The SEO’s Expert In-depth Guide to Online Reputation Management

  • February 21, 2024

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TL;DR Article Summary & Outline

This article highlights ORM as a critical skill for advanced SEO experts, enhancing their ability to manage and improve a brand’s online presence. It addresses common ORM issues such as negative reviews, unfavorable social media mentions, and damaging content on discussion websites and the BBB; diving into the solutions on how to fix these issues. By mastering strategies to control the narrative on search engine result pages, optimizing Google Business Profiles, addressing negative keywords, and generating positive publicity, SEO professionals can effectively mitigate negative perceptions and bolster a brand’s online reputation. This proficiency in ORM not only solves immediate problems but also contributes to long-term brand health and perception, making it a valuable addition to the SEO expert’s toolkit. For SEO professionals, mastering ORM is crucial for shaping brand perception effectively.

The topics covered are:

  • Importance of Online Reputation in the Digital Age
    • Impact of search engine rankings on online success.
    • Importance of addressing internal issues for long-term success.
  • Impact of Negative Content on Reputation
    • Negative reviews (Yelp, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor)
    • Bad comments in directories and listings
    • Harmful articles and posts
    • Negative social media mentions
    • Negative forum discussions
    • Negative videos on YouTube
    • Low ratings (BBB, Trustpilot)
    • Defamatory content on whistleblower sites
    • Unflattering images and memes
    • Damaging legal or public records
  • Key Facts Highlighting ORM and SEO Impact on Consumer Behavior
    • Influence of online reviews and ratings on consumer behavior and business performance.
  • Strategies for Repairing Online Reputation
    • Local Business Platforms (Yelp, GMB)
      • Review platform policies
      • Direct request to the reviewer
      • Utilize platform tools
      • Legal action for defamatory content
    • Social Media Reputation Management
      • Use of SEO tools for monitoring
      • Optimization of positive content
      • Direct reporting and flagging
    • Reddit and Other Discussion Websites
      • Leveraging paid ads
      • Community engagement
      • Build authority to the good
      • Engagement strategies
    • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
      • Leverage positive feedback
      • Seek accreditation
      • Engage in good faith
  • Setting Milestones and Defining Goals for ORM
  • Maintaining a Stellar Online Reputation
    • Own Page One
    • Engage Proactively on Social Media and Review Sites
    • Optimize Your Google Business Profile
    • Address What People are Asking
    • Generate Positive News
    • Set Up Alerts for Brand Mentions
    • Expand Your Reputation Management Efforts
  • ORM – A powerful skill set for Advanced SEO Experts

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Online reputation is a critical factor in today’s digital age. Ranking on the first page of search engines can greatly impact your online success, leading to positive growth or, conversely, can become detrimental when unflattering information about your company or you as an individual ranks high on the first page of Google. It’s crucial to emphasize that addressing internal issues is paramount; without tackling the underlying problems, efforts will merely be a continuous cycle of extinguishing fires rather than achieving lasting success.

SEO specialists employ numerous strategies for reputation management, focusing on reducing negative content and boosting the online presence of brands or individuals. Despite being one of the most challenging tasks in the industry, enhancing your online reputation is indeed possible through key methods.

Ways Negative Content can Impact your Reputation

  • Negative reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor.
  • Bad comments and ratings in directories and listings.
  • Harmful articles and posts on news or personal blogs.
  • Negative social media mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
  • Negative forum discussions on Reddit and other forums.
  • Negative videos and comments on YouTube.
  • Low ratings on Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot.
  • Defamatory content on whistleblower sites.
  • Unflattering images, memes, shared online.
  • Damaging legal or public records found via search engines.

When discussing Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s crucial to understand their impact on consumer behavior and business performance. Here are interesting facts that highlight the importance of both ORM:

  • 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal).
  • A one-star Yelp increase boosts revenue by 5-9% (Harvard Business School).
  • 93% say online reviews influence their buying (Podium).
  • 61% change their brand view after positive reviews (Econsultancy).
  • 3 negative articles can raise customer loss to 59.2% (Moz).
  • Only 9% use businesses rated below 3 stars (BrightLocal).

What to Focus When Repairing Someone’s Online Reputation

RMO encompasses a wide range of strategies, and in this article, we will focus on the most effective and commonly used techniques that an SEO expert can employ to enhance a client’s online reputation. Addressing these scenarios often requires significant effort and careful management. We’ll delve into some of the most common solutions that can adversely affect one’s reputation online. Keep in mind that many of the tips offered can be applied across various categories.

1) Local Business Platforms like Yelp and GMB

Review Platform Policies:

First, closely examine the policies of the review platform (e.g., Yelp, Google Reviews) to identify if the negative review violates any terms of service such as containing hate speech, false information, or personal information. If a review violates these policies, you can report it to the platform for removal.

Pro Tip: Copy and paste their policy into an AI language model, such as ChatGPT or Bard, to ask it the questions you need to know and receive prompt answers.

Direct Request to the Reviewer:

Approaching the reviewer directly to address their complaints could lead to the retraction or revision of their negative review. Keep in mind that a well-crafted, professional response can mitigate the negative impact of a review and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Utilize Tools the Site Offers

Some of these platforms, like Yelp, provide tools and support for businesses to manage their reputation. Even though these sites are known for their strict policy against removing reviews, they commonly do allow business owners to respond publicly to reviews.

