Reputation Defenders

Online Reputation Repair Services - What Do They Do?

Online Reputation Repair Services - What Do They Do?
Brad Withers

10 min

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Online Reputation Repair Services - What Do They Do?

When a brand experiences a reputation-damaging situation in the real world, it typically needs to respond quickly and effectively. A PR agency might develop a strategy to help manage the crisis, but there are some situations where a PR firm won't be able to step in. However, that scenario changes regarding online reputation management (ORM).

What's the difference?

Online reputation repair services help brands recover from negative events like data breaches, product recalls, and social media scandals. This includes helping clients respond to negative news stories and building positive narratives around their brands.

Online reputation repair services don't remove undesirable results from Google; instead, they use traditional SEO techniques to create content that promotes positive, branded content that pushes down undesirable results.

What type of content online reputation repair companies fix

Countless types of content can harm a corporation's reputation online – whether it's true or not. A recent study found that about 45% of people who searched for a brand name on Google had seen something negative online about the brand. In addition, nearly half of those surveyed thought that the information was accurate. These findings highlight the importance of maintaining a positive online presence.

The good news is that an online reputation management firm can address numerous types of content. For example, you can clean up social media posts, remove negative reviews from review sites like Yelp, or even hire an expert to write articles to help improve your image. However, each type of content requires a different strategy and set of tactics to manage it effectively.

For instance, if someone posted a false statement about your company on Facebook, you could contact the person directly and ask them to take down the post. Or you could reach out to Facebook and request that the post be taken down. You could also send a DMCA takedown notice to Facebook and ask them to remove the post.

Similarly, if someone left a negative comment about your product on Amazon, you could contact Amazon and ask them to delete the comment. Alternatively, you could file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

If someone posted a negative review on Yelp, you could contact Yelp and ask them to remove it. You could also file a complaint with the BBB.

And if someone wrote a blog post about your company, you could contact the blogger and ask them to remove their article. And finally, if someone published a defamatory statement about your company on Wikipedia, you could report it to Wikipedia.

Negative news articles

Unfavorable editorials are among the most visible types of negative content that companies and people face. Once unfavorable editorials get stuck on Google's first page, they stay there for life.

You might think they'll disappear independently, but that's not true.

Google's algorithm is designed to provide relevant information based on keywords and queries. If you type "Apple," the first thing that pops up is Apple's homepage. But if you type "Apple iPhone X review," the first thing that appears is a negative article about the phone. Why? Because the search engine wants to help, people find what they want.

When it comes to searches for companies and executives, that usually means reviews, product announcements, and editorial content. So why does Google show negative news stories about those people? Because it knows that's what people are searching for.

The same holds for CEO searches. People are probably looking for something related to an executive's background, such as a biography, salary history, or job description. What do they see instead? People wrote a bunch of negative things about that person.

This isn't some conspiracy theory. Google admits it. "We don't rank these results because we think they're good or bad; we simply rank them according to how useful they are to our users."

Negative reviews or comparisons

Online reviews are tricky because they appear on aggregated sites like Yelp, Facebook, or Glassdoor, where customers or employees are the authors. This makes it difficult to remove negative comments about a business. For example, you could delete negative reviews on Yelp, but you'd have to go through each one individually. You could also try contacting the reviewer directly, but that only sometimes works.

In the case of Yelp, you can remove false reviews. However, it requires a lot of effort. Fake reviewers are usually caught within 24 hours, but some take days or weeks to be identified.

Google Reviews are even trickier since there needs to be a way to remove them manually. Instead, you'll have to wait for Google to do it. If someone leaves a comment under your listing, you won't see it until Google does a sweep for suspicious activity.

Comparison Websites are a big problem for small businesses. They're easy targets for scammers looking to make money from fake reviews. To combat this, comparison sites require verified phone numbers and addresses, which forces people to use real names.

Personal information

Google generally won't delete negative reviews of its products and services but may take action if they're deemed dangerous.

Here is what Google considers harmful to you. Here's how it works:

Google says personal information is anything that could hurt you financially or physically. So, if someone posts something about you online — a negative review, a blog post, or a comment on social media — Google will take action against those items.

For example, if someone writes a bad review about your hotel room, Google might remove that listing from the search results. If someone posts a picture of your home address online, Google might remove that item from the search results. And, if someone posts a phone number associated with you online, Google might remove it from the search results.

The company says these actions aren't meant to punish people but rather to protect consumers. But Google isn't always concerned about protecting consumers. Google appears to be taking steps to hide potentially damaging information. For instance, if someone posts a photo of your house online, Google will often blur out the street sign in the image. This makes it difficult to identify where the person took the photo.

In addition, Google sometimes removes images from the web altogether. When that happens, Google will replace the image with a placeholder graphic. This prevents anyone from accessing the original image.

Why should you invest in an online reputation repair service?

The health of your business is closely linked to your online reputation. More people than ever before are turning to the internet for advice about where to shop and what products to purchase. A recent survey by Google found that 51% of respondents indicated that they "very frequently" or "often" make important life decisions based on information in Google searches. And according to another study we do, the number one reason consumers use the internet to research companies is to find out how reputable those businesses are.

