Clean up your online reputation with our comprehensive guide to reputation management services below.
Job seekers, business owners, professionals, and everyday individuals use the web for many reasons.
One of the primary reasons is to use Google and similar search engines to learn about the world around them. A quick Google search will turn up nearly limitless information about any subject — including the people and businesses you encounter daily.
This information comprises your online presence, and it can either help you or hinder you as you work toward achieving your goals.
In our guide below, we will explore online reputation management (ORM) and some of the crucial tools you’ll need to clean up your online presence if negative content appears in Google search results.
Search Engines Define Us in the Digital Space
Google and the other search engines have become invaluable tools in our everyday lives. We use these search tools to learn about the people and businesses we encounter.
Think about some of the ways that search engines are used:
- Job seekers looking for employment opportunities with potential employers
- Hiring managers doing informal background checks on candidates
- People on dating sites wanting to know more about a potential match
- Reading reviews on restaurants or businesses in your area
- Browsing social media profiles of your friends, family, and acquaintances
Whether you are engaged in a job search and identifying future employers, applying for schools, loans, or other financial services, the information in search results defines who we are and shapes our online presence.
Positive information in search results can open new doors, while negative online content can keep us from achieving what we’ve set out to do.
What is Your Online Reputation?
Search results form the core of your online reputation, or the consensus public perception of an individual or business based on available information on the web.
As introduced earlier, positive results in search can build trust, authority, and engagement with others. Negative content in results, by contrast, have the effect of damaging your reputation. If a Google search turns up negative content — or if your company appears in a negative article or news stories, you may be missing out on new opportunities.
Can you afford to miss out? If the answer is no, reputation management is a viable solution.
What is Online Reputation Management?
If your reputation is based on the public perception of others, how can you improve it?
Online reputation management (ORM) influences that perception through strategies and services designed to help you stand out from your competitors.
To establish an online presence or to build your existing presence with negative content removal, elimination of poor reviews, and public relations campaigns, ORM offers an array of options, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Internet privacy solutions
- Reputation monitoring
- Public relations
- Crisis management
- Social media account management
- Google My Business/Google Business Profile management
- Personal and business branding
- Content removal
- Internet marketing
The focus of ORM is to remove or suppress the bad stuff — negative content — and to position the good stuff — positive information — in a visible and trustworthy way.
In our next section, we cover the most essential parts of the ORM service environment to help you make informed decisions based on your goals and needs.
Essential Tools for Cleaning Up Your Reputation
As we’ve learned in the section above, there is a huge range of choices when it comes to ORM services. Whether you’re looking for a new job, are a business owner facing difficulties with negative reviews or negative search results, or are a professional seeking to clean up your online reputation, ORM is the proven solution.
Of course, not everyone will need the same services to stand out. Now, let’s take a closer look at several of the most critical ORM services you can use to manage your online reputation issues:
Social media profiles
Starting about a decade ago, social media rose to prominence in our lives.
Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn offer powerful tools for building and maintaining your reputation. With these social media platforms, you can share a wide variety of content designed to create engagement with your followers. Social media accounts give you the power to share your life online with a few clicks of a mouse.
In today’s world, a social media presence is an essential component of your business online. Potential customers are looking for information about you before making purchasing decisions, and they don’t always rely solely on search engine results. By using the above platforms and other social media accounts, you gain competitive advantages in your industry space, allowing you to connect with others cost-effectively with a strong online presence.
If you don’t already have a social media account on the major platforms, an ORM social media management specialist can help you get started. These social media accounts and online profiles provide a great return on investment, extending your digital marketing budget.
Content removal services
Think about the last time you looked up a person or business in Google searches. Were you confronted with negative results? Unfortunately, those negative search results speak volumes about you whether you realize it or not.
Now, imagine you are a business owner or a person faced with negative results that don’t accurately reflect who you are and what you stand for. What can you do?
The answer is content removal. Your ORM team carefully analyzes online search results to identify the sources of negative details that threaten your digital footprint. Then, these teams use proven strategies to take information down. Content removal is a powerful reputation defender, ensuring that only accurate information is available about you or your business online.
