games, can be very entertaining and link-worthy.

In general, the most linkable pages appeal to a wider audience, which means that they probably won’t be your highest-ranking pages. But as long as your content is strong enough, you’ll earn links to those pages anyway through your manual efforts to reach out to site owners. And when you do, those links will add credibility and authority to your website and your brand.

SEO often gets a bad reputation for being overly complicated, but it really doesn’t have to be. Neglecting SEO can hurt your business’ visibility and online reputation, so it really isn’t something you should overlook.

Take the first step toward building a strong online reputation by becoming a Top Rated Local business today!

The Basics of Online Reputation Management for HVAC Companies

HVAC companies depend on having a solid online reputation.

In this day and age, HVAC companies can’t depend on word of mouth as much as they used to. While word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising today, it’s also not something people seek out like they did back in the day.

It used to be that, when someone needed air conditioning repair or furnace replacement, they’d ask for referrals from their friends and family. Now, most of those people will simply turn to Google or the search engine of their choice to find the right HVAC company to work with.

Chances are, you’re already well aware of how much competition your business has online. There’s no shortage of companies people could turn to for their heating and cooling needs, and the only thing that separates your business from the pack among all of those listings is your online reputation.

While it’s true that aspects of your online reputation are out of your hands, you’ll be glad to know that there are a lot of things you can do to influence and build on that reputation.

Online Reputation Basics for HVAC Companies

Claim your listings.

The first step you should take when building your online reputation is to claim your many business listings across review sites and directories. There’s a strong possibility that, whether you know it or not, your business is already listed on many of these sites, and if you don’t take the time to claim those listings, there may be inaccurate or outdated information about your business out there.

When you take the time to claim your listings and update your business’ information, you can create a more cohesive brand across the web. You can also ensure that, whether someone finds your business on Facebook, Google, or Yelp, they’ll always be calling an active number or visiting your current address. This helps to establish trust, which could easily be undermined if someone ends up calling a number that’s no longer active or travels all the way out to your old, now-abandoned location.

Provide great service.

Not every aspect of online reputation management happens online. In fact, a strong online reputation starts with providing great service to the people you serve each and every day. After all, your online reputation is just a reflection of your service, and If you don’t provide great service in-person, how can you expect to have a good online reputation?

People expect at least decent customer service, and while they may not always jump at the chance to write a review for your business based on good customer service alone, you can bet that, if they’re upset, they’ll tell the world about it. People can be reluctant to share a positive experience, but that reluctance evaporates in a negative experience. When people feel they have been wronged, they typically want to shout it from the rooftops.

Focusing on providing great service is something you should be doing anyway, but it’s also a key part of online reputation management. And while it may not generate a whole lot of five-star reviews, it can go a long way toward helping you avoid one-star reviews.

Start asking for reviews.

Reviews are the bread and butter of your business’ online reputation, and there’s never such a thing as too many of them. People like to read about other people’s experiences, and many of them use reviews when determining which local companies to work with. So if the decision comes down between an HVAC company with a handful of reviews and an HVAC company with thousands of reviews, it’s easy to tell which option people are likely to choose.

There are a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to generating reviews for your business online, and the first place you’ll want to start is by looking at the rules of various review platforms. But in general, you’ll want to avoid bribing people to write reviews, trying to influence how many stars people give you or what they say about you in reviews, or only asking specific clients for reviews. As long as you’re following these rules, most review sites are perfectly fine with you asking clients for reviews, which is a good thing since it’s also the most straightforward way to actually get them.

Respond to your reviews, negative and positive.

While it’s true that most people will write reviews if you ask them, in time, you’ll come to really appreciate the people who take the time to write reviews for you. Although you may not see the problem in taking five minutes to write a few sentences about your business online, you have no idea how busy a client’s schedule is or what’s going on in their life. The fact that they took the time to give you feedback online means something, and whether that feedback is positive or negative, it’s important that you respond to it.

Not only does responding to your reviews demonstrate how thankful you are that your client took the time to write them for you in the first place, but it gives you a chance to show the world how dedicated you are to great service.

It’s not always easy to get negative feedback, especially in such a public way, like with a negative review, but if you really listen and learn from that feedback, you can use it to make your business better and make your clients happier. The right response to a negative review should always include thanks for the feedback, an apology for the bad experience (even if it wasn’t your fault), a commitment to making the situation right, and a gameplan for how you’ll use that feedback to get better. This kind of response could not only win back the dissatisfied customer but could convince anyone else reading it to choose your business over the competition.

These are all great first steps toward building and maintaining a solid online reputation for any HVAC company, but truly effective online reputation management is an ongoing thing, and one of the best weapons you have in your arsenal is Top Rated Local®. Claim your Top Rated Local listing today!

A Roofer’s Guide to Reputation Management

Every roofing company needs a solid online reputation management strategy.

The fact of the matter is that it can be difficult for a roofing company to acquire new clients. After all, it’s not like anyone needs a new roof on a monthly basis or even needs roofing repairs or maintenance that often. Roofing companies are unique in how seldom clients need their services, which means that, when someone is searching for a roofer online, you absolutely want your business to show up.

Making sure that your roofing business is visible is just the first step though. There are a ton of different roofing companies consumers could choose from, and they need a reason to choose your business over the many others out there. And they’ll find that reason in your business’ online reputation.

Reputation Management Tips for Roofers

#1. Claim your listings.

First and foremost, a roofing company absolutely must claim ALL of its business listings online. It’s not enough to just claim your Google My Business listing. You want all of your information to be accurate across the web so that, no matter how someone finds you, they’ll always have the right contact information to get a hold of you.