That's why it's imperative to manage your online reputation. If you don't take action now, your business could suffer serious damage.

How to repair your online reputation

Image-damaging events and crises are often the most damaging to your digital reputation. These incidents can destroy your online presence, tarnish your brand, and negatively impact your search rankings. If you're experiencing one of these problems, taking action is important.

One of the best ways to restore your image is to use ORM tools like Reclaim Your Online Reputation. This free tool offers a step-by-step process to help you clean up your Google Search Console account. You can even use it to correct false information about yourself on third-party sites.

The problem with many people is that they need to figure out what to do once they've been hit with a negative event. Sometimes, it takes months or even years to recover from such issues. But there are steps you can take today to begin repairing your reputation.

Identify the source of the reputation problem.

The first step is to identify where the damage came from. If you're looking for something specific, such as "How, do I fix my reputation?" or "What are the best ways to improve my brand," start there.

Sometimes, a reputation problem stems from a need for more quality content. For example, if you've been posting blog posts sporadically or last updated your social media channels a few months ago, you could be missing out on traffic opportunities.

If you're trying to recover lost trust, ensure you focus on more than just one issue. Instead, look closely at how your reputation got hurt in the first place. Was it because of one piece of content? A few pieces? Or did someone else spread misinformation about you?

For example, if you're working hard to build your online presence but keep getting tagged in unflattering photos of yourself, consider hiring someone to help manage your image.

Repair negative content at the source

If you've been hit with some negative coverage lately, it might be worth reaching out to the publication and asking them to take down the article. "The best way to approach this situation is to send a friendly email to the editor," says digital strategist John Mueller. "Explain why you're upset and what you want to see changed."

Mueller recommends sending a follow-up email to make sure the request was received. He suggests including screenshots of the original post and the response you got. You could even attach a copy of your filed DMCA takedown notice against the site.

Be polite.

This isn't a negotiation; it's just a request. So don't start by saying something like, "I'm contacting you because I want to sue you!" Instead, try something like, "I noticed recently and thought it might be outdated. Can you please let me know if there's anything else we need to correct?"

Try to document as much of your request as you can in written form. Include screenshots of the original post, the response you received, and any evidence you have that proves the original post was false.

Remove negative results from Google.

If you can fix the problem or remove the offending material, you can file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice with Google. However, this only helps if the material has been removed from its original location. So, if you cannot remove something from the internet, the next best thing is to bury the bad stuff deep down in the search results.

Push down negative search results that you can't remove

Suppressing negative search results is a tricky concept, especially because there are some things you can't control. If you're trying to suppress something that isn't even on the internet, like an old newspaper article or a book, you might be able to make a dent in it — but it won't go away entirely.

For example, let's say you want to suppress a negative review of your restaurant. You could try writing a better review, but the original one will still show up unless someone else writes another review. Or you could write a rebuttal, but again, unless someone else writes a rebuttal, the original review will remain visible.

The best way to combat this problem is to create and optimize positive content that outranks the negative content. This works well because people tend to trust what's written online, and if you've got great content showing up above a poor piece of content, chances are they'll choose yours over the competition.

Strengthen your online presence with positive content

The best way to regain lost trust and protect it is to take action and strengthen the web properties you already own and control. When a negative story about your brand appears, you don't need to wait for someone else to tell your side of the story. Instead, use every tool to build up the good reputation you deserve.

Optimize your existing content and continue publishing good, timely content that customers want to read. If you're lucky enough to have built up a loyal following, make sure they know what's happening in your industry and how you've changed over time. This will help build credibility, especially if you provide examples of your previous work.

You can do this in various ways:

  • Maintain a strong social media presence.
  • Leverage your current audience base.
  • Publish blogs and dedicated, positive review sites that showcase your customer loyalty and positive branding.

Press releases are a great way to communicate important news within your industry and offer a glimpse into your company culture.

Can I repair my online reputation myself?

The simple answer is: yes. You can handle very small reputation issues yourself. But it takes a lot of work and expertise to do so.

For example, they asked a webmaster to take down a photo of you from their site. Or post a comment about how terrible your experience was with a company.

However, the truthful, more comprehensive answer is that the workload, expertise, and resources required far outweigh the capacity and capabilities of many businesses dealing with online reputation problems.

Promoting positive content requires an experienced team of writers, public relations specialists, and SEO analysts to craft a lasting online reputation that you can be proud of.

To build a successful reputation, you need expertise only a reputation repair firm can provide through a search engine optimization plan.

But, if you don't have the budget, here are some tools that may help you repair your online reputation.

Hire online reputation management experts

Reputation management is a complex process that takes careful planning and execution. If you are considering outsourcing your reputation management tasks, it's important to understand what you're getting into. An effective reputation manager takes responsibility for managing your brand across multiple channels and platforms. They work closely with stakeholders to build credibility and increase awareness around your organization. Reputation managers must be able to identify potential issues early on and make sure they are addressed appropriately.

We specialize in helping companies like yours manage their reputation effectively and efficiently. Our team understands how to protect brands from damaging information and ensure positive impressions remain intact. We offer comprehensive solutions that include everything from monitoring social media to developing a strategy for protecting your brand.

Updated

November 19, 2022

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