Business network in the digital ageReputation is a pretty big deal in business, especially in the virtual world. Customers want to be assured they are dealing with reliable professionals and to guarantee this search engines demand trust and authority in their rankings.

Building a reputation online is arguably easier than building a reputation offline, as you have the opportunity to talk directly with prospective customers through your content.

The difficulty however, is convincing search engines that you have the knowledge and ability to meet the demands of customers. And they can only judge that by the interaction you receive from other online users.

Social media interaction

Your primary source of reaching an audience is through social media, not just by posting content, but by involving yourself in discussions and answering questions posted by your contacts.

Social media is not a platform for selling, but for engaging with potential clients on personal terms. Professionals with specialist knowledge have a great opportunity to levitate their online reputation by parting with advice.

Fill in basic information

It’s a simple task, and an obvious one really, but you should fill in the basic details of your social media accounts. A profile promoting a professional business that does not have an address, location pin and contact details does not look trustworthy.

Create informative content

There is a lot of focus on creating quality content, but what does that actually mean? It is all well and good publishing well-written content if the information therein does not address real issues.

Likewise, if the advice you give is not in-depth enough to answer the specific point you are writing about, readers may not believe you really know what you are taking about.

Write for 3rd party sites

Thanks to bad practices by unruly SEO marketing agencies the major benefits of guest posting are no longer available – receiving inbound links. However, there is still great value for professionals to write for third party sites.

Editors of established magazines are always open to receiving content written by people in the know and providing it meets the criteria of their writer’s guidelines are happy to publish your work.

If you write for established online magazines with a strong readership and contribute on a regular basis (once a month or bi-monthly), you will not only increase your online profile with readers, but should also be recognised by search engines as a business with authority that end users can trust.

Be active on Q&A forums

We have already discussed the importance of engaging with followers on social media. Well, the same rule applies on question and answer forums like Yahooanswer.com and Google groups.

You can even go one step better and establish your own Q&A forum and encourage prospects to ask questions they have about your service etc, on their. This will not only help your SEO rank, but enhance your sales copy by providing additional information for visitors.

Whilst social media and search engines turn their attentions to paid advertising, small businesses that cannot compete with the marketing budgets of major corporations have to look for alternative solutions.

For the longevity and success of your online business, building an online reputation is crucial in the eyes of both customers and search engines.