Ensuring that your contact information is accurate will help to establish trust with consumers and make your listing more legitimate in their eyes. If someone finds your listing on a directory or a review site and ends up calling a number that is no longer in service or visiting an old location, they’re going to think that your business is either invalid or has gone out of business — either way, it doesn’t bode well for your business.

Another big reason why consistency across business listings is important is that Google looks at consistency when determining whether a business is valid or not. If there are multiple addresses and phone numbers across Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, and other listings and directories, Google isn’t going to rank your business as high because it appears less legitimate.

Finally, when you claim your business listings online, it gives you more control over them. In addition to giving you the ability to update your contact information, you’ll also be able to update and optimize your business description, add photos, and even respond to reviews.

#2. Earn more reviews.

Reviews are the number one thing consumers will look at when determining whether or not they want to work with a roofing company. Let’s face it, there’s a lot at stake when hiring a roofer. It’s not like going to a nail salon or finding a jewelry store — the roof is the number one thing that stands between you and the elements, and you want to be able to trust the company you’ve hired to take care of it.

If your business doesn’t have a solid average star rating — or worse, if you don’t have any reviews at all — it doesn’t bode well for your chances of attracting new clients online. It also means that you should start working on generating more reviews for your business.

Although you should never bribe your clients for reviews or presume to tell them what kind of a review they should leave you, simply asking for reviews is perfectly acceptable, and it’s also a super-effective way to generate more of them. While many people won’t write reviews on their own, believe it or not, the vast majority of people will write a review if you just ask.

#3. Generate content.

A big part of online reputation management is controlling what consumers see when they find your business online. When someone searches for your business name, ideally, your website should be the first thing that pops up, along with your listings on directories and reviews sites and your social media pages. What you don’t want to pop up is bad press about your business, and that’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in handy.

By optimizing your website, business listings, and social media profiles, you can ensure that consumers will find what you want them to when they search for your business online. And although SEO can get pretty complicated if you let it, the most basic and powerful strategy you can have is to simply publish content consistently online.

As a roofer, you have a lot of valuable knowledge to share with consumers. Your average Joe Blow won’t understand why a metal roof may be a better option for their needs than an asphalt shingle roof, or how important regular maintenance is for the longevity of your roof. This is the perfect kind of content to publish on your website and social media pages.

#4. Respond to reviews.

Generating more reviews is a great step in the right direction toward maintaining your business’ online reputation, but your job isn’t done yet — you also need to respond to those reviews. And that’s true of all reviews, whether they’re one-star, five-star, or somewhere in the middle; however, you especially want to make it a point to respond to any negative reviews you get.

When you respond to negative reviews, it gives you a chance to share your side of the story with not only the person who left the review but with anyone who may happen to read it. Unhappy clients often don’t understand why something happened the way that it did, and by simply explaining your side of the story, you might be able to effectively defuse the situation.

It’s important, though, that you always take ownership of the situation, even if you feel that it’s not your fault. This doesn’t mean that you have to claim responsibility, but you should at least apologize that their experience with your business wasn’t what they expected or wanted. You should never argue with a reviewer or insult them, and if necessary, give yourself a little time to cool off if you’re upset before responding to a negative review.

One of the best things you can do when responding to a negative review is to invite the reviewer to discuss the matter offline. This will save you from having to argue or set the record straight with a client on such a public forum, and it shows other people that you’re willing to work to correct a bad situation.

#5. Sign up for Google Alerts.

When it comes to your business’ online reputation, you can’t effectively manage it if you set it and forget it. A good online reputation management strategy means ongoing, real-time management, which means that you have to be in the know what people are saying about your business online.

One of the best ways to stay on top of what people are saying about your business online is to sign up for Google Alerts. Google Alerts are totally free, and you can use them to monitor all kinds of things, including brand mentions. You can even use Google Alerts to monitor what people are saying about your competition online, giving you a much needed leg up.

Become a Top Rated Local® roofing company!

There are a lot of things that go into building and maintaining a strong online reputation, and it can all seem overwhelming when you already have so much going on. Luckily, it’s easy to get started — sign up or claim your Top Rated Local listing.

Becoming a Top Rated Local business means that you’ll get real-time notifications when you get new reviews, the ability to reply to your reviews, monthly breakdown of your online reputation overall and so much more. Get started today!

Starting Your Year Off On The Right Foot

Claim your business listings

Claiming your business listings online is going to be step one of your New Year’s Resolution to have a stronger online reputation. Many people overlook this vital task because they don’t realize how important having a claimed business really is.

When you claim your business, you are showing your customers, current and future, that yours is a reliable and authentic business. The fact of the matter is, more and more customers are searching for local businesses online, and ranking ahead of your competition is very likely going to be what makes or breaks their decision to choose your business over any other.

Think about it, when a customer is going online to search for a business, but ends up finding an unclaimed business profile with inaccurate information, like their phone number, address, or business hours, they’re not likely going to trust that business with their time or money. Claiming your business and making sure your information is accurate and up to date is really simple considering how important an outcome doing so has. In fact, according to research done by Google, three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results to be helpful are more likely to visit stores in person. Thankfully, claiming your business listing is also usually free.

Claiming your business listings doesn’t only show your potential customers that you are a reliable business, it also gives search engines a reason to trust you and give you a better ranking. Search engines look for and promote legitimacy. By claiming your business, you not only show search engines that you are legitimate, but you also help boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and the likelihood of your business being seen more frequently. By claiming your business on verified sites, you improve your chances of increasing traffic to your website by making it more accessible and easy to find.

