Earlier this holiday season, US Customs and Border Protection officers seized $30.4 million of counterfeit goods bound for Los Angeles and Long Beach. Customs officers suggest that the rise of e-commerce has given counterfeit goods new life. Previously, a fake Louis Vuitton bag would have had to be sold via a black market. These days, it’s more and more common for fakes to hide behind seemingly legit listings on popular websites.
While your business’ web presence is less likely to attract direct counterfeits, low-quality clutter can significantly detract from your legitimate interests. Protecting your brand from misleading information, competition from other sites and negative reviews can be just as important as keeping the markets clear of counterfeit goods.
Accuracy Is Key
A fake handbag with a few flaws will make a customer unhappy. Consequently, bad information about your brand will cost you a sale. Today’s consumers don’t always get their information from your main website. Instead, they’ll take key details from their search page without checking for accuracy. Take the time to run a few searches for your business and verify that the results are accurate, expected, and desired. If a rival’s phone number is popping up instead of yours, you’re likely losing lots of money to a direct competitor.
Even beyond the information that Google provides, it’s important to ensure that all of the information about your business online is accurate and consistent. Modern SEO strategies involve building a portfolio of “citations,” or references to your company on other websites. Any inconsistencies in these citations (like using “street” and “st” interchangeably instead of sticking with one) will hurt your page rank. Moreover, any inaccuracies could result in customers being confused about your business’ basic details. Policing these citations might seem like busywork, but it can make a world of difference when it comes to generating leads.
Regulatory bodies have been enforcing more and more stringent rules about content, presentation, and data retention. In most cases, following these rules can be a big boon to the visibility and accessibility of your website. Making sure that you utilize high-contrast text, you have both PC and mobile-friendly versions of pages, and all of your images have alt-text will help your visitors find the information that they need. In some countries, certain websites will need to maintain a detailed web archive, ensuring that there’s a record of all of their communications. Compliance with these regulations will protect your business against hefty fines and other consequences from government agencies.
Even the best business will get a bad review sometimes. Staying on top of these negative postings can help you stay ahead of your competition. Some SEO experts suggest responding to almost every review, even with a simple “thank you.” When a negative review comes in, politely apologize and share your business’ perspective on the situation. Then, describe how you’ll be addressing problems going forward. This simple strategy has a massive impact on how prospective customers and clients read bad reviews. Without your response, your business looks like it’s flawed. With your response, they’ll see that you’re working to improve your business.
It’s important to proactively analyze what people are searching for in relation to your business. Take the time to skim through the results for all of these searches every once in a while and see what comes up. It’s not unheard of for a negative review or a critical take on your business to work its way into these search results. You might also find that your competition is slowly catching up on contested keywords, or that your pages have disappeared entirely. Performing a quick audit of these searches can inform your SEO strategies and prevent you from losing customers to an uninformed article or a blogger’s hot take. In some cases, you can simply contact the site owner and clear up their misconceptions.
Protecting Your Business’ Digital Presence From Misleading Content
Removing misleading, inaccurate, and negative content about your business from the web is vital. By taking an active stance and engaging with these online threats early, you can keep your business’ web presence safe and ensure that you’re presenting your best face to every lead.