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With the advent of and now widespread use of social media, word of mouth has shifted from the real world to the digital world. While people still turn to their friends for information about products and services they are interested in using, they can now also turn to the opinions of people whom they've never even met. Online review sites serve as hubs of opinion, and can sometimes be the difference between obtaining new clients and gaining a bad reputation for the quality of services that your company offers.

Online review sites such as Yelp and Google+ are important, and obtaining reviews on these sites should definitely be a part of your internet marketing campaign. However, it's important to keep in mind that obtaining reviews on these sites needs to be organic. That is, reviews should never be forced, should never be fabricated, and should never be written directly by the brand. While it's certainly not easy to garner reviews from satisfied clients on a regular basis, it's a very necessary function of your brand's digital footprint, if only as a preventative measure.

There are two types of reviews that can affect your brand - positive and negative. Every business wants positive reviews, but how often do people take to the internet to praise the products and services they use? While there are certainly many people that do leave positive reviews, there is still a very large section of the population that will only leave reviews when complaining about a particular company or product. These negative reviews may or may not be completely accurate (the same can be said for positive reviews), but cannot be ignored nevertheless. One such preventative measure for combating negative reviews is to regularly obtain positive reviews. These positive reviews won't completely cancel out the negative ones, but they will certainly help dilute your negative review presence. Responding to reviews is another way of counteracting the effects of negative reviews. For brands that accept and address their negative reviews directly, this type of accountability never goes unnoticed in the world of online reviews.

Another aspect of online reviews that is often disregarded centers around the duplicate content issue. Specifically, there are many online services out there that solicit themselves to brands and companies in need of obtaining new reviews. These services often times obtain reviews from customers, yet distribute these reviews over and over again to a variety of online review sites. For bigger sites, such as Google, having the same review in more than one place is a punishable offense, and can greatly impact your status on other review sites as well as within search results.

The best thing that companies can do in order to safeguard their online presence is to obtain reviews the right way. The process may be slow, especially at first, but doing it right can make a drastic difference in not only how potential customers are able to view you online, but also in how your reviews are displayed by other review sites across the web. Some search engines, such as Google, scour the web in search of other reviews associated with your brand (which is another reason why it's so important that you don't have the same review listed in multiple place). If sites are able to secure a variety of unique reviews across the web, they will help build a digital footprint capable of withstanding the occasional negative review.

Online reviews can be tricky, but SLS Consulting can help explain the intricacies and steer you in the right direction. For more information, please contact us today at (323) 254-1510 or toll-free (877) 248-3529.

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