Search engine optimization — known as SEO has come a long way in the last few years. What used to be a simple issue of building a website within specific guidelines and keeping it up to date with high quality, relevant content has evolved into a massive ongoing task that involves social media, web design, content creation, and reputation management. SEO experts know that keywords are no longer the only important factor when it comes to improving search ranks.
Reputation management is just one part of a multi-tiered effort on the part of a small business to control and enhance its online presence. Reputation management means dealing with the way a company is presented online, and addressing concerns or complaints raised by customers in public venues.
So why is reputation management important? According to research, 83% of consumers claim that online customer reviews influence the decisions they make when it comes to purchases. One bad Yelp review without a solid response from the company can sink that company’s chance of landing new customers. Reputation management is more than an SEO marketing strategy — it helps build business offline as well.
Word of mouth is one of the most important mechanisms in building a business. Twenty to fifty percent of purchasing decisions are influenced by word of mouth. And those Yelp stars matter; a Harvard University study showed that a difference in one Yelp star rating caused between 5-9% in business gain or loss.
Reputation management isn’t limited to Yelp, of course. Yahoo, Bing, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms provide customers with a way to directly engage with a company, and it is crucial for a business to be prepared to respond on all fronts. Don’t let your online reputation get away from you. It could be the deciding factor in your business’s success!
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