What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management (also referred to as rep management, online reputation management or ORM) is the practice of shaping public opinion of your business by influencing online information about you.
There are myths and misconceptions about online reputation management. Some think it’s just monitoring what Google or social media say about you. Others think it involves media relations or crisis management. And still others have no idea at all.
Let’s start at the beginning – Google.
Today, nearly every business transaction starts with a search on Google.
And whatever appears about you and your business on page one of Google is critical. Because few people ever click past that first page. So even if your reputation is squeaky clean, and there’s just one bad story or review about you online, if it shows up on page one of Google or another search engine … it can do a disproportionally large amount of damage to your business.
And guess what? No news is bad news, too.
If nothing relevant or positive about you shows up on page one of Google, that’s nearly as bad as a complaint or bad review. And it means that your digital assets – your website and social media profiles — aren’t working as hard for you as they should.
What Are They Saying About You?
Just a few years ago, life was simpler online. Websites were fewer, Google didn’t dig so deeply into digital dirt, and social media didn’t exist. Angry customers didn’t have a potential audience in the millions to whom they could vent frustration about your business. Your competitors couldn’t slander your name with anonymous reviews on Yelp.
Those days are gone. Forever.
Today, every one of your customers and competitors has an audience. Just one bad review, negative experience, or outright lie about you can be halfway around the world before you ever know it. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.
No matter what size your business is, people are talking about you. Your prospects, customers, vendors, competitors, even anonymous hackers – they’re posting comments on blogs or review sites … tweeting about your company, posting updates on Facebook or LinkedIn … the list goes on.
If you think you can safely ignore this new fact of life, you’d better think again.
Why Is It Important?
First, realize that search results in Google don’t pop up chronologically. An old complaint, arrest record (even of someone else with your name!) or inflammatory comment from 10 years ago can continue to haunt you … if search engines think they are still relevant.
And that’s not counting negative stories that appear about on sites like Rip-off Report.com or Complaint.com. If that happens, you’ve got big trouble. Because those sites have many thousands of web pages and can rank very highly in Google. That means you’re facing an uphill battle to fight the weight of that negative publicity.
But it gets worse. Negative reviews from sites like Rip-off Report and Complaint can spread like wildfire, appearing on up to 35 sites within a matter of hours.
How? Negative stories about you multiply thanks to “duplicator” software that literally copies and pastes bad reviews of you from web site to another.
Those “duplicator websites” exist solely to get traffic so they can run ads. The fact that they’re also destroying your reputation means nothing to them. That’s the harsh reality.
Who Needs Reputation Management?
You do, if your business has any kind of Internet presence. And today, that’s everyone.
Every business should proactively build and protect their digital reputation. Your customers are researching your products and services online – and those of your competitors – before ever deciding to contact you. if they find negative reviews or dirt about you online, they will never call …
… and you will never know why.
That makes your reputation your most valuable asset online. But don’t believe us. The research is compelling:
- 62% of consumers in a survey said they would change their mind after reading 1-3 bad reviews of a company’s product or service (Lightspeed Research)
- 66% of people believe the Internet is the most reliable source of information about a business or a person (Edelman Insights)
- 81% of consumers and corporate executives believe search results highly influence their perception about a company and its quality (Weber Shandwick)
- 97% of people read online reviews when searching for a local business, (BIA Kelsey)
Horror Stories Of Bad Reputations Happening To Good People
You can wake up one morning to find you have a horrible online reputation through no fault of your own. A drunk driver or sex offender with the same name as you can suddenly appear in the news. Or a political posting on Facebook you thought was private is suddenly spreading online … and alienating half your customers.
Your business could have hundreds of positive reviews online, but it only takes one or two negative comments to sabotage years of hard work.
Here are just a few of the horror stories we’ve seen …
A landscape architect, active and popular in his local community, receives a 1-star review and lengthy complaint from an unhappy customer on Yelp. She wants a refund. He politely refuses. She adds more detail to her negative review. It starts to appear on page one of Google. The landscape architect finally offers a refund in a desperate bid to repair his reputation. Guess what? The customer no longer returns his calls. The horrible review of his business stays online, where it remains to this day. He estimates the damage to his business at more than $150,000 in lost sales. And if he could go back in time, he’d willingly write a check for that amount to keep it from happening.
