Your business’s online reputation may be one of the most important things affecting your long term success. The more trust consumers and search engines have in your brand and your company, the better you are going to rank, the more traffic you should see and the higher your conversion rate will be. Building a strong online reputation is no easy task, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Everything you do for your SEO; link building, article marketing, blog commenting, social networking and more, all affect your online reputation. One misstep could send your carefully managed reputation crashing down.
One of the main components of building a strong online reputation is gaining the loyalty and trust of the online public. Any company who has created a business blog knows that earning a steady stream of loyal readers doesn’t happen right away. It only comes after you spend the time publishing quality, relevant content on a constant basis. Your readers need to learn that your blog is a good place for information and that your blog is worth coming back to. This only happens over time.
But for as long as it takes to build up an online reputation and subsequent base of loyal readers/fans/follows, it can just as quickly be destroyed. One of the quickest ways to damage your online reputation is to stray from your core beliefs. If you diverge from what you’ve traditionally practiced, you could lose a lot of credibility.
For instance, I am a white hat SEO professional all the way. That is the model I’ve built my business on and it is something I don’t waiver on when I handle clients’ SEO. But let’s say I started to dip my toe in the grey hat sandbox by engaging in link exchanges. I create a “links” page on my site that links to a multitude of unrelated sites in exchange for a link back, or even some sort of payment for any traffic I send over. If you look back through the SEO Journal, you’ll see plenty of blog posts where I talk about black hat SEO and what a bad practice it is. All the sudden I’m doing it? What does that say about me and my business practices? If I am willing to do that with my own company, what other grey hat tactics might I be employing on behalf of my clients?
The advent of social media means that news, good and bad, travels around the world and back in a matter of moments. One complaint or pieces of negative press can snowball and turn into a disastrous, reputation destroying avalanche. Don’t give online trolls any ammunition to bring down your brand! Practice what you preach and build a strong reputation that can withstand negative attacks.