Prospective customers research an average of 12 reputation touch points before engaging your brand. That’s a lot of room for error, and one bad apple spoils the bunch, as the saying goes. Reputation protection helps reduce the passive risks of losing potential customers.
When people search they start with a broad search, then refine it. Any problems with search results along the way and they leave the funnel. Protecting branded search results reduces or eliminates this risk.
There are a multitude of ways to reduce this risk, the following list notwithstanding:
Upon first search, 71 percent of people start with a generic term. The idea of what they are looking for is loosely defined, so they’re not sure what they want. They may garnish more understanding of your brand through this first search, though, as it will illustrate what they don’t know.
Narrowing down the search greatly on the second round, the searcher may find your brand or company name. When they do find your brand, they typically “dig in” and search and average of 12 times before engaging with your company. Keeping the results protected and clean ensures the expedience of the searcher finding and engaging your company.
An online reputation protection strategy focuses on building a digital defense mechanism that proactively counters negative propaganda from haters, ex-employees, and competitors. A solid strategy combined with reputation monitoring, positive content generation for SEO and content promotion can often solve reputation problems before they take hold.
Let's say an online publication publishes a negative news story about your brand. If that brand already has an effective search results protection mechanism in place, the negative content can more easily be countered by promoting the positive content already published on its web properties.
Humans have a negativity bias. It's unfortunate, but a train wreck is far more compelling than kittens for most. Read more about human negativity bias here.
By contrast, a company or an individual with no reputation protection strategy in place could get its good name tarnished by higher-ranking negative publicity. A comprehensive strategy to protect online reputation also helps brands manage a reputation crisis much more effectively. Research shows that the first 120 minutes of a crisis can determine the public’s perception about a brand.
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