online reputation management
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Online Reputation Management Services
Your reputation is everything. Outspoken Media’s online reputation management services are designed to go into the world of social media, find mentions of your brand and protect against negative brand associations.
If you currently have an online reputation management problem, our online reputation consultants give you the tools you need to spot it and gently remove it from the search engines. If you’re lucky enough not to (yet), we’ll introduce you to a world of reputation monitoring software that will help keep you abreast of what’s being said out there in case something ever does arise.
Outspoken Media’s online reputation management services include:
- Strategy development: Do you have an online reputation problem? We can help! We develop custom strategies for dealing with disgruntled employees, sneaky competitors or more serious customer service concerns. We are discrete and incredibly effective when we do the work internally. Our work is usually split into brand or individual audits, as each has unique problems associated with it. No problem is too big, however, you might not like what we find. Let’s talk privately if you have a very large or complicated situation.
- Software recommendations: Just like SEO and social media software, online reputation monitoring and management tools come in all shapes and sizes. If you need an in-house solution, we can consult with your team on which tools are most effective for your budget, brand and resources.
Repairing, building and protecting your brand.
The way that potential customers view your brand can be the difference maker for your business. We specialize in providing Online Reputation Management services that help build trust in your organization. You only get one first impression, let us help you make it a great one.
ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES
- SEARCH ENGINE RESULTSControl the search results for
brand-related search queries
- YELP IMPROVEMENTImprove your overall Yelp rating
and pull reviews out of the filter
- GOOGLE AUTOCOMPLETEPush out negative Google Autocomplete values with positive and neutral words
- WIKIPEDIA MANAGEMENTEnsure accurate and truthful information about your business is presented
- CORPORATE ORM TRAININGStrategy and tactical training for
in-house ORM practitioners
- PROACTIVE ORMProtection from complaints, competitors, and negative reviews and articles
SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS
With our full team of award-winning designers, developers and editors we, produce credible, useful, professional content for our clients. Our expertise in public relations, social media, online advertising, and Wikipedia all converge to strengthen your branded search results. This quality content can then be leveraged to outrank any negative content that appears.
After creating positive content for your brand we use our experience with search engine optimization to promote this content onto the first page of Google. This content will subsequently push down any negative content onto the 2nd or 3rd page of Google where few will notice or click. Our years of experience help us determine what existing and new content will rank the fastest and stay on top for long-term protection and positive branding. We use the latest strategies of digital marketing, search engine optimization and semantic search to strengthen your credibility with Google.
We developed a proprietary tracking tool to monitor a calculated “Sentiment Score” of your brand’s online reputation and track its changes overtime. We create clear key performance indicators before any new campaign and build custom reports based on our clients needs.
IMPROVING YELP REVIEWS
We have developed a toolkit of services that can help turn a sparse or floundering Yelp profile into a positive page that enhances a brand’s online presence.
We examine the possibility of flagging 1-star and 2-star reviews for violation of Yelp’s guidelines. When a review may be in violation of the Yelp guidelines, we craft a strong case for it’s removal and submit it to the Yelp team for review. You only get one chance to make your argument, and using our knowledge of the Yelp review processes gives the strongest chance of obtaining a removal.
Many times positive reviews are filtered and do not appear on your Yelp business profile. We review strategies to signal to Yelp that those reviews are genuine and should be displayed. Through our efforts, we can often pull some 5-star reviews out of the filter so that they display on the main page and factor into the overall star rating.
Requesting Positive Reviews
We have developed strategies and approaches that businesses can implement to encourage satisfied customers to leave genuine reviews highlighting the benefits of your services. Often times customers only go online to leave negative reviews, so building a strategy to obtain positive reviews can turn a negative profile into a positive brand asset.
Our Yelp improvement services do not include fake reviews.
CORPORATE ORM TRAINING
- ORM Knowledge Assessment
- In-Person and Online Training
- Software Selection and Training
- Monitoring and KPI Tracking
- Video Tutorials and Certification Quizzes
- Weekly Q&A Sessions
We create custom eLearning modules that can be used by other departments to ensure a baseline efficiency and understanding of online reputation management company-wide. This training is reinforced by a simple quiz built into the eLearning platform.
Our goal is not only share what has worked in the past but to teach the principles of online reputation management for future success. For more details, see our Online Reputation Management FAQs.
