While most business owners agree that managing their online reputation is important, many do not realize that digital marketing techniques like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing can be vital components to their reputation management efforts.

Reduce the visibility of negative reviews with SEO

The reason SEO benefits your reputation management efforts is simple. The goal of SEO is to increase the chances of your website appearing on the results pages of search engines like Google. But what if the information that appears on those search results pages is not from your own website? Or even worse, what if the information displayed is unfavorable to your business? Search queries do not always return positive results, even if the query is branded. If the reviews for your products and services are largely negative or if you’ve recently had an influx of negative reviews, it can mean that your business’ virtual first impression is a negative one.

One way to combat this is by implementing a well-thought-out SEO strategy. Doing so can help your business dominate more of the virtual real estate on a search engine results page. If you control the top rankings on Google, for example, you limit the visibility of the unfavorable content and negative reviews by pushing them further down in the results.

Leverage social media to boost your reputation

Of course, one of the best ways to combat negative reviews is to quickly generate a large number of positive reviews. Just like encouraging your website to rank with SEO pushes negative results further down the page, encouraging positive reviews makes the negative reviews less visible by pushing them further down the list. As such, social media can be an important ally in your reputation management efforts. While some reviews sites prohibit this, you can encourage your customers to leave positive reviews by asking them directly, or by offering an incentive such as a discount. You can also encourage positive coverage of your products and services by coordinating with social media influencers. Many influencers will provide a review of your product or service if you offer that product or service to them free-of-charge. Social media can be a helpful tool for generating a large number of positive reviews right when you need it.

Turn negative reviews into opportunity

Last but not least, it’s important to face your negative reviews rather than ignoring them. A large part of reputation management is learning to respond to negative reviews in the most effective way. Believe it or not, you can even turn that negative review into a positive opportunity for your business. Respond politely and professionally. You can acknowledge the customer’s concerns, while not implying that they are correct. If at all possible, encourage the customer to reach out to you so you can clear up the misunderstanding, or make amends. Keep in mind that you are not responding to the negative review for the benefit of the customer who left it, but rather for the benefit of other customers who may be browsing your review. You might not win that one client back, but you can show prospective clients that you care about their concerns and are willing to resolve them.