Claiming your business profiles should be one of the small business basics, and since claiming your businesses is such a simple way to get the attention of customers and search engines, it’s surprising that more small businesses don’t prioritize the practice, but that just means that a business that does claim its listings is going to stand out among the crowd.

Build Your Online Presence

When you search for your business on Google, take notice of what comes up. How does your website look? Are there reviews for your business? What kinds of photos are there? Is your website mobile-friendly? What about social media? Which social media profiles are your target audience likely active on? Are you easy to find there? Making it simple for your target audience to connect with you makes your business appear accessible and personal, which is important when it comes to building trust and showing your customers that you are reliable.

Your potential customers need to be able to find you, and when they do, you want them to be impressed by what they see. Start by investing in an awesome website. Your website will be many customers’ first impression of you, and no matter what business you are in, you will find that an eye-catching and professional website will be beneficial to your business.

Even a company that has traditionally operated by word of mouth, like tree removal or lawn care, can benefit from having a nice, up-to-date website. Your website can tell your customers your story, humanizing your business; it can showcase some of your favorite reviews, giving customers a reason to trust you, and it can give your customers the basic information they need, like your address, hours, phone number, and pricing options.

Too often, businesses that have gotten by thanks to word of mouth have lost out on potential new customers because so many people are turning to the internet to find new local services. In fact, the number of local searches is on the rise, with 46 percent of all Google searches being people who are looking for local information and 82 percent of smartphone shoppers using the phrase ‘near me’ in their searches, a number that has increased 900 percent in the last two years.

You need more than to simply be present; you need also be active in order to have a strong online presence. That means updating your website and social media pages with new photos, current reviews, blog posts, and updates. Always respond to your reviews, both positive and negative, in order to show your customers that you care about their experience with your business.

Ask for reviews

Just like having a great website, having a handful of reviews on verified websites is crucial to the overall success of your business. Reviews are a vital tool when it comes to generating trust and increasing your overall sales.

Nowadays, almost everyone is turning to the internet to do their research before making their purchasing decisions. Customers can turn to websites, like Google, Bing, Facebook, and Top Rated Local, to read about the experiences of past customers. While each of these sites has its own way of collecting and prioritizing reviews, reviews left on any of them will count as fresh content in SEO algorithms. Reviews will end up helping your business ranking by improving your overall SEO since fresh reviews count as fresh content, which search engines tend to like.

In addition to helping out with your SEO, reviews can also help you to connect with your customers. Your customers will naturally have some feedback for you, and their feedback is undoubtedly going to be incredibly valuable to you and your business, whether it is positive or negative. Positive reviews offer a great incentive for others to trust you with their business, and negative reviews offer you some insight into where your business might be slacking. Negative reviews also give you a chance to show others how you would like your business to be seen. For example, if you receive a negative review, you can respond to it, showcasing your responsiveness as well as your willingness to receive feedback. In your response, you can highlight some of the things you hope your business will be known for, like:

“We’re very sorry you did not get a chance to experience the outstanding customer service we hope to provide to every person who visits us…”

Customers like to see that someone will be attentive to their needs if anything goes wrong, and the fact of the matter is, they are more likley to trust a business that has had a few things go wrong. When they see only five-star ratings, they start to become suspicious that the feedback may not be authentic. A sprinkling of less-than-perfect reviews with well-worded and thoughtful responses is more likely to inspire trust in potential customers than a hundred bland five-star reviews.

Knowing how important it is to have online reviews, you should also know that there is absolutely no shame in asking for them! Chances are, you really do value and appreciate honest feedback, and there is no reason not to say so to your customers. As long as you are not paying for or somehow incentivizing people to leave you feedback, you can be confident that you are acting ethically in your request for reviews.

Revamp your customer service policies

Now is a better time than ever to make sure your employees are all on the same page when it comes to the kind of customer service your business offers. Establishing some customer service basics, a set of values, and even an overall business mission can unite your staff and help to set the baseline for how to behave with the customers.

Having a solid foundation in excellent customer service is a surefire way to gain the kinds of reviews that will instill some trust in your business.

Your customer service skills need to extend into your online presence as well. If you have multiple employees responding to reviews, posting to your social media pages, and interacting with your customers online, you need to have a unified voice that you feel best represents your company. It might be beneficial to start out by having a few templates for responding to customer concerns or negative reviews.

Consider Getting Outside Help for Online Reputation Management

Taking on the responsibility of managing your online reputation may seem daunting and could take more time than you have to invest into it. For many companies, the role of online reputation management is a full-time job. While most small businesses don’t necessarily have the budget to hire a full-time staff member to perform these duties, many are turning to reputation management companies.

If outsourcing your reputation management is something that appeals to you, make sure you do your research and find a company that feels like a good fit and can perform the job you want done. If you are interested in learning more about reputation management and its benefits, check out Top Rated Local, today!

Resolutions for a Stronger Online Reputation in 2020

A New Year, a New Online Reputation for Your Business

The year that was 2019 has finally come to an end, and whether you’ll look back on the year with a smile or you’d rather not look back on it at all, there’s no denying that it had many lessons for us as far as online reputation management is concerned, which you can learn more about in yesterday’s blog — Five Important Online Reputation Management Lessons From 2019.