In our experience and testing, we have discovered three overriding factors that drive Google Autocomplete:
- Search Volume and Searcher Location
The amount of searches performed for a name/keyword along with the location of the searchers
- Keyword and Phrase Appearance
The total number of mentions of the words on third-party websites, blogs, and forums
- Social Media Mentions
The amount and consistency of mentions on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
The algorithm also contains a time tracking component that factors in the freshness of queries and content. This component ensures that new, trending searches are included as well. We use all of our research and experience to build a campaign to influence Google Autocomplete for our clients.
You can take a look at the autocomplete values for your brand or any other search term with our custom Google Autocomplete tool.
Strategy, Research, Citations, Tone
We begin by taking a full inventory of the content on the page, the history of edits, and the activity of the talk page. We understand who is making changes on the page and where their bias lies. We then use this information to build a plan to both triage existing issues and and a long-term strategy for overall page improvement and enhacement. We ensure that this content follows Wikipedia’s guidelines, remains neutral, and is correctly cited by credible third-party publications.
PROACTIVE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Take control of what appears on the first page of Google before someone else does.
Branded search queries are your most expensive and valuable search traffic. People searching your brand have heard about you through advertising, referrals, or other marketing efforts and are now searching to learn more about you.
We help you put your best foot forward by building and promoting positive websites, blogs, social media profiles, video channels, images, Wikipedia and more. These pro-active efforts build a wall of protection to prevent a negative article, review or complaint website from damaging your reputation.
Top Online Reputation Management Tips for Brand Marketers
I write about small businesses doing innovative PR
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Many marketing executives fail to understand how poor online reputation management can damage their company’s sales. To that end, I spoke this week with Don Sorensen, president of Big Blue Robot, who has been working with companies and executives for the past 10 years to improve their online reputations. In the process he’s had a direct view of the impact negative search results can have on a company’s bottom line, whether the enterprise is large or small.
You should never underestimate the cost of a poor reputation. For example, Sorensen notes he once consulted with a company that had a severe online reputation problem. When potential customers searched the company’s name, 7 of the top 10 Google results were negative. After careful review of their rankings and prior-year revenues, he estimated the venture was losing nearly $2 million a year in sales because of negative search engine results. The company confirmed his estimates were accurate — but low.
Don Sorensen discusses online reputation strategy at Financial Times Future of Marketing Summit in NY.
Don Sorensen discusses online reputation strategy at Financial Times Future of Marketing Summit in NY.
Online reputation management clearly has a big impact on a company’s revenue. I spoke with Don this week about what marketing executives can do to protect their company’s good image online. Here are his answers, advice and insight based on more than a decade of managing online reputations for clients in a wide variety of industries.
Related article: Reputation Management: When Your Business Is Disparaged Online
What are some online reputation issues a brand might experience?
Business owners are often taken off-guard by online reputation issues. Many don’t even realize they need to be concerned about their reputation online. A common question I hear is: “Why are people saying bad things about us on the Internet, and what can we do about it?” Executives can spend long years developing a strong brand. It can be beyond unsettling to wake up one day and see defamatory remarks appearing online, particularly when the items move beyond constructive criticism to include outrageous accusations and even slanderous or libelous remarks. Even worse, the negative reviews are often on websites that rank high in search engines, so anyone doing a search on the company name will probably see them. Whether the comments are true or not, these negative search results jeopardize the company’s online reputation.
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Many executives don’t consider the potential losses in sales, press coverage, hiring ability, and more until long after the damage is done. That’s understandable, given all they’re responsible for, but it leaves them vulnerable. It’s a lot more expensive and difficult — sometimes impossible — to clean up a reputation after negative comments appear online than it is to be proactive. I’ve seen more than a few companies plagued by a small group of individuals with a vendetta against a company who leverage the Internet to do damage. These people often have goals to critically damage the company or even profit by a company’s poor reputation by shorting their stock.
Related article: 5 New Reasons CEOs Should Maintain Stellar Online Reputation Management
Do you see executives’ personal reputation affect their companies’ online reputations these days?
Definitely. Top-level executives’ names can become synonymous with the brand, especially CEOs, so their personal reputations can affect the company just like corporate reputations do. Shareholders might look into executive reputations before investing, and well-known customers sometimes do that before buying from or endorsing the company. Executives’ reputations can also affect the amount and kind of press the company gets and the angle journalists take. Executives with strong personal reputations often become known as thought leaders and industry experts, which has major benefits for the company.
Won’t positive Google results stay where they are and serve as protection against reputational hits?
Just because the results are good today, doesn’t mean they’ll be that way tomorrow. Search engine results can change at any time based on recent news, social media, algorithm changes or a number of other factors. Creating and keeping a positive online reputation is a continuous, ongoing process that all brands need to be involved in.
