It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it, says a well-known aphorism by Warren Buffett, the American entrepreneur considered the largest value investor in the world. Being aware of this, he continues, you will do things differently to try and protect a valuable resource such as reputation. Even in the world of digital marketing and SEO what others think of us has a weight and there is a specific activity to improve the brand reputation and defend the image of the brand.

What is brand monitoring

Brand monitoring is defined as a process of corporate analysis of various Web and media channels useful to keep tabs on the information around the company, its products, the brand and anything explicitly connected to the business.

More simply, it is an activity focused on the monitoring of the reputation and acceptance of the brand by the general public and targeted consumers.

What it is for

The purpose of this activity is to periodically and strategically monitor the whole panorama of media and online resources so to discover the different feelings perceived with respect to our brand or that of competitors and respond with specific strategies to improve the grip on people.

It therefore means controlling the brand’s reputation and proactively react to the concerns and criticisms of the press or customers in order to foster trust and brand awareness.

The benefits of brand monitoring

There are various goalss that can be achieved with an effective strategy: to quickly identify any cases of crisis, such as brand transgressions, to address the feelings –  positive and especially negative ones – of consumers and competition, to understand in a more specific way if and how much are appreciated the modalities of communication of the company and to estimate the quality of the products and services offered as perceived from the market and the customers.

In particular, brand monitoring allows us to find out if there are violators who use the name or logo of the brand in an unauthorized way for utilitarian purposes, trying to exploit in a dubious and illegal way their popularity, or if there are situations of unfair competition (for example, very similar and easily confused domain names etc.).

At the same time, keeping track of what people say about the brand allows the company to react to the consumer’s feelings, expressed on social media, in forums, on review aggregator sites or on the Google My Business tab. This can also be used to monitor the moves of the competition against our brand, which can typically manifest in the form of comparative advertising or negative reviews.

Brand monitoring and SEO

In short, then, brand monitoring allows us to monitor and measure our online reputation through a series of channels, digital and not: this means paying attention to everything on the Net that refers to our brand or company, and especially to the Google SERPs and other search engine ones, to social media, blogs and online communities and so on, which are the favorite places to talk (or gossip…) about everything. And don’t forget classic media, such as newspapers, magazines or televisions.

Sometimes online reputation issues can be (or seem to be) out of our control, but there are technical specifications to address these challenges and be able to lift and clean up an opaque image, or further strengthen our reputation through targeted information management.

The importance of mentions for the SEO

The search path of the reputation of the online brand begins with the mentions tracking: in the context of digital marketing, the mentions are all the references to a brand or an entity within a resource without the presence of a direct link.

We do not always get a link when other sites talk about us, our products or our content: sometimes we can receive just a simple mention, because our brand is mentioned in a text but without there being a link to the site.

The SEO value of references

The mentions can be positive reviews or, often, passing quotations within an article written by another site. In this case, although probably less impactful than a classic link, they are still useful for the purposes of SEO, because they are signs of strength and authority of our brand, which is recognized as a reference in its specific area of belonging and gets the so-called social proof.

However, we have the opportunity to make them even more significant, by doing a good brand monitoring and implementing some public relations strategies. Initially, we will use some tools to find out all the online references to your brand, with and without links: now we have a list of sites to which we can turn to so to try and turn the mentions into backlinks, and sometimes you just need to contact the owners or authors of the article to reach the goal.

Keeping under control the users feeling

Monitoring who and how they talk about us and our online business is also crucial for two other reasons. First of all, it gives us the opportunity to know what users really think, eventually also intercepting negative references that could worsen the reputation of the site and trying to intervene where possible.

But the mentions are also useful to intuitively check if our backlink profile is balanced or unnatural, evaluating the relationship between quotes and backlinks: simplifying, if we receive an excessive amount of backlinks and few mentions we may appear suspicious in the eyes of Google concerning the natural distribution of the sector to which we belong, and thus increase the risk of incurring a penalty.

Risks of a negative advertising

Sometimes, however, the mentions can also be insults or heavy criticism, and soon become viral. If word of mouth still remains one of the most effective ways to attract new customers and create brand awareness (we said this also by commenting on the results of the survey on the main SEO local tools), it can also be a double-edged weapon because, in case of negative feeling toward the brand, it creates a real stigma that alienates users and customers.

We know that the Net is the place that brings together millions of users, who discuss, compare and share information, thoughts, experiences with respect to the most disparate things; these interactions also create a collective sentiment, that can influence the perception of other consumers and influence the future choices of buying the products and services of a brand and its fame.

This is true on social networks – on the official pages, as well as on the collateral pages that are sometimes created expressly to complain about some disruption – but also in the Search system. If there are articles that speak badly of the company, they will also emerge during searches on Google in the carousels of the latest news or, even worse, among the organic results, as well as any controversial reviews will be visible in the GMB tabs.

Inevitably, an unsuspecting user looking for information about our brand will notice this negative advertising and draw its ratings accordingly, which may also dissuade him from completing the operation he had in mind, making us lose a conversion and a potential client.

Keeping a clean reputation

This quick example pretty much clarifies why brand monitoring is useful, which makes our web marketing strategy more essential and effective, allowing us to control controversial situations or bad reviews that might otherwise escape.

As Pixelcutlabs points out, the presence of inaccurate and untruthful statements about a business that are published under the eyes of everyone represents a humiliating and devastating experience, especially when they are undeserved. Some statistics allow us to frame the problem:

  • 92% of consumers reads online reviews.
  • 72% of consumers trusts online reviews as much as they trust personal advice.
  • Over 80% of the risk of damage to reputation comes from facts of clamour not based on reality.
  • 75% of the brand’s value is based on a company’s reputation.
  • 59% of companies have had a public relations crisis, but only 54% have a plan in case this happens.

Strategies to defend the brand

Receiving a series of negative public comments can be nerve-wracking and the first human reaction is to completely ignore the accusations or respond aggressively: both solutions are not ideal in the business world, because they risk provoking an even worse storm.

The advice is to deal with these crises cold-headed and try to understand what the lesser evil is: although sometimes it may seem impossible to reverse the situation, having somewhat awareness of the problems allows you to act and prevent things from getting worse, intervening with swift and targeted actions to mitigate the damage and recover from an embarrassing setback.

There is a specific activity to manage and influence brand information that is available to Internet users, a.k.a the Online Reputation Management (ORM), a proactive protection measure that monitors Internet mentions and seeks to maintain a positive presentation in web searches.

Specifically for organic searches, then, we also quickly mention the Search Engine Optimization Reputation Management (SEO Reputation Management), which focuses on Google’s SERP and keyword performance, with the aim of presenting a brand in the best possible light in the strategic queries, finding opportunities to improve the rankings of positive content and eliminate (or lower positioning) negative search results.

Tools to do brand monitoring

In the Web world there are many tools that allow you to do activities of monitoring of quotes and mentions, so as to effectively find out if there are information that escape our standard control, or digital places that we are not presiding over where users and people are talking about us.

The most famous and practical monitoring tool for marketers is Google Alert, the free service by Google that can be precisely used to monitor the Web to find new interesting content and results regarding the search terms we have identified. We can for example set as keyword the name of the company, the names of products with registered brand, the name of the CEO or employees who enjoy greater visibility, but also monitor competitors etc: when new results appear on web pages, newspaper articles, blogs or scientific researches we will receive an alert, or a notice with notification.

Other paid tools allow you to perform more precise monitoring and to discover the sentiment that the conversations are generating, or even to browse within the mentions that come from various social networks.

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