Good or bad, you can make the most of 2019 by taking the lessons you’ve learned and using them to change for the better, which is true of both your personal life and your business’ online reputation. And while we won’t presume to tell you to eat healthier or exercise more in 2020, we can give you a few New Year’s resolutions that can help you build the kind of online reputation for your business that you really want.

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Make Your Online Reputation Strong in 2020

#1. Claim your listings.

One of the most important things a business can do for their online reputation is to claim their listings across review sites and directories. These directories are pulled in by algorithms, and those algorithms don’t automatically update things, like your phone number or address, which can leave people unable to get ahold of you. When a client is trying to get ahold of you and ends up at your old location or on a call with the wrong number, it can seriously undermine their trust in your business. Claiming your listings is free and is an easy way to ensure that, no matter how a client finds you, they’re able to contact you when they need to.

Where should you get started? Why not start with Top Rated Local®? Claiming your profile with Top Rated Local means that you’ll have access to every verified review site your business is listed on from one convenient place, as well as your Rating Score™, which will give you an overall view of your business’ online reputation across the web. And don’t forget about the real-time review notifications and monthly updates that will give you an overview of your online reputation as a whole.

Claim your Top Rated Local profile today!

#2. Respond to your reviews.

If you haven’t already started making it a habit, 2020 is the time to start responding to as many of your reviews as you can, positive and negative, but especially the negative ones. Not only should you make it a point to respond, but you should make it a point to respond in a timely manner — that’s what your clients expect at least. This is also why becoming a Top Rated Local business is such a good idea; with real-time notifications, you’ll get an alert every time you get a new review, which will give you a chance to respond as soon as you’re able.

Responding to your reviews is so important because it gives you a chance to share your side of the story. Reviews are often only reflective of the client’s perspective, and while you should never make excuses in your response, it does sometimes help to resolve the situation when the client can see it through your eyes. That being said, you should always make it a point to apologize, not necessarily for your action but because of the fact that they had a bad experience. It’s also a good idea to invite the client to take the conversation offline by providing them with a phone number or email address they can reach you at.

The right review response can make all of the difference after a customer has had a negative experience. In fact, the customers that are won over after a negative experience are the ones that are often customers for life. Not only that, but the right review response can convince other readers online to choose your business as well.

#3. Say it with a video.

Search engine optimization (SEO), which is a huge part of reputation management, is all about content. In fact, in the world of SEO, the phrase, “Content is king,” is a favorite and oft-repeated line. This, of course, means writing blogs, social media posts and other forms of text-content, but today, “content” can and should mean a variety of media, which absolutely means video.

Video is an incredibly powerful thing in this day and age, and every business should make it a point to use it more often in their marketing efforts. Part of the reason why video is so important is that YouTube has actually become the second biggest search engine behind Google, and it’s the way that millions of Americans are discovering new brands and products every day.

There are so many great ways that you can harness the power of video for your business. When you’re writing a blog post for your business, you could accompany it with a video tutorial. When you’re creating a social media post about how awesome your team is, accompany it with a video of your annual awards celebration honoring them. When you’re creating a page on your website about your efforts to give back to your community, accompany it with a video of your team building a home for Habitat for Humanity or running a food drive. When you’re designing an ad for one of your services, accompany it with a video testimonial from one of your satisfied clients.

#4. Start earning more reviews.

People want to know that, when they find a business online, they can trust that they’re in good hands with them, and these days, the best way to do that is by reading the business’ reviews. When a client chooses to work with you, they’re taking a gamble, particularly if they find you online and don’t know a lot about you. When they can read about your other clients’ experiences with you, it helps to give them peace of mind. That being said, you can see how damaging it can be if you have a lot of negative reviews, or, worse, no reviews at all.

Reviews are essential, but they’re never going to just magically appear. Even businesses that wow their customers with next-level customer service often have trouble getting reviews; whereas, one slip-up can mean a one-star review. That’s because people remember and want to share negative experiences more than they remember positive ones. The key to a healthy online reputation is to encourage all of your customers (which hopefully means an overwhelming number of satisfied customers and only one-off dissatisfied customers) to leave reviews, and if you ask them to, most people will be happy to write one.

There are so many great ways to incentivize your customers to leave you reviews, but it’s important to tread carefully. Every review site has its own policies on what they deem acceptable, and we highly recommend reading them before proceeding. For the most part though, you’ll want to avoid bribing your customers to leave you specific star ratings or saying certain things about your business. You’ll also want to ensure that you ask every customer for feedback, not just the ones you think will leave you a good review.

Once you start building up more reviews for your business, there are a lot of great things you can do to share them. They don’t have to stay on review sites; you could display them on your website via the Top Rated Local badge; you could post them on social media; you could use them in videos or ads; you could even use them in physical displays in your brick and mortar location.

#5. Get help if you need it.

A business’ online reputation is more important than ever before, but managing that online reputation has also become a bigger job than ever job. Even with the help of awesome tools, like Top Rated Local and Google Alerts, managing your business’ online reputation can be a big job, especially when you consider the fact that it’s not even your first job. Whether you’re an accountant, dentist, plumber or roofing contractor, your first priority is your clients or patients, and sometimes, that can leave your business’ online reputation neglected and ignored.

Not only does it take time and energy to build an online reputation, but even if your business has a strong online reputation already, you’ll need to put a certain amount of time and effort into maintaining it. This can all be a lot of business owners who already have so much on their plates, and if this sounds like you, a better option than letting your online reputation fall by the wayside may be to get help from a reputation management professional.

