By actively managing your reputation, you can minimize negative customer feedback and keep your online presence as positive as possible.
To help you get started, we’re walking through the what, why, and how of online reputation management—including strategies you can use for your business.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) is when, in order to address any negative or false comments, you actively monitor mentions of your brand on websites and social media.
ORM mainly works by responding to negative customer comments online and reacting to stories in the media (both social and traditional) that paint your company in a bad light.
For example, you might release a public statement addressing the content of the story or publish a social media post in response.
How Is Reputation Management Different From PR?
Both public relations (PR) and online reputation management have the same goal: portraying the company in the best possible light. The main difference between the two is how they achieve that goal.
PR firms work externally, such as through advertising and coordinated media promotional efforts. It’s mostly a proactive effort to strengthen brands instead of minimizing attacks on companies (though PR firms do sometimes handle damage control).
Online reputation management, on the other hand, is most often reactive. It involves looking for and responding to potentially damaging content from other people or companies.
Most of the work that goes into ORM is handled internally by brands rather than by an external firm.
Why Do You Need to Manage Your Online Reputation?
The hits a brand takes online can be numerous, but they’re often small attacks—a negative comment here, a low star rating there.
None of these blows is worth a full-scale PR campaign, but they add up quickly.
You need online reputation management to take care of each of these little fires before they amount to serious damage.
ORM is also important for maintaining transparency—a vital ingredient of brand loyalty in 2020.
While there is certainly still a place for orchestrated PR campaigns, consumers today are also looking for organic interactions with companies. They want to hear directly from businesses in personalized conversations, such as a direct message or an Instagram comment.
With online reputation management, your business combats negative claims by addressing them directly and openly.
5 Online Reputation Management Strategies You Can Use
Given the sheer number of social media and other sites where your brand might be mentioned, online reputation management can seem daunting.
But don’t worry—we’re here to help! We’ve put together five sound strategies that will help you get started managing your brand’s online reputation.
1. Answer Promptly and With Empathy.
Sometimes the best ORM happens before a negative comment or review is posted. When customers ask questions, whether by messaging you directly or posting on social media, you should respond right away.
A Clutch survey found that 83% of people expect responses to social media comments in a day or less, so don’t wait too long. Prompt responses prevent frustrated users from posting negative feedback and show the customer you place a high value on helping them.
Equally important is answering with empathy.
To learn more about ORM contact Tasty Coders to get a free ORM Audit and review. Let us help you with your ORM today! firstname.lastname@example.org
Local SEO is all about knowing where you stand. More specifically, it’s about knowing where you stand in terms of your ranking on Google Maps. This is because the Google Local Pack — the box on top of Google’s homepage featuring the three local businesses that it has determined to be close (geographically), the most relevant and the most prominent in regard to a search query — is fed by Google Maps. Google Maps, in turn, is fueled by information contained within a location’s Google My Business (GMB) profile.
Thus, a fully optimized GMB profile is always a good place to start when discussing local search engine results pages (SERPs). What do I mean by that? At a minimum, the name, address, phone number, and website (NAPW) data from your GMB profile is directly supplied to Google Maps. Consistent citations, or mentions, of this information elsewhere online, bolsters the trustworthiness and authority of your business in the eyes of Google. Pictures and videos, reviews, Google Posts, and feedback further elevate that.
The Difference Between Local SERPs And Regular SERPs
The key distinction between local SERPs and regular SERPs on Google is the inclusion of the Local Pack, and it’s why leveraging the GMB/Google Maps relationship is so important. This is how and why a small, locally owned business with one location can outrank national chains with multiple locations in the same area: On local SERPS, Google measures the gravitational pull of your business; on regular SERPS, it measures the sway of your website — content, links, user experience, etc.
That’s not to say that your GMB/Google Maps info has no impact on universal search ranking or your website has no influence on your local search ranking — it’s just that they have different weights.
