Impact of Bad SEO on Your Business Brand Reputation

Would you buy from a business smeared with a considerable negative reputation? No, because business reputation speaks volumes about a business.
Your brand reputation defines the general sentiment around your brand and its offerings. Moreover, it is critically important today when consumers have better access to your brand information.

  • Today, 85% of consumers switch to the internet to learn about a business before purchasing.
  • 97% of online shoppers screen through the user reviews before buying a product or service offering. And 85% of these shoppers are particularly trying to find out the negative reviews.
  • Businesses with 1-star or 2-star ratings failed at converting 86% of their prospects.

The above stats hint at the significance of online brand reputation for your conversions. But this is only one perspective, and there are several more reasons why brand reputation is important.
So, here we will review the key reasons why brand reputation is crucial for every business. And we will study the ways bad SEO can smear your online reputation, along with common FAQs around it.

Importance of Online Brand Reputation for a Business

1. It Improves Your Sales and Conversions

As aforementioned, today, consumers prefer validated buying decisions. They wish to minimize and eliminate the risks associated with both online and offline purchases.
And therefore, your brand reputation is a crucial trust factor that impacts your conversions.

  • Almost 3 out of 4 consumers trust a brand with positive reviews more than a brand with a faded online reputation.
  • A one-star increase in Yelp rating can increase your business revenue by up to 9%.

With that said, you should understand that reputation management is a crucial part of business development. It helps you develop credibility for your business. And this credibility and trust pay off as good sales.

2. It Increases your Website Authority

When your business has a commendable brand reputation, it acts as a catalyst for your off-page efforts.
With a notable reputation, more bloggers and guest authors would be willing to accept your guest post. It will help you draw backlinks from high-authority sites and will add authority to your site. An increase in the number of quality backlinks will elevate your site’s search rankings as well.
A good online reputation also helps you promote your business-specific news on popular PR sites. It doesn’t just grow your business reach and reputation, but search engines notice your growing popularity. It can give an indirect boost to your website’s ranking potential.
Google denies social signals to have any possible impact on a site’s position in SERPs. However, according to several surveys, brands with a good reputation and social signal rank higher in SERPs.

3. It Gives Business Visibility for Local Searches

If you are a local business, your business reputation has a critical influence on your online visibility. When Google decides the rankings for local search queries, it pays attention to:

  • The relevancy of the business with the query
  • Its proximity with the searcher’s location
  • The reviews of a business on the GMB profile and other popular listings
  • Popularity and reputation of a business in local listing platforms and social sites

If your business performs well for the above parameters, it is more likely to rank higher for local queries. Moreover, Google considers the above parameters when sourcing results for the Local 3-Pack.
The Local 3-Pack appears on the SERP above the organic results. It includes the top 3 search listings for a query and offers exclusive exposure to these businesses. With this, the Local 3-Pack results earn the highest CTR and the highest conversions for local searches.

4. It Increases Relevancy and Site Traffic

When your business has an eminent reputation and popularity, you attract regular user reviews. Frequent product reviews on your site add up as fresh content for your site. And Google appreciates this fresh content, which adds to your SEO efforts.
Now, these reviews often include long-tail keywords relevant to your brand and products. These keywords are hyper-relevant to the search terms that your target customer base uses. And using these keywords in your content can help you appear for qualified search queries. It has the potential to increase your traffic and sales.
Moreover, regular brand mentions on popular review sites and social sites also link back to your site. Search engine bots notice these mentions and backlinks, thus, elevating your positions in SERPs.
How Can a Bad SEO Affect Your Brand Reputation?
Do you know, 65% of consumers consider search engines as the most trusted source to gather information for a business?
It tells how crucial SEO is for your brand reputation management.
In fact, SEO and ORM (online reputation management) share many common responsibilities. Some of these include:

  • Encouraging positive reviews
  • Getting listed on niche-based and local listing sites
  • Submitting brand-specific news on PR sites
  • Blogger outreach campaigns
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Creating high-quality content
  • Suppressing negative reviews

Moreover, your search engine rankings also form a strong social proof for your customers. If your website ranks higher, consumers associate it with a good reputation.
So, as positive SEO elevates your brand reputation, bad SEO can ruin it. Consumers in the US are more likely to share a brand’s poor service story than a good service story.