Most small businesses don’t have the budget to pay someone a full salary plus benefits to manage their reputation in-house, and luckily, these days, you don’t have to. There are plenty of reputation management companies out there that could help you keep your reputation on the up and up. You’ll want to do some research to find the best option for you, but at the end of the day, the important part is that you recognize the importance of getting help when you need it.

Interested in working with an online reputation management specialist? Learn more today!

Take the first step toward a stronger online reputation in 2020 with Top Rated Local.

You don’t have to wait until 2020 to start building the kind of online reputation that will be the envy of your competition. Get started today by claiming your Top Rated Local listing. It’s free, easy and comes with a host of can’t-miss benefits. From all of us at Top Rated Local, have a happy new year!

Five Important Online Reputation Management Lessons From 2019

Although 2019 has come and gone, it has taught us a lot that we can take into the new year.

Whether you loved every moment of 2019 or you’re ready to see the back of it, there’s no denying that a lot has happened over the last year that can help us learn and grow. Not only has the past year held personal lessons for all of us, but it has given us many unique insights into the world of online reputation management.

A big part of successfully managing a strong online reputation for your business has to do with keeping up with the times. The algorithm Google uses to rank businesses in the SERP (search engine results pages) is changing all the time, and so is the way that people search online. Staying ahead of the times is one of the best things you can do for your online reputation, and there are a lot of lessons that you can take with you from 2019 to help you perfect and maintain your business’ online reputation going into 2020.

The Top Five Online Reputation Management Lessons of 2019

#1. Mobile site optimization is no longer optional.

These days, most people aren’t searching for a nearby restaurant or nail salon on their computer at home; instead, they’re using the smartphone that’s in their pocket. This is nothing new, mobile searches started eclipsing desktop searches all the way back in 2015, but the trend hasn’t slowed down, nor is it expected to, and the number of mobile searches continues to rise. And while mobile-friendliness is something that every business owner should have on their mind, if your business is customer-facing, like restaurants, coffee shops, jewelry stores and the like, it’s a trend that you don’t want to ignore.

Starting in July, Google rolled out a major change to its search index algorithm by launching mobile-first indexing. Historically, Google’s algorithm ranked a site’s relevance based on its desktop version, but because of the large increase in mobile searches, Googlebot now uses the smartphone agent to crawl and index webpages. Optimizing your site for mobile search is one of the smartest moves you can make in preparing for 2020, and thanks to Google’s algorithm change, it’s no longer an option for businesses that want to stay visible online.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize your site for mobile search:

  • For everything from your website to the email templates, always make it a point to use a responsive design.
  • Optimize any videos on your website so that they are compatible with mobile phones.
  • Make sure that your images — even those that are downsized to fit on a smaller screen — are high quality and cropped closely so that the details you want are maximized.
  • Break up long paragraphs. A paragraph that looks digestible on a desktop can be overly long and wordy when viewed on a mobile device.
  • Make sure that any buttons that are on your website are also easy to use on the mobile version of your site.
  • Your site should be easy to scroll. Users can quickly get irritated when they’re forced to pinch and zoom to see your content or navigate your site.
  • Use a font that’s big enough and easiest enough to read for most users, which means that you’ll want to use at least a 14-point size.
  • Prioritize content mobile users are most likely to want. For example, if you have a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure that your address, menu and phone number are all easy to access.

#2. Social media is a must.

While most people think of a business’ online reputation as their reviews and average rating, the truth is that it has many moving parts. And while reviews may arguably be the most important part of the reputation management puzzle, reviews aren’t the only place that your brand will be mentioned or talked about online. These days, more people are talking about the experience — and their complaints — on social media. Wherever your brand is mentioned, it behooves you to be there, which is why having a presence on social media is no longer optional.

One of the reasons why it’s so important to establish a presence on social media is that it works in the opposite way as reviews do for your business. Think about the people who are reading your reviews. They’ve sought out your business for one reason or another, and they’re checking out your reviews so that they can get to know your business a little better and so that they can decide whether to trust you with their business or not. Social media, on the other hand, helps your brand get introduced to a whole new audience of people who may never have even heard of your business before.

When managed correctly, social media has the power to help you connect with your clients or customers on a more personal level, but it can also help you to make new connections and build trust with a whole new set of people.

#3. You may need to utilize tools to tackle reputation management in 2020.

Reputation management used to be fairly simple. Back in the day, all you really had to do to stay on top of your business’ online reputation was to do a quick Google search of your business name or check your social media pages for mentions or reviews. But these days, reputation management can be a lot more complicated. With so many different moving parts, present-day reputation management is a whole other beast to tackle, and a lot of businesses could use a little help doing so.

There are a lot of tools that you can use to more effectively monitor your business’ online reputation, but one of the best free tools available is Google Alerts. Google Alerts will help you monitor any mentions of your brand, business name or applicable keywords across the web. You don’t have to limit alerts to just your own business, either. With Google Alerts, you can also monitor your competition’s online reputation, which will help you stay ahead of the curb.

Another can’t-miss reputation management tool that you’ll want to take advantage of is Top Rated Local®. Top Rated Local isn’t a typical review site; it’s more of a review aggregator that can give a business an overall snapshot of their online reputation. Each Top Rated Local business has its own Rating Score™, which is determined by the number of review sites a business is listed on, how many reviews they have and the average rating of those reviews. With the Rating Score, you don’t have to go to 10 different websites to figure out where your business stands online; you’ll have the information you need in one place.

