Did you know that over 90 percent of people read online reviews on a regular basis? If you’re actively managing your reputation, these reviews could generate a steady flow of quality leads. Most customers want a quick solution for their problems, and that comes in the form of a trusted brand name, product or service. A simple Google search is the easiest way to find information and narrow down their choices.

In most cases, though, local business owners are too busy running their day-to-day operations to monitor their online ratings, let alone respond to them. What they don’t realize is how much damage a bad review can do, especially when industry competition is high. Here are some tips on how to boost your business reputation online and generate solid leads in the process.

Set Up Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free tool that will notify you any time your company, product, service, or industry is mentioned online. You simply need to choose the keywords you want to monitor (i.e. Engage Marketing), and you’ll get an email every time those keywords are used in pages on the internet. You can even use keywords about your local competitors if you want to stay informed on their business activity. You can be as general or specific as you want and change the frequency of the alerts to manage them more efficiently.

Verify Your Business Listing

If you want your business to appear in search results, make sure it is verified by major search engines like Google and Bing. Search engines are getting “smarter” over time and will only display results that are relevant and accurate. That being said, if you don’t take the time to verify your business information, you could miss out on a considerable amount of traffic to your site. The verification process can be completed in a few simple steps and will benefit the credibility of your business greatly in the long run.

Respond to Negative Reviews

Have you ever noticed that negative ratings stick out like a sore thumb? Even when the majority of reviews or comments are positive, one bad experience can take a serious toll on a local business when it’s shared online. There are several courses of action you can take when this happens, one of which is to confront the problem head-on. Own your mistake and do everything in your power to rectify the situation. If your reputation has been damaged, we have several methods that can be used to ensure the problem is contained (like removing the reviews altogether). You shouldn’t let one mistake hold you back from pursuing a wealth of happy customers.

Boost Your Online Presence

The best way for local businesses to develop a strong support network is by engaging with their customers, vendors, employees, and any other stakeholders. That means publishing content regularly, whether it be on a blog post on your website or keeping up with your social media channels. If people want to know more about your company, they’re going to search the internet for any information that may help them make an informed decision. Don’t limit their knowledge to third-party sources – share regular news and updates about what your business is up to. Plus, the more platforms you use to connect with the online community (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), the more you will appear in search engine results.

So, the next time someone enters a product or service from your industry in a search engine, how will your company rank? Most internet users don’t make it past the first page of search results, so it’s crucial to start thinking about how your website appears in comparison to your competitors. Are you boasting a five-star review, or struggling to get seen altogether? These best practices when it comes to reputation management will not only protect your reputation, but also give your company more exposure over time.

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