A Down and Dirty Guide To Online Reputation ManagementSeptember 9, 2015
I received an email this morning asking a couple basic questions about how to properly “set up” someone’s online reputation.
While that’s not exactly how it all works… it was a great question and it got me thinking that with all the conference vendors and “gooroos” out there trying to sell stuff to Realtors these days (“reputation management” services being one of the more popular topics lately), maybe it would be a good topic to get down and dirty with so you have a basic understanding of what’s going on, should you choose to hire one of these companies.
So, what IS online reputation management?
The gist of online reputation management is this: When someone searches a client’s name online, I want the client to be 100% in control of everything that shows up on that first page of the results. This allows us to effectively “manage” what consumers see during their searches.
Is all your contact info all up to date? Are there negative reviews floating around that you’re unaware of? People with the same name doing shady things? All can provide to be costly to your business if left unchecked and unmanaged.
What do I do to manage my online reputation?
Basically it comes down to creating as much content on various websites and platforms, using your name and contact information, as possible. That’s a REALLY simplified way to describe it, but it’ll work for our purposes.
Ideally, the first thing I want to see when I search for a client is the client’s real estate website. I don’t want to get too geeky with the SEO lingo, but when a website is setup properly using the client’s name in the meta title, and included on a team or “about” page, it will generally work its way to the front page of the search results relatively easily as it gets promoted (backlinks) via all the below profiles.
As a side note, I generally advise agents in creating a personal website vs relying solely on a brokerage site, so that down the road if the agent leaves their brokerage, they’ve got their own established platform and aren’t starting from scratch again, but that’s a whole different topic we can cover later.
I then advise people to setup and claim their profiles on industry specific websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, ActiveRain.com, etc. followed up with secondary profiles or review sites like About.me, StoryApp.me, YELP.com and Reach150.com.
Of course then there are the social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook (they can also create a Facebook biz page that includes their name) and Twitter which should all contain contact information at the very least.
Those alone should generally take over the first page of search results within a few weeks if setup properly. It also helps to share links and cross promote each of them on your social media sites (tactfully of course), as search engines see this as “building a buzz” which helps with ranking things quicker on that first page of search results.
Taking things a step further, depending on their comfort levels… I advise clients to create a YouTube channel and some promotional videos with their name in the title and description, which will generally get those video to rank on the front page as well.
Appropriately naming images that you use for your profile pictures on websites and social sites is also important, as search engines will display those on the search results pages. So instead of something like “foto567845r.jpg” I would want to rename that file “Jeff Bernheisel.jpg” to help the search engines determine that they should display that image when someone searches for me. See the image to the right for an example of how images (along the top) and videos (near the bottom) normally appear in the results. They can be eye catching and help immensely with click-through rates.
Obviously this is all a lot harder with a common name like Sam Smith, but the consumers recognize this… so they’ll search for things like “Jeff Bernheisel Realtor Portland” or something along those lines until they find who they’re searching for.
So, that’s the down and dirty on online reputation management. Hopefully you’re now armed with enough knowledge to properly “set up” your online presence… or determine if you may need to bring in an outside vendor to help.