The benefits of becoming a Top Rated Local business go beyond the Rating Score. When you claim your listing with Top Rated Local, you’ll have a lot of tools at your disposal to help you more effectively monitor your online reputation, including real-time notifications when you get new reviews, a monthly overview of your online reputation as a whole, the ability to respond to your reviews, the ability to request a rating change from a reviewer, a Top Rated Local badge that you can use to display your reviews on your website and so much more.

Become a Top Rated Local business today!

#4. Video is more important than ever before.

Video has been a powerful marketing tool for years, but if 2019 has shown us anything, it’s that video is the kind of online marketing. Here are a few interesting stats to demonstrate the importance of video in your marketing campaign:

  • Every day, more than 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook alone, and more than 500 million hours are watched on YouTube.
  • Some estimates find that you can increase conversions by up to 80 percent with video.
  • By merely mentioning the word “video” in the subject line of emails, you could see an increase in the click-through rate of as much as 13 percent.
  • YouTube is actually the second most popular search engine, behind Google.

There’s no doubt about the power of video, but it can also be intimidating for local businesses that may not have the resources of a professional video team behind them. Luckily, there are a lot of great ways you can use video without the need to hire an expert:

  • Share your story – Every business has a story, and video is a great place to share yours. When you share your origin story with people online, they’ll gain a more personal look into your business and will give you a chance to connect with them on a whole other level.
  • Educate your clients – Chances are, you’ve got a lot of expertise to share, and whether you create a tutorial on how to keep your home’s exterior paint job looking great for years to come or how to protect your computer from viruses, video is the perfect medium for tutorials.
  • Give thanks to your customers – Your business wouldn’t be around without your customers, and video is the perfect way to say thanks.
  • Show the world your culture – Let the world in on the behind-the-scenes action in your business. Videos of team-building events, volunteer opportunities and holiday parties help to show the human side of your business.

#5. You can’t just wait for the reviews to come to you.

It used to be enough to simply monitor your online reputation and deal with reviews as they come, but reviews have become such an essential part of a business’ online reputation that many businesses simply can’t afford to let acquiring reviews be a passive thing for them. These days, the most successful online businesses know that they need to take a more active approach to getting reviews.

The unfortunate fact is that the vast majority of people don’t even think about writing a review — that is, unless they’ve had a bad experience. For all of the whining and complaining about how customer service is dead, most people have a baseline expectation of customer service that’s fairly high. When you’re used to a certain level of service, you come to expect it, but you also come to take it for granted. But when you’re used to and expect a certain level of service, and you the service falls short of your expectations, it’s easy to see why it can be upsetting and prompt someone to write a negative review.

Focusing on providing good service to your clients is certainly a step in the right direction as far as generating reviews is concerned, but it’s, by no means, the only thing you should do to get reviews. Here are a few ideas to help you start generating more reviews for your business:

  • Ask! While most people won’t write reviews unprompted, the vast majority of people will write a review for you if you only ask. When people realize how important reviews are for businesses like yours, they’re often more than happy to write them.
  • Send email follow-ups with review requests. The best part of requesting reviews this way is that you can automate this process so that you don’t even have to think about it. It also allows you to send people specifically to your review sites that need the most love.
  • Offer discounts or other incentives to clients who write reviews for you. Be careful, though, that you don’t only incentivize five-star reviews or that you don’t try to steer your clients to say certain things.
  • Enter clients who write reviews into a giveaway or raffle. Again, you’ll want to ensure that you give the same incentives for every review, not just for positive ones. Many review sites see bribing customers in exchange for five-star reviews as unethical, and if you’re caught, there could be consequences.

Make 2020 your year with Top Rated Local!

If your business’ online reputation wasn’t what you wanted it to be in 2019, you’ll be glad to know that 2020 is a whole new year with all new possibilities. And while 2019 may or may not have been a stand-out year for your business, it has taught us a lot about reputation management and how to do it more effectively in 2020. Don’t repeat the same mistakes; learn from them, and use those lessons to help you grow and build the kind of online reputation you’ve always wanted. Don’t leave your business’ online reputation up to chance in 2020. Take control over your online reputation by becoming a Top Rated Local business today!

Basic Reputation Management for Limousine Companies

Figure out who you are and what you want to be known for

For many people, the choice to hire a limousine service means that they are looking for a service to help them add to or complete a specific kind of experience. It’s important for you to figure out what kind of

customer you are hoping to attract because these customers likely have the bar set pretty high in their minds. Are you the endlessly fun party bus company? Are you the luxury line, ready to whisk people away to their formal events? Or are you an airport staple, offering safety and ease with a touch of class and sophistication?

Whether your company offers one or all of these services, it is important for you to know which you are, which customer you want to attract, and how to show the world exactly what kind of experience it is you have to offer them. Before you even start to navigate the world that is your online reputation, you first need to figure out these basics about your company.

Once you have established who you are and what you offer, think about what your service basics include. It could help to establish a mission statement for your business. This gives you and your employees a guideline for the kind of service your customers should be expecting from you. It also gives you and your employees a common goal and a baseline understanding of what is required from you.

When you have this foundation firmly planted under you and your business, you can start to look at your online reputation with a bit more confidence about what it is you are working towards.

You need to have a great website

Your website is almost always going to be your customer’s first impression of you. More than ever, people are turning to Google to search for local products and services. When they click on your page, you want to not only impress them, but also give them all the information they need to feel confident in choosing you over any other business. Having a professional and informative website is a must.

One way to stand out to potential clients would be to make sure your website’s homepage includes a widget that showcases stellar reviews previous customers have left for you. Customers trust other customers, and nowadays, reviews are worth their weight in gold since the majority of people trust online reviews as much as they do a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or family member.