For the most part, ORM teams can easily delete information like old accounts or fake or misleading reviews from review sites like Google, and Trustpilot. In extreme cases, your reputation defender team may use legal tools like Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices, violations of terms of service (ToS) notices, or court orders to compel website owners to remove the offending information.
Public relations (PR) helps to put you in front of the people who matter most: your customers. As a reputation management service and as a form of advertising, PR allows you to share your story, promote your personal or professional brand, and maintain a visible online image in local or regional markets. PR professionals use content creation strategies to post positive content that not only makes you look good on the internet — this content also helps you establish trust and authority in your niche.
After development, your ORM expert will publish positive content on a regular schedule as part of your PR campaign. This is known as content marketing, one of the proven tactics that help create impressive visibility. PR is also critical for investor relations, ensuring that investors have a clear understanding of what your business stands for in terms of mission and values.
Online reputation services companies may use a range of tools, including owned and earned media as well as paid media, to promote you, your company, and your brand. PR is also great for reputation repair, allowing you to be transparent in your communication with stakeholders even if a crisis occurs.
PR isn’t only for business owners; professionals like sports figures and celebrities also use these tools to enhance an online identity. Individuals can gain significant benefits from using PR to control the digital narrative, ultimately helping them to stand out in whatever industry or market they occupy.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of developing search engine-optimized content for publication to your personal website, company website, or other web properties. The goal of SEO is to help you secure top rankings on search results pages.
The average Google user will only explore the first page of Google search results, so having your site in the top results can increase traffic dramatically.
SEO begins with keyword research to identify keywords and phrases with a high traffic potential. These keywords are then incorporated into web content. Link building is another crucial SEO strategy to help Google and the other search tools accurately categorize and index your internet content.
Local SEO services for local businesses take things a step further, improving your visibility in locally-oriented search results. Getting your brand on Google Maps and standing out in searches within your geographic area is a great way to attract new clients. In fact, locally-focused SEO is one of the most powerful ORM tools available, helping you build a strong brand reputation.
As noted earlier, search engines are the primary sources for information in the digital environment. What can you do if negative search results threaten to damage the internet reputation you’ve worked so hard to build?
Using free tools like Google Alerts or more powerful automated systems to identify negative content, this proactive monitoring approach listens for mentions of your name or your business across all digital channels.
Bad stuff can appear nearly anywhere online. Your online presence can be affected by negative search results from:
- Negative stories in industry journals
- Negative news stories
- Negative mentions on social media
- Negative information about key executives, such as a criminal conviction or mugshot posted online
If you want to create and maintain a good impression in the digital environment, monitoring is an essential component of your ORM strategy. This strategy offers positive results, giving you the power to overcome reputational threats before they can damage what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Online Reputation Management Companies: Choosing the Right One for Your Needs
Online reputation management is a system of interconnected parts, all with the same goal in mind: to help you establish, build, and protect a positive online reputation.
How do you know what you need? More importantly, how do you choose the right online reputation management company for help?
When evaluating professional reputation management companies, here are some key considerations:
- Read reviews about the company. What are other customers saying? One negative review is probably not a big deal, but if there are several negative reviews or negative search results about the company, look elsewhere.
- Does the company offer individual services, or are you stuck with a package containing services you don’t need? Not every client is the same, and the leading ORM service providers offer flexible packages that meet your needs exactly.
- Beware of companies that use open-ended contracts that lock you in for long periods. If you only need a few tweaks to improve your reputation, these long contracts can mean excessive costs.
- Will you be assigned a reputation manager? The leading ORM companies use dedicated managers to keep your campaign on track.
Pricing can vary depending on the services needed, the length of time required to rebuild your online presence, clean up your internet reputation, and more. A dedicated team of ORM professionals is one of your most important investments if you want to stand out in your field with a positive online presence.
Contact InternetReputation Today
Taking control of the digital narrative can be challenging — and not everyone has time to manage their online reputations. With so many strategies needed to clean up your online reputation, the process can become overwhelming.
InternetReputation can help.
If you’d like a professional opinion on your reputation from a proven online reputation management expert, please call us at 941-259-4554 to set up a free consultation, or click here for additional information.