What is online reputation management?
Before I show you how we manage your reputation, it’s important that we’re on the same page about what online reputation management is, and what it isn’t.
Online reputation management (also referred to as ORM or rep management) influences search engine results through SEO and public relations to improve the online sentiment of an organization or an individual.
How online reputation management works
Services like ours use a combination of public relations tactics and advanced SEO principles to create positive online content and push it onto the first page of your search results. This may include:
- Creating and optimizing websites
- Building high quality links
- Thought leadership articles
- Social media management
- Review management
- Content production
That strategy forces negative content off of page one and protects your search profile against future incidents. Contact our team to learn more.
ORM vs. SEO vs. PR
It’s easy to be confused by these three services because they often overlap. For example: online reputation management services use press releases and earned media mentions just like public relations firms do. Yet we also leverage search engine optimization techniques to push positive content higher in Google results, similar to an SEO agency.
However, there are some noteworthy differences in what each service aims to accomplish:
Rank a single website for many keywords.
Influence public perception about a brand.
Online Reputation Management
Rank multiple websites on the first page of Google for a small set of branded keywords in order to influence public perception.
A balanced approach
As you can see, SEO and PR work together to form the foundation of online reputation management.
That’s why it’s imperative to work with reputation management experts who intimately understand search algorithms as well as the subtleties and nuances of PR. Otherwise, you could end up with tons of great content that nobody sees, or a search landscape filled with robotic, poorly written copy.
Read our post below to learn more about how to choose the right service to manage your online presence.
Why is it important to manage your online reputation?
No matter who you are—whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 1000 brand, a financial services executive, a politician or a local business owner—your digital reputation is your most valuable asset. Unfortunately, whether your search results reflect the real world or not, they define your online reputation.
Here are just a few situations in which a good reputation is important:
- Launching an IPO
- Securing financing for a new business venture
- Attracting new clients
- Developing a strategic business partnership
- Running for public office
- Advancing your career
- And much more…
First impressions are critical
Whenever we want information or advice, we ultimately end up on Google. Just like first impressions in the real world, what people find online influences their perception as well as their actions.
If potential customers discover bad reviews and negative articles in your search results, they won’t do business with your company.
Four negative search results can cost you 70 percent of your potential business.
69% of job-seekers won’t apply to companies with online reputation issues.
In fact, reputational risk costs financial institutions hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
It’s not just businesses that are vulnerable, either. Negative articles can drag anyone’s digital reputation through the dirt. Vegas rules don’t apply to the internet, so online issues can have off-line impacts. As a result, negative content could impact your livelihood, relationships and your safety.
That means it’s more important than ever to develop an online reputation repair strategy. But ORM isn’t just about fixing your online reputation. Check out all these other benefits:
- Ensure that your online reputation reflects your company or personal brand
- Eliminate brand ambiguity from Google search results
- Identify and address damaging reputation attacks
- Protect your name and your legacy with a positive, accurate online presence
- Leverage a network of online relationships to build trust and credibility
- Professionally respond to negative and untruthful claims
- Amplify existing digital marketing campaigns
- Establish yourself as a trusted authority on the internet and across social networks
You probably realized by now that reputation management isn’t a quick fix. It’s a long-term project to protect and reinforce your digital image before, during, and after negative news cycles. But what type of problems can an online reputation management plan fix?
Top online reputation management issues
There are literally hundreds of reasons why clients contact us for help. Executives may want to delete personal information from the internet, while companies might want to remove negative articles from Google. Here’s a short list of the top digital reputation issues that we help clients with every day.
Negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and of course Ripoff Report cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars each year. That’s because consumers overwhelmingly trust online review sites to learn about products and services before they make a purchase.
What’s worse, consumers can rarely differentiate between legitimate customer complaints and fake one-star ratings. But don’t panic. An online reputation management company like us can help you with review management so you aren’t caught off guard.
Customers do a lot of research before they make a final purchase. Furthermore, comparison articles have a significant impact on their final decision.
Sadly, hundreds of product comparison websites are actually affiliates with one of the products they compare. Even worse, many of those websites are in fact owned by the same parent company. As a result, what looks like several unique perspectives could just be paid advertising from a single biased voice.
Negative articles are a huge online reputation issue for our clients. Bad press weighs down a company’s reputation like a ton of bricks. It affects revenue, hiring and employee retention as well as funding. As a result, financial services firms lose clients, investors dump stocks, and customers won’t buy from you.
But negative search results don’t just affect businesses. False information, lawsuits and public scandals also impact the reputations of CEOs and executives.
Unfortunately, when the press gets ahold of a juicy story, they often publish it while it’s hot. Even if a story is eventually discredited, it could remain online indefinitely. And the damage is further amplified when false stories become syndicated hundreds or thousands of times.
Online defamation is perhaps one of the worst problems you can have. It’s unfortunate when negative content leaks out by mistake, but nothing is more hurtful than false, slanderous attacks.
Whether the source is a disgruntled former employee, a bitter ex, or an underhanded competitor, you must fight back. But be warned: these situations are extremely delicate. Therefore, it’s best to seek help from online reputation management experts like us so you don’t make things worse.
Not all businesses have unique names. If your brand name is also a common word then you could be left out of your own branded search entirely. That doesn’t just hinder your digital marketing efforts, it also prevents potential customers finding your website.
That level of brand management requires substantial resources and expertise to remedy.
You may have a spotless online reputation, however, others who share your name might not be so careful. Sadly, digital identity confusion could cause someone else’s social media accounts, inappropriate photos and mugshots to appear in your personal search results. While you may know which results are yours, others might not be able to sort them out.
