Ah, online reputation. If you’re a business owner or a marketer who deals with online reviews for your brand, you know that this can be a sour subject. You see that bad review comes in or you stumble upon it online, and you just start spinning: “That’s not the way that happened!” “This is a misunderstanding” “What did Matt do to make a customer mad now?”

And while we’ve talked about how to manage your online reputation, how to respond to reviews, and what you can learn from a bad review in the past, it’s also important to talk about how online reputation is changing and evolving.

So, How is Your Online Reputation Evolving?

If you think about it, online reviews are fairly new. Yelp wasn’t founded until 2004. Before then, if you were looking for a new business, like a vet, you’d ask around, until eventually, you’d hear from your mom’s friend’s cousin that the vet down the road was great, but could they really be trusted as an accurate reference? You might have tried the vet for yourself.

But, now, you have hundreds of options, and opinions, right at your fingertips. You read a review for a vet on Yelp from Luvsmydog25 who says they were terrible, and you think “I’m definitely not taking my dog there!”

I mean, that’s kind of crazy: Someone you don’t even know said on Yelp that the vet was bad, so you’re not going to go.

I’m not judging, here — I do that all the time.

What Makes Up Your Online Reputation Now?

And the evolution doesn’t stop there. Now, your online reputation comprises way more than just a couple of review sites.

Beyond review sites, consumers are forming an opinion about your business through each and every piece of information they see about you online.

I’ll use myself as an example. When I’m looking for a new vet, I’ll not only look up reviews to see what people say about them, I’ll look at how the business responds to those reviews (if they do), what their social media pages look like and the type of information and pictures they post, what their website looks like, if they have any testimonials on their website, what type of emails they send when I add my information on their website, and the list goes on.

And that’s just online. I’m also taking into account how friendly your staff is, what your location looks like, pricing, and the actual vet when I arrive.

All these factors play into what I think about a business and what I perceive to be their reputation.

So, that includes a business’s:

As consumers have more and more options available and become savvier to things like online reviews and a business’s full online presence, it makes sense that they would start to lump all this information together to determine how your business ranks in their minds.

How to Proactively Manage Your Online Reputation

So, yeah, that sounds like a lot. And it is. But, it speaks to the importance of establishing a strong and cohesive web presence that includes online reputation as part of your overall marketing strategy.

If you want to be proactive about your online reputation, it starts with how you’re presenting yourself across the web, including your website, your social sites, local listing sites, and online review sites.

You can have amazing reviews, but if I can’t figure out how to contact you on your website, it doesn’t really mean anything.

The way consumers are searching for businesses is becoming more involved. They’re not relying on the first result they see online, they’re doing their research, which includes checking you out across the web.

Want to see if your web presence is pretty? Our free digital health check looks at all these places to see how you stack up against the competition. Plus, it gives you areas for improvement so you can ensure consumers are seeing only the best about your business. What are you waiting for? Contact us today so we can take a look with you.

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