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Definition of Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management; also referred to as ORM, search engine reputation management (SERM), or internet reputation management; is a set of methods used to influence online perception about an entity such as a person, company, or brand. It involves building a strong, positive foundation, and building and protecting it over time.

The Purpose of Reputation Management

ORM seeks to increase visibility, improve positive sentiment, diminish negative sentiment, remove unflattering content, and increase affirmative content. Usually, it’s a combination of all of the above.

At its most basic, ORM is defined as using positive content to “push down” negative content about yourself or your business so that it doesn’t appear on the first pages of search listings.


Methods Used

Historically, reputation management has been an offline pursuit. Not so much today, when brands are built—and potentially destroyed—via their online images. Today’s online reputation managers use social media monitoring, sentiment analysis, content strategy, search engine optimization (SEO), and public relations outreach to achieve and manage their reputation goals.

They also use various reputation management tools to monitor brand sentiment, conduct research, design programs, and execute them. It’s common practice for ORM professionals to use more than a dozen tools in conjunction with one another.

Here are some of the tools and services associated with ORM:

    • Reputation strategy: A well thought out strategy is the first step in conducting an effective ORM plan. After all, it’s difficult to end up where you want to be if you don’t have a map for getting there.
    • Social media monitoring: The things that are said online about you or your company matter. It’s nearly impossible to monitor all social media mentions on your own though, which is why many turn to monitoring software to scan social media pages for mentions and reply as needed.
    • Search engine monitoring and protecting search results: The first few links—even the first few pages—that come up when someone searches for you hold a lot of weight when it comes to your image. Here too, monitoring software can help you track mentions and stay on top of your portrayal in search engine listings.
    • Review management: According to a 2016 consumer review study, 90% of consumers will read less than 10 reviews before making their ultimate decision about whether to use a business’s services or not. It’s crucial to track and respond to your reviews. Fortunately, there are tools that can help.
    • Webpage removal: There are a lot of websites out there that attempt to do you harm. Some of them make serious efforts to destroy companies who are on the receiving end of negative reviews, and they’re often the first pages that will come up when someone searches for you. 
    • Wikipedia monitoring and editing: If the entire web encompasses the story that is told about your or your business, Wikipedia is sort of like the bio on the back page, holding the power to keep someone from opening your book at all. You’ll need a dedicated strategy for keeping your Wikipedia page up-to-date and on point.
    • AutoComplete editing: Google AutoComplete is the tool that finishes your sentences in search boxes. If someone searches your name and AutoComplete pulls up the term “complaints” or “scam” or “bad reviews,” it’s probably the first place a searcher will go. You’ll need to actively change AutoComplete associations to avoid potentially unfortunate search terms. 

The cost of ORM

ORM costs vary significantly by vendor and service provided. Here is a list of reputation management pricing examples.

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