How should companies consider expanding their crisis communication plan to handle reputation issues?
In today’s online-focused world, any crisis will shortly be an online reputation crisis thanks to the real-time nature of social media. Even if a major news publication doesn’t report a negative story about a company, blogs, tweets and other social media can do great damage.The first step is to do everything you can to prevent a problem from becoming a reputational crisis. That includes planning how to best use every online platform your brand is on, not just jumping on the hottest new trend because everyone is doing it. It also includes constant monitoring of online brand mentions and sentiment, and strong threat detection and protection.
During a crisis, you’ll want to have someone on call who can monitor your online reputation, assess the reputational risks of various events and solutions, and suggest reputation-protection measures. Whether this person is in-house or an outside reputation manager, they need to be able to communicate with several teams and all key decision makers to make sure the solutions to the crisis are good for the whole company and solve more problems than they create. Because social media happens in real time, customers expect fast responses. To prevent minor problems from becoming reputational crises and to maintain a good reputation during a crisis, communicate and respond quickly. Fast communication is especially critical if the crisis involves product/service quality and safety or the security and privacy of customer or employee information.
Related article: The Death of ‘Spin’ (Will It Kill The Future Of Public Relations?)
What are the key reputation management tactics you recommend and employ for your clients?
1. Own Your Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
Don’t be content with only a handful of links at the top of a search engine results page for your brand. Take full advantage of your SERP by working to control as much of it as you can from top to bottom.
2. Be Social
Claim your brand’s social media profiles and use them. Some of them will have more benefit for you than others, but you still want to claim your brand name on all the major social networks and update them regularly. This prevents others from hijacking your brand name, gives you a bigger presence online, and helps you control more spots in SERPs. The major social profiles that do well in Google results include: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare and Pinterest. Be sure to link all of your social profiles together.
Blogging is another way to get your brand out there on the web. Buy a domain that includes the brand name, and then develop your blog with professional, positive information about the company, products, industry trends, support issues and other topics. In addition to showing up on your SERPs and publishing positive information about your brand, blogging also attracts more traffic than static websites, so it helps your reputation and your lead generation.
4. Think Outside the Box
Opportunities to get noticed on the web abound. For example, encourage customers to show how they’re using your product through YouTube videos. Videos tend to rank very well on Google and other search engines.
5. Have an Active PR Strategy
Don’t simply rely on “company news” for your press releases. Look for unique ways your products are being used. Publicize partners you’re working with. Sponsor events that may get press.
Is it worth developing an in-house department to tackle online reputation management issues?
It is possible to do some of the top-level ORM work within a company. Some of these tasks include:
public relations campaigns
social media updates
development of company-related websites like blogs and support forums
But beyond these, most companies don’t have the resources or experience that comes from working on multiple ORM campaigns. With an experienced reputation management firm, you get the advantage of their leveraged knowledge from working with many companies and diverse situations.
Is online reputation management help expensive?
It can vary greatly depending on the unique factors of each reputation. When I give a quote to a potential client, I consider if the ORM work to be done is proactive or reactive. Maintenance and preventive measures are generally less expensive than trying to repair an online reputational problem after it’s happened. I also consider the size of the company, the scope of the work, the specific countries they are doing business in and the estimated return on investment.
What should a company look for when hiring an online reputation management professional?
A reputable professional should be able to show a successful track record with other clients. This should include “before” or baseline Google rankings (before the ORM work began), and “after” results. Negative web pages should be moved down in the results, being replaced by web pages with positive or neutral information about the company. If the client company does business in multiple countries then ask to see country-specific search engine results.
You should also ask what kinds of tactics will be used to improve the online reputation. Some tactics may include public relations campaigns, off-site search engine optimization and the development of a stronger social media presence.
Related article: Is Online Reputation Management Dead?
Thanks to Don Sorensen for this interview and for his contributions to the ongoing dialogue on ORM. Readers can reach Don directly through his website www.bigbluerobot.com.
Ever wish you could scrub embarrassing college pics from Facebook? Or the string of negative reviews about your small business that an embittered customer posted? Do you worry that prospective employers will see the youthful mug shot that you can’t get off the first page of your Google results?
As we increasingly live out our lives online, we’re finding that not only are there major downsides to all of that social media over-sharing—but we may have little control over the way we appear on the internet. A person who wants to do damage to your reputation will find few obstacles online, easily tarnishing your good name.
