01. March 2016 · Comments Off on How to Best Work with Your Online Reputation Management Firm · Categories: Mountain Woods Media, ORM · Tags: , , ,

Your company has hired an online reputation management firm (or consultant) to help you solve your negative reputation be it negative reviews; unfavorable mentions in the local media or a harsh complaint in the Ripoff Report website.

~ Wikimedia Commons

Problem solved right?

Not quite.

When you engage with an ORM firm, you should expect:

  • a project assessment.
  • a strategy on how they plan to fix your problem.
  • a project update each week.

Behind the scenes, any reputable reputation management firm is:

  • Creating new websites; blogs; social networking accounts; photography sites and more for your business or for you as an individual (if you have an individual reputation problem).
  • Writing and publishing tons of unique content on your behalf.
  • Building “white hat” links pointing to positive URLs about you and/or your company.

Reputation repair is SEO on steroids and, depending on the severity of the problem, you shouldn’t expect your reputation problem to be repaired in one hour, one day or one week. Remember: while it takes years to build a good reputation and five minutes to destroy it, it could also take months (and sometimes longer) to repair your reputation.

Businesses and individuals should support and help their online reputation management firm by:

  • Sharing pictures and videos via Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. suitable for republication.
  • Finding in their files professional white papers, how-to guides, old press releases, term papers, resumes, positive publications they have authored that could be converted into shiny, new digital content.
  • Writing and refreshing stale company blogs.
  • Increasing social media efforts in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others.

Yes, we understand that your online reputation problem can be viewed as extremely important to your bottom line or for making your next career move. However, contrary to what you might think, your situation is probably not unique and online reputation firms have usually seen your specific type of reputation problem many, many times over. Excessively emotional correspondence or a bombardment of telephone calls; e-mails and virtual meeting requests can equate into more billable hours for you and your company – none of which is helping to repair your reputation problem.  Make sure to treat your reputation project like a military strategist. Keep your hurt feelings in check, stay focused, and help your ORM firm generate an artillery barrage of positive content. It will help you win your battle quickly.

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Mountain Woods Media, LLC specializes in online reputation management and repair for companies and business professionals. Contact us for more information or visit our Training page to see our online reputation courses.

 

11. February 2016 · Comments Off on Online Reputation Repair: Beating Ripoff Report · Categories: ORM, SEO · Tags: , , , , ,

Beating Ripoff ReportThe Ripoff Report (http://ripoffreport.com) is an ugly and unforgiving complaint website that allows anyone to file a report against you and/or your business. The website doesn’t ask for proof and “reviewers” can remain anonymous all in the name of harming your online reputation.

What makes matters worse, is that Google and other search engines continue to rank Ripoff Report prominently. Unfortunately, if there isn’t an online reputation management plan in place, you’ll quickly find Ripoff Report is ranked in the Top 3 of the Google search results on your personal name or business name.

In addition, if the harmed party (you or your business or an employee in your business) responds to a claim, you’re actually helping that report to earn even higher rankings in search engines because you’re adding more content to the post. More content equals more keywords; your name; your company’s name and a likely published response from the original complainer.

Several years ago, a client was mentioned in Ripoff Report. Not only was the business name published many times in the back-and-forth “discussions” but specific employee names were also published which caused this particular Ripoff Report claim to move up in search engine rankings on individual names. When the dust was settled and the complaint was resolved, many employees mentioned were now harmed by Ripoff Report.  The original complainer, though somewhat satisfied, could not even remove their original report.  The content remains forever.

What an absolute mess.

The Ripoff Report website suggests not hiring an online reputation management firm in order to fix the problem and they practically challenge anyone to file a lawsuit against them. In addition, you are offered the opportunity to file a “counterclaim” and have Ripoff Report review your matter for a $$$ fee, but there are no guarantees that the negative claim against you or your business will ever be removed.

So, how does one beat Ripoff Report?

Let’s first assume that you didn’t have an online reputation management program in place to help you avoid such trouble. Oh, someone could still file a Ripoff Report against you or your business, but a solid ORM program would likely keep these – and other false claims – from moving up in Google or other search engines.