Here is how bad SEO can smear your brand reputation with suggestions to avoid it.

1. Using Duplicate or Copied Content

One of the most common bad SEO techniques people use is copying content from other webpages. They try to cut down on their efforts by stealing the content online. Since one copies this content, it may not match the users' exact queries and offer low relevance.
When a user comes across the same content on some other site, he develops a negative sentiment for the brand. Moreover, search engines will penalize a website once they find this practice.
People also use content spinning methods and false formatting methods to gain initial traffic. However, spun articles craft low readability and are off-putting for the visitors. You cannot expect good conversions or improved reputation from duplicate content.

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2. Adding Fake Reviews

A few businesses try to deceive the users and search engines by publishing fake positive reviews for themselves. They aggressively post fake reviews on various listing profiles, their product pages, and social media posts.
However, search engines often notice this unnatural hype by looking deep into the profile of reviewers. And it de-ranks these businesses in the search engine result pages.
Not to forget, consumers today believe in cross-verifying information through multiple sources. They can check over various channels like forums, social media, listing sites, and expert blogger reviews. Consumers check at least 7 user-generated reviews before they trust a business.
So, if some consumers mark some of your fake reviews, you will likely lose their trust forever. Moreover, consumers share negative experiences more readily as compared to positive experiences.

3. Posting Fake News or Incorrect Data on the website

Yet another tactic that businesses try to gain their consumers’ trust is through fake publicity. A few people try to boast fake achievements through PR sites and their websites. They introduce these tactics to increase their reach, brand recognition, and sales.
However, most of the reputed PR sites would not accept your fake news requests. Even if some unpopular media sites allow you to publish your PR, it is against Google’s SEO guidelines. Any fake content on your website is a manipulation of these guidelines.
Google tries to offer the searchers the most optimum results for their queries. Now, when it notices fake content on your site, your site scores low in trustworthiness, and Google de-ranks it. A lower position in the SERPs is already a faded social proof for your business.
Moreover, false data gains you more disapprovals than trust and conversions.

Relevant : Press Releases and SEO

4. Over-optimizing your Website and Content

One of the most familiar lures that most people fall for is over-optimization. Some businesses try to attain results faster by over-optimizing their website and content for the search engines. This over-optimization is usually in the form of keyword stuffing and low-low quality link building.
People try to bombard their content with keywords just to impress the search engine crawlers. Or in other words, they try to increase their relevancy and rankings in the search results. However, this keyword-stuffed content offers lower readability to the viewers.
No viewer would like to read keyword-stuffed content and make a purchase decision based on it. And it affects the business reputation along with the conversions.

5. Use of Unethical Link-building Tactics

Link-building is a critically important strategy for elevating your rankings in the SERPs. However, some businesses try to reap the fruits faster through unethical techniques. They use mass link-building practices and even use black hat tactics to grow their inbound links. Thus, trying to grow their site authority and rankings.

Related : Legit Ways to Earn Backlinks to Your Site

Often people try to plan aggressive outreach campaigns where they build mass backlinks on low-quality sites. Now, these campaigns grow the number of backlinks pointing to their sites. But, most of these links are low-quality, and they hinder the website’s authority. Low-quality and irrelevant links further raise a question about your brand reputation.
Moreover, when you employ freelancers for black hat SEO, you end up with links from various irrelevant and spammy sites. Now, if users find you associated with these sites, they will doubt your brand reputation. No doubt that Google will penalize your website once it comes across these black-hat tactics.

