What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management is a service that monitors and improves your reputation to a digital audience. It covers areas such as press releases, product reviews, service reviews, forum posts and comments, social media, or legal action if necessary.

While all companies should make an effort to improve their brand’s online reputation, some individuals require greater assistance. Typically, any business owner or private firm that has conducted itself in a dishonourable way might need help with clearing their name. These claims sometimes can be wholly justified but may also be falsified.

Therefore, improving your online reputation comes in two major steps:

  • Generating fresh articles that talk about the good efforts that you or your business are making.
  • Reducing or removing the visibility of historical articles that contain false accusations or unfair appraisal.

How to check what people are saying about me?

You can check what people are saying about you and your business by using search engines and specialist third-party software. If you’re operating a local business, you may also wish to review local directories and review websites.

To check search engines for the content they have found, you can use search operators. These help you to refine the search results and find content that is specifically related to your website, brand or name. Here’s an example of finding content around horse meat and Tesco:

Example of searching for bad branding

In the above example, we took advantage of the exact-match quotation operator. By including the term “horse meat” with quotations, we specified we only wanted to find articles that include those exact words. You could try your name or brand and type “scam” or “scandal” to find negative articles.

Another example would include searching for negative reviews of your business. One way to complete this is by visiting any review services you have already set up and check how people are talking about you. In this case, we’re going to look at DPD delivery services and their Trustpilot account:

Reviews on Trustpilot for DPD UK

You may wish to perform similar searches on major review websites within your industry. Most commonly, you will find reviews on websites such as:

  • Trustpilot
  • Yelp
  • Google Local

Lastly, another way to check for content is to use third-party software. The advantages to software like this are the ability to monitor whether the negative remarks appear in the Page Titles, URLs or the content.

These tools also provide you with information on examples of when this content was linked towards or shared in social media. It helps to get a full 360-degree visualisation of the damage. In this example, I chose to use the Content Explorer by Ahrefs to find accusations of cruelty against KFC.

Content Explorer to find Negative Reviews

How can I improve my online reputation?

Before attempting to improve your visibility through online reputation management, you need first to question your ethical practices. Are these accusations based at-least part in truth? Could you have delivered better service to the end-user? Was there a breach in trust or confidentiality that needs addressing?

While this step doesn’t fix your problem of a poor reputation – failure to address it will keep coming back to bite you. So it’s worth investing in business consultancy, mystery shopper reviews, and customer feedback programs to help adjust the problem.

Once you’ve fixed this, it’s time to repair the relationship with your end-user or business partners. To do this, you can deploy several techniques.

Negative SEO.

One of the first strategies that many people turn to is negative SEO. It is a process of negatively impacting the rankings of a specific page by using techniques that are explicitly against the guidelines.

For example, anchor text optimisation is used to rank websites higher in the SERPs. However, because it’s such a strong factor, it’s strictly controlled to avoid abuse. By purposefully abusing this ranking factor, it’s possible to force a page further down the search results.

Another technique is to use low-quality link schemes. Many of these can be found on Fiverr and while they advertise themselves as helpful – they’re far from it. Typically, you’re looking for the largest quantity of links for the lowest possible price – which includes a technique called GSA.

GSA backlinks for Online Reputation Management

Press Releases.

A press release is a technique frequently used to drown harmful content out of the search results. However, it’s not always a reactive choice. For example, the supermarket chain called Iceland recently started pushing news articles. In these articles, Iceland discussed their new environmentally friendly policies to help build up a rapport with the public.

Many services offer en-masse press releases with content syndication. However, most of these services are ignored by Google or considered spam. If you’re looking to shake a bad reputation truly, then you’ll want to focus on building a new brand identity.

Iceland Supermarket in The Guardian

Social Media Campaigns.

Social media is a big part of post-modern society. It’s a modern news distribution that funnels the audience content they follow. While it does create isolated communities that echo their fear and distress, it’s also a great way to push your brand in front of people in their leisure time.

A great example of a company that faced a crisis is KFC. During 2018 they had an issue with running out of chicken across the United Kingdom. This supply failure caused many stores to shut – leaving their audience frustrated.

They were so frustrated, that even the police were receiving complaints that it was closed:

Police Complaints about KFC

When KFC faced this crisis, they began a light-hearted social media campaign to try and calm their audience. It started with a landing page called /crossed-the-road and making a ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ reference on social media.

While it seems trivial, they were both addressing concerns and building up a rapport. It ended up making headlines across the country, not because they were closed, but because they were funny. It’s a great example of fixing the issue and managing your reputation.

KFC Crisis Social Media Post

What are the limits of Online Reputation Management?

Before attempting to improve your visibility through online reputation management, you need first to question your ethical practices. Are these accusations based at-least part in truth? Could you have delivered better service to the end-user? Was there a breach in trust or confidentiality that needs addressing?

While this step doesn’t fix your problem of a poor reputation – failure to address it will keep coming back to bite you. So it’s worth investing in business consultancy, mystery shopper reviews, and customer feedback programs to help adjust the problem.

Once you’ve fixed this, it’s time to repair the relationship with your end-user or business partners. To do this, you can deploy several techniques.

United States Justice Verdict on Embezzlement