Brands are also at risk. Spoof accounts are on the rise and they can seriously damage a brand’s reputation if customers think they’re your official profiles.
Some of our clients are global business leaders and philanthropists who’ve helped to change the world. Yet, their search results didn’t accurately reflect their accomplishments. And in some cases, Google results, Knowledge Graph, Wikipedia pages and other public profiles were inaccurate or incomplete.
We can help ensure that your online reputation management is both positive AND accurate.
Online reputation management strategies
In the next section, I’ll reveal some of the most powerful strategies you can use to improve your online reputation. However, before you dive in, be warned:
Managing your internet reputation takes time and effort. In fact, we assign multiple reputation management experts, SEO analysts and content writers to each of our accounts. With that said, let’s get started!
Internet reputation monitoring
It’s much easier to bury negative search results if you find and address issues before others notice them.
First, search for yourself or your brand to see what comes up. Check out our post about how to Google yourself, because if you don’t do it right, you could miss something really important.
Next, sign up for Google Alerts. You’ll get a notification whenever someone mentions your name or brand so you can react in real time. Check out these other incredible online reputation management tools that help you keep tabs on your search results, social mentions and brand sentiment.
Build your social media empire
Social media platforms are a powerful asset to your brand’s online reputation. Claim and use your social media accounts, and regularly respond to customer feedback. While you don’t need to post everything you do to all of your accounts, you should maintain an active social media presence.
It’s also important to let your followers and search engines know that your properties are official. To build authenticity, set up profiles with images, logos, and business information. You should also include your business’s mailing address, email and phone number if applicable.
It goes without saying that you should be present on Twitter and Facebook. But also consider Foursquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or other social networks. Whether or not you plan to manage these accounts, you should at least claim them before someone else does.
Social media monitoring is critical, so if you don’t have the experience or bandwidth, hire a company that can help.
Expand your online presence
Claim all of your online properties and domains. Most businesses have websites these days, but many executives don’t. Similarly, many businesses don’t have a blog (either on their website or elsewhere).
Branded domains are an important keystone in your online reputation management strategy because they’re much easier to rank at the top of your Google search results.
Similar to your social media profiles, you should register your domain as well as any similar spellings. The last thing you want is for a troll to register a domain and pose as your brand. Spoof accounts and domains can leave a black mark on your online reputation.
More importantly, if digital properties that you control occupy the first 10 search results, then it will be harder for negative content to rank on page one.
Earn positive reviews and brand mentions
Positive reviews and brand mentions are the foundation of all good online reputation management strategies. In fact, there’s no such thing as too much good press. So if your customer service is great, and you already get positive feedback from happy customers, then ask them for Google reviews!
Additionally, a great way to clean up your online reputation is to make a positive impact within your community. Go above and beyond to help veterans, donate to homeless shelters or be an environmental steward. Not sure where to start? Check out these corporate social responsibility examples to get some ideas!
Most importantly, leverage reputation marketing to let the world know about your philanthropy.
Become an industry expert
Online reputation management won’t work without self promotion. So make a name for yourself (and your company) as a credentialed industry expert. To begin with, you can publish white papers that include unique data and write helpful articles on your website. But don’t stop there.
You should also write for other blogs in your industry. While it’s definitely time consuming to write bylined articles, it’s absolutely worth it. You’ll build up your personal brand, authority, and expertise as a credentialed author. Further, Google will have tons of new content attached to your name to show searchers.
To top it all off, you can even link to other content within your articles that you want to push up in your search results. That’s a win-win strategy.
Remove negative content if you can
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just delete bad Google reviews? Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. In fact, there are only a few rare instances in which you can remove search results from Google.
The truth is, Google will only remove something if it violates their guidelines or you have a court order. Since most negative content doesn’t qualify, that means you’ll have to resort to pushing it down with these website reputation management techniques.
Use SEO and reputation management techniques to bury bad content
As we just covered, your best bet to remove negative articles and content from your search results is to push them way down. Focus on the first page of Google results, since 84 percent of people don’t look past page one.
Many of the ORM techniques we’ve already discussed will help you do this. But to be honest, SEO isn’t something to take lightly.
You’ll need to work with an online reputation management expert to get results. In fact, a few honest mistakes could make your situation worse.
Respond to negative comments quickly and professionally
I’ll admit, it’s hard to adhere to this rule. When someone attacks you or your company, the last thing you want to be is polite. But trust me, if you lose your temper you’ll make things much harder for a reputation management agency to fix.
Let me put it another way: respond to negative comments as if you were in a public forum surrounded by potential customers, business partners, employers and even your family. If you do that, you’ll never go wrong.
Diversify your search landscape
Do your search results contain an image carousel or any videos? Those features take up valuable real estate in your search landscape which means there’s less room for negative content to creep in.
Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are all excellent ways to leverage visual search features. What’s more, they’re free to set up and easy to use!
Get help from internet reputation management experts
You probably feel a bit overwhelmed at this point. It takes more effort than people think to manage an online reputation. It’s hard to get it right, and even if you know what you’re doing, you may not have the resources to get results by yourself.
If that’s the case, then you need an internet reputation manager. We can help.
Explore our reputation management guides
How to Choose a Reputation Management Service
Learn everything you need to know to choose the right ORM firm for your needs.
How to Successfully Manage a Crisis and Recover
Get crisis management, planning and communications advice.
How to Remove Negative Search Results from Google
We explain how to remove content from Google, and what to do if you can’t.