Like it or not, people talk. Sometimes they say things that are true, sometimes they make up lies, but either way, negative information about your company is downright lethal. Whether it’s a customer who had a bad experience, an ex-employee who wants to get their own back or a direct competitor who wants to take you down, negative information can quickly spread around the local community via the internet.

Before you know it, you’re losing sales. That’s why reputation management is fast becoming one of the most popular services for all kinds of businesses, big and small, national and local. It’s a way to protect your online reputation from negative reviews, false claims and other social threat, ethically and legally.  Reputation management involves a wide range of activities to keep your name in good standing.

Activities include responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to improve your products and services. In short, it’s about monitoring the social media & web. Probably you are aware of all this stuff and already monitor your brand mentions. But there are new threats and this post is about to show you how to check if your brand reputation is in danger and how to protect it.

There is more to Online Reputation Management than only checking the social media, answering to reviews and engaging with audiences. These days both public and private businesses have to deal with a much worse threat: a silent attack of negative SEO. You will find services that ask  just for $450 for  damaging  the reputation of the website!

Negative SEO is the reverse of search engine optimization. The aim of search engine optimization is to increase a site’s visibility in the SERPs. With Negative SEO, the aim of the procedure is to reduce a page’s rankings in the search results.

How is negative SEO used?

Negative SEO is mostly used with the purpose of downgrading the competitor’s sites to improve own rankings. This is called serp bubbling.  Another way of using negative SEO is to associate a competitor’s website with unwanted keywords.

HOW IS NEGATIVE SEO DONE?

There are many ways you can eliminate a page from the search engine rankings.

· Google Bowling. This is a technique designed to remove a site from the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) by making Google believe the site is spammy.

· Infecting a site. If a site is infected with a virus, then it is flagged up in the SERPs as being potentially dangerous.

· Black social bookmarking. This technique is using social websites such as Facebook and Twitter for creating huge numbers of fake accounts, and later use these accounts to send links with spammy content to the targeted website with unbecoming phrases.

HOW TO CHECK IF YOU ARE SECRETLY SABOTAGED

The best way of checking if you are secretly sabotaged is regular monitoring your page rankings, backlinks and traffic.

  • Drop off traffic. If you are hit by negative SEO your traffic drops like a stone. Just keep in mind that it might be another reason for this as well such as a Google penalty. I’m not even sure which is worse.
  • Your website disappears from the Google Results – see above
  • Big number of new links incoming to your website
  • Links coming to your website that have a spammy anchor text such cheap Viagra etc
  • You get a lot of mentions on social media without reasons. Sudden popularity happens rarely without cause

 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

  • Check your  Google Webmaster Tools regularly. Be certain to control Bing Webmaster Tools, and Google Webmaster Tools on a regular basis – also be certain that your email address is published in a correct way so you are able to react to notification emails without delay.
  • Use Additional Tools – there are many high classl tools that can give you a more advanced look inside your website. We use the following:  Majestic SEO,  Ahreft,  SEMRush.
  • If you are using CMS to update your website to the newest version of the software, Install security plugins and components.
  • Change passwords often
  • Have daily backup done automatically by your hosting provider.
  • If you are hit by a virus or malware, get your website back online by restoring the backup.
  • Disavow bad backlinks – if you identify spammy links, use Bing & Google webmaster tools to report them. But be careful with using this tools and don’t destroy good links.
  • Attempt to find and identify the source – If you are able to identify a competitor as the one who is damaging the revenue of your websites, sometimes it can be helpful to go on the offence. Offence often is the best defense and you could have reasonable grounds to sue.
  •  Be proactive – Strengthen your business’ online reputation with many external links from different sources. Make sure that there are articles published about your website. It can be in the form of guest blogging, reviews, news, press releases published on other sites. This part is crucial for the online reputation of your business.

“Creating and publishing content related to your business s is the most sustainable way of strengthening your business reputation. “ 

WHEN DO YOU NEED AN EXPERT

It’s always good to know that you can call a professional to help you when you need advice or a quick response. For daily operations, however, you can easily manage a lot of things by yourself if you develop a habit of regularly monitoring your brand.

  • Opensiteexplorer.com
  • Majestic SEO
  • Ahref
  • SEMRush
  • Google Webmaster Tools