ORM (online reputation management) is something that every business with an online presence needs to focus on. You see, over time, the internet has become the focal point of all things related to business.

When a consumer is looking for a business, they turn to the internet. When a consumer wants to look for the answer to a question, they turn to the internet. And when a consumer wants to voice his or her displeasure, you guessed it, they turn to the internet.

You can’t make everyone happy, so there comes a time when you are faced with negative information written about you or your business online. It’s not the end of the world, as it happens to the biggest and most successful companies out there.

Just look at companies like Apple and Amazon, which are multi-billion dollar companies. They have thousands of bad reviews online. They just do a great job at responding to the negativity and they take measures to help minimalize it.

I decided to write a blog post that highlights ten things you can do that all work towards improving the reputation of your business online. When you include all of these suggested actionable items into the mix it can really help to protect your brand. It’s important to implement all of these tips, as you don’t want to waste the time, resources and money spent building up your business.

Use these to improve your online reputation..


1. Highlight customer testimonials on your website’s homepage.

This is one of the easiest defense mechanisms to put into place, as they can help to reduce the number of negative reviews you receive or at the very least water them down. Let me explain why.

When someone lands on your website and the first thing they see are happy customers and words of praise, they are being told subconsciously that your business delivers a rewarding and satisfying experience. It’s Psychology 101, really.

Now, if you include a link to leave feedback or a review near those testimonials you are already mentally preparing them to leave positive feedback because you have already coached their mind using the highlighted testimonials. It’s important you use real images of the people as well to give it an authentic feel and connection.

If the customer is unhappy, the positive testimonials can help to water down their feelings of dissatisfaction and result in a less brutal review as well.



2. Share (re-post) user generated content on social media.

The more positive content and post about your brand, the better. One of the easiest ways to go this is to call on your current customers. Every person that buys a product or service from your business is an opportunity to get your business name out across their social media.

This just helps to spread a positive message, and Twitter content, for example is indexed by Google and shows in the search results. So, getting them to include your brand name in their post can play a big role.

The key is to make an offer that is enticing enough to warrant them taking time out of their day to post. A future discount or even creating a contest that rewards free gifts or prizes is a great way. You also benefit from the exposure and it can snowball into priceless free advertising that is responsible for generating more sales.

So, when you see your customers do this, re-post it. This will encourage more to participate because they feel like they are being rewarded by being featured on your social media.


3. Ask customers to leave reviews on third-party websites.

This is huge, and the major sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp play a major role in your online reputation. These are the results that will typically show at the top of Google’s search results, so it’s important to put a lot of effort into pushing customers to leave their feedback.

Now, these are the major broad ones, but niche-specific businesses like restaurants, for example, will also want to focus on sites like Open Table and Trip Advisor.

You can email your customers and ask them to leave feedback, or you can give them a customer card as they leave that directs them to a page on your website that offers a special thank you in advance in the event that they decide to leave a review. You can also create a doorway that asks them to select a number of stars for the review. If they select 4 or 5 stars, allow them to select one of the popular review sites and link to your page on them.

If they leave 1 to 3 stars, direct them to a feedback page that allows them to leave a review that is sent to your business. This allows you to smooth over any issue before they leave a review on a site that the public will see. This is a great way to not only make all customers happy, but also limit review damage.


4. Set up alerts on Google to help you be proactive when monitoring customer feedback posted online.

There are some instances when a really upset customer will skip the regular review sites and instead voice his or her opinion on a personal blog or on some obscure website. You may never know they exist unless you set up systems that alert you any time your brand is mentioned online.

There are some tools like Mention that do a great job, but sometimes simply setting up Google alerts will do the trick. You will want to set up several, with multiple name variations, such as:


  • Brand Name


  • Brand Name review


  • Review of Brand Name


Doing this will send you an email alert anytime new content is indexed in Google’s search results that includes the words or phrases you set. You will sometimes get alerts that aren’t relevant because the content happens to include similar variations, but it’s worth monitoring. Sometimes competitors will post blogs about your company, so these alerts can help you find them and then send a DMCA take-down notice to the hosting provider before it has a negative impact on your business.


5. Publicly respond to negative customer reviews and complaints.

If you think you will never receive a negative review online you are living under a rock. Even if you provide the best service or deliver the best products, you simply cannot please everyone. When a bad review hits, you don’t want to freak out and you surely don’t want to let it sit there unanswered.

The best thing to do is to respond to them immediately. Address the concern and leave as much detail as possible. You never want to appear to be unprofessional or just call the person a liar, even if they are posting pure nonsense. Remember, people will read your response and if you come across professional and offer a solution, then that negative review will not be held against you the same way it would be if there was no reply to it.