A Refresher On Local Ranking Factors
Even when you have that straightened out, many in the local SEO world express frustration about the variability of Google Map rankings depending on where search queries originate. How do you accurately measure local SEO rank, track your progress and gain an edge on your competition? How do you become a candidate for the Google Local Pack, strategically positioned to draw more customers who are currently in or will be in your area?
As you may be aware, the Google local search algorithm returns results based on their relevance (does this pertain to the search?), prominence (is this a quality result?) and physical proximity to the searcher. Google has become smarter over the years at interpreting context, and it will weigh these ranking factors differently depending on how a query is worded. Proximity is the most fluid of the three and is given more or less cachet depending on the phrase modifiers (or the lack thereof) used within the search terms. I’ll give you some examples.
• ‘Near me.’ Obviously, proximity becomes a higher priority with search queries containing “near me,” as Google tries to find relevant businesses within your immediate physical area. Prominence (i.e., best rated, most visited or mentioned), while still a consideration, is on the back burner to a degree.
• Conditions such as ‘open now,’ ‘outdoor’ or ‘pet friendly.’ Relevance becomes Google’s main mission here, as it is looking simply at whether businesses in the category you’ve searched for satisfy the condition or not. They may well be scattered across the map.
• Qualitative modifiers such as ‘best’ or ‘most popular.’ Prominence takes a lead when using terminology such as “best” or “most popular,” with Google pushing the superlative examples of what you’ve searched for (relevance) to the top. Results may be farther away than you’d see otherwise (the best French bistro may be on the other side of town).
Another thing to pay attention to when tracking keyword phrases is whether or not they are geo-modified — that is, is there a named geographical area that Google has been instructed to search within? If so, prominence and relevance are given more weight, as these queries are typical of someone planning travel or already in transit. In searches that are not geo-modified, Google elevates proximity as a rank factor, implying you’re looking for something nearby.
Tools To Track Local SEO Rankings
There are a handful of local SERP tracking tools out there — in the form of web browser plug-ins, desktop applications and web-based software as a service (SaaS). Smaller SEO operations (three or fewer keywords) may be able to get away with a browser plug-in, but larger web marketing outfits with multiple clients should probably invest in web-based SaaS, which offers more advanced features and can handle larger keyword volumes.
With just a few local rank tracking tools available, you are bound to do some additional research, so when evaluating local rank tracking tools, consider the following:
1. How many keywords can you track?
2. Can you scan on a schedule?
3. How many times does your business appear in results?
4. How do your numbers stack up to competitors?
5. Are reports available?
Locally Rank Tracking Your Business
Google Maps results for the same keyword phrase may look slightly or even very different depending on the searcher’s location, even within the same zip code. Many of these rank tracking tools pull in local map data — examples include GeoRanker, Whitespark or BrightLocal.
In general, these calculate rankings from a centralized location within the zip code, which is somewhat valuable information but may not be as specific enough to simulate a real-world search. If you need to track your rankings on a more granular level, you may be interested in LocalFalcon, which visually represents rank variability within a locality through a series of pins, as seen here, while also comparing your ranking to competitors.
Companies now have numerous resources to determine how they stack up in search, locally and hyper locally. The trick is harnessing that data and using it to guide a path of continuous SEO improvement so that you become a magnet for both search engines and the customers who make a point to shop local.
PHP or Java—which language is right for your software project?
PHP is one of the most mature, ubiquitous server-side scripts on the web. Java is a general purpose, compiled programming language designed with one mantra in mind—”write once, run anywhere.” Both power dynamic web applications and sites, with their own strengths and nuances.
Once you choose a language for your software project, it can be pretty difficult to change gears unless you perform a major overhaul down the line. That’s why choosing the right language up front is imperative to building a scalable, successful site that accomplishes your business goals.
You’ve probably done a little research into the right language, but it can be difficult for someone without software development expertise to determine which one is right. Here’s a look at two of the most popular programming languages, Java and PHP. A software developer can help you best decide between the two based on your project, but here are some basics to help you make the right decision.
What is Java?
Java was designed as a general purpose programming language for building standalone applications. When Java was released by Sun in 1991, it was initially being used to program consumer electronics like VCRs.
