The Role of Link Building in Reputation Management Strategies

The Role of Link Building in Reputation Management Strategies

The Role of Link Building in Reputation Management Strategies

The Role of Link Building in Reputation Management Strategies

Amy de Doncker
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Building an excellent, trustworthy online reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. You need persistence, commitment, and a continually improving portfolio of services. Over time, positive reviews roll in, bolstering public perception and luring new prospective clients. This is the essence of reputation management strategies, crucial for professionals and businesses alike.

In the pre-Internet era, word-of-mouth could make or break businesses. In today’s digital world, that hasn’t changed. A solid reputation remains crucial for any brand striving to shine in the marketplace. But now, we also need to control our narratives online, hence the increasing complexity of reputation management strategies and the advent of new tools to make online reputation management more manageable.

In this article, you’ll read about link building and its importance for different online reputation management strategies.

How Does Reputation Management Work?

Your reputation is a vessel you can build and steer in the direction you want. But maintaining the course can be just as challenging as setting sail. This is where brand reputation management comes in (often requiring a suite of management tools).

Companies specializing in online reputation management monitor brand mentions and negative comments on social media and review sites. Platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Sprout Social can comb the internet, track reviews or online mentions, and help you address negative feedback swiftly.

Remember, building a reputation can take years, but one mistake can topple it in seconds. Reputation management is a sustained, focused effort. Your and your company’s success hinges on how your target audience sees your brand. A robust brand reputation strategy manages customer feedback to polish your image, proving that online reputation building takes more than just delivering quality services.

Reputation As Capital

Thanks to the Internet availability worldwide, most businesses have some form of an online presence. According to research from Zippia, about 24 million e-commerce sites were online in 2022. About 2.5 million of them are based in the United States.

Essentially, the competition for potential customers online is colossal. In this digital jungle, a positive brand reputation could mean the difference between success and your business going the way of the dodo. The same research highlights that only 10-20% of brands survive the online business arena. Sadly, up to 90% exit the market within the first four months.

There are a few factors that are contributing to this staggering number of failures. The lack of clear online reputation management strategies is undoubtedly one of them. With well-planned brand reputation management, your brand image might improve, and your product can become visible to potential customers.

Simply put, link building involves getting other websites to include links to your website in their content. Those links are called “backlinks”. There are many ways to have your links in others’ content. For example, they could nestle your links in their articles, social media posts, or even newsletters (though the latter doesn’t impact your SEO). Unlinked mentions can also uplift your online brand reputation.

Backlink can help your website rank higher in Google Search and place it closer to the top results. Google, and other search engines, count them as “votes of confidence,” indicating that your content is relevant and reliable. Unsurprisingly, link building and backlink tactics are among the main focuses of online reputation management strategies.

However, not all backlinks are created equal. Some can be harmful – ‘toxic backlinks’ – and it’s vital for businesses to monitor and remove these as soon as they’re found. Tools like SEMRush and Search Console can help you with that. Remember, managing your reputation involves dodging negative mentions, links, and references as eagerly as pursuing positive ones.

Here are some backlink tactics you may find helpful for your business.

  • Encourage references to your website in blog posts, original content, and reviews.
  • Incorporate links into social media accounts, online reviews, blog comments, etc.
  • Use backlink tactics to provoke spontaneous brand mentions on related content.
  • Collaborate on high-quality guest articles for relevant websites and platforms, incorporating a backlink to your site within the text or author’s profile.

When you’re teaming up with other websites and influencers for reviews and mentions, remember: authenticity is key. In our era of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) compliant content, it’s best to solicit genuine reviews, mentions, and links rather than fake feedback.

Reputation Management

To some, reputation management and link building might seem like two separate entities, but they’re interconnected aspects of a single, larger entity – your brand’s online presence. For your reputation to shine and your search rankings to climb, these two aspects need to function together in harmony.

