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Choosing to put your head in the sand about your current online review quality and volume will have the opposite of the intended effect. Indeed, unhappy people complain and raving fans say nothing at all. You can’t beat ‘em so you’ve got to join them when it comes to building your business’ reputation online by garnering more quality, legitimate, positive ratings and reviews. Click the image above for this month’s video newsletter featuring SEOversite’s super-entertaining millennial-translator, Jackson Parker, for insights on maximizing online reviews and better understanding how they work.

Prefer to read than to watch? We’ve transcribed the video newsletter above for your reading pleasure! Enjoy:

A lot of folks agonize over ratings and reviews. It can be something that stresses people out. And maybe it should! It’s certainly a part of your online presence.

If you’ve worked with SEOversite in the past, maybe you’ve heard us talk about something we call the marketing totem pole. It’s sort of a way to rank and prioritize the things you should worry about when you begin to work on your online presence. And while ratings and reviews aren’t your #1 priority online – there are other things on the totem pole that we would want to prioritize, such as a website and SEO – it’s certainly a necessary add on depending on how great other aspects of your web presence are.

What is Reputation Management?

So what are ratings and reviews? And how can you work on this as an actual part of your business? Well, some folks would call this ‘reputation management.’ Which makes sense, because ratings and reviews make up your online reputation. A bad review can do a lot more harm than several very good ones can. Which is why your reputation is on the line, and why this is something you ought to take very seriously. Ratings and reviews focus on something called ‘review generation.’ This means you’re focusing on generating as many reviews as possible. And you are going to want to generate a lot of reviews. Depending on what it is that you sell or provide – maybe it’s a large purchase that a lot of people agonize over – folks are going to be checking out your reviews ahead of time. Perhaps before they even visit your website and hear about what it is you provide on your own terms.

So the question becomes, “how do you take control of this?”. That’s the beauty of the term ‘review generation.’ It puts the onus on you and your practice, your business, whatever that may be, to generate as many reviews as possible. Whether that’s something you do yourself, or with the help of your employees, or through an agency – and we may well recommend an agency for you.

Maximing Customer Reviews

So how do you do this? And why is that difficult? Well, for starters, you’re trying to beat out something called ‘voluntary response bias,’ which a term you may or may not remember from you AP Psychology exam. I did just about adequately when I took that test 6 years ago, but I do remember that ‘voluntary response bias’ is a hump that you have to get over when you’re really only working with people who want to say something, but have no incentive to do something unless their own personal desire to do so is very strong. So with reviews that generally only means people will talk about you when they have very negative things to say. Perfectly happy customers of yours may love the service that you provide and have every intention to spread the good word. But it’s kind of just one of those things that you have to get around to, and honestly people never get around to it. Think about the last fabulous restaurant you went to. Where you had excellent service. I’m sure you praise that place any time it’s convenient, but I’m doubtful that you actually went online and posted a review. Once again, this is where the value of review generation comes into play.

When people decide to start being proactive about review generation on their own it takes a number of different forms. For starters, plenty of folks just like to toss in a review link underneath their email signature when they follow-up with a customer. Other folks will just straight up say, “Hi! Please write us a review!”, if they have access to the customer’s email. Both of these work, but are a little bit iffy.

Using Review Generation to Help With Negative Reviews

Another value of reputation management is the way that it handles negative reviews. If you currently have some negative reviews hanging out there, I’m sorry. Maybe you earned it. Maybe you didn’t. But there are ways to get rid of it. You can maybe try to resolve the issue with the client or customer. You’ll often see this take the form of comments from the business itself speaking towards negative reviews. If you go on Google Reviews, you’ll see stuff like that quite often.

But in truth, there’s only one way to actually get rid of these negative reviews. It’s by drowning them out with positive ones.

Another great thing about reputation management is that reviews are fabulous for SEO. Not only within Google and other search engines but within the review platforms themselves. Review sites like to show off the great things first. So if you look up ‘best falafel shop on the corner,’ and there are two of them, the really well regarded one is going to show up first. At the same time, many, many reviews that create a broad picture of a business is much more helpful than very few glowing reviews. A business with 400 4-star reviews is going to track a whole lot better than a business with 10 4.8-star reviews. Additionally, Google indexes how recently a review was posted. So something that was said about your business 10 years ago really isn’t all that helpful anymore. Google understands that and will index you appropriately.

Another lovely thing about having lots of glowing reviews is that you can use them for other aspects of your SEO, content, and social media strategies. We love to post positive reviews from people who love SEOversite. A) It makes us feel great, and b) it becomes helpful to other people who check us out on social media. So good reviews can really be invaluable.

Hire a Reputation Management Company

They’re often the first thing people see about you and your business when they look you up.

You don’t have to spend money on an agency, but we do recommend that you might. We can find you a fantastic one for free because that’s what we do at SEOversite. A lot of the agencies that we work with do a very excellent job of placing iPads within your place of business so that folks who are just hanging around and enjoying their experience with you can very casually post a Google Review on their own. It’s really great and helpful and it doesn’t mean you have to then send an employee to go racing after them to source that positive review.

What we want to do at SEOversite is for you to understand the value. Reviews are part and parcel to your entire online reputation. And it’s something that you ought to devote some sort of resource to. That resource may be money. That resource may be human capital within your office. Reputation management is a game of proactivity, and we at SEOversite personally feel that the right move is to be spending money on an agency that can do this for you impeccably. If the time is right for you to start focusing on reputation management for your business, of course at SEOversite we’re more than happy to pair you with a group for absolutely no cost. But if we can do anything for you right now, it would be to underscore the value of reviews, ratings, and reputation management.

It takes a lot of time to build a really sturdy online reputation. And at SEOversite, we’d be more than happy to guide you through the process. And if I could leave you with one more thing, let it be thus… if you don’t reviews it, you lose it.

Have a lovely day!

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