Java is a compiled language, so when you compile the code it’s turned to intermediate binary for the specific operating system running your software. Its applications are compiled into bytecode that can run on implementations of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The JVM helps bridge the gap between source code and the 1s and 0s that the computer understands. Any machine that has the JVM installed can run Java.
In development, Java is primarily a server-side language for the web and the programming language of choice for mobile development on the Android platform. It also still has a decent presence on the front-end as a Java applet, although this is falling out of favor due to security concerns.
What is PHP?
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a general-purpose scripting language that quickly became the de facto server-side language of choice for web developers after its initial release in 1995. It’s got an advantage in that it was designed and created for the web, versus languages that were adapted to the web (like Ruby or Python). Today, a majority of websites run on PHP, and PHP programmers are still in high demand thanks to its role as the foundation for content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla and a number of modern frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and CakePHP that have accelerated development with this mature language.
PHP and Java Differences
Let’s take a closer look at some of the major differences between these two languages.
Compiled vs. Interpreted. Java is considered a compiled programming language. This allows it to run on any operating system regardless of where it was written. The difference is in the implementation: Java is compiled into bytecode and run on a virtual machine. PHP is what you call an interpreted language, or “script”—the code can be run as-is in their respective runtime environments (i.e., the server). While there’s a lot of nuance to the compiled vs. interpreted debate, it is generally true that scripts are much easier to use and favor programmer productivity.
Memory safe. Java is a memory-safe language, which means if you attempt to assign values outside of the given array parameters, the programmer receives an error.
Static vs. Dynamic Type Checking. Java uses static type checking, where the type of a variable is checked at compile-time. The programmer must specify the type (integer, double, string, etc.) of any variable they create. There are many pros and cons for these two paradigms, but the primary advantage of static type checking is that type errors are caught early in development, and because the compiler knows exactly what data types are being used, code typically executes faster or uses less memory. The primary advantage of dynamic type checking is programmer productivity—you are free to assign types at your leisure.
Concurrency. This is the language’s ability to handle the execution of several instruction sequences at the same time. Java makes use of multiple threads to perform tasks in parallel. PHP, like most server-side languages, uses multi-threaded, blocking I/O to carry out multiple tasks in parallel. For most use-cases, both methods work just fine, but Java is generally faster because thread to thread memory sharing much faster than interprocess communication (IPC). PHP has been around the block for a while though and has found its own way to achieve asynchronous processing—most notably through the HHVM project released by Facebook.
Class-Based vs. Prototype Based. Java follows class based inheritance—a top-down, hierarchical, class-based relationship whereby properties are defined in a class and inherited by an instance of that class (one of its members).
PHP vs. Java: Major Similarities
Let’s take a closer look at some of the major similarities between these two languages.
Back-End Development. Both languages are used on the server-side. Java has long been used to power back-end technologies like Apache, JBoss, and WebSphere.
Syntax. Looping structures, classes, defining variables, and conditional operators are very similar in both languages. This makes it easy for developers to work cross-platform should you have several projects that use both languages.
Entry points. When your program starts, the compiler or interpreter looks for where it needs to begin execution.
Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Neither language is “fully” object-oriented, but both languages have access to techniques like inheritance, encapsulation, and polymorphism. The benefit? Object-oriented languages make your program much more modular so you can reuse code for other programs.
Should I Use PHP or Java for my Next Project?
As with all languages, the choice really boils down to what you’re trying to build and what resources you have at your disposal.
You should consider Java if your project involves…
Big Data Analytics
General Purpose Programming of Hardware
Server-Side Technologies like Apache, JBoss, Geronimo, GlassFish, etc.
You should consider PHP if your project involves…
Software stacks like the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)
CMS’s like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla etc.
Servers like MySQL, SQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Sybase, and Postgresql etc.
Both Java and PHP are excellent foundations for a wide variety of software. Which language you choose to use will be determined by what you want to be developed.
You can manipulate hardware with Java, but it’s not a common language for low-level programming since it’s a “safer” language. Because Java won’t allow you to perform certain functions to protect the PC, it’s preferred for higher level applications.
