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A business is only as successful as its worst review, and having an abundance of poor reviews will devastate your reputation. Nowadays, there are a plethora of mediums that customers can use to review the quality of your services that can either make or break your company.

The reason reviews are so crucial to a company’s success is that the average person is more likely to accept the reviews of other customers as fact. The average customer will read around ten reviews before trusting a company’s services. This means that letting too many negative reviews pile up can ruin your company, and you might find your customer base shrinking.

One of the most common review sites out there is the same search engine that likely led customers to your page. We are, of course, referencing the Google search engine, which has become the standard for internet users across the globe. With Google reviews as an option, potential customers need not even enter your website to evaluate the general opinion of the quality of your products and services.

So, finding ways to address and overcome the negative reviews about you and your services is paramount to ensuring that customers are not turned away at the door. With this article, we hope to give you some advice on effectively combatting the bad reviews left by customers.

Research Yourself

The first step any company looking to outrank the Google reviews they have to deal with is to Google search themselves. Search engines filter information based on what is most relevant to the search parameters and will place reviews ahead of your website if they are more frequently updated than your actual site. However, the easiest way to determine how far down your website is on the search results list will require you to Google your company yourself and see how much scrolling you have to do to find your domain. Once you have done this, it can give you a clear idea of how much work you will have to do to correct the situation.

Researching Your Company

This information is the starting point for taking corrective measures. These measures will involve tweaking your website and addressing the reviews in question to make the results a little more favorable.

Take Advantage of Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, abbreviated as SEO, involves taking advantage of specific terminology related to your industry and is also used as a search term by potential customers. Sprinkling these terms into the content of your website serves a dual role that can help you protect your reputation while driving traffic up at the same time. SEO can help you outrank the negative reviews being left about your services. You can eliminate the middleman by putting your website above the actual review listings. As a result, potential customers visit your domain before Google reviews can drive them away.

You can place SEO terms in virtually any content you host on your website to allow you to make more pages take precedence in the search results. This can include simple descriptions on the homepage or terms being used generously in on-site blog posts that will add to the number of pages that meet the search parameters being used by the potential customer. The more pages you have that draw the attention of the search engine, the more likely it is that your traffic to your website will increase, and customers will bypass the Google reviews entirely. SEO is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Taking Advantage of SEO

SEO keywords should not just be random terms associated with the industry your company is based in. They should be relevant to important topics and issues that customers might encounter when looking for your services.

For example, if your company sells computers or computer paraphernalia, you will want keywords relating to commonly searched questions. The most frequently searched question about computers is what precisely a computer virus is. Therefore, making posts about what viruses are and then leading into a post about how to counteract them can effectively make your knowledge take precedence over Google reviews.

SEO, while valuable, is not enough to fully overcome the negative reviews being left about your services. You cannot, for instance, use it as a way to get out of addressing the reviews directly. However, you can bolster your reputation with the help of other professionals.

Make Guest Posts on Other Websites

Making posts relevant to the industry on your company’s website can be an extremely effective method to drive traffic to your website and allow potential customers to bypass the Google reviews. However, strictly posting on your website could eventually be viewed as an echo chamber by customers who doubt your company’s professional knowledge. This makes guest posting an important tool for reinforcing your reputation even in the face of bad reviews. This is because of two significant benefits that posting on someone else’s domain has on your professional reputation.

The first way that guest posting helps combat Google reviews is that you cannot simply wake up one day and post an article on someone else’s website. You will have to reach out or be contacted by the domain owner for an offer to post on their website, but you will also have to submit your content to their staff for quality evaluation. Your content needs to meet the standards of intelligence, industry knowledge, and quality of writing they are known for because they, like you, have a reputation to protect.

This evaluation process not only protects them but bolsters your reputation in the industry as it shows that other professionals accept your knowledge as being exceptional. Having the approval of another professional domain can work wonders to help your product and services outrank whatever reviews might be present on Google. However, this is not the full extent of what makes guest posting a worthwhile effort.

Making A Guest Post

The other reason guest posting can be important is that it allows you to double down on the SEO effect we mentioned earlier. While you can use the SEO terminology on your company’s domain to draw more traffic to it rather than the Google reviews, it can also be used on the guest posts to bring those posts further up on the search results list alongside your posts on your website. This allows you to buffer your website and the reviews in question so potential customers will at least peruse your site before formulating an opinion based on the reviews left by others. Trying to get the opportunity to guest post can be precisely the boon you need to outrank any reviews that might drag the business down.

