How To Do Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is a complex mix of many digital marketing parts. Here’s a handy cheat sheet! 

The Ins And Outs of Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management includes many of the different parts of online marketing. These include: 

  • SEO
  • Social Media Management
  • Managing Your Digital Brand
  • Doing Good Business

Maybe you are new to the idea of online reputation management. Maybe you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, or job seeker.

Perhaps you already have a handle on many of digital marketing’s main ideas. Regardless, if you are looking to improve your digital footprint, here is how you do it. 

SEE ALSO: 9 Keys to Online Reputation Management

ORM Is So Much More Than Damage Control 

People generally think of online reputation management as pure damage control. They think that after a business already has negative reviews, attention, press, or buzz, it is the job of ORM to sweep in and make the problems go away. 

While this is one important part of online reputation management, it is far from the entire picture. Your ORM work needs to start way before the negative stuff even shows up. Preventative ORM work is ideal. 

You can put a lot of effort into covering up a negative online reputation. Results are possible, but it is absolutely an uphill battle. This is because people are attracted to negative reviews. 

Instead of thinking of ORM only as a way to cover up negative online buzz, think of it as a way to shift the focus to the positives. 

Why Is Negative Stuff So Prominent In The SERPs?  

online reputation management

The answer lies in both the general search engine ranking factors and human nature. If you are looking at reviews of something, you definitely want to see the bad ones. 

People don’t want to see bad reviews because they are drawn to negativity. They want a rounded opinion of products or services.

They want to know not only what is good about something, but what can go wrong with it. This is why 95% of consumers read online reviews before making purchasing choices. 

The click through rate in the search results pages is definitely a ranking factor. This is what keeps things popping up in search engines.

If you have something seriously damaging or embarrassing eating up space in the SERPs, it’s because people are clicking on it.

SEE ALSO: How Many Leads Are Lost to Negative Search Results?

Mistaken Identity Issues

While many people share the same or similar names, this can cause issues in the SERPs. You don’t want people confusing you with someone else who has a damaging past, but just happens to share your name by chance.

You also don’t want people confusing you with someone with the same name who works in your field. 

So, what do you do? 

Why Do Individuals Need Online Reputation Management? 

Have you ever Googled someone’s name just to see what the results are? 

On top of this, people will often Google everyone ranging from potential employees to potential business and romantic partners. For years, people Googling their dates has been a controversial topic

There are all sorts of reasons that people Google each other. Regardless of the reason, having overwhelmingly negative search results attached to you can be very socially damaging. 

SEE ALSO: The ABCs of Personal Branding

ORM For Businesses 

It’s one thing for a customer to leave a bad review. We all slip up occasionally. Also, regardless of the service or product provided, even if almost everyone loves it, there is always one person who does not. 

However, there is a difference between the odd bad review and people working to discredit you or your business.

Competition is fierce and sometimes other business owners will use unfair methods to get a digital edge. These can include: 

  • Posting false reviews 
  • Submitting false stories to blogs 
  • Endorsing negative online reviews with fake accounts 

Different Kinds Of Online Content To Consider 

Have you done something that got any level of media coverage? Whether coverage was positive or negative, or local or national, take note of where it pops up in the SERPs. 

If your positive content isn’t on the front page, you need to take steps to help it rank more highly. 

However, take note that negative coverage on stronger platforms can be quite challenging to replace. 

SEE ALSO: Digital Brand Damage Control: How to Fix Negative Content

Scam and Ripoff Sites 

Legitimate customer advocacy sires are an important tool that give consumers a voice. If companies are scamming or being misleading, it is important that people know. 

However, these sites also make it easy for competitors to take cheap shots at you and make your SERPs full of manufactured negativity. 

In some cases you can respond, but arguing against a fake negative review is difficult. It does not cast your business in the best light, especially on a platform that you can’t control. 

Personal Accomplishments and ORM

Everyone has made some accomplishments throughout their life. Whether that’s volunteer work, education-based accomplishments, winning contests, or starting a business. Think hard about what you have done that’s positive, even if it got little or no publicity. 

Don’t be afraid to brag. Give yourself that publicity. You could create a blog post, or post on any number of sites, about your positive experiences or accomplishments of choice. If it gains any traction, it will have a chance of ranking for you. 

Other Things To Look Out For 

There are many places online where you can be posted about negatively or positively. You can also take control of some of these platforms for your own ORM benefit. Depending on your personal or professional brand, these include: 

  • Gossip sites 
  • The online platforms of sports teams and clubs 
  • Public Records 
  • Testimonials 
  • Comparison Sites 
  • YouTube Channels 
  • Social Media 

DIY Damage Control 

Honest negative reviews are unavoidable. They also can even provide you with important information you can use to improve your business. 

Sometimes you can make things right with the unhappy customer. According to Review Trackers, over half of customers expect businesses to reply to their online reviews within a week.

In other cases, the mistakes were too severe and they have made up their mind. In other cases, it may even be a fake review from a competitor. 

Look Back 

The first step of damage control is to go through your old past posts on social media platforms and remove anything damaging.

When you do this, it means that they will eventually disappear search results. It also makes it much harder for people to dig them up.  

Handling Slander 

If sites are hosting genuinely slanderous content about you, sometimes you can contact them and they will remove it. Most legitimate sites don’t want to host content that is fake or enable harassment and law-breaking. 

Should You Get The Law Involved In Your ORM?

Not in all cases, but certainly in some, enlisting the help of lawyer or going to law enforcement is a good idea. These can include: 

  • Revenge Porn 
  • Genuine threats 
  • Hate speech 
  • Severe slander 

Many of these things are illegal, and the sites that host them are generally not known for their compassion, so reaching out and asking them to remove content like that might not be enough. 

In some cases, you may have to deal with social media impersonator accounts. Twitter actually has a process for reporting these accounts, which can confuse consumers and potentially damage your online reputation. 

Your Online Reputation Management Plan

  1. Search your name, product names, business partner names, extensively to find out what the search results look like. 
  2. Register social media accounts and setup Google Alerts, or use another tool, to monitor your social media mentions.
  3. Share any positive content that pops up about you in searches across social media. 
  4. Post your own positive content on strong sites WordPress or Buzzfeed. Post, share, and link all of that positive content to center it above anything negative. 
  5. Continuously monitor your SERPs and make updates as needed. 

Have negative search results influenced your personal, business, or purchasing decisions? Comment below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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