You have about seven seconds to make a first impression on a potential customer. So, what does that potential customer see when they punch your brand name into Google?

Search results are often the first contact people have with your brand. You want to make sure what’s coming up in those results are making a good impression.

That’s why SEO and management of your e-reputation go hand in hand. Digital reputation management services sometimes gloss over this fact.

If you want a better e-reputation, though, you should start with SEO. For that, you should team up with an SEO expert.

How can an SEO expert help you improve your online reputation? This guide has all the details.

Why SEO Is the Foundation of Your Reputation Online

The first contact a potential customer might have with your brand is through a Google search. Consider that more than 90 percent of Internet experiences start with a search query. Maybe they’re looking for a product or service and your brand name comes up in an ad.

What else is coming up in the search results when someone Googles your brand name? If you’re not managing your SEO, it may not even be your own website.

Instead, your potential customers may see your products or services on a bunch of other sites. In worst case scenarios, they might see negative reviews on Google My Business.

That’s not likely going to convince them you’re a brand they want to work with.

When you use SEO tactics effectively, you’ll move up in the rankings for certain keywords. Your competitors will, in turn, fall back.

You can see how this is helpful for getting a crack at that good first impression. With good SEO, you can ensure your website is the top result when someone searches for your company.

If you do SEO the right way, you can even push competitor content lower in the rankings. That means people are less likely to see that third-party link or that negative review. Most people don’t scroll down that far, and very few people see anything on the second page of Google results.

SEO Plays a Role in Your Other Marketing Efforts

From that description, it’s easy to think SEO is all about gaming the Google algorithm and getting to the top. In fact, SEO does a lot more than push you to the top of the SERPs.

Good SEO also affects your other marketing efforts. If you’re putting money into content marketing, then you want to be sure people see the great content you’re making. SEO can make sure that happens.

SEO also builds trust with your audience and improves brand visibility. This can create a continuous feedback loop, where SEO pushes your marketing forward. In turn, your other marketing efforts drive your ranking.

SEO Is All about User Experience

So, how does all this play into your e-reputation? SEO can build trust and awareness, which are foundational to customer relationships.

Many of the factors involved in SEO are designed to check the user experience you deliver. Google and other search engines want to send their users to the best sites. To do so, they use algorithms to rank web content and match it to search phrases.

Google’s algorithm uses more than 200 factors, most of which point to some aspect of user experience. Page speed is a good example. Google wants sites to load in mere seconds, because users want websites to load that fast.

By meeting this criteria, you’ll not only rank higher, but you’ll be able to deliver a better experience for people who visit your site. In turn, they’re more likely to form a positive opinion of your business.

SEO, then, can be seen as a measure of trust or quality. When Google ranks you higher, it signals that your business is trustworthy.

In this sense, SEO is the foundation upon which your e-reputation rests.

Why You Need an SEO Expert on Your Side

One mistake business leaders often make is to think they don’t need to manage their e-reputations at all. This leads to situations where they don’t engage with people who leave negative reviews. They also don’t manage their SEO.

That can lead to the scenario where the first thing someone sees when they search for a business is that negative review.

Even if business leaders realize the importance of managing their e-reputation and SEO, they often think it’s a DIY job.

Managing your SEO and online reputation can be quite intensive. SEO is always evolving, which means the effective tactics are always changing. Something that was allowed yesterday may be penalized by Google tomorrow.

Even a slight tweak to the algorithm can shuffle the rankings. Since Google rolls out algorithm updates on a regular basis, you’ll need to revisit your SEO more often than not.

To be successful at SEO, you should be making adjustments on a regular basis. SEO, then, is an ongoing process for businesses.

The other issue with handling SEO and Internet reputation management on your own is a lack of expertise. Unless you’ve had a chance to develop the skills needed to do SEO, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

That, in turn, can lead to inefficiencies and SEO mistakes that can cost your business dearly.

Finding the Right Partner

The solution to this conundrum is to bring in the experts. An SEO expert already knows the ins and outs of performing SEO.

What’s more is the expert is monitoring the SEO environment. They’re aware of algorithm changes on the horizon, and they can react to changes in policies.

This can take a lot off your plate and ensure your budget is being spent wisely. The SEO expert will do things right the first time, saving you plenty of time and missteps.

How SEO Experts Rehabilitate Your E-Reputation

Once you’ve found the right partner for your business, it’s time to put them to the test. So, how will an SEO expert go about improving your e-reputation?

The first step might be improving your on-page SEO. Your partner may also recommend changes to your website to improve technical SEO.

These adjustments are aimed at improving your ranking in the SERPs. Keep in mind that ranking higher is a sort of vote of confidence from the search engine. That’s the foundation of your e-reputation and your relationship with your potential customers.

Your SEO expert may also recommend tactics that focus on reputation management. For example, they may encourage you to seek out more customer reviews. Adding a review or testimonial section to your site could be a step forward.

Google and other search engines use reviews as a form of “social proof.” They do this because reviews are important to users.

Most people say they look to recommendations from their friends and family when it comes to picking products or brands. They also put some stock in online reviews, with the majority saying they’re helpful.

When you have reviews, your audience can see that other real people recommend working with you. They’re more likely to form a positive opinion of you and eventually decide to buy from you.

The SEO expert can also take a survey of brand mentions. Who is talking about you and where? Your business may be reviewed on Googly My Business or Yelp.

It’s important to track these mentions and include them in your e-reputation management strategy.

Social Media, SEO, and Your Reputation

Another place where your brand has online presence is social media. You may have your own accounts, but other people may mention you or even try to contact your business this way.

Social media and SEO do influence each other. Google doesn’t give as much weight to social media as Bing, but both still consider your presence.

Interactions, shares, likes, and comments can all show the quality of your content. This shows your audience is engaged and that they find your content useful.

Interacting and carrying on conversations with your audience is also key. You can answer questions or even help customers troubleshoot. In turn, your audience is likely to see how helpful your business is.

Posting content to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms may increase traffic to your site. That then signals to search engines that your site is popular and your content is high quality.

Your SEO expert can likely make some recommendations about how best to add social media to your marketing strategy.

Start Building Your E-Reputation Now

If you’ve neglected your SEO or your e-reputation, don’t worry. It’s never too late to get better management of both.

Ready to build a better digital reputation for your business? Get in touch with the experts and put their skills to work for your business. With the right team behind you, business growth may be only a click or two away.