Small Business Reputation Management - Your Small Business Information Could be Wrong

by Matthew Bass - Date: 2010-10-27 - Word Count: 634 Share This!

Bad information could be out there circulating on the Internet this very minute about your business and you may not even know it.

Small business owners have a lot to keep up with on the web these days, and most don't even realize that they need to. So, naturally, as Google and other local sites crawl other business listing type sites and aggregate content to make up their page on your business, it could be wrong. Actually, if your business information is listed incorrectly on any number of sites it doesn't take long for that incorrect information to propagate to other sites and snowball into something ugly, which is why small business reputation management is so important.

This wasn't a big deal a few years ago, but it is today. For example, I searched for a veterinarian in a small city next to my hometown just to see what kind of reviews I could find. Google Maps served up some pretty troubling results. There were a lot of bad reviews about this particular vet. Even worse, no one from the business had responded to the comments and when I called they didn't even know those existed!

What would a person searching for a vet think of these search results? Even one bad review is enough to send a potential customer straight to your competition if you haven't responded appropriately.

Fortunately, most sites like Google allow you to respond personally to any comments made about your listing as long as you've claimed your listing and are the business owner. Take an active role in your small business reputation management to protect the future of your business.

A USA Today article spoke about a chiropractor in Los Angeles who uses online review sites to bolster his business. In fact, he stated that about 80% of his new business is from people who read positive reviews about his business and book appointments with him as a result. All he had to do to get those positive reviews is to gently ask patients to give him a review on one of the popular review sites like Yelp or CitySearch.

You have to be careful how you approach customers when asking for a review. Be too forceful and they could write a negative review about you because they may feel harassed. One way to be more subtle is to print out positive reviews from the review sites, frame them and display them proudly at your reception desk, your waiting room, etc. If people see those, their more likely to want to add to that as well, however, a disgruntled customer may do the same. So, it's important to monitor reviews about your business and respond to them in a kind, caring way even though you may feel otherwise. This lets everyone know that you tried to work things out and you wish that disgruntled customer the best.

Getting positive reviews and managing negative reviews is imperative to keep your business in the limelight instead of the dog house. However, it's more than just review sites that create your online business presence. You should also be proactively managing your brand online as well. This entails having a great website that accurately describes your products and/or services, being listed on web properties such as Google Places, Yelp and countless others, producing a monthly email newsletter for your customers and countless others.

The size of your business doesn't matter. Don't think that only large corporations continuously build their brands through multiple channels. The Small Business Administration generally defines a small business as having fewer than 500 employees and less than $7 million in annual sales. A lot of businesses fall into that category and are 29.6 million strong according to Regardless of the size of your business, you should take an active role in managing your small business reputation!

Matthew Bass is the CEO of - a full service small business seo firm dedicated to helping small to medium businesses with seo, website design, reputation management, email marketing and more. Our business is to help you get more business! Contact us today to receive a free SEO consultation.n
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