How reputation campaigns are estimated

Some projects are simple, others difficult, some impossible. Here's why.

How difficult would it be?

Every reputation management campaign is different because every situation is unique. This article outlines why some projects require more or less resources and campaign durations.

At its simplest, projects fall into three basic categories based on where negative information is located.

  • Low-medium: Local sites with little web traffic
  • Medium: Websites with about average web traffic
  • High: Very strong, well known websites that get a lot of traffic

Other important factors contribute to the how challenging a project might be as well. For example:


Websites have a certain degree of “strength” and so do web pages within the site. Strength is measured on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being extremely strong - like When content is hosted on a strong site, it tends to be of higher visibility. The strength of a site also contributes to the complexity of a reputation campaign.


Fresh content that is very popular tends to be more buoyant - in other words, it has a tendency to float higher in search results and be more visible. The more visible, the more people interact with it - in some ways it’s a self-reinforcing loop.

Sites linking in

Links from other sites, especially “strong” ones, can make web pages rise. Content that attracts a lot of attention and links from other websites tends to make a website harder to change.

Brand in headline

When a brand name is in the title of content it is often seen as being more “relevant”. The more relevant content is, the more visibility (like higher rankings) it tends to enjoy.

Quality of content

If search engines were sentient, they might think: If it gets clicked, it must be good. If people click on content, and spend time with it, search engines count it as high quality. Since Google and other search engines mission is to present people with high quality content, people clicking on a search result is a big indicator used to rank the content. If no one clicks on the content, search engines usually reduce its rank or even drop it from search results altogether.

How much does it cost?

There are many factors at play that may influence both the cost and time something takes to improve. Your Reputation X Account Representative can give you a much better idea when they look at all the variables.

Factors affecting cost

  • If web content can be removed without the use of legal services it is generally less expensive.
  • If content can be removed with a phone call and the good graces of the website owner few resources will be needed. Cost will be very low, and it should be relatively quick to execute.
  • If it cannot be removed, and a suppression (push down) project and/or counterpoint project must be initiated, it will take at least six months. Your Reputation X account representative will give you a better idea.
  • If your brand name is in the title of the content in question it will almost always be more difficult to suppress.
  • If many websites have linked into the negative content, it will be more difficult to displace.
  • If your brand has a new and compelling story that can be used as the basis for a reputation campaign things tend to move much faster and be less resource-intensive (less expensive too).

How long does it take?

Time to removal

Some content or web pages can be removed at the source. Some can be removed from Google search results. If we believe it can be removed, we’ll try. When something is removed it can take from a few days to a few weeks for search engines to update search results. We can usually help this process move much faster though.

If it cannot be removed its visibility can often be reduced - think of it as “pushing down” a search result. There is a detailed process to reducing the visibility of negative content, you can find it here.

Time to improvement

The key thing to keep in mind with any online reputation management campaign is “visibility”. Visibility is the number of people that see negative content online. If something can be removed, it’s gone. In cases where a web page or other online content cannot be completely removed, Reputation X helps them “fade away” by decreasing their visibility while increasing the visibility of positive content. This can happen faster or slower depending on a few factors.

When a good story catches fire

If you have a positive and compelling story that people will share naturally, then changes to search engine results can often begin to change within 30 days of the story going live because we help it gain momentum and flourish. But most campaigns do not have this option. So it has to be done incrementally, and that takes time to “manufacture”. For this we use a technique called the "reverse wikipedia strategy" of online reputation management. 

Manufacturing a better narrative

The average company starts to see changes begin within a couple of months. The speed with which change takes place depends on the level of promotion we can achieve. For example, if we can build out a Wikipedia page we can often occupy 10% of branded search results within a month of publication. This is just one example. Your mileage may vary.

How long? 1 to 6 or more...

On average it takes six months to see significant change if there isn’t a big news item we can promote quickly. Significant change is a reduction in negative visibility of 70% or greater.

If a site can be removed at the source, it usually happens within 45 days. 

The process is slowed by new negative news coverage and other variables like court dates, new articles, new inbound links to the negatives, and the like.

At the end of the day it's about how aggressive you want us to be vs. how aggressive the online environment is against your brand.