Are negative search results hurting your business? Does your company lack any presence in the search results at all? No matter what issues you face, having control of your online reputation is possible with the right strategy.

In this article we are going to provide some of the most effective online reputation management tips to help you use the search results to grow and protect your business.

Online Reputation Management

What is Online Reputation Management?

The easiest way to explain online reputation management (ORM) is to show you. Go to Google, do a search for your name, your company’s name or your product’s name and take note of what shows up in the search results.

  • Do you see something negative?
  • Do you only see a couple, or no, results for a website or blog that you control?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then you have some work to do – specifically some online reputation management work.

Online reputation management is all about establishing yourself as a credible, authoritative resource for whatever it is you do and keeping the most relevant, useful results about you or your business on the first page of the search engines. Just about every transaction starts online now and if a prospective or current client sees something negative about you or your business as a top result, then you are taking a huge risk of losing that opportunity, and many others.


Tips to Manage Your Online Reputation

Reputation management has become a necessity for many businesses as mobile applications and websites allow competitors and customers to litter the Internet with whatever they please. This transparency is definitely a step in the right direction as it gives power back to the consumer. Unfortunately, there will always be that one company that relies on bashing their competitors or that one past client who makes their sole purpose in life to bring down your company because of one bad mistake you might have made.

On the positive side, a solid reputation management campaign can help your business not only bury negative or damaging search results, but it can place your most important business news, web assets and client interactions at the top of frequented search results pages.

Google has actually given the nod to reputation management by posting some advice of their own on how to manage your reputation through search results. Combining some of this advice with that of many other reputation management professionals, we are going to simplify online reputation management for you and provide you with the most useful and necessary tips.

Claim Your Brand Name

The first step to managing your online reputation is to claim your brand name online. Whether your brand is your name itself, your business name or your product name, you need to make sure that no one else has control of misrepresenting you online by controlling a piece of your brand.

To do this, use one of the following web services to lock up every instance of your brand name online:

TIP:
Be consistent. Use one name across the board. For example, if your company name is XYZ Clothing, then use “xyzclothing” as your username for all of the services available through the 3 resources above.

Manage Your Brand Name

Once you have locked up the 300+ username accounts found through the resources above, the next thing to do is to manage them. Now, there is no possible way that you are going to properly manage all 300+ accounts so instead of spreading your time across all of these just focus on the top 10-25 (listed below). The 80-20 rule applies to these accounts as it does with many other things in business: the top 20% of these services will account for 80% or more of what is most effective.

Top Online Reputation Management Accounts

TIP:
With each of these listed accounts, you MUST (at the very least) complete your profile 100% by adding some content, a photo, your info and links to other websites / accounts of yours.

Monitor Your Brand Name

Claiming and managing your brand name are only 2 parts of the equation when it comes to establishing and improving your online reputation. One of the most important pieces of reputation management is actually monitoring your brand online. Monitoring search results, blog posts, tweets, status updates and other mentions online can be an extremely difficult and time consuming task. Fortunately, there are some fantastic tools available for businesses to properly monitor their brand name.

Top Brand Monitoring Tools

With all of these resources, you will need to enter in your top search terms that you want to monitor. For example, if your company is XYZ Clothing then one of your search terms would be “xyz clothing”. These resources will query the major search engines, blogs and online mentions to let you know what has been picked up by the search engines.

TIP:
Setup Google Alerts to automatically email you when a new mention comes up in the results. On top of that, check the search results at least once a week for your brand name to always keep a pulse on what these search results say about your brand.

Repair Your Brand Name

Keeping your brand name and online reputation completely spotless can be challenging if your business has had a checkered past. Fortunately, as we have shown, there are many ways to manage and monitor your brand online. In the case where you do happen to come across something that is less than favorable for your company, immediate action needs to be taken so your company and brand do not suffer from the wrong kind of publicity. Before action can be taken and you get worried, it is important that you understand what can and cannot be done.