Therefore, if you wake up tomorrow morning and see such a claim against you or your company, you need to get busy and get busy fast. This would include:

  • Investigate the Ripoff Report claim against you. Do not respond to the claim.
  • Where is it ranked in Google and other search engines on targeted keywords such as the name of your business or your name, etc.?
  • For any websites that are currently ranked lower (beneath) the Ripoff Report, you’ll need to update those websites (if you have login credentials) in order to help them move up in search results. Basically, your goal is to optimize the “good” stuff about you and your business so they’ll move up in search results and suppress Ripoff Report.
  • Write articles and blogs using the targeted keyword(s).
  • Take pictures of your company, staff, products etc. and get them published.
  • Create and publish YouTube videos and much, much more.

I would also consider talking to your company attorney for legal advice. If you don’t have time to battle Ripoff Report claims against you or your company, you should definitely consider hiring a professional online reputation management firm (with search engine optimization experience) to help you create more positive spin on your company and personal name in order to suppress negative news.

29. December 2015 · Comments Off on Yes, Angie’s List Lets You Get Negative Reviews Removed for Your Business · Categories: ORM · Tags: , , , , ,

by Leigh Drake, President, Mountain Woods Media, LLC

We frequently hear from clients within the first line of their messages that we “must remove” the negative review of their business within search results. We spend a significant amount of time with clients educating them about the online reputation process and stand by our routine counsel that it is still almost impossible to have negative reviews removed … that bad press must be pushed down in search engines with good press.

However, this week, the Consumerist blog outlined how you can get negative reviews removed from Angie’s List once your dispute with a company is properly resolved.

Angies's List Removes Negative Reviews

 

In the article entitled “Angie of Angie’s List Defends Policy of Removing Negative Reviews If Customers Get Refunds” Ashlee Kieler details the Angie’s List process and terms of services for businesses if premium membership customers receive refunds from businesses for poor service performance. Angie’s List has taken a bit of a hit from some consumers declaring unfair censorship; however, Angie Hicks, the company founder, defends the resolution process saying that it has been an effective tool for 20 years. Stating that their goal is not to be a complaint site, the premium membership customers who choose to go through the resolution system are well informed that their negative review will be removed from the business’ listing should a resolution or refund be met. And although the negative review will be removed, the customer does have the opportunity to submit updated feedback about the business as long as it is positive.

While that agreement doesn’t specify at that point that the new review must be positive, a separate affirmative check box to start the resolution process does address the new review: “I understand that if the service provider resolves the issue to my satisfaction, the review will be deleted, and I will have the opportunity to update my review with a positive one.” – The Consumerist, December 14, 2015

In terms of businesses having an opportunity for a second chance, this seems like a reasonable process that keeps the marketplace civil giving both businesses and customers an opportunity to reach resolution and move forward, and perhaps make the internet a more welcoming place for review exchanges.

The Angie’s List company does heavily monitor consumer reviews – perhaps better than any other purveyor – and has a strong telephone availability for both business and consumer members. By using their call center team, it has allowed them to sniff out bad actors and provide review and resolution guidance.

15. October 2015 · Comments Off on Online Reputation: A Basic Glossary · Categories: ORM · Tags: , ,

Every person, place or thing has an online reputation. However, the term “reputation” can mean different things depending on the situation.

Here’s a glossary of various meanings when it comes to “online reputation.”

Online Reputation

Your online reputation (speaking of you personally and/or your business; healthcare ORM A Basic Glossary of Termspractice, etc.), is determined by what ranks high in search engine results. Do the results reveal positive or negative information? This includes online reviews; media coverage; legal matters; blogs and more.

For example, a positive online reputation can include:

  • Consistently earning 4- and 5-star reviews.
  • Local media articles and videos that share good things about you and your company.
  • Flattering photographs in Flickr, Google Images, etc.
  • A steady stream of company-produced and published videos in YouTube and Vimeo.
  • An updated blog with a minimum of one or two helpful blog posts per week.
  • Active social media accounts and participating in online conversations in Twitter, Facebook, etc.

These all add up to creating a maintaining a positive online reputation for both individuals and companies.