However, it’s not just link building that’s important to consider, but SEO as well. Among marketers, it’s widely agreed that backlink tactics are the spine of a killer SEO strategy. A whopping 92% of marketers surveyed by Aira are confident that backlinks will remain essential for Google searches in five years. Approximately 52% believe backlink tactics also boost the number of organic searches.

Although a cornerstone in most digital marketing strategies, backlink tactics can take a while to yield results. Over half of the marketers surveyed by Aira.net disclosed that it takes roughly three months to enjoy the initial benefits of a sound link building strategy. That’s why more companies are hiring specialized online reputation management services and  link building agencies. The benefits are many: from elevating profits and increasing organic traffic to employing effective backlink tactics that can attract high-caliber professionals to your business.

Aiming for high-quality backlinks is an important aspect of online reputation management. By collaborating with reputable and high-authority websites, your brand can leverage their prestige to elevate its online standing. However, if you’re linked with websites that have dubious reputations or indulge in unsavory practices, it can potentially harm your own reputation. It’s crucial, then, to carefully vet any website you’re considering associating with to protect your brand’s online reputation.

Engage and Contribute to Build Relationships

Another way to enhance your reputation and build links is by actively engaging with the online community. This could involve participating in discussions on forums, commenting on blog posts, or even writing guest posts for other websites. Such activities not only create opportunities for link building but also foster relationships with potential customers and peers in your industry.

Given the complexities involved in online reputation management and link building, it’s wise to consider partnering with a reputable agency. These professionals can navigate the intricacies of SEO and craft a personalized strategy for your business, ensuring that your reputation remains strong while your website climbs the search rankings.

Businesses of all sizes understand just how important a positive brand image is, with many investing significant resources in building and maintaining their reputation. While some strategies might require large teams or specific monitoring tools, other, simpler tactics can be just as effective.

To some, reputation management and link building might seem like two separate entities, but they’re interconnected aspects of a single, larger entity – your brand’s online presence. For your reputation to shine and your search rankings to climb, these two aspects need to function together in harmony.

Here, we explore six impactful ways to leverage link building in your reputation management strategy, regardless of whether you’re a small local business or a sprawling e-commerce brand.

In a world where thousands of businesses compete for attention, the need to stand out becomes paramount. Creating a distinctive brand identity plays a crucial role in building positive brand sentiment among customers.

Brand identity is more than just a logo or color scheme—it’s also about your brand’s voice. How you communicate with your target audience and the values, vision, and mission you share with them can set you apart from your competitors. Harnessing link building tactics can further reinforce this identity. Each backlink to your website is an endorsement, promoting your brand’s unique image and voice across the web.

Your brand’s online presence is a key element of your reputation. More than just a functional website, it should include social media profiles that allow direct communication with your customers. These channels are also prime real estate for promoting positive content and news articles about your company.

Consider how backlinks can enhance your online presence. When your brand is mentioned in articles or on other websites, these backlinks can drive traffic and enhance the visibility of your social media profiles or website. Likewise, consider creating an app to provide your services, engaging with your customers directly, and using it as another platform for building links.

Boost Customer Experience with Intuitive Navigation and Quality Content

Customer experience is a cornerstone of brand reputation, directly impacting your audience’s perception. Make your website navigation as intuitive as possible and offer top-quality content. It’s worth noting that nearly 60% of online customers will abandon brands that don’t meet their expectations. Worse still, they can make negative comments online, further damaging your reputation.

Investing in a better customer experience can pay dividends in more ways than one. Not only does it enhance user satisfaction, but it also aids in building high-quality backlinks. Websites are more likely to link to your content if it’s valuable and informative, and just as likely to bring value to their audience as it is to yours. That leads to more backlinks, which, in turn, leads to a higher SERP rank and a better online reputation.

Brand Listings

Never neglect business listings. Consistently updated listings make it easy for potential clients to find your brand’s name, address, phone number, and website, which in turn can be beneficial for local SEO and link building. Having this information publicly available comes with another benefit; with Google’s recent emphasis on trust, having this information visible sends out powerful signals of trustworthiness.