The best way to make a firm decision is to post your project and ask developers for their opinions. They can tell you which language is right for your project to help guide you to the right solution.
As Google continues to unhinge marketing models everywhere, companies are increasing spending on digital marketing services. If you are considering investing in search engine optimization (SEO), it may be hard to decide where to spend money, especially when marketing budgets are always tight. Still, SEO firms can potentially bring a lot of value to your business, and many marketers are taking the plunge. According to media analysts at Borrell, SEO spending will reach $80 billion annually by 2020.
If you are considering hiring an SEO agency for your company, it’s important to understand what you’re buying. In general, SEO work falls into three main buckets:
Keyword research and optimization
This is what most people think of when they think of SEO. “Keyword research and optimization is about defining the audiences you want to reach online, then communicating to Google where you want to meet those people,” explains Andy Kerns, Content Strategist with Digital Third Coast, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. Kerns continues, “The where in this equation is represented by specific keyword phrases, like “’running shoes’ or ‘payroll software. People search a specific term, and your company shows up in the search results. Then the searchers click on your link — and you meet a new prospect!”
Technical work on websites
This is work you might not associate with SEO, but it is often essential. “The algorithm Google uses to assess and rate all websites is very sophisticated and very picky,” Kerns says. “It has to work extremely fast, in nanoseconds. If you want to meet folks searching for keywords relevant to your offerings, your website needs to be a well-oiled machine that communicates quickly and clearly with Google, at all times. This is not as simple as it sounds. There are literally hundreds of technical considerations when optimizing a website for SEO purposes.”
Link building campaigns
This is an aspect of SEO that might surprise you if you are new to the game — and it’s a game changer. “Consider the hundreds of technical tweaks that need to be made when optimizing a website.There’s a single consideration for Google’s algorithm that rises above all others — we call it links.” Kerns says. “Links from other websites to your website, are what Google counts, and cares about more than anything else. If your website is associated with other important and popular websites, Google will automatically like you more — and display your company much higher (closer to the top of Page 1) in search results.”
The hard part is getting those links in a legitimate way using keywords you care about – and that is where an SEO firm can be invaluable. “If you develop first-class content that is educational, entertaining, or both, and you make a concerted effort to share that content with the world, the world will link back to you. We promise. We do this every single day for our clients.,” Kerns notes.
While often at least some of the work can be done yourself or with in-house staff, the truth is that letting experts do it for you more than pays for itself, and here are several reasons why:
True SEO work is systemic. “If you don’t address everything—technical issues, keyword optimization, link building—it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the results you want,” Kerns warns. “This work is systemic, it’s on-going, and it requires a broad range of skills that would be very tough and costly to add to your existing team.” Hiring an expert or, better yet, a firm of experts, can streamline the process and maximize the ROI —Return on Investment.
Fresh perspective is your friend. “A common challenge we have is helping clients understand when their keyword strategy needs to shift to meet prospects where they are. We also need to clarify the kinds of link building content that will attract attention from journalists without seeming promotional.” Kerns says. “It’s extremely difficult for most people to see beyond the boundaries of their business, to understand where they need to fit in to the larger picture, We can do that for them.”
There are no guarantees. You can spend a great deal of time getting educated about SEO and setting yourself up to give it a go on your own, using internal resources. And you may well be successful. But it’s a long shot. SEO is relatively new and it’s a delicate, esoteric trade. Finding a dedicated team with a proven track record and good recommendations is usually the smarter play here.
Get access to the coolest toolbox. “Think of someone trying to build a house with an old school toolbox versus the tools professional contractors bring to the job. A great SEO team comes with a remarkable array of software tools,” Kerns notes. “These are the essential tools of the SEO trade. Even if you knew just what to source, they’d cost you tens of thousands of dollars to purchase, much less use.”
So, if you have a product or service that’s ready to go to the next level – especially one that has national appeal – strongly consider hiring an SEO firm as part of your growth plan. It’s a smart move for those who are ready for the big leap!