If guest posting is not an option, the SEO can serve as an adequate substitute until the chance comes your way. However, there is still one more thing you can do to try and outrank the reviews of your company.

Reviews Do Not Have to Be One-Sided Conversations

The biggest misconception about reviews is that they are left by customers, and you are left with a blemish on your reputation. However, one of the most important tools in your arsenal when combating bad reviews on Google is responding to the reviews.

When a review is left, it could be a legitimate criticism of an experience the customer had, or it might be a review left to try and bully your company by someone who has no basis for their accusations. Interacting with these reviews can help you determine which is which while also allowing you to address customers’ concerns. That said, there are some general policies to follow when dealing with negative reviews via the direct approach.

When a negative review is left on Google regarding your services, you must make any response you post with a level head. After all, the last thing you want to do is instigate a major disagreement between you and the customer, as it makes you come off as defensive and untrustworthy.

Responding To Reviews

The key is to apologize for the negative experience the customer claims to have had and then ask for details. Once you have specific information, you can determine how much of what is being said is accurate and what is an exaggeration or even an outright lie. If the customer can provide information that confirms their recounting of events, you can try to make things right with them, which might cause them to adjust their review accordingly.

On the other hand, if the customer review is exaggerated or the result of a misunderstanding, you can still commit to damage control. The first step is gently informing the customer of any misunderstandings there might have been while apologizing for any errors in communication that might have occurred on your end.

Then, set about explaining how things typically work to smooth things over. Conversely, suppose the customer has outright lied to strongarm you into providing some form of compensation they are not owed. In that case, you can take a similar approach to discredit them to the other customers. Explain why the details do not match up while maintaining the polite tone of conversation you would have with a customer who misunderstood the situation.

The main goal is to keep a level head and not lose your cool when dealing with customer reviews. The customer might not always be correct, but maintaining a respectful disposition will leave you with the moral high ground in the public view. However, review management is only one facet of overcoming bad reviews. This is less about outranking the reviews but making sure that the good reviews outrank the bad, which can be as crucial as getting your company’s website further up on the list. If this, along with the previous steps, is overwhelming, an additional resource is waiting for you to take advantage of it.

Bring in Reinforcements

Managing your reputation and overcoming review woes can sometimes be more of a challenge than you can handle on your own. There is no shame in this since the upkeep of a company’s reputation can be a full-time job. Fortunately, going it alone is no longer the only course of action for companies looking to outrank the reviews available on Google.

With the importance of reputation maintenance swelling in recent years, several private firms have sprung up to meet the challenge on your behalf. These firms focus on managing reviews and social media presence on your behalf and addressing anything that might negatively impact your company’s image. Trusting your reputation to a 3rd party might seem risky, but it can be what you need to keep up with your company’s needs.

Reputation Management Company

Contracting one of these firms will allow you to take a hands-off approach while working to help your actual website outrank the Google reviews page. Of course, it does not mean you can wash your hands of the situation. Still, it will allow you to focus on your day-to-day affairs without constantly hovering over the reviews being posted about your company.

Take Your Reputation Into Your Hands

Outranking bad reviews can be a challenge. After all, they spread like wildfire, and more and more are added every day. However, regular updates to your website’s content and managing the reviews themselves can help your website rise above them. Reviews will always be a factor in the business world, and so long as you offer a quality product or service and interact with your customers, you will find that they become less of an issue.

It is possible to overcome negative reviews and turn your website into a beacon for potential customers. SEO, review management, and recognition from peers can turn your reputation into one of the best in the industry if they are done properly. However, if you need a little help to get that done, you will find that even that does not have to be a challenge.

Managing Company Reputation

To that end, we at Reputation would like to extend an offer of service for precisely that purpose. We offer reputation management services and will help produce content that will send your company’s website shooting to the top of Google’s search results far above the reviews pane. We can even help manage the social media accounts associated with your company to ensure there are no posts that might be disagreeable to the customer base.

Reviews do not have to dictate your company’s reputation, and, with our services, they never will again. So, if you want to take your reputation back into your hands, contact us today so we can get to help you as soon as possible.

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    Matt Earle

    Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.