What is Online Reputation Management? Online Reputation Management is an online public relations and (sometimes) marketing service that is offered to people and companies that want to protect their name and/or brand. People that work in Online Reputation Management could be considered, in the offline brick and mortar world, as spin doctors. But it’s no longer just politicians and large corporations that need these spin doctors for online reputation protection. It’s now small businesses and common regular folks too. The internet has made it easy for information to travel fast and search engines like Google that do a good job with search results, have made the most relevant information to a name or brand appear high on the search result pages. Blogs and forums have also added to the need for Online Reputation Management.
How does Online Reputation Management work? There are different ways to protect your online reputation and different Online Reputation Management companies have varying methods for doing so. Basically, the Online Reputation Management companies search for the name in question, for competitors, for adjacent topics to the name for which they’re searching, and then they deflect bad or negative information that came up in the search results. For example, let’s consider a company named Any Company. Any Company produces brochures for small businesses and they’ve been pretty successful so far and have gotten a lot of good press. Their competitor, named Competing Company, gets upset that Any Company gets so much business and Competing Company wants a piece of the pie. So someone from Competing Company starts posting on popular forums bad and negative comments about Any Company that may or may not be true. The same person from Competing Company also posts the negative comments about Any Company on a blog. It turns out the person doing this for Competing Company has experience with search engine optimization and the negative posts make it to the first page of Google and Yahoo. Other websites pick up on the bad press and Any Company starts to lose business.
Any Company hires an Online Reputation Management company to deflect the bad press. This company is skilled in public relations and search engine optimization. They are able to refute the negative posts in a way that will restore Any Company’s reputation. The Online Reputation Management company may also make enough positive posts with search engine optimization techniques that they can knock the negative posts off the first three pages of Google or Yahoo since many visitors don’t go past the third page of search results.
How do you know who to hire for Online Reputation Management? Word of mouth is a good way to find an Online Reputation Management company. You need to make sure, however, that the Online Reputation Management company does not employ black hat search engine optimization techniques. Interview different companies so that you can get a feel for what can be done for you and who will do it best according to your needs.