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The Secret to Boosting or Repairing a Great Reputation Online

Your Online Reputation matters. A lot.

In February 2016, Abercrombie & Fitch earned the title "The Most Hated Brand in America."

This was due to an interview former CEO Mike Jeffries had with Salon where he stated that Abercrombie's clothes were meant to be "worn by cool people and not unattractive or overweight buyers" (RadioTimes, 2021).

In an era of INclusion - he infamously went on to state: "Are we exclusionary? Absolutely!"

This is exactly the kind of amateur behaviour (even if well intentioned) that can cause irreparable damage to a Personal Brand AND the company it represents.

Customers can significantly influence your Online Reputation through online reviews and comments on social media, so it's critical to keep control of your brand's image.
Customers can significantly influence your Online Reputation through online reviews and comments on social media, so it's critical to keep control of your brand's image.

Jeffries' statement caused a social media storm and he was forced to step down from the company in 2014.

Despite Jeffries leaving the company, Abercrombie & Fitch have suffered from his gaffe (the 'most hated' title in 2016 and declining sales) for years.

There are lessons to be learned here for us all; Not the least of which is that careless comments from just one employee (or CEO) when magnified online, or to media, can cost a company years of positive momentum and millions in revenue.

While of course leaving the career of the culprit in tatters, and virtually un-hireable.

What can cause a damaged Online Reputation?

There are many ways your Online Reputation could be damaged, but negative online reviews (and the snowball of comments they can cause) seem to be the most common cause.

Negative content or reviews about a brand can cost 70% of potential customers. - reputationresolution.

If you're suffering from a damaged Online Reputation, or want to keep yours clean, read on.

Firstly, there are basic steps everyone should follow when it comes to managing their Online Reputation - regardless of whether or not that reputation is currently good or bad.

1. Monitor yourself on Google

Don't underestimate the power of Google.

Since most people - including potential friends, partners, colleagues and customers - will form their opinion of you based on Google search results, it's important to pay attention to what comes up when you, or your company is Googled.

Make sure you Google yourself.

Yes, it sounds a bit odd and maybe even narcissistic, but it really isn't.

In order to monitor your Online Reputation you have to know what people are seeing when they Google your name. You have to look through your customer's eyes.

Pay special attention to the first two pages of search results, that’s about as deep as most people go.

"Think of your Google Page as your business card."
"Think of your Google Page as your business card."

Here are some things you can do to monitor yourself on Google:

  1. Sign up for Google Alerts- This will alert you as soon as a negative content about you, or a negative Google review for example about your business is published. This free and simple step will allow you to act quickly before any permanent damage is done.

  2. Check social media- If you want to be extra vigilant, check what others are saying about you or your brand on social media. Since social media is used to spread real time information rapidly, any negative comments about your brand could immediately impact your business. The same can be said for sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, and WebMD.

  3. Take control of the first three pages of Google search results- You'll need three mostly positive Google pages about your brand in order to rebuild your Online Reputation. This is explained in more depth below.

The great news is - within just a few weeks, you could see positive results - if you're proactive!

2. Achieve first-page Google rankings:

On Google, you should aim to control the first three pages of search results related to you or your business. However, the ultimate goal is for your business to achieve first-page Google rankings.

In order to achieve this, the first, and most crucial step, is to optimise. This is done by using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and including relevant keywords in your texts.

How you can use SEO to achieve Google's first-page ranking:

  • Identify keywords- Make a list of 15-20 keywords people might search for when looking for your product or service (AttentionAlways, 2022). Then you can use a tool such as to narrow this list down to 5 keywords (weeding out keywords with a search volume that's too high or too low). Incorporate the final 5 (approximately) keywords into your website.

  • Get links- By incorporating internal links in your website, you are more likely to rank higher on Google's search ranking. Internal links are links from other pages on your site. For example, if you post a blog about running you could include a link from another blog you've done about the top 5 best running shoes.

For more detail on how to use SEO to achieve a high Google search ranking, read this.

Remember, by keeping the information about your business that you control on the first page of Google, any negative news or reviews about your business will be pushed down (to later pages).


However, there are some extra steps you should take if you're suffering from a damaged Online Reputation.

3. Restore your reputation

Once you've implemented the strategies to prevent further damage to your Online Reputation (first-page Google ranking and monitoring Google), you need to take action to rebuild your reputation over time.

Some of the things you can do will have an immediate effect, others may take a little longer.

As it’s time consuming, often disheartening and can be complicated, it's often best if the process of repairing your Online Reputation is managed by your business team, or independent experts (for example, YESpbm).

The YESpbm team revealed that "93% of customers read online reviews before purchasing a product." - qualtrics
The YESpbm team revealed that "93% of customers read online reviews before purchasing a product." - qualtrics

You can start to rebuild your Online Reputation by:

  • Contacting YESpbm for the removal of fake or unfair reviews- All too often businesses fall victim to fake negative reviews. These can have a seriously negative impact on your Online Reputation but, with the right help, can be resolved quickly and effectively. This is something the YESpbm team has deep experience with, and can resolve for you at short notice.

  • Responding to and resolving negative reviews- You can't always persuade review websites to remove an undesirable review, especially if the review has some merit! This means you may have to respond to these reviews instead of ignoring them. Responding to negative reviews is a great way to show you care, as you can apologise and ask how you can improve their experience. Many new customers actually seek out negative reviews to find out “what’s the worst that can happen”. If they see that your firm made a genuine mistake by, say loosing an appointment, or keeping a reviewer waiting too long, then they view your review account as genuine, and your heartfelt apology as a sign you care what customers think so they wont suffer the same issue.

  • Investigating issues- If you keep receiving negative reviews, there might be a larger problem under the surface. Don't always assume it's purely the disgruntled customer's perception of their experience; there might actually be a problem with the service or business processes. When there's a trend of negative reviews it's a good idea to spend some time investigating the issue. Retraining staff, or incentivising them, can be a great way to improve an overall review score!

  • Publicising positive feedback- Don't be scared to include genuine good reviews on your own website. Google has an excellent guide on how to add these reviews using schema markup codes.

  • Creating a Youtube channel- Having a YouTube channel can assist you in supporting charities, local communities, and fundraisers. Participating in these events is great for your brand's publicity. Videos can be incredibly effective in showing a more relatable and vulnerable side of your business. Honesty helps repair your reputation, so do a few behind-the-scenes video presentations to demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.

Bottom Line:

It’s never too late to repair, or boost, your Online Reputation.

If you follow the suggestions and strategies in this blog you could be well on your way to repairing your damaged Online Reputation and generating more revenue in a matter of days.

If this all seems like a great idea, but you simply don’t have the time, or interest to do it yourself, then you need to book a little free time with YESpbm today.

Our experts give great advice, insights, and ideas to assist you with a bespoke YESpbm plan to boost and manage your reputation online.

Let’s explore how we could work together now - click here to schedule a time.

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