Business owners want to know what type of return on their investment they will see before they will spend money on any marketing and online reputation management services. Counting impressions and click-through on ads provides solid numbers that validate the cost of an advertisement, however, the effects of online reputation are difficult to quantify.
Forbes recently provided some concrete numbers that should prompt entrepreneurs to start paying attention to their reputation. Forty-five percent of the people in the United States who looked up a person before using their services said that something that appeared in the search results made them decide to move on to a competitor.
Doctors, accountants, landscapers and others who operate their own business should always be aware of their online reputation, especially the results that appear on the first page of Google’s search results. The article also mentions that only two percent of all people own all of the results that appear on the first page of Google. Owning results means that the content is under the person’s control; since anyone can post on Yelp, it is not under the business owner’s control. Two percent is surprisingly low; however, it is understandable since business owners rarely have time to consistently develop their own content.
Examples of search results an entrepreneur can control include press releases, blog posts and articles containing positive or neutral information written by or for him or her. Online reputation management firms often draft press releases and write articles about their client because Google will display the most recent information first, after the person’s business website. Once someone owns the first page of the search results, their reputation is secure since consumers rarely look beyond the first page.