The importance of nurturing your online reputation when it comes to SEO
No matter how good you think your products or services are – and they really could be top notch – your customers and clients aren’t just going to take your word for it.
In this age of information, they have access to a whole world of independent and professional reviews at their fingertips – and you can bet they are going to use them!
It isn’t just individual products and services that your potential customers will be researching, either. In a busy marketplace full of discounts and excellent customer service, they’ll want to know everything about you, including:
- Your communication between company and customers
- The value you offer
- Your delivery arrangements, times and partners
- How you interact – via email, social media and over the phone
- Your credentials – how long you’ve been operating, and any awards you’ve won
- Any other information that will help them decide that you can be trusted.
And if that’s not enough, Google also has a range of reputation penalties at its disposal, aimed at companies who are misusing the content on their site. While this sounds scary, it can be rectified – and thanks to a dedicated SEO strategy, you can ensure what you do in your business is above board, while having a positive influence on your brand in general.
Let’s go through each of these points one by one, to make sure your company is showing its sterling reputation online in the best possible light.
Probably the most important part of any customer’s interaction with your company. Once they’ve found the product or service they’re looking for and clicked that all-important ‘Pay Now’ button, they’re going to to want to know what’s next.
People like to be in the loop, and if you keep checking in with your customers, they’ll appreciate that you’re taking the time to keep them informed, which in turn will boost your online reputation.
Online shopping has become something of a race to the bottom in recent years. People know that they have the power to search for any product online and find it cheaper, and for some, the price is all that matters. Take the news about House of Fraser closing many of its stores – it’s in part down to the fact that people are choosing to find what they need for a better price online.
What customers have learned the hard way though, is that more often than not, you get what you pay for. Cheaper products can mean longer and more unpredictable delivery times, insufficient or unsuitable packaging, damaged goods, bad or non-existent communication, and even in the worst cases, counterfeit goods or no-shows.
If you aren’t willing to compete at the bottom end of the market, show your customers why you’re worth more. Explain the value you offer. This builds your reputation and will encourage your customers to trust your company to deliver a high-quality service.
The sticking point of so many unresolved online transactions. According to Klarna.com, around 48% of shopping baskets are abandoned at the last stage because:
- Delivery was too expensive
- Delivery was inconvenient
- Delivery was with a courier service with a bad online reputation
- Filling in the delivery form was difficult or confusing.
Don’t scare real customers away right at the last hurdle. Convert their clicks into purchases and give them the confidence to shop with you, by making checkout as seamless as possible. Plus, make sure you’re offering a great range of delivery options to help them make the right choice for their needs.
If you’re a business selling goods online, you need to be available to communicate online, too. Many businesses find that customers prefer to reach customer services through chat functionality, or even via social media (especially Twitter and Facebook chat.)
If this isn’t feasible for you, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure that you can be contacted at least by email and telephone, and that these contact details are clearly displayed on relevant pages throughout your website. You only need to scroll to the bottom of The Evergreen Agency’s homepage, for example, to find the contact details you need to get in touch with us; don’t make finding key info a frustrating game of hide and seek for your customers. Instead, point them in the right direction – every time.
Shouting about your credentials is the done thing in online business. Nothing puts customers’ trust in you like a well-written real-life case study, and nothing makes you stand out more than genuine five-star reviews from happy clients.
Awards look great on your website, too – especially if they are specialist industry accolades that showcase your company’s dedication to providing excellent customer service. These really bump up your online reputation and can even link back to the awarding body’s site, offering you excellent ranking kudos too.
Any other info
If you can offer personalised services, make sure your customers know this as soon as they reach your website. If you can hand-deliver products or visit companies and clients for a one-to-one meeting to discuss their bespoke needs, make sure this is known.
You will already have ideas springing to mind about what your company and your team can offer customers that puts you ahead of your main competitors. Make a list and think carefully about how you can promote them – may I suggest a suite of blog posts, an eshot and a quick update of your ‘About Us’ page for a start? If this sounds like too much for your business to deal with right now, we offer a range of search marketing services designed to help your company’s website attract more customers to your business.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought. Give your site a quick Google right now and see what you can find out. If your reputation is fantastic, that’s great! Make sure you continue to protect it.