How search engine reputation management works
Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) is websites and companies' actions to maintain and improve their reputation. If you want to buy a mobile phone, look at the reviews. If you plan to go to a new cafe, you are also interested in reviews. And when you are going to order an apartment renovation, you look at a portfolio of your candidate and study the recommendations.
Bad reputation= weak competitiveness = falling profits.
What is the point of such a business? Online reputation management will help you stay afloat and even grow, regardless of the size of your competitors' market. The main task of the tool is to improve the top search results.
- create a positive reputation for a brand or product;
- generate new demand;
- work on the attractiveness of the brand for investors and buyers;
- motivate to buy or order services;
- fight black PR;
- collect feedback and improve the quality of the product.
Basic search engine reputation management strategies
If the reputation is positive
The brand forms an appropriate reputation when there are significantly more positive reviews than negative or neutral ones. In the figures, the situation looks like this: at least 60% positive mentions. However, such a reputation rarely grows naturally. Usually, the systematic work with reviews precedes it:
- Sending messages with a request to leave feedback on a product or a brand.
- Dealing with negative mentions.
- Maintaining blogs, pages on social networks, organizing contests, etc.
Building a positive reputation is not easy. Sometimes just mentioning a brand in a bad light is enough to make marketing and other campaigns unsuccessful. To maintain a positive reputation, you must work hard. Companies that achieve this result become opinion leaders.
If the reputation is negative
Criticism is a natural desire of a person to express his own opinion. Managers must respond to scathing reviews, sometimes passing to recipients unrelated to the damaged or broken product.
How to run a business?
Initially, websites, where the largest number of negative references have accumulated are covered. If a brand wants to counter the harmful work of the bots, businesses create similar but positive images that work as an antidote. Generally, such problems exist in the niche of providing services: hotels, restaurants, repair services, etc.
We recommend writing responses on behalf of the manager or, even better, the business owner. For example, "tasteless" becomes "so sorry you didn't like it." Naming a client by their name, mentioning details from review, and being willing to give a small discount work wonders with an audience.
You can't admit mistakes directly, but you shouldn't deny them either. You just need to show users that every event has at least two explanations. The effect will be better if 1-2 clients agree to support your answer with a like or a positive comment.
If the reputation is neutral
The result is neutral if it meets the following parameters:
- Neutral reviews take 50-100% of all mentions.
- At the same time, the remaining references are divided in the worst case as follows: 50% or more positive, no more than 25% negative.
At this point, it is essential to focus on trustworthy websites where actual customers and clients place reviews. A neutral result is not bad at all. But a successful business requires the visibility of happy customers, which means a positive reputation. It gradually squeezed out negative mentions, and positive ones appeared in the TOP 10. So in a few months, they change the tone from "0" to "+."
All e-commerce platforms use review sites, media, social networks, and specialized forums. In addition, special Google applications (Directories, Business, Maps) can have a significant effect.
If there is no reputation
A company that has just entered the market often ends up with no mention from customers. People who made a purchase are satisfied with the product but did not leave a review. In addition, this often happens with representatives of a narrow niche.
Brands use SERM technologies to create and manage reputation from scratch. Particular attention needs to resources that the target audience visit. Buyers need objective information about products, possible discounts, and at least the current price, which they forget to indicate in press releases.
It is good in such a situation to work out the competitor's material: compare offers of goods and services, motivate customers for feedback, and make your cases more attractive.
Advantages and disadvantages of SERM
Main advantages of SERM (search engine reputation management)
- a positive reputation of the company in the first positions of search results is the first thing a potential client sees when searching for you on the Internet;
- neutralization of the negative about the brand in the issue;
- identification of problems with the service/product.
An essential advantage of SERM management is that actions are aimed at users at the last stage of the sales funnel. The person is specifically interested in you, your product. And if you have an impeccable reputation on the first pages of Google, this client will most likely be yours.
Main disadvantages of SERM
- It is possible to encourage real customers to write positive reviews, but this is a long process. Custom reviews can repel potential customers.
- There are no long-term guarantees. Replacing one negative feedback will only temporarily solve the problem. To maintain a stable positive effect, you must constantly engage in SERM.
- The first pages of search results are dynamic. Changing algorithms or the appearance of new publications can instantly change the search results. Therefore, regular monitoring of issuance is vital for SERM.
- SERM is only one of the elements of creating a company's image and works effectively only in combination with ORM. Separately working out the TOP of search results while ignoring other aspects of online reputation management is an unsuccessful path.
The main disadvantage of SERM is that the method does not work well without additional tools. Comprehensive work on reputation (ORM) is needed. Optimization can improve search results, but users will continue to write negative messages if existing problems are not corrected.
SERMs and ORMs
If you correctly combine ORM and SERM, you can suppress the harmful influence on the business. Usually, businesses start using ORMs with the advent of the brand, and SERMs add a little later. Online Reputation Management targets all sources of online reputation, with no focus on the top positions in search engines. And SERM specialists are engaged in the top search results. In any case, your business needs the first tool at first.
Even if you work out only the results for a search, there will be forums, publics, and other resources where the negative could still prevail over the positive feedback. Therefore, the most effective approach is a combination of these two tools.
With this approach, businesses create a positive image on a variety of resources:
- publics and profiles of companies in social networks;
- specialized websites where reviews are published;
- thematic forums explicitly created for discussing companies, products, etc.
In any case, a business must work with a reputation management to promote the brand and increase sales. The more successful and better the image of a company, a brand, or a person is presented in the search results, the more trust, and loyalty the user has. And for some businesses, their existence entirely depends solely on reputation.
For example, these are medical, financial, or legal services. SERM is pretty efficient and automated. With the correct use of SERM methods, the business will notice the result in a few months. In the future, you must continue to work on the process to retain the result.