Small businesses with established websites may think that when consumers type their name in search engines, they are redirected to the official business webpage, but the reality is quite different. According to the analysis carried out by Marchex on small business search results, 80 percent of the results did not pointing to the business websites. Instead, they were listing consumer review websites and social media networks.
Legal, beauty, travel, restaurants, plumbing, automotive and other businesses were part of the survey. The results indicate that reputation of businesses is highly susceptible to consumer review websites. Therefore, checking on how your company is faring on such websites is now more of a necessity than an option.
Consumer review website to keep an eye on
Yelp empowers consumers to rate businesses on a scale of 5-stars. Users can set up free profiles to review businesses, and businesses can also set up a free profile. The Yelp community is pretty tight-knit, so it is recommended that you take a primitive approach when you see any negative reviews about your business. However, giving a wide berth to the reviews won’t help.
The problem with this consumer review site is that even paying members have a hard time removing negative reviews. An alternative and a viable option exist in the form of companies that manage reputation. The CrunchBase profile of Brand.com shows that reputation management companies manage and protect reputation of hundreds of businesses from online PR disaster. They emphasis that reacting negatively can make the reviews grimmer, and generating organic, positive buzz around the business would be a better approach to tackle defamatory content.
2. Angie’s List
Unlike Yelp where users can sign up for free to post reviews, Angie’s List is a premium consumer review website because users have to pay a membership fee before they can post reviews. The content on this website is pretty well-managed and isn’t out of control like on common review websites.
No user can post reviews from an anonymous profile, which reduces the amount of defamation. Businesses can respond to the reviews by signing up for free. You can encourage existing customers who have subscribed to Angie’s List to write their thoughts as it will be great for your reputation.
3. Insider Pages
Insider Pages has been in the consumer review industry since 2004, attracting millions of viewers over the last decade. The reviews posted on this website get indexed in search engine results, so even if consumers aren’t using the site, they are still going to explore the reviews in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Insider Pages also has a 5-star rating for the content. This is an example of a free website where a lot of defamation can occur, so it is important that you keep a check on what it says about your company.
4. Google+ Local
Google+ Local can be used any anyone to review a business, and most of the reviews will pop up when a search query is entered about the business. Individual user scores are based on a point scale of 0 to 3 while average user reviews are based on a point scale 0-30.
Google+ Local plays a major role in your organic reputation. You can become a verified user of a Google+ Local page to keep an eye on the activity around your business.
Your business should not have to suffer because of defamatory competitor tactics or antagonistic reviews. A subdued approach to the review sites will help you to avoid PR disasters and take control of your online reputation.