6. Use influencers to market and promote your brand in a positive manner.

This is another tactic to use to help you be proactive in portraying a positive brand message. When you have influencers constantly talking about your product or service in a good light on social media you are subconsciously telling consumers that you are a trustworthy brand.

With so many consumer glued to social media every day, it gives you an opportunity to not only market to potential customers using influencers, but also do a branding campaign. When a potential customer sees people posting about your brand with nice comments and positioning you in a positive light it greatly enhances your online reputation. When it comes time for them to purchase that guard is down and they already fully trust your business.


7. Create blog posts with a content marketing strategy designed to increase your Domain Authority.

When someone searches for your business name or the products and service you provide, you want them to come in contact that is not only positive in nature, but also can result in a lead or sale.

Well, the easiest way to increase the amount of top search result content is to start producing it yourself. Ever wonder why Amazon dominates the top of Google for almost any product? It’s because Amazon’s website has an incredible amount of authority.

You should always be working on increasing the authority of your website’s domain, by building high quality links. This is something that you are more than likely already doing as part of your SEO effort, but when you publish blog posts you will want to make sure you have content optimized for searches related to reviews and opinions of your business. The more content you can control that appear for these types of searches, the better.

You can easily create a blog article titled, “[Business Name] Review: We Look at Our Top Sellers,” and it’s going to rank for “[Business Name] review” because of the title, even though the actual post is reviewing the top selling products or services. If you built links and optimized the content you will attract traffic from that search and it may even lead to sales in addition to providing a barrier of protection in the SERPs.


8. Remove ads and popups from your website.

You want to make sure that all of your website visitors have a great user experience. The smallest inconveniences can royally piss them off and this can lead them to leave an unfavorable review.

Something as simple as banner advertisements on your website or a popup asking for an email. These little things can set someone off, especially if they are on your website and they have something else on their mind that is upsetting them.

I would highly recommend removing all ads from your website, because it just gives off the wrong impression. I see some e-commerce websites that run ads and it baffles me. It makes your site look cheap and you don’t see major brands running ads. Think about this: Walmart could run banner ads on their website and generate millions of dollar in revenue based solely on their traffic numbers. But they don’t because it would cheapen their brand and piss their customers off.

I would also avoid popups that disrupt the experience. Nothing is more frustrating than a popup that is triggered while someone is browsing or attempting to complete a purchase. Now, exit-intent popups are a different thing. Those are there to save a sale or convert someone that is leaving and unlikely to return.


9. Fully complete all authority directory listing website profiles.

There are literally hundreds of business directory websites, from general to industry specific. Look for ones that have high Domain Authority and include your information, being sure to maintain a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) on all of them.

Not only do these help you build your domain’s authority, but all of the listings are just additional content that will take up the search results when someone is searching your business. Not everyone looks at the top Google result before making a decision.

Consumers are becoming more intelligent online, and many will dive deep when they are looking for reviews. It’s not uncommon for people to go back three to ten pages looking to dig up dirt. Getting listed on as many directories as possible helps you fill up these pages with positive results.



10. Add badges of trust to your website’s ‘sensitive’ pages.

Things like badges showing that your website is secure or that you are a member of the BBB go a long way in creating a positive image for your business. Also, when you join these organization it gives you more chances to occupy more top real estate in the search results.

For example, a local business that is a BBB member gets a page on the BBB website, and because of its authority it’s going to always show on page one of Google when searching for that business. So, simply joining the BBB gives you a top 10 search result automatically and you can also use the BBB badge on your website to instill instant trust.

The Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations all do the same. Try to secure as many as possible.



When someone searches for your business on Google what will they find? It’s not if they search; it’s when. Consumers do it without even thinking these days. Whether you have a brick and mortal local business or an online e-commerce store, 99% of your potential customers are going to perform a Google search before they do business with you.

What they find can be controlled and manipulated by you, in a way that paints your business in a positive light, and also makes you look more human in the event that you have one or two angry customers. No business is perfect. Take Bank of America for example. If you search their brand name you will find thousands upon thousands of negative reviews. But they are doing just fine, making billions of dollars a year.

Too many small business owners I speak with get all worked up and worried over one negative review. Follow the tips above to help improve your online reputation and also strengthen your reputation profile, which will be a major asset in the event you do come across a customer that has it out for your business.

What are some steps you have taken to protect your company’s reputation online? Drop some of your tips and strategies in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have done, as well as experiences related to improvements you have made or adversity you have overcome.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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