Of course, a negative online reputation is quite the opposite:

  • Negative reviews left by customers with little to no attempt by the business owner or manager to communicate with unhappy customers in trying to solve a problem.
  • Media coverage that may reflect your business in a negative way to current and future customers (complaints about your company; lawsuits; investigations and other legal matters, etc.).
  • Employee complaints on GlassDoor and other employment review websites.
  • Stale and outdated information on your company website or blog (if you have a blog).
  • Lack of activity and active conversations in social media accounts.

Emergency Online Reputation

While a negative online reputation can be corrected with the right strategy – and time – an instance could arise with any business or professional which may require immediate attention.

If something more severe occurs, such as a legal matter; product recall; several negative reviews, etc., your online reputation will most likely change as well. When this happens, you may need to take quick steps to prevent your reputation from going down the drain in a matter of days.

This action is referred to as “emergency online reputation.”

Typically, websites that contain large amounts of content usually earn higher rankings in Google and other search engines. These include digital newspapers, television and radio outlets; online review sites; courts and other legal websites (including arrest reports and mugshots). Therefore, if your “bad” news falls into one or more of these categories, it could quickly move to the Top 10 in search results almost overnight.

This means you’ll need to do everything you should have been doing all along, but you’ll need to pick up the pace; generate positive content; get it published online and increase your social networking activity.

Emergency online reputation can turn things around, but it can take up to three months (or more) to bury the negative posts appearing in search results. It all depends on the severity of your negative reputation.

On an individual level, emergency steps are required when an arrest report and mugshot photos appear in the Top 10 positions in search results, as well as lawsuits; ugly divorce proceedings; bankruptcy and other legal matters. White collar crimes such as embezzlement, fraud and insider trading troubles typically will also earn high rankings in Google. These kinds of problems make future employment difficult.

Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is the process by which you are constantly creating a positive online presence to improve and solidify your company’s reputation or your reputation as an individual.

It’s like going to the bank and getting a loan: the best time to get a loan is when you don’t need one. The best time to shop for a new car is when you don’t need one.

Online reputation management is the same thing.

By consistently writing and publishing good content about your company; its products, services and its employees, you’ll easily fight off any minor negative burp that appears on the radar.

Individuals – including high school and college students – need to always be improving their online reputation as scholarship reviews and employment opportunities are on the horizon. Clean up your Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts. Remove unsavory photos and personal tags. Foul language in Twitter and blog posts also creates a bad online reputation for individuals.

An online reputation management (also called “ORM”) plan can be created within a day but the process of implementing a plan never ends. Always be on the lookout for positive content, photograph and video opportunities in improving and solidifying your reputation.

24. August 2015 · Comments Off on How To Improve Online Reviews For Your Business · Categories: ORM, Training Courses · Tags: , , , ,

improve online reviews and business reputationMany business owners – especially those who own and operate restaurants and hotels – may actually rely on the reviews left online by their customers.

Customers don’t want a bad experience or poor service. They really don’t. However, if they leave with a bad experience, they usually turn to Yelp or another online review website to share their opinions with the world.

As a business owner, you can learn from negative reviews, improve your online reviews and take steps to ensure better reviews and better communication with customers. Here’s how:

  • Make sure you’ve claimed and confirmed your business profile with online review websites; business listing websites and mapping sites. These would include services such as Yelp, Google+ Local, Bing Local, Manta and others.
  • Optimize your business profile with complete and accurate information. This includes correct address; telephone numbers; services and products offered; business hours; payment types accepted (including credit cards); photographs and videos. The more information you complete, the better your business will be ranked within the review website.
  • Keep your profile updated. Add new pictures and videos on a regular basis.
  • Respond to customers who leave reviews. Correspond with all customers through the review website. This shows other customers that you are grateful for good reviews and that you’re eager to solve any problems or poor customer experiences with your business. This goes a long way with potential new customers.
  • It’s perfectly fine to ask regular customers; family or friends for a review. Tell them you’re trying to improve your business’ reviews and, if they are willing to leave your business a review, you would appreciate it.
  • Never offer discounts or free services or food in exchange for good reviews.

For more information on earning better reviews, check out our course “Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews” on Udemy.com.