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Online Sentiment and Link Building

Some of us have a negative (or at least not fully glowing) mention in the top 30 rankings for our brand or name. My agency has one from the time when our site was hacked, and even though it’s not a listing that I think would ever prevent anyone from hiring us if they read it, I’d still prefer that it’s not in the top 10 for my brand. I’ve pushed it down a bit with some new social media profiles but not invested any real effort into anything further. However, if this result was truly detrimental, I would spend a lot more time on this.

Reviews and user/customer feedback are becoming more and more popular every day. Plenty of people understand that what ranks the highest is not always the best. As users learn more about how to find what’s best for them, they’ll be looking for other users’ feedback and as we know ourselves, the top ten results in Google (at least for now) are critical. Obviously actively building links to sites that you want to rank higher can help (and many social media sites are powerful enough that your listing will rank well for your name/brand based on that alone) but remember that having a good online reputation can help you indirectly accrue more links, in what could be seen as one of the most natural ways possible.

For example, if I wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast, I’d research them in the area where I was heading. I’d see a few good listings, then type those into Google in order to see what the general thoughts are about the places. If one had a few negative reviews listed I’d probably not risk it. Let’s say that I find one really good one with few bad reviews. I go, have a great stay, and write a post about it, giving them a link They’ve done nothing but provide good service in order to get positive mentions, which led me to them, which led them to a link.

Note: We know that it’s a good idea to own our social media profiles of course, but actively using them to help your marketing takes time. You can rank for a profile that you don’t take much time to work on, but as soon as a user visits your empty Facebook page or sees that you haven’t posted since April 2009 on Twitter, you may lose credibility.

Get Listed

First of all, are you listed on the following sites? Are you listed but not actively using them? These are the 6 that I think are critical, at least when you’re starting to build up your profiles.

  • Google Places
  • Bing Local
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Track and Respond

Secondly, are you keeping track of your reviews and mentions on blogs, review sites, and in social media? Alert tools abound for this and from what I’ve seen, while many of them provide the same alert functionality, some are just more likeable than others so I’d say that as long as you are monitoring things, you’re doing well.

Do you respond to both positive and negative mentions? If you don’t, you need to start. Take a look at the statistics grabbed for some reviews here.  You’ll see that one third of people who posted negative reviews turned around and posted positive reviews after a response to their issue. That’s powerful stuff.

I posted a negative review of my former pediatrician on 12/6/10. As of today, no one from the office has responded to my review. It’s the first one that pops up for them on Yelp, and it’s in the top 10 in Google for their name, so that’s not so good from my perspective. If your brand is showing a negative review in the top 10, you really need to address it in some way. They also have a Yellow Pages review ranked at number one in Google with both positive and negative reviews. Again, no responses to the reviews. Their Google Places listing is pulling in the Yellow Pages reviews, also. Bottom line: they’ve lost several chances to respond to both positive and negative input, which will get them nowhere with today’s focus on customer service and feedback. They’re not getting a link from me.

As you can see, with the way people choose to vent and praise online, securing a good reputation should really be quite easy. If someone’s fussing about you and you are keeping an eye on things, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to turn the situation around, unless the person fussing is truly nasty and just won’t be placated. If people take the time to praise you, it’s a good idea to thank them. I remember writing an email to a grocery store praising their customer service at one particular store.

I received a fantastic response saying how much they appreciated my taking the time to compliment them. I appreciated them taking the time to thank me. You can choose to actively build links to positive mentions and reviews of course, but as you’ll hopefully see, you can also keep an eye on what’s being said and further the customer/brand engagement. Both should boost your overall online sentiment.

Category SEO
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Julie Joyce Owner at Link Fish Media

Julie Joyce owns the NC-based link building company Link Fish Media, is one of the founding members of the SEO ...

Online Sentiment and Link Building

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