A carpet cleaner is doing well in his east coast city. Until a review from an unhappy customer appears on Google Plus, complaining about “bait and switch” pricing and rude treatment by employees. The business owner offers to reclean the room, then the whole house, then a refund … but the customer refuses to remove the negative reviews. Instead, he adds even more. Damage to his business is estimated at more than $30,000 – and growing.
A local deli has a fine reputation, until a random disgruntled reviewer (who’s never eaten there before!) goes online and starts posting negative comments on Yelp and other sites. Those false reviews are now appearing on page one of search results. The damage could easily top $50,000.
And those horror stories don’t even take into account the people with a grudge against you personally. An ex-spouse, terminated employee, or angry neighbor can go after you for any reason – or no reason.
Bottom line: Anyone determined to damage your business online can tear down years of your hard work in a matter of days.
But there is hope. You can recover.
And we’ve found it effective to play both “defense” and “offense” to win this game. That’s because effective online reputation management has two sides: repair and protection.
First, here’s an example of …
This story from our client files shows that it is possible to recover from horrible damage to your reputation online.
A real estate professional had a hugely successful business. He ranked in the top 10 in America for home sales.
But due to a power struggle in his agency, negative stories came out in the press. The state licensing board got involved. They issued a restraining order that prevented him from selling any real estate for 60 days. No wrong doing was found, so they reinstated his license.
But by then it was too late.
Numerous real estate sales bloggers had picked up the story and run with it. About 65% of all search results for his name on the first 3 pages in Google were negative. His sales plunged.
So he came to us for help.
We created and promoted positive content about him online. We did NOT “push down” negative reviews of him in search — that would be unethical and could lead to a Google penalty. Instead, we simply spread the word online about good things he had done.
Within 9 months, every negative review but one had disappeared from the first three pages of search results. His reputation repaired, he has now built a very successful business again.
How does it work?
Our team creates a custom list of keywords for your name, your business, and your brand. Then we monitor relevant websites and social media 24/7 for any negative mentions about you.
We spot trouble immediately because it’s a live feed. Any negative mention of you anywhere online — on social media, a blog, anything — we find fast. So we can react and fix it fast.
We do this by generating new content for you online that drifts to the top of search results, so prospective customers see good things about you first. Of course, as Google Partners, our process is 100% ethical and conforms to Google best practices.
Here’s the bottom line: One dollar of protection is worth $1,000 of reputation repair online. Or more.
Because once a negative story about your business is out there, it stays there. Unless you take action.
One last thing: Google evolves and changes the rules for reputation management almost daily. So, if you’re serious about getting more customers or clients from your website, you probably don’t have time to do all this yourself.
But we do.
Because reputation management is our business as a digital marketing agency. It has been since 2006.
Take the next step. Request your Free SEO Diagnostic Review to discover harmful reviews of your business … and lost opportunities in your website rankings. There’s no cost, no obligation, and you’ll receive a Surprise Gift.
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JOIN CLIENTS WHO ENJOY 96% SATISFACTION
Despite thousands of changes to Google and other search engines every year, less than 4% of our clients have ever moved on after working with us.
That’s the highest retention rate of any SEO service or digital marketing agency we know of.
There are 3 reasons why.
1) As Certified Google Partners, we play by the rules. We work with you to give Google and other search engines exactly what they want. To help your website recover from penalties, rank higher in search, and get more customers for your business. And if you found us after searching in Google or another search engine, you’ve proven for yourself that our SEO methods work.
2) We analyze and troubleshoot your website. Our software shows you exactly what happened to your site and when. Because defining the problem half the battle of solving it.
3) Our software developers work around the clock, because they work around the world. The sun literally never sets on our team, because we’re global. And nobody else has our systems. That gives you a unique advantage working with us – and nobody else.