Another website must-have is a gallery of high-quality photos of your fleet of vehicles. People want to know what they are getting when they are dishing out money for a service, and having excellent photos, a 3-D tour of your cars, or a few action shots of your cars will act as a valuable form of marketing for your business, even if they are only posted on your own website. At the end of the day, your website is there to reassure people that you are the best choice, and they won’t feel certain about that until you give them a reason to trust you. Having high-quality photos of the car they would be paying for is one crucial way to build that necessary trust.

Having profiles of your drivers, complete with headshots and a few quotes from positive reviews, would be one simple way to make your website, and business, stand head and shoulders above the competition. Including a page like this builds familiarity and trust with your brand. People are essentially trusting your employees and your company with their lives and are often hiring a limousine service for an event that is really important to them. You need to do everything you can to show them that you are worth putting that must trust in.

Don’t skip out on social media

No matter what your personal feelings are about social media, it could be a crucial asset to the growth of your business. Social media can give you a valuable tool for connecting with your customers, past, present, and future, and apart from the time investment it takes to manage your profiles, it’s generally a free service.

Think of social media as a collaborative extension of your website. With it, you can establish an easily accessible representation of your company and the kind of service it has to offer. Connecting with your customers on social media is simple, and many may already be looking for the opportunity to follow you! Social media makes it easy to post photos, establish your voice, spread the word about promotions, and interact with your audience. With a well-managed social media profile, you can even turn your customers into your own best spokespeople by having them tag you in their photos and share your profile with friends!

Reviews are vital to your success

The cornerstone of your online reputation depends on the reviews your customers leave for you. More and more people are sharing their opinions and experiences online, whether they are prompted to or not. The fact of the matter is, you have an online reputation, whether you know about it or not, so, we suggest taking charge of it and using it to help promote your business. Good reviews are no longer simply a nicety; they are a necessity.

When you are ready to explore and manage your online reputation, we suggest getting started by claiming your business profiles. Claiming your business can help to build trust in the eyes of your potential customers by legitimizing your business, showing your customers that your business is real, and by giving you the power to make sure that basic information, like your phone number, address, and business name, is updated and correct. This can be a crucial first step in forming trust with your potential customers. If they google your business and call the phone number that is listed, but that number is disconnected or incorrect, they are likely going to think that your business is either closed or unreliable, and both of those options are no good for business, especially for a limousine service, where reliability is a vital trait your customers are looking for.

When your business has online reviews, good and bad, it appears to be more authentic and trustworthy than a business that has no reviews at all. When a business has no reviews at all, people will question whether or not the business is even operational! It is more important than ever to ask every one of your customers to provide their feedback. Good reviews are as good as a referral, and bad reviews give you the opportunity to make things right and show your audience that you genuinely care about the customer experience. We highly recommend responding to all reviews, positive and negative, because doing so shows your audience that you are present and that you care about what they have to say.

Reviews do even more than provide you feedback and provide potential customers with a snapshot of your business; they also help your search rankings! Reviews act as new content, which search engines love. Websites with consistently fresh content are favored by search engine algorithms, meaning that the more fresh and relevant content that is connected to your business, the better for your rankings.

We hope that these tips have been helpful to you and your business. If you are feeling ready to tackle your online reputation, we recommend getting started by claiming your business on Top Rated Local today!

An Online Reputation Carol

Don’t be haunted by the ghosts of your business’ online reputation past, present or future.

An Online Reputation Carol: A Tale of the Ghosts of Online Reputation Past, Present and Future

This Christmas Eve, we’re embracing the iconic holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, and its connection to the plight of the modern-day business and its online reputation. Just as Ebenezer Scrooge was haunted and transformed by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, so too can the ghosts of online reputation haunt businesses today.

These days, a business’ online reputation is everything, and while you may not be able to change what happened in the past, it’s important that you know how to learn from it and grow from it, just as Ebenezer did in Charles Dickens’ cherished Christmas tale.

To celebrate the holidays, we’ve set out to help you use the ghosts of online reputation past, present and future to build and maintain the kind of online reputation you want.

Ghost of Online Reputation Past

The decisions you’ve made in the past that have affected your business’ online reputation cannot be undone — nor can they ever be — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth looking at. In life, we rarely learn and grow without making mistakes or going through challenges, so if you have a few, let’s call them dark spots, in your online reputation’s past, there may be more to learn from than you think, and it might not be too late to turn a negative situation into a growth opportunity. You don’t necessarily have to be haunted by the past, so to speak.

Here are a few things that might be spooking you in the past:

  • Negative reviews – We all make mistakes, and we all drop the ball from time to time. One of those very human times might lead to a negative review, which can hurt, especially when they’re true. Negative reviews can sometimes feel like a blight on an otherwise pristine online reputation, but the truth is that they don’t have to hurt so much. For one, they can surprisingly have a positive impact on your online reputation, because a lot of people simply don’t trust a perfect online reputation (people are always looking for the catch these days) and also because you can turn lemons into lemonade by how you respond.
  • Unclaimed listings – Whether you’ve signed up for profiles or not, your business is listed on review sites and directories, which prospective clients are using to learn about your business and to try to get ahold of you. Unclaimed listings with inaccurate information may have left clients with wrong phone numbers or outdated addresses, which does nothing to build trust in your business.
  • Burying your head in the sand – Your online reputation is there — shaping the way people look at your business and having a profound effect on your future success — and that’s true whether you actively manage it or not. If you sit on your hands and never claim your listings or respond to reviews, you’re leaving your fate up to chance. Trust us, your online reputation isn’t something you want to say, “Bah humbug!” about.
  • Sending the wrong message – What may have seemed like an innocent joke or a cutesy story can easily be taken the wrong way in this day and age. Think about the infamous Peleton commercial that has been ridiculed across social media for days. While the message of this video was that the wife who received the exercise bike was nervous about embarking on her fitness journey but eventually got stronger for it and was appreciative of it, but it came across, to many at least, as a caveman-type husband demanding that his already-slender wife lose a few more pounds. Suffice it to say, sending the wrong message can and does have unintended consequences.
  • Attacks from competitors – Not every negative review a business gets is legitimate. Unfortunately, some businesses decide to attack their competitors’ online reputations by leaving fake reviews, leaving ethical businesses feeling hopeless and unable to defend themselves in many cases.