6. Implementation of Grey Hat SEO

Often SEO professionals try to exploit the grey area between black hat and white hat (ethical) SEO tactics. These tactics are popular as grey hat SEO.
A common grey hat strategy includes buying social media followers. It can help you display a good social following for your business. But when looked closely, fake social media following does not bring you user engagement.
Most users notice this gap between your followers and engagement, and it hurts your brand reputation. They may also highlight this deceptive approach taken by your brand, thus hindering your brand trust.
Another tactic that you should avoid is Doorway Pages. In this tactic, people create multiple pages to rank at multiple positions for the same keyword. And all these pages take the users to a single page. People practice this tactic to draw maximum traffic to a page. However, it creates a bad experience for the user and establishes a bad reputation for your business.
Grey hat strategies, when unveiled, can attract punishments in the form of manual action penalties.

7. Using Clickbait Tactic

A common deception technique followed by few businesses is the Clickbait tactic. They use luring titles and thumbnails as Clickbaits to attract a high click-through rate. However, these Clickbaits are often misleading.
The landing page or content linked to these Clickbaits is different from what users could expect. This tactic often disappoints the users as they feel cheated.
Often the keywords used in Clickbait headlines match the landing page content. However, the context of that content is quite different and deceptive. Clickbaits are extremely frowned upon by users. And they don’t mind sharing this negative experience with their friends or social media followers.
The use of Clickbaits, deceptive headlines, or misleading anchor texts can help you increase your CTR. But, the traffic you receive will bounce back instantly, and it will critically affect your business reputation.

8. Practicing Link Spam

A few companies try to build backlinks through the link spam technique. They aggressively add links in the blog comments, forums, and listings. Their goal is to grow site authority, site traffic, and brand awareness. However, Google considers these aggressive link posting practices unethical. And it can even penalize the business that practices these tactics.
Moreover, when users notice these link bombarding tactics from a brand, they find it off-putting. People also use automated programs for these tactics, but most of the links they draw are nofollow. They end up attracting more criticism than authority.

Reputation & SEO FAQs

1. Is Reputation Management Interconnected with SEO?

Reputation management and SEO both at some point define the worth of your business and why consumers must choose it. ORM (Online reputation management) includes strategies that help develop a positive and reputable sentiment for your brand online.
On the other end, SEO involves strategies that boost your brand’s visibility online. Now, business authority and reputation play an important role in increasing this visibility. Thus, it shows that online reputation and SEO are interconnected. Many ORM and SEO responsibilities overlap each other.

2. What Reverse SEO Means?

Reverse SEO refers to the SEO tactics used to suppress an unwanted search result down in the SERPs. This strategy can help you push down or overshadow the negative content related to your brand. This content can be negative reviews or a defaming article about your business or offerings.

3. How Can One Use Reverse SEO for Brand Reputation Management?

Some of the ways you can use reverse SEO to suppress negative content or reviews include:

  • Create more quality content and rank for the keyword that the unwanted webpage ranks for. Thus, pushing the negative webpage lower in the SERPs.
  • Encourage more positive reviews and do positive PR for your business.
  • Increase your quality link-building efforts and grow your rankings in SERPs.
  • Connect with popular bloggers and influencers in your niche to promote your business.

4. Why Is Online Reputation Management Crucial for Digital Marketing?

Your brand’s online reputation plays some significant roles in shaping your SEO presence. As when users appreciate your business online, search engines notice it, and they imitate it. Here are some reasons why ORM is essential for digital marketing:

  • Good reputation accelerates your outreach efforts
  • You have higher chances to get published by major PR sites
  • Good GMB reviews can help you earn a position in local 3-pack
  • Notable reputation with strong social proof elevates your website ranking potential

Summing Up

Your online reputation is a clear deal maker or breaker in this age of smart consumers. It is closely associated with your SEO strategy. And a coordinated ‘SEO+ ORM’ approach can help your business lead better in terms of visibility and conversions.
Connect with us to learn how we can help you establish a notable online reputation along with commendable online visibility.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.