In the fully-connected online world, our reputations are the foundation of our online presence. A good reputation helps to drive business growth; those people searching for a company to do business with are influenced by positive information. Bad reputations, on the other hand, can negatively harm business prospects. To restore damaged reputations, both companies and individuals can use a practice known as online reputation management or ORM. Not all online reputation management companies are the same. In order to get the most from the practice, it is imperative that one selects the very best reputation management service provider possible. Here’s how.
Table of Contents:
- What is Online Reputation Management?
- How Do Reputation Management Services Work?
- Online Reputation Management Companies to Avoid
- Choosing the Right Online Reputation Repair Company
What is Online Reputation Management?
In simple terms, online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of helping to suppress any negative search results that may appear in online searches using Google, Bing, or any of the other popular search engines. ORM service providers use a combination of proprietary methods and time-honored digital marketing practices to push negative results down in searches. Eventually, and with a bit of hard work and expertise, these negative results may disappear altogether from first-page search results.
Businesses may want to monitor their reputation on other websites, such as Twitter or Reddit, but their search engine results are the most important to have cleaned up.
How Do Reputation Management Services Work?
When a searcher finds information about a company or person, he or she is likely to be influenced by the reputation of that company or person. Imagine if you or your company were to have a negative news article posted about your operations, or if a disgruntled employee posted unflattering opinions – or outright falsehoods – about your practices. Your reputation could be harmed, and this negative information, unfortunately, often appears at or near the top of search results.
Suppression & Content Building
Since you cannot remove your name or brand from search, a suppression strategy can be put in place. To achieve this, ORM companies help create new content that showcases the abilities, skills, and products of a given person or company. This new information is indexed by search engines as relevant and timely, effectively pushing negative listings further down the search results page. ORM isn’t only good for restoring a badly-damaged reputation; it can also be used to build brand awareness or to further reinforce a great business reputation. The more positive content available to the search engines, the more search visibility improves.
Online Reputation Management Companies to Avoid
There are hundreds of companies that offer ORM services. As can be imagined, many of these companies offer promises that are simply too good to be true. One of the most common promises is that of “guaranteed removals” or “internet removals”.
Internet Removal Companies
Here are the reasons why internet removal services are NOT a good strategy:
‘Guaranteed’ removal is a myth. Short of a legal takedown notice or other legal means, websites are under no obligation to remove information that is damaging to a company’s or individual’s reputation. The best that an ORM company can do is to ask the offending site to remove negative information, which is typically ineffective.
Negative information removal is not sustainable. If an ORM company is successful at getting an offending website to take down information, there is nothing stopping another site from reposting that same negative information. If the negative information reappears elsewhere, the search engines can index it and deliver negative results to search users, effectively negating any improvements that have been made.
There is no real control over search results. With shady ORM practices, quick improvements can be made, but these never last for long. Without the services of a quality ORM provider, bad information can reappear and online reputations are at the mercy of anyone with internet access. Having no control over what others do and say on the Web is incredibly frustrating, not to mention expensive both in terms of lost business prospects and the fees associated with ORM campaigns.
High-Profile Online Reputation Companies
Prominent reputation management companies like ReputationDefender and others use sky-high promises in their marketing materials. It is important to be skeptical for this reason: There are no promises or guarantees in the world of Google. If a strategy worked in 2010, it does not mean it works in 2020.
We recommend finding an honest, transparent reputation management firm or consultant who is results-based and shows a passion for helping individuals and businesses repair their online reputation.
Choosing the Right Online Reputation Repair Company
If your online reputation is damaged, choosing the right online reputation management company is critical. Thankfully, there are reputation service providers who offer great services and results without having to resort to false promises or misleading practices. Here are some tips for selecting a company that can actually deliver positive and sustainable results:
- Choose smaller companies over larger firms – smaller companies are more likely to give their clients the attention they deserve and tend to be more willing to work directly with their clients to achieve desired outcomes.
- Beware of “proprietary software” – while unique software solutions do exist in the ORM world, good ORM firms rely instead on practices like search engine optimization, positive content development, and proven digital marketing strategies that produce favorable results. Also, search engines are continually updating and improving search algorithms; proprietary software that works now may not in the future when Google or Bing update their search tools. On the other hand, time-honored SEO and digital marketing practices will continue to produce results.
- Focus on personalization – smaller, more flexible ORM firms know that the key to success is to personalize the client experience. Every company or individual has their own unique goals and desires from an ORM campaign, and cookie-cutter solutions do not take into account these variables. By applying personalized solutions tailored to each client, smaller firms are able to produce great results.
- Avoid lengthy contracts – for some ORM service providers, long-term contracts are the way they choose to do business. What happens if a client gets the results they desire before the contract period expires? This can be an expensive proposition. Quality ORM firms avoid contracts, instead preferring to use month-to-month or pay-as-you-go structures to deliver the services clients need.
- Check the reviews – some of the biggest and most prominent ORM companies have awful customer reviews. Before selecting a service provider, read the reviews. They may point to real problems. Smaller, more personalized firms, on the other hand, typically have great customer satisfaction and positive reviews to back it up.
Online reputation management is an important component of the digital environment. With a great service provider, businesses and individuals can take charge of the information that appears in online searches, helping to suppress negative information and to improve positive search visibility – visibility that drives business growth. Click here to receive a free analysis from our reputation experts.