What is Online Reputation Management?

Your online reputation is influenced by what you post online and what others say about you or your business online. Online reputation management involves a combination of marketing, public relations, legal and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to promote, protect and defend your online image or business reputation.

How does online reputation management work?
Google relies on a complex algorithm to determine which search results appear on what page.  High authority content is likely to rank among the first results for any search term, while low authority content may not rank at all. Reputation management companies seek to influence search results by improving the authority and search visibility of positive content to promote a company, product or individual.

While every reputation management campaign is unique, the best online reputation management companies will typically leverage some of the following tactics:

  • Monitoring online mentions of an individual or brand and coordinating a thoughtful, rapid response
  • Publishing professionally written content on trusted web sites with high search engine authority and maximum visibility
  • Interlinking high impact positive web content
  • Optimizing existing websites and social media profiles to rank higher in the search results for select keywords
  • Contacting the source to edit or remove negative content
  • Filing a formal complaint with the search engine or webmaster

Who needs reputation management?
Everyone. Doctors, attorneys, small business owners, accountants, consultants, freelancers and contractors need a positive online image. If you are looking for a job, applying to school, dating online or seeking new clients or customers, your first impression will be online. Every business knows that customers and clients are researching products and services online before deciding to buy. Brand management is more important than ever before and a positive reputation is your most valuable asset.

Why does reputation management matter?
The internet does not forgive. It does not forget. And its influence continues to grow. Negative online content has destroyed relationships, devastated careers and ruined businesses. A positive online reputation is your most valuable asset in today’s digital world.

70% of recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online.*

85% of recruiters and HR professionals say that a positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions.*

31% of employed internet users have searched online for information about co-workers, professional colleagues or business competitors.**

34% of those who use online dating services go online to check up on their dates.**

46% of internet users search online to find information about people from their past.**

62% of consumers surveyed said they would change their mind after reading 1-3 negative reviews about a product or service.***

81% of consumers and senior executives said online search results highly influence their perception about a company.****

83% of consumers and senior executives said online reviews highly influence in their perception about a company.****

Can I remove negative information about me or my business online?
Sometimes. If a website is publishing confidential personal information, (e.g., your social security number, credit card or bank account details) you can request the page(s) be removed from the web and any search results.

If the negative information violates copyright law or is an infringement on a registered trademark, and you are either the content owner or an authorized representative, you can request the removal of the content under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

You can also request the administrator or web master of the site to delete offensive content and any cached copies. However, it is important to realize that blogs, forums, review sites and other content providers enjoy broad protections from liability for publishing or republishing content created by others.

What can I do to improve my online reputation?
While you may not be able to control what others say about you or your business online, you can create positive online content to diminish the impact and visibility of the negative posts. Here are a few simple suggestions to improve your online reputation:

  • Create a complete online profile on popular social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube
  • Track what is being said about you online
  • Respond directly on the site where the negative content appears
  • Create your own website or blog
  • Participate actively in online communities
  • Publish positive reviews from satisfied clients or customers
  • Hire an online reputation management firm

Our team of reputation management professionals will establish a positive online image for you or your business and eliminate or minimize the impact of damaging online content. 

* Microsoft/Cross-Tab Market Research, “Online Reputation in a Connected World” (January 2010)
** Pew Internet & American Life Project (May 2010)
*** Lightspeed Research, “Consumer Reviews and Research Online” (March 2011)
**** Weber Shandwick, “The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust” (January 2012)