The rise of the Internet has changed the way that people and businesses interact, altering communication styles, marketing habits, and collaboration methods while promoting our ability to conduct quick, effective research.
Search engines like Google and Yahoo have also opened individuals and businesses up to a domain in which their success can be significantly impacted by the state of their online reputations. While many factors can result in a positive image the web, the following issues are the most likely to negatively affect your online reputation:
Poor Business Reviews
Unfortunately, statistics show that a negative experience is more likely to be shared by a customer online or by word of mouth. According to one study, a poor experience with a business was 50 percent more likely to be discussed on social media than a positive experience, and 52 percent more likely to bring their story to a review site like Yelp. Additionally, a survey conducted by Zendesk in 2013 deduced that 90 percent of customers who read online reviews were swayed by their content, and factored them into their purchasing decisions.
A business owner who does not pay attention to the negative reviews that his or her company receives online may be significantly impacting sales numbers and the potential success of the company. However, the damage done by negative reviews does not need to be permanent.
The most useful action a company can take when it receives a bad review is to respond with a well-constructed, professional comment. Within the comment, business owners should offer the customer an apology and outline the way in which they will make sure their business avoids the problem in future transactions.
To demonstrate to people reading the review that they value customer satisfaction, companies should refrain from using accusatory language or placing blame on the person who left the review, no matter the circumstances.
When a company or individual becomes involved in a significant dispute of any kind, it may end up on the internet in the form of a news article, court document, post on a gossip website, or scandalous picture.
Among the most common types of bad press on the internet are legal disputes, scandals involving an individual’s personal life, and reports on customer complaint sites, which allow anonymous posters to post commentary – honest or otherwise – about a business’ services or products. In comparison with more general customer review sites like Ye;[, which requires posters to identify themselves for the sake of honesty, customer complaint sites do not offer potential customers a fair look at a company, yet still rank high on search engines.
Similarly, smear sites that are designed specifically to air personal grievances also allow commenters to remain anonymous while authoring posts. When a name is mentioned on these websites, Google’s algorithm ranks them as important due to factors such as a high click-through rate, the age of the website, and a steady growth rate in comparison with its years of operation.
Though personal requests for the removal of this information from such sites are rarely granted, individuals may want to consider enlisting the help of a reputation management service in order to explore their options.
No Web Presence
As damaging as scandalous content and negative reviews can be, having no content available on the internet at all can be a major disadvantage to both businesses and people. As a business, establishing a web presence increases both visibility and the reach of advertising initiatives, driving sales through the procurement of a larger customer base.
With the Internet now playing a dominant role in American consumerism, it is highly likely that competing businesses will establish a web presence, which puts companies without a website or online presence at a distinct disadvantage. Having a strong website and marketing platform on social media sites lends companies a degree of trust and credibility from potential customers. While a business with a website may not automatically be seen as reliable, but a company without a website is likely to be seen as undependable or risky.
As with businesses, individuals who choose not to participate in social media may find it difficult to secure job interviews. Recruiters frequently use search engines as a preliminary screening tool for potential job candidates, and a lack of presence online may tell potential employers that an individual does not place importance on being contemporary.
To begin establishing a presence online, businesses can create a basic website that provides the company’s name and logo, contact information, and a short description of the product or services that it provides. This kind of website should be used as a starting point, and can be expanded upon as time or budget permits.
Individuals would do well to establish themselves on professional sites like LinkedIn, providing the details of their work experience and any schooling or certifications along with a professional headshot. To make a greater professional impression, job seekers should consider authoring a blog which showcases the individual’s knowledge and capabilities with regard to his or her professional industry.