Competitors used dirty tricks to mess with our clients. We solved the problem.
Negative SEO tactics were used. We reversed the damage.
We handle the online reputation of many businesses across a broad spectrum of industries. When doing business it’s sometimes easy to make enemies – especially in the wake of success.
This was the case for one of our recent corporate clients: a real estate investment firm based in the United States with multiple local offices in various regions. They’d had issues with negative reviews in local search results around the country which they had reason to believe were placed by competitors. The company was also having issues with an attack site developed by a blogger that ranked highly for the client’s branded search terms.
|Industry||Commercial Real Estate|
|Issues||Negative online content locally and nationally|
|Services||Reputation Repair, Online Review Management|
|Duration||10 Months (initial changes after 30 days)|
Challenges to Overcome
Our client’s problems originated from both national and west coast regional locations. National search results included pages critical of the company by an activist blogger. When people searched the company using their branded search terms on Google, the critical results appeared just under their main website and Wikipedia page.
Local search results suffered from negative reviews. In response, we developed a two-prong reputation management strategy to address the client’s needs on both a local and national scale.
Negative review attacks
A study at MIT found that businesses with a nearby competitors receive more 1-star and 2-star (negative) reviews.
Different reviews locally vs. nationally
Google and other search engines show some kinds of reviews and articles locally, and others nationally. It’s why we approach the problem on two fronts.
After some prodding, our team decided that the blogger would not remove the post and that approaching him could further damage our client. We’ve seen and experienced cases in the past where bloggers use an attempt at removal or modification of the damaging post as substance for producing additional negative content.
Since the negative content could not be internally removed, we opted to push it down by generating and optimizing positive, carefully cultivated content.
|National Search Result Suppression|
|Local Online Review Management|
Local Review Strategy
Turning to local search results, our goal was to improve online reviews. Our team at Reputation X did it by initiating a “thumbs up / thumbs down” campaign.
These campaigns work like this: customers who’ve recently done business with the company are asked via email or text message whether they would recommend the company. Those that clicked the “thumbs up” icon were directed to one of a handful of online review sites including Yelp and Google Reviews to leave a review.
If the customer clicks the “thumbs down” icon or link, they’re sent to a special web page asking if they’d like someone to contact them to resolve their problem. In our case, we’d already identified a point-person within the company to handle complaints and coached them on the proper responses.
We developed a workflow for the client to use as a blueprint for channelling positive client experiences into positive reviews in targeted locations. The firm’s star-ratings began to improve within thirty days. Within six months, they’d improved from two stars to a 4.5 average rating.
National Reputation Strategy
Over time, the company’s improving national search results began to overlap into local ones. We noted that many of the clicks onto the firm’s site were for search terms relating to online financial calculators, so we developed a new page on the website and built a calculator specifically for that search phrase, optimizing the page for maximum web traffic.
In addition to the new page, we developed and optimized existing positive content, directed certain changes to the client’s website to improve search engine relevance, performed a search optimization campaign to certain positive content, set up a content calendar to refresh social media posts, and lots more to create an easy-to-follow system that our client could use to keep the momentum established by our campaign.
Search results improved organically and substantially.
The outcome was positive for the client both nationally and locally.
Locally, an increase in positive reviews improved the firm’s overall star rating on a variety of websites.
Nationally, the optimized content suppressed the negative search result that had been harming the company, pushing it onto the second and third page of Google search listings, where prospects had been much less likely to see it (a satisfactory outcome, since the negative result itself couldn’t be removed).
A Path to Success
The benefits that the firm saw were due to two reputation management strategies working together.
First, a review management campaign was initiated. Our experience has shown us that this generally provides fast and visible results for our clients. This review management campaign also began to change the overall online sentiment immediately, by improving the conversion rates locally.
Second, we focused on across the board organic improvement using ethical search engine techniques. By creating an opportunity for positive growth to happen gently on its own, we set the firm up for long-term, maintainable results. Eighteen months later, results have improved further. We left our review management tool in place, which has not only kept reviews from eroding, but has improved the star-rating further.
And finally, we listened. We didn’t just work for the client, we worked with them, providing actionable solutions to the issues that mattered most.
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