Businesses are learning the importance of protecting their online reputation.

A company's online reputation can either be great, poor or non-existing. Your prospective clients can instantly look you up on local search directories like Yelp, SuperPages, MerchantCircle, Kudzu, Google Maps and many others. Your customers can leave comments, both good and bad, on these directories.

When John Doe Consumer goes online and searches for your business based on your keywords he will find you and other businesses comments and reviews. These reviews show up in the search results as "Star Ratings" (1-5 stars).

Today's buyers know that business owner cannot erase negative online reviews. So, how do you control the comments and reviews from clients?

There are only two ways to post comments from your clients. Either the client has to do it, or you can retain the services of a reputation management company. These reputation management companies use highly specialized and sophisticated software to ensure that your positive comments get posted.

Google and the other search engines and directories usually do not post comments when they are submitted from the same IP (Internet Protocol Address) address, as they deem the reviews to be spam.

A good reputation management company can help you set up an ongoing positive review system for your business. This helps you identify customer service issues before they become a real problem. In today's "instant" world you have to know when a client is dissatisfied so that you can quickly find out why and what you can do to make it right.

Remember, most of your customers will not take the time to post a positive comment. Positive comments are like referrals from your clients. They are promised, but almost never materialize.

Online reputations give your prospects, social proof that you are a trusted business. The more positive reviews you have the better the reputation and the more trust you have. Your positive online reputation can give you more pre-sold customers, but it won't happen when your reputation is negative or non-existent. Consumers wonder why you have a poor or non-existing reputation.

It is critically important for you to check your own online reputation periodically and take it seriously. By not proactively creating an online reputation it allows others to create your reputation for you.

Controlling your reputation can be as easy as setting up marketing assets such as a website, a social profile, display ads, videos, articles, community relations contributions, chamber of commerce activities and more.

Christine Marek is president of Bushido Marketing in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 456-4700 or visit

(1) comment



We have recently implemented a system to outsmart yelp from hiding our filtered reviews:

Step 1- First of all, if you're advertising with yelp, we suggest you stop doing so and shift that money to optimize your own web site instead

Step 2- Have a graphic designer make a yelp badge that is placed on your web site. It should say "we have ...... filtered and unfiltered reviews on yelp".

Step 3- When a visitor clicks on the badge, it will go to another page ON YOUR OWN WEB SITE (instead of going to yelp's. (why help them get traffic and rank higher anyways)?

Step 4- On this page have your graphic designer get a screen capture (picture) of all your filtered and unfiltered reviews and have them pasted together onto one page (in 2 sections, the top section to be unfiltered reviews, leave a space, and then the lower section the filtered reviews). 

Now, all your reviews (filtered and unfiltered) will be visible to all your web site's visitors.

5- Add the following words on the top: 

"for your convenience, we have combined all of our filtered and unfiltered reviews on one page for you to view. If youd like to go to our live yelp page, please click here -------"

This is done so that your potential clients will not feel like you're trying to hide something or trying to cheat the system. 

6- Be sure to update your unfiltered yelp page every few weeks. 

Advantages of doing this:

1- Your visitors will stay on your web site instead of being re-directed to yelp's

2- Your visitors can't be redirected to your competitors page (unless they choose to go to your live yelp page). 

3- No more being a slave to yelp's algorithm

4- Yelp would not benefit from getting traffic from you and higher rankings on google. 

5- This system cost us only $150 to implement 

Just be sure to shift that $300 per month on yelp advertising and put it into KEYWORDS that people will search for. 

**Please pass this on to all small business owners that may benefit from this. 

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