Enter online reputation managers.
Part PR gurus, part tech experts, they specialize in providing online makeovers—often by burying negative search results and promoting content that accentuates a client’s desired image.
To find out more about these digital disaster fixer-uppers, we spoke to Michael Fertik, the founder of one of the world’s largest online reputation management companies—Reputation.com.
So what exactly does a reputation management specialist do?
Michael Fertik: Our customers range from moms and dads to Fortune 500 companies. And we try to give them maximum control possible over what people view about them online—whether it’s information that they want others to see about professional history or info that they don’t want seen, like a medical past.
Why might someone need help managing a digital reputation?
The rise of the internet has given birth to a lot of good things … and a lot of things that are not so good. Now your good name can end up in the hands of people you can’t identify—and who are in places you may not be able to point to on a map.
If someone says something negative about you or something true but old and obsolete—perhaps it’s that you were fired from your last job—these things can really damage your future. At the same time, your digital reputation also creates significant opportunities. If you aren’t taking advantage of what your reputation could be or hanging your digital shingle the way it deserves to be hung, people aren’t seeing your best foot forward.
Related: 8 Mistakes Not to Make on LinkedIn
Why can’t someone handle his or her own online reputation?
The best analogy that I can think of is anti-virus software for your computer. There are probably only 25 guys on the planet who can do good anti-virus protection on their own because it requires deep technical expertise. We have dozens of engineers who work on each of our products, which are designed expressly to fix or enhance your digital reputation and profile.
That said, there are certain things that you should do on your own, like have a thoughtful, well-curated LinkedIn profile. And you should have a Twitter handle that is your name, not something like “ILovePizza,” unless your job is in pizza.
What’s the most common problem that you encounter?
It’s obvious what’s at stake when a company has bad reviews or a social media meltdown, but what’s at stake for individuals?
The internet can be quite vicious in the sense that someone in your personal or professional life who wants to do damage to you can be very good at it. A former spouse can go after your small business because of a divorce or former employees can try to destroy your life if you fire them.
But it matters even if you aren’t in the business of selling things. Every life transaction now begins with a search, and even in a good economy, prospective employers will be doing searches on you. The thundering silence you might hear is your best indication that your digital profile isn’t doing the work it should.
Also, we’re increasingly living in a pull economy—and people, employers and customers find you because of the internet. Let’s say that you are a landscape architect. If you’re talking about landscape architecture and you’re identified with it in social media, you have a plausible résumé. But if someone looks you up, and finds someone else [with the same name] whose interest is kite surfing, that doesn’t do you any good. On the other hand, if all they can find is that you’re interested in cooking, that’s not necessarily good, either.
So it’s not always about curing the negative—it’s about accentuating your positive truth and personal branding.
How difficult is it to erase something negative once it’s online?
We don’t seek to erase. There are significant deficiencies in the law in this area—even a lawsuit doesn’t work. But the good news is that if it is off page one of Google, it basically doesn’t exist.
So what goes into an online makeover?
We make sure that a client’s story—a professionally written biography that’s not purple prose or over the top—shows up and dominates their profile. It could be five or 10 of the top things about them online—either items that we write in consultation with you and your résumé or things that already exist that we push up to the top.
How much of your work is reactive versus proactive?
Many of our clients come to us with a problem. I wish they’d come to us sooner because instead of the $5,000 it takes to cure the issue, it might have cost $200 to prevent it. But that’s not most of our clients—most want to be in front of the problem.
How can people keep themselves safe from cyber extortionists—people who promise to erase undesirable content for a fee, and then ask for more money later to keep it offline?
It’s a common problem. There are actually websites that publish information that’s in the public domain—but the definition of public realm has been stretched. So what was public in 1950, when you’d have to go to the courthouse and befriend the court clerk, is now something you can find while sitting at your computer.
These sites could still be doing something illegal by publishing the info and then charging to unpublish it—and the courts are trying to figure that out. Soon there will be some legal tools. But, right now, you either have to pay the guy or pay the sheriff to defeat him. And we aim to be the sheriff.
What can people do to safeguard their online reputations?
Set up a Google alert for yourself. Contribute things that are of professional interest, and do it occasionally. You don’t have to tweet every day—doing it a few times a month is a good idea, especially if it is relevant to what you do. And don’t use Facebook a lot; if you do, maximize your privacy settings. Also, don’t post a lot of photos to social media, in general, about your families. Basically, don’t over-share. If you don’t know who the joker is on your social media page, it’s you.