Legal Action for Defamatory Content: 

If a review is clearly defamatory and false, consulting with a legal expert to explore options for a cease and desist letter or other legal actions can be a path. While legal action can be a more extreme measure, it’s an option for reviews that cause significant harm to your reputation and usually worth doing if it violates the law.

2) Social Media Reputation Management

Use of SEO Tools for Monitoring: 

Numerous leading SEO platforms incorporate social media monitoring features to track mentions and negative comments efficiently. These tools are invaluable for swiftly pinpointing issues, eliminating the need for manual searches and enabling quicker reactions to adverse content.

Optimization of Positive Social Media Content: 

Focus on amplifying positive social media posts to diminish the visibility of negative feedback. Implement SEO best practices and active audience interaction to enhance the reach of favorable content. Employ strategic SEO techniques and foster audience engagement to elevate favorable narratives.

Direct Reporting and Flagging: 

Utilize the reporting mechanisms provided by social media platforms to flag negative content for review. Keep in mind that this is specifically for posts that violate the platform’s terms of service, such as harassment, misinformation, or hate speech.

3) Reddit or Other Discussion Websites

Leveraging Paid Ads for Brand Promotion: 

Consider using Reddit’s advertising platform to promote positive content about the brand. Sponsored posts can increase visibility for positive messages and campaigns, helping to improve the brand’s image among the Reddit community.

Community Engagement 

Actively participating in relevant subreddits by providing value and fostering positive interactions can help build a supportive community around the brand. This doesn’t mean promotional posts but rather genuine interactions that contribute to discussions.

Build Authority to the Good 

When positive Reddit threads gain traction, they can rank well in search engine results, potentially outperforming negative content. Build authority to good content by linking to it from as many sites as you can.

Engagement Strategies 

If a response is deemed necessary, it should be approached with transparency and authenticity. Reddit values community and direct interaction, so any engagement should be genuine. A response might come from an official brand account or, in certain cases, from individual employees, provided it aligns with the brand’s communication guidelines. The reply should offer solutions, correct misinformation, and express a willingness to improve.

4) The Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a key indicator of a company’s reputation and customer satisfaction. If it shows a low grade and negative feedback, it’s essential to take action to improve this rating. Addressing issues reflected on the BBB can significantly boost your business’s credibility and trust among potential customers, making it an important focus for any reputation management strategy.

Leverage Positive Feedback from Happy Customers:

When negative reviews overshadow your BBB presence, leveraging the voices of your happy customers can make a substantial difference. Invite them to share their stories of satisfaction, which can naturally balance out the negative and uplift your rating.This approach must be carried out ethically, without proposing rewards for reviews, to uphold authenticity and comply with BBB standards.

Seek Accreditation:

Becoming a BBB Accredited Business can positively influence your rating. Accreditation means your business meets the BBB’s accreditation standards, including a commitment to make a good-faith effort to resolve consumer complaints.

Engage in Good Faith: 

Show a genuine effort to resolve disputes and maintain a positive standing in your community. Ethical business practices are crucial to maintaining or improving your BBB rating.

Setting Milestones and Defining Goals

For ORM projects, various objectives can be established, such as:

  • Eliminating negative content above the fold of search results and the company’s website.
  • Eliminating negative listings across the whole first page of search engine results, traditionally recognized as the top ten results.

The selection of the appropriate strategy largely depends on the feasibility of removing the negative content. It’s crucial to recognize that eradicating all negative rankings is exceptionally challenging and sometimes impossible, often depending on the severity of the offense that led to the negative reputation. For this reason, SEO experts can thrive by using their expertise to elevate positive content to the first page.

Maintaining a Stellar Online Reputation

Once you’ve achieved a positive online reputation, ongoing efforts are crucial to sustaining it. Here’s a stretegic list of what to stay on top of to maintain a good online reputation.

Own Page One:

Ensure control over the top search results related to your brand, including your website, social media, and digital platforms. Your brand’s narrative should be consistently positive across all channels.

Engage Proactively on Social Media and Review Sites:

Stay active on social platforms and review sites. Address both praise and criticism constructively to demonstrate responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile:

Keep your Google Business Profile up-to-date with the latest information and utilize Google Posts to share timely updates and offers directly in search results. Respond to reviews and Q&A proactively to maintain a positive image.

Address What People are Asking

Monitor “People Also Asked” (PAA) sections for potentially negative keywords associated with your brand. Create content that answers these queries positively to control the narrative.

Generate Positive News:

Engage in activities that garner positive media coverage, such as community service or environmental initiatives. Create a Press Release and pay a news syndication service to broadcast it Positive stories can help overshadow any existing negative press.

Set Up Alerts for Brand Mentions:

Use tools like Google Alerts to monitor online mentions of your brand. This allows you to address inaccuracies or negative portrayals swiftly.

Expand Your Reputation Management Efforts:

Remember to manage your reputation across all search engines, not just Google. Ensure your brand’s positive presence on platforms like Bing and DuckDuckGo as well.

SEO & Reputation: A Strategy for Success

By following these strategies, you can effectively maintain and enhance your online reputation, ensuring that your brand continues to be seen in the best possible light by current and potential customers. 

As an SEO, our expertise ranking webpages higher in search grants a unique edge in in ORM. With the ability to rank content higher in search naturally pushing down negative content, which is a critical skillset to have in the arsenal of online reputation management.

This is a powerful service that all elite SEOs should have in their toolbox.