Inaccurate information can lead to a negative brand reputation, giving the impression of carelessness or unreliability. Ensuring your information is accurate and visible on your social media profiles, website, and Google creates more opportunities for users—and other businesses—to link back to your site.

A proactive approach to reputation management involves listening and responding to your audience. Addressing negative brand mentions on review sites and social media, as well as responding to customer queries and complaints promptly, shows your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

Moreover, positive interactions with customers can encourage them to share their experiences, possibly leading to more mentions and backlinks to your website on review sites, blogs, and social media posts.

Mind the Competition

Keeping a close eye on your competitors’ reputation management strategies can provide valuable insights for your own. Observing how they handle their brand’s tone, backlink tactics, and review management can offer lessons to apply to your strategy. Analyzing their successes or failures can inform your understanding of effective reputation management and link building practices. Remember, learning from your competitors’ mistakes is an invaluable part of a solid reputation management strategy.

Reputation Management and Media

Having a strong presence in the media is akin to laying the foundation for a towering reputation. Remember the adage, “out of sight, out of mind”? It absolutely applies in this context. Four main media pillars exist to augment your brand’s visibility, and your strategy should ideally embrace them all. Let’s delve into these types of media and how to effectively leverage them.

The Power of Paid Media

Investing in paid advertisements on various social media platforms can catapult your brand into the limelight. This includes paid ads on digital arenas like LinkedIn, Instagram, Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads), and Google Ads. Though it may be experience, it’s important to remember that while paid media might not hold the same weight as organic searches, it certainly can broaden your reach.

The Value of Earned Media

Unlike paid media, earned media comes without a price tag. This refers to spontaneous brand mentions and press coverage your brand receives, essentially your brand’s cheerleaders in the wild. Positive articles and blog posts act like gold stars on your brand report card. Not to mention, this media type works like a charm in counterbalancing the effects of a negative review. Earned mentions are often the result of effective backlink tactics and brilliant reputation management strategies.

Your Own Arena: Owned Media

Just as the name suggests, owned media involves channels that you have total control over. This covers your website, blogs, and any other platforms you own. With owned media, you can promote your brand on your terms and strategically build backlinks in a safe and controlled manner.

Shared Media: An Interactive Canvas

Shared media platforms are a valuable asset in boosting your online visibility and brand awareness. These platforms let others interact with your brand in real-time. Imagine writing a Facebook post that invites a flurry of comments and shares. On the flip side, negative feedback on shared media requires immediate attention to prevent damaging your brand’s reputation.

Your online reputation and search ranking are essential aspects of your digital footprint. The need to maintain a strong reputation while building links safely requires a comprehensive, well-thought-out strategy. Reputation management that’s worth its salt never overlooks the significance of search engine optimization (SEO). After all, your chances of success are slim if you don’t rank high on popular search engines.

The reality is simply this: most people won’t venture beyond the first page of search results, and if your brand isn’t there, it’s practically invisible. Your online reputation hinges on making a mark in online research. Hence, top-notch brand reputation management should focus on procuring high-quality backlinks and employing effective backlink tactics to boost the authority of your website.

Set Clear Goals

What do you want to achieve with your reputation management and link building efforts? Are you aiming to boost your search ranking, build customer trust, or perhaps both? Setting clear, measurable goals will guide your strategy and help you assess its effectiveness.

Identify Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your content? Defining your target audience will help you craft content that resonates with them, increasing the chances that they’ll share it and link back to your site.

Develop High-Quality Content

Content is king when it comes to online reputation and link building. High-quality, relevant content will attract readers and encourage them to share your content, thereby generating backlinks naturally.

Monitor Your Reputation

Regularly review what’s being said about your brand online. Use reputation management tools to keep track of reviews, mentions, and any other feedback about your brand. This will allow you to address any potential issues promptly, thereby protecting your reputation.

Evaluate Your Strategy

Periodically assess your reputation management and link building strategy to ensure it’s working as intended. Are you meeting your goals? Is your reputation improving? Is your search ranking rising? If not, it may be time to tweak your strategy or consider working with a professional agency.

