In their most recent Report, the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that e-commerce accounted for 9.6% of total retail sales this year. Further, the e-commerce estimate for the second quarter of 2018 increased 15.2 percent from the same period of 2017.As e-commerce continues to grow, corporate reputation management becomes more crucial. But there are so many reputation management companies, how do you choose the right one for your business?

reputation management companies help capture e-commerce growth

4 Traits of Bad Reputation Management Companies

We all know it’s critical to maintain a great company reputation and build positive relationships with customers. This has lead many marketing firms to include online reputation management services as part of their offering. However, businesses may find it difficult to sift through the options and find the best firm for their needs. To help, we’ve put together this list of red flags to avoid when choosing an ORM firm for your company.

Contact our experts now to protect your reputation.

Guaranteed First-Page Rankings

Some SEO firms guarantee that you’ll quickly rank number one or you’ll pay nothing. This deceptive practice should be a huge red flag to businesses. Nobody can truly guarantee that you’ll attain the top spot in the search results. Many factors influence ranking movement, including some external factors that you can’t control. Moreover, search engines are constantly improving their algorithms, which impact search engine results on a daily basis.

Online reputation management requires a deep understanding of these factors, as well as the ability to adapt to external changes. Further, it takes time to rank in the top of search engines, especially for highly competitive keywords. A qualified firm understands the search engine reputation management strategies needed to improve your brands positive online presence.

Generating Reviews

Online reviews are critical for driving revenue. Whether you’re a local business or a top internet retailer, reviews are a major factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Because negative reviews can drive away potential customers, it’s important to monitor what customers say about your business. Many reputation management firms include review monitoring and management, however some may even offer to generate reviews.

This can be tricky. Generating reviews can be done in a natural way, such as following up with customers directly to ask for reviews, but should never involve creating fake reviews. Reputation management agencies that promise to generate reviews often hire freelancers to publish fake reviews about your business. These reviews can even end up duplicated across several web platforms and have a negative impact on your business’s credibility. In some extreme cases, reputation management companies actually own review sites where they themselves publish fake negative reviews before seeking out the customer and offering their ORM services to remove these bad reviews.

If a firm offers to generate reviews, ask for clarity on their process, and if you’re still unclear, it may be best to avoid entirely.

Spammy Content Distribution

Creating strong, positive, optimized content is a key element in managing your online reputation. While content creation is a common service offered by reputation management agencies, where that content is distributed and published is equally important.

Sketchy firms will take advantage of customers by publishing the same content on low-quality sites on a mass scale. Many times customers are unaware this has happened because they rely on that firm to monitor their mentions and placements. Unsuspecting customers are paying for unique content on quality sites, but instead, their content becomes spam, duplicated across the internet.

Be wary when you see offers for “high impact content” published on “trusted sites.” Similar to the scenario noted above for review generation, some firms own a plethora of of low quality sites that they lump in with their handful of “trusted sites,” where they are able to control the content. Ask detailed questions about the content creation and distribution process. Know where your content will be published and that those placements are relevant to your business.

Promised Removal of Negative Content

The promise to remove negative Google reviews from the search engine results is the most common ploy used by fraudulent reputation management companies to attract prospective customers. Without legal grounds, the ability to remove a piece of negative content from the internet is generally not possible.

To put this concept into perspective, this would imply a firm has the power to delete content from millions of different websites and social media platforms without the owner’s permission. In fact, some firms claim they possess a software that can achieve this. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.

Sometimes these sites are operated by the firm themselves, or the firm has a financial relationships with the owners of the sites that allows them to remove content anytime.

Google will only remove content from the search results if it includes: valid legal requests (ex. copyright violations), child sexual abuse imagery, or sensitive personal information not intended for the public. You can learn more about how to remove content from Google here.

Before hiring a reputation management firm: do your research, ask questions and be sure to reference the above points during the process. You many also consider asking for references or a case study that will allow you to determine the firm’s quality and credibility.

Contact our team to see why we’re the premier reputation management company in the world.