Just as you would insure your car against accidents, it’s equally important to protect your online reputation. But, reputation protection is sort of a vague term that defines a number of approaches. So, let’s boil it down.
What is reputation protection?
Online reputation protection is a long-term strategy that fortifies your branded search landscape against future unknown threats. In other words, it’s proactive online reputation management to immunize your company’s reputation and online identity.
Internet reputation protection companies employ numerous tactics to defend your online presence. Some of these include search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, strategic outreach, and much more. The goal is to establish a protective barrier of positive content that defends your reputation against negative search results. The more controllable assets you own, the easier it is to remove search results from the first page of Google.
Value of reputation protection
It’s incredibly difficult to calculate what your online reputation is worth in an exact, dollar amount. However, there are plenty of reputation management statistics that show us it’s important. For instance, BrightLocal found that nearly 87 percent of people won’t do business with a company that has negative reviews. This gives us a glimpse into how much your online brand image impacts revenue.
But it’s not just about sales. When you protect your reputation online you see value across your organization — from your partnerships to your recruitment efforts. According to Harvard Business Review, a negative reputation can raise hiring costs by more than 10 percent.
38% of brands believe improving search results would help recruiting efforts.
And a recent commissioned study by Forrester Consulting found that 38% of brands think reducing undesirable search results would increase a recruiter’s ability to hire top talent. Read the full study here.
Reputation protection vs. reputation repair
Brand reputation protection means using an SEO-driven strategy to boost positive listings that appear for your brand in the search engine pages (SERPs) before damaging content surfaces.
Online reputation repair, on the other hand, is the process of fixing a damaged reputation after negative content has already infiltrated your search engine results.
Most reputation management companies break down their strategies into two categories: offensive approaches and defensive approaches. I’ll go into those a bit more, below.
Build your reputation (offensive)
In business, it’s usually wise to protect your assets before calamity strikes. And brand image is one of your most valuable assets. Reputation protection looks at the entire search landscape for your brand name, industry, CEO, and your competitors. This offensive approach offers a detailed picture of where you stand compared to others.
Online reputation management services like ours analyze gaps, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in your digital profile. Then, we create core assets that anchor your brand’s reputation on the first page of Google. Some of these strategic assets include social media profiles, domains and blogs.
Reputation protection often saves you money in the long run. That’s because damaging content is easier to remove when you already have a powerful online presence.
Defend your reputation (defensive)
No one can be 100 percent prepared for every disaster. The 24-hour news cycle is vicious and uncaring (and often one-sided). Sometimes bad things happen to great brands. If your page one Google results are already clogged up with viral news stories, competitor sites, or negative Glassdoor reviews and customer complaints, you’ll need to shift from reputation protection to a more defensive reputation recovery strategy.
In reality, it’s nearly impossible to get something removed from Google completely. That means you’ll have to suppress damaging results with reputation management techniques. Basically, you’ll need to inundate Google with positive, diverse, and timely content about your brand that will outrank unfavorable content. You can read more about how to push down negative search results here.
Generally, a reactive approach takes longer and ends up costing more money. That’s due to the additional resources needed to create assets and build authority more quickly instead of over a longer period of time.
So, how do you protect your online reputation? We’ll cover that in the next section.
Our online reputation protection capabilities
Enterprise-level reputation protection is virtually impossible to implement on your own. Even the smartest strategies won’t work if a company can’t scale to produce the positive content necessary or doesn’t grasp the complexities of SEO.
Worse yet, if you hire a shady organization that cuts corners and uses high-risk tactics, your results won’t last and you could be exposed in a negative news article like this one by the Wall Street Journal.
Our services include the expertise and integration necessary to craft a lasting online brand legacy you can be proud of. Let’s dive into what we do for our clients.
Analyze your search landscape
As part of our reputation protection plan, our team analyzes your search landscape from several angles. We thoroughly evaluate each branded search term to get a complete view of the overall sentiment surrounding your brand online. This includes online reviews for products, services, comparisons, and executives names.
We also do a deep analysis of the keyword landscape for your industry (non-branded search) to see if there are any gaps or opportunities to capture additional market share. Finally, we look at what search terms your competitors are ranking for and we execute a plan to overtake these competitors for those highly valuable keyword groups.
Analyzing your keyword landscape from all of these angles allows us to holistically approach any issues your brand is facing in the SERPs. It also helps us craft a forward-thinking ORM strategy to ensure that your brand is highly competitive in the search landscape for many years to come. This ultimately improves conversion rates by positioning your brand as the first and most trusted business that potential customers will find in the search engine results.
Uncover hidden risks
Not all threats are visible. Some lurk in the shadows, waiting to topple even some of the strongest brands in the market.
We are reputational risk archeologists — digging to the depths of the SERPs to look for potential pitfalls. Maybe an executive had a seemingly innocuous — yet heated — political discussion on his personal Facebook page. That post could trigger a viral news cycle followed by brand boycotts. Maybe it’s fake reviews from bogus customers. Maybe one of your executives shares a name with someone who has a criminal history.
Whatever the issue, our team digs in to uncover it before it gets plastered all over Google’s search results.
Develop controllable digital assets
Owning web assets is a crucial part of owning your brand’s overall narrative on Google search. We help you develop your digital asset portfolio so that you control the messaging your customers, stakeholders, and future employees see. This includes prominent social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as online review sites like Trustpilot and Yelp.
Create a firewall of preferred content
What do you want potential customers to find when they Google you? Negative news and personal information? Or preferred content like positive reviews, social networks, and business profiles? We help you craft a diverse catalog of content that speaks to your customers and stakeholders. These assets build authority and trust at every step of the customer journey, and they’re the foundation of a positive online reputation. They also act as a firewall that keeps negative comments off the first page of Google.
Deploy SEO to own the first page of Google
Great content is worthless if no one sees it. Our team deploys the most up-to-date SEO reputation management tactics to help your brand dominate the first page of Google. This means optimizing your existing content and building new content that is focused on a set of highly-valuable keyword groups. It also means amplifying your content through strategic link building to authoritative sites so that Google recognizes your content as trustworthy.
Our SEO strategy is backed by our proprietary technology that carefully monitors your results and identifies great opportunities to step up and really command the search engine landscape.
Real-time reputation monitoring
Great reputation protection services take both an offensive and defensive approach when it’s appropriate.
We don’t just look for issues when we build your strategy. Our team constantly monitors your search landscape for potential threats so that we can take swift action when we discover issues.
How much does online reputation protection cost?
How much you’ll spend on business reputation protection depends entirely on your business and what your needs are. ORM is a long-term project that you should view through the same lens as public relations and marketing. So, if a company promises to craft you a squeaky clean reputation for pennies on the dollar, you should ask them a lot of questions before you sign a contract.
If you’re curious about how ORM companies price packages, we break down reputation management costs here.
Here’s the bottom line, if your search engine marketing strategies and crisis management plan don’t include brand protection, you’re leaving money on the table. Talk to our experts today about how you should be protecting your reputation against future unknowns.