Top Tips for Removing or Burying Negative Search Results

  • If you control where the result is coming from, then simply remove the mention of it from your site / blog
  • If you don’t control the content, then send a request to the site’s webmaster.
  • When the content has been removed, expedite the removal of the result by using the Google URL removal tool
  • Create profiles (top ones mentioned above) to help push negative results off of the first page
  • Post client testimonials on your website, blog, forum and social media profiles to bury negative comments
  • PUBLISH QUALITY CONTENT….lots of it!

The best thing you can do to protect, manage and monitor your brand and online reputation is to post a lot of really good, interesting, useful content. This content should be / could be about pretty much anything that has to do with your business, clients, products, solutions, challenges, etc. There are literally thousands of things you can write about and post online. In addition, content does not just need to be text. Content can and should be videos, photos, podcasts, e-books and newsletters as well.

Create as many web assets for your brand as you can and keep them populated with great content. Do these 2 things consistently and your brand will be about as protected as it can get.


The Best Online Rep Management Tip

Provide great customer service. If you focus on providing the best service possible, then your happy customers will be your best evangelists. Your online reputation will become one less thing to worry about as your online business profiles will start to overflow with positive reviews.

Now, if you’ve read this far, then it’s probably safe to assume that you either have a brand new business that needs to establish an online presence. That or your business has had some issues in the past and now it needs a second chance to attract new business.

Whichever your situation may be we would love to help. Through effective on-page search engine optimization, combined with the off-page optimization outlined in this article, we can help you start using the search results to grow your business.

Does your company need help with its online reputation?

Yes, Let’s Talk


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Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing. Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

  • Kyle Irwin

    It’s disgusting how much phenomenal content gets posted on your blog.

    • http://www.imforza.com/about-us/team/vinny-labarbera/ Vinny La Barbera

      Ha, thanks Kyle! We never thought the word “disgusting” could be so positive.

  • Michelle M Ruiz

    Hi, was just going through the google looking for good info and stumbled across your website. I am stunned at the design and content that you have on this site. It shows how you appreciate this subject.

  • http://www.GervaisGroup.com/ Jason

    You presented some great ORM tips, thanks for sharing!

  • http://ellevation.com.au/services/reputation-management-melbourne/ Bas Ellenbroek

    Great article. I would like to add one more item to your list if I may: stimulating positive user reviews. Most review sites encourage business owners asking their customers to drop a review on Google Places, Yelp, Tripadvisor etc.

    As long as you don’t force anyone to do so a business proprietor might end up with a steady stream of legitimate positive client feedback, greatly boosting their online reputation.

    While you’re at it, why not respond to these positive reviews?

    • http://www.vinnylabarbera.com/ Vinny La Barbera

      Fantastic points, Bas – especially since [positive] reviews are becoming increasingly more important when it comes to driving Local SEO and click through rates in local search results.

  • https://www.govsource.com.au/ Ricky Ponting

    ORM is the best option if you really need business. This is a great post about ORM. Thanks

  • Cas

    Where can I can details on ORM for target groups, such as a breakdown of the number of businesses and individuals using ORM? For example, 50% are doctors, 20% politicians, 30% lawyers, 10% lawyers, etc.

    • http://www.vinnylabarbera.com/ Vinny La Barbera

      Great question, Cas. Your best is to do some digging through Google and/or going straight to some of the larger ORM companies to see if they have any data they have published.

  • http://overcominglowselfesteem.com/ Wolfgang

    As a business owner you will understand that
    you need to have a direction and a way to measure your progress for everything
    you do. It is only with tracking and measuring that you can adjust to ensure
    you stay on track towards your goal. This can be a lot of work for the already
    busy business owner hence a lot of marketing methods we see being conducted by
    businesses are fairly scattered.

  • kobyparsons

    Is it possible to use other link building techniques like bookmarking, classified ads and citation for ORM?

    • http://www.vinnylabarbera.com/ Vinny La Barbera

      Absolutely. Those things still work, but they’re most likely going to be less effective than developing and distributing quality content that other websites will want to link to.