Ghost of Online Reputation Present

A lot of us are so wrapped up in our own worlds that we forget that everyone out there has their own experiences. Scrooge had the unique gift of being able to observe the experiences of those around him, as a phantom or a fly on the wall, but businesses don’t get that luxury. Businesses rely on reviews, as well as other forms of feedback, to help them get an understanding of what it’s like to be in their customers’ shoes. And just as Scrooge learned about the importance of love, family and togetherness from his journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past, so can businesses learn from the feedback they get from their customers.

How to make the most of your brush with the Ghost of Online Reputation Present (Online Feedback)

  • Respond to it – Responding to reviews is a very important aspect of online reputation management. We’re all busy, and it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to get people to take a few minutes out of their day to leave you a review, so when they do so, you should make sure to thank them for it! You should especially make it a point to respond to any negative feedback that you get. Responding allows you to tell your side of the story and demonstrate your customer service skills.
  • Own it – You should never brush aside or make excuses for feedback that you get from your clients. Even if you think the feedback might be unfair or unwarranted, it’s important that you own up to your part in it. People want to work with honest, transparent businesses that will treat them with respect. They also know that businesses are made up of people who make mistakes, and all they often want is for you to own up and apologize for it. Owning up to feedback will also help you gain more from it. You can learn a lot about how your business can get better by really analyzing the feedback you get from your clients.
  • Showcase it – If all of your reviews are negative, then the problem is much worse than just a mistake or two. Most businesses have as many, if not more, positive reviews than negative ones, but they can only do you so much good when they’re stuck on review sites. One of the best ways to make the most of your positive feedback is to showcase it. After all, it doesn’t always look great for a business to say that they’re the best, but when one of their clients say it, it means a whole lot more.

Ghost of Online Reputation Future

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge’s final encounter is with the Ghost of Christmas future, a dark, hooded figure that shows him his near future if he stays on the path of cruelty and destruction that he’s on, which, of course, is death. Luckily, for most businesses, even common online reputation management mistakes don’t lead them down a road this dire, but bad reputations have tanked businesses before. And while we can’t scare you with the shocking reality of your future, we can help you safeguard against what may threaten it by teaching you a little bit about how to properly manage it.

How to escape death (the metaphorical death of your business due to an irreparable online reputation) and save Tiny Tim (your business’ sickly online reputation) from his fate.

  • Claim your listings – Establishing trust online is one of the most important things a business can do, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by simply claiming your listings. As we mentioned, it’s not uncommon for unclaimed listings to have incorrect information, and at the very least, claiming your listing ensures that, when people want to call you, they at least get the right phone number. But claiming your listings also gives you more control by allowing you to respond to reviews and even flag reviews that you believe are fake or from jealous competitors.
  • Keep your content fresh – A big part of maintaining your business’ online reputation has to do with SEO (search engine optimization), which affects what position your business is ranked in on Google, and a big part of SEO is fresh, original content being added on a regular basis. In addition to helping you rank higher, producing useful content for your clients helps to educate and empower them, help to build trust in your brand and help you to make connections with them.
  • Be proactive when it comes to reviews – A one-star review does affect a business with two or three five-star reviews as it does a business that has 40 or 50 five-star reviews. It’s all about your average, but the problem is that not a lot of people will write a review unprompted after a good experience. People have high expectations when it comes to service, and when you’re constantly used to good service, it’s hard to be overly impressed with great service. However, the same is not true for people who have had bad experiences; they are typically ready to vent about their experience online and get their frustration out. But there’s hope; the vast majority of people will write a review when asked, and as long as you’re providing great customer service, you can rest assured that those reviews will be positive.
  • Use your past mistakes to change your future – If you’ve had more than a few negative reviews in the past, don’t miss the opportunity to learn from them and use them to do better in the future. Getting bitter never helps anyone to get better, and while your first knee-jerk reaction may be to get defensive or frustrated, a string of negative feedback should be a wakeup call. It helps to remember that clients aren’t out to get you; they want to help you take better care of them and of your other clients.
  • Stay in the know – Reputation management is an ongoing thing, and when someone says something negative about your business in a review, responding quickly and professionally can help to diffuse the situation and prevent the fire from spreading. The best way to stay in the know is by claiming your listing on Top Rated Local®. Top Rated Local businesses get monthly email notifications with updates on their overall online reputation, real-time notifications when they get new reviews, a snapshot of their online reputation as a whole and so much more. Another great way to stay alert is by signing up for Google Alerts.

Become a Top Rated Local business today!

Stay in the know about your business’ online reputation and gain all of the benefits of becoming a Top Rated Local business. Best of all, like any good holiday gift, it’s free! Get started today.