Reputation might be an abstract concept, but the ramifications of its presence, or lack thereof, are palpable. Even a business that delivers stellar services can face reputation setbacks. Let’s take cyberattacks as an example; they highlight vulnerabilities in a company’s security, stirring fear among customers and potentially driving them away.

Consider the instance of 888 Holdings; after the data breach exposed the sensitive information of over 7 million customers, the company faced an uphill battle to restore its reputation. After all, around 82% of online customers are likely to steer clear of companies smeared by negative reviews. Conversely, for 85% of online customers, positive reviews hold as much weight as personal recommendations.

This is precisely why most major brands have dedicated teams for crisis management. In 2017, United Airlines witnessed its market value plummet by over a billion dollars. The culprit? A video showing a crew member forcibly removing a passenger from a plane. Shared on social media, it quickly garnered over 100 million views.

Tackling Negative Comments: A Reputation Management Strategy

Negative comments don’t always paint an accurate picture. Nevertheless, their potential to cause serious damage is real. Disregarding negative reviews, whether genuine or fabricated, can snowball the issue, worsening your brand’s reputation.

How you respond to such comments can significantly impact your brand’s image. Ensure that your responses are professional, originating from your brand’s profile rather than a personal account. As a representative of your brand, you must maintain a demeanor that’s polite, understanding, and helpful. Avoid generic, cut-and-paste responses; instead, engage in genuine conversations that show you value your customers’ feedback.

Dealing with fake comments requires an added layer of tact. You could request the platform to remove the review, presenting evidence to support its falseness. This approach, however, isn’t always successful. Remember to remain calm and composed; responding in anger will only escalate the situation. By asking precise questions related to their grievances, you can catch untruthful reviewers off guard and expose inconsistencies in their statements.

“Black hat” is a term typically associated with SEO strategies, but it’s also relevant to certain backlink tactics. These strategies essentially attempt to hoodwink search engine algorithms, aiming to rapidly ascend the search result ladder.

While not illegal, black hat strategies exploit loopholes and tread in gray zones, often bordering on unethical. More critically, if search engine algorithms catch you red-handed using black hat tactics, your content is bound to plummet in search results, striking a blow to your organic traffic.

As Google and other search engines regularly update their policies and algorithms, what’s a gray zone today could potentially morph into a black hat tactic tomorrow. Consequently, your website could be demoted without notice. Due to these reasons, many companies believe that black hat strategies just aren’t worth it – and they’d be right. It’s best to stay away from these and better use white hat strategies.

Remember, getting high-quality backlinks isn’t only about scoring high on online searches. It’s also about building relationships with customers, employees, and other businesses. So, as you see, it isn’t enough to be good: you must look good too. There’s no better way of looking good online than building backlinks safely. And, a little bit of professional help from the best link building agency can go a long way in achieving this.

Benefits of an Excellent Reputation

A good reputation can be challenging to build, and the first results might take time to show. Yet, those results are pretty measurable. Over 90% of customers prefer brands with five-star reviews. Moreover, a high reputation results in higher search rankings.

With a strong reputation, your website stands a better chance of making it to the first page of relevant search results. And here’s a reality check: fewer than 10% of users venture beyond the first page of search results. This can significantly influence your sales, considering that 53% of customers are likely to use a search engine before making an online purchase. These statistics illustrate just why reputation management strategies are not an option but a necessity for your business.

Conclusion

From effectively dealing with negative comments to diligently working towards earning positive reviews, every action is a stepping stone towards building a great reputation. Remember, the digital landscape is far-reaching and unforgiving; a small mistake can spiral into a crisis. So, it’s essential to be proactive, responsive, and genuine in your communications.

In this fast-paced online marketplace, your reputation isn’t just an aspect of your brand—it’s the cornerstone of your success. Don’t underestimate the power of a stellar reputation; it can make the difference between blending into the crowd and standing out as a leader in your industry. Therefore, invest time and resources into managing your brand’s reputation—it’s a commitment that promises impressive dividends in the long run.

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