ORM Guide

Use reputation management strategy to look better online

You can't build a brand overnight, but you can make some changes to how it's perceived quickly

Forming and maintaining a strong online reputation takes hard work, constant oversight, and a plan for making it all happen. But some wins can happen reasonably fast. Before you set out on the path to a brighter online image, you’ve got to sit down and map out how you’re going to get there.

Pick and choose what makes the most sense for you, your business, or your client. Likely, your overall plan will encompass most, if not all, of these strategies and more. That’s where your online reputation strategy comes in. The following strategies are all tried-and-tested ways of increasing your positive image and garnering a better reputation online.

Create a positive web presence from the ground up

If most of your top-ranking results are irrelevant or a case of mistaken identity, you clearly need a more robust web presence. That means creating a blog, adding good content to your website, building your social media and directory profiles, creating content for linked domains and relevant third-party sites, and possibly even launching a widespread media campaign.

Always be monitoring

You can’t go on damage control if you don’t know that damage has been done. Use a tool like TalkWalkerto get alerts online about your brand. If you’re not tracking and monitoring your name or your business’s name, you run the risk of missing opportunities to share good content about yourself. A variety of other tools can assist you so that you can be on constant lookout for mentions in social media, websites, and search listings.

Actively reach out to publishers

Help new people discover your site by designing and executing a link building plan. Offer your link to other sites for their resource listings, contribute guest postings, stay active on social media… the more you do to get your links out there, the better.

Reduce the impact of negative mentions. Just be warned: Not all links are created equal. Search engines evaluate each one for a variety of factors and assign it a value. If your link comes from an untrustworthy or non-relevant site (i.e., a "bad neighborhood,") it’s not going to do you any good.

If negative mentions are your main concern, you need to target them directly, removing those that can be removed and using positive content to blunt the impact of those that can’t. A comprehensive online reputation management campaign aims to push negative listings off the front page of search listings and replace them with favorable content.

Promote positive content that already exists.

Positive SEO, active media outreach, and other tactics can increase the visibility of existing positive content, whether it’s found on your website, blog, or directory profiles, or on third-party sites. A large part of securing a positive presence online is hyping good content and good associations, so don’t be shy about sharing the things that look the best.

Remove negative results from the web

Removal tactics span the gamut from legal measures and negotiations to simply responding to feedback and offering solutions. If you notice something negative about yourself posted online, go to the source—either the person who runs the website or the person who posted the content—and, without getting defensive, inquire about what you can do to change their perception.

Remove negative results from search engines

Though not as good as removing entire pieces of content, sometimes it’s worth trying to remove an offending search result from the index. Usually legal in nature, this works best for copyright infringement and libelous content.

Engage with others even if you don't want to

Don’t be shy about interacting on websites and social media. Part of your brand’s image is its personality, and exhibiting a likable presence online can go a long way towards improving your reputation. Talk to people on social media. Don’t just “like” comments—respond to them in a positive tone. Participate in forums relevant to your niche and use that opportunity to give your brand a voice. As you might expect, these strategies are interrelated and often used in conjunction with one another. To maximize their impact, you need to understand the basic tactics behind online reputation management: suppression, removal, protection, and prevention.

Next: Strategies Part 2