How Google SERP Selections Can Affect Your Brand Reputation
All businesses want to end up at the top of their respective SERPs, that’s why so much time, money, and energy is spent brainstorming how to improve online rankings. However, no business wants to get to the top of a Google SERP with a negative review or unflattering article.
A significant majority of consumers agree that they read online reviews before dealing with a company or making a purchase, but what if SERPs are digging up negative feedback?
Over 60% of people will abandon a business based on negative online feedback. If the first thing that potential consumers are seeing when they scroll through search results is a bad review about your business, it can be very difficult to ever get them back. Nothing on the internet ever really goes away, so managing how consumers view your business – your brand reputation – is more important than ever.
How Does Google make SERP Selections?
Before we start digging into what businesses can do to manage their online reputations, it is important to know a little bit more about how popular search engines, including Google, decide what shows up on SERPs.
The goal of a search engine is to provide online users with the best quality SERPs based on their query. Google, in particular, is known to consciously make changes to its algorithms to help weed out low-quality content from relevant search results. In addition to basic quality control features, like penalizing badly written content, keyword stuffing, and poor mobile performance, Google’s latest algorithm uses natural language processing to understand the context of a search, rather than just the words.
When it comes to managing your business’ online reputation, there is nowhere left to hide.
Using SEO to Manage Your Brand Reputation
SEO brand management gives businesses the ability to help control their online image. By combining the powers of SEO and smart marketing, you can help shape what appears on SERPs and present your business in the most positive light possible. Here’s how:
Make Your Brand a Keyword
Even if you have nothing to hide, but especially if you do, shift search results where you want them – to your website – by using your brand and keyphrases as keywords on most/all of your website content.
Create New Content
But wait, not just any content. As we already covered, you are not going to score any major points investing in low-quality page fillers. Your content needs to be something your target audience actually wants to read about, be well-written, and must align with your overall brand identity. Don’t neglect your keywords and related keywords, but remember that you are writing for people, not search engines.
Prioritize Online Reviews
You know that people are reading them; 87% of people say that they read online reviews before deciding on a service or product. Positive feedback and good reviews are clearly key to attracting new business, however bad reviews cannot be ignored, and in fact, they should be embraced. Use a bad review as an opportunity to showcase your business’ commitment to customer service by writing a prompt, honest reply, and doing what you can to right the situation. You can’t erase negative feedback, but you can use it to your advantage.
Link Sites That Improve Your SERP
Your blog posts, articles, and website are not the only content sources that matter when it comes to improving your SERP ranking. While it’s iffy as to whether or not socials like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest will directly influence your SERP, they can indirectly give you a positive boost through social signals – comments, reviews, likes, and shares.
Other sites such as Google My Business, Google Maps, can also influence your ranking, so make sure you have set them up and actively monitor comments and reviews.
Make Strategic Use of Backlinks
Backlinks are a classic SEO tool, but that doesn’t mean they have gone out of style. What has become increasingly important however, is the quality of your website’s backlinks. Aim to get backlinks from authoritative websites and other high-quality web sources to help improve your SERP rankings.
While you can’t run from a bad review, you can use these tips to manage, or in some cases re-build, your brand reputation, ensuring that what shows up on SERPs is what you want people to see.