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Online Reputation Management: How to Develop an Effective Strategy

Delphia Debra
Dec 4, 2019 8:15:01 PM

Online Reputation Management (ORM) has become an essential tool for entrepreneurs, job seekers, online dating, and virtually everyone in the world. The Internet has become a global community and the first place to visit to learn about virtually everything– from which restaurant to visit, to breaking news and job prospects. We all use the internet almost every time. Online Reputation Management is simply managing how you are perceived by others on the internet. 

A research conducted by GlobalWebIndex shows that an average American spends at least 6 hours a day online, that is a one-quarter of a day.

What Does That Mean To You?

During those times we are online, our opinions and ideas are mostly influenced by what we find on the Internet. The question now is, what is the internet saying about you?

Online reputation management can be the difference between having impressive success and an embarrassing failure. Unfortunately, search algorithms focus more on popularity, not accuracy.

“We are not a truth engine. We can give you information, but we can’t tell you the truth of a thing”, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan.

Determining Your Online Reputation Persona

The truth is, there is no one size-fits-all formula to establish the perfect balance of content, sentiment, and control. Your online reputation, to some extent, needs to be determined by your personal and professional life.

Cyan Online Ordering Process Flow Chart

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management provides you with a strategy to actively control the narrative connected to your name. While you can apply some reputation management techniques by yourself, some will require a team effort.

Regardless of your situation, you will need first to get the “lay of the land” to develop a strategy to improve your online reputation. 

1. Anonymous Search

The first step in evaluating your online reputation is to search for your name – the right way. If you open your browser and start typing, you will possibly get different results from what other people see.

Why?

Your search results are influenced by past searches and other factors connected to your browsing history. You may not correctly predict what others see, this is known as search predictions or Google Autocomplete.

Search predictions are possible search terms related to what you’re looking for and what other people have already searched for. 

Google makes search predictions based on factors, like popularity or similarity. One way to get a search free from influence is to browse in private aka incognito.

 

browse in incognito

 

2. Alternative Websites And Keywords

A single search will give you a good idea of what profiles are connected to your name. Some people may search for you in different ways, which is why you need to perform a few secondary searches and then gather the results for each (just as you did above).

Search using yahoo and Bing.

  • Name variations
  • Location
  • Where you work

These are the most commonly used search terms when someone is researching you online.

3. Measure Search Volumes

To perform this effectively, you will need to compile two different lists:

1. Search terms: What  words people use to find information about you.

2. Popular results: How negative or positive they are.

You now need to determine the number of people that are searching for you, which tells you how easier or difficult it will be to influence your search results. Use a free keyword research tool to determine your search volume. There are many free keyword tools specially designed for online advertising, but one of the user-friendly tools is Google’s Keyword Planner.

Note that the search volumes you will see, as an individual may be low, compared to using generic terms of products or companies. This may be to your advantage when influencing the sentiment toward your online reputation. If you have a very unique name, it is easier to rank on the first page of Google for your name.

It also means you have to follow strategies that are not just SEO related, but specific to online reputation management.

4. Understand The Situation

Now you have enough information to evaluate the state of your online reputation. The next thing is to take the information and use them to answer questions:

1. What types of websites appear in my search results?

2.How many of the top websites in my search results do I control?

3. What do I want people to find when they research me?

4. Are there many people looking for me online?

5. What is the general sentiment of my online reputation?

6. Do most people find me via search engines or other web 2.0 sites?

what is web 2.0?

General Categories Of Online Reputation

Sparse Online Presence

With a sparse online presence, it means you have a relatively low search volume. Your search results are not very competitive, and there is little misleading information about you to distract searchers. This leaves you vulnerable to reputation damage. If negative content is published about you on the internet, it will easily reach the top of search results if well optimized for your name.

Professional Presence

This type of online reputation presents you clearly and makes it easier for people to see your accomplishments. You have low to medium search volume and can still control some of the results. Search engines like to see a wide range of content. If all of your profiles and content are alike, a single negative link can reach the first page simply because it is different.

So what can you do when your online presence is incorrect or misleading? That is where a reputation management firm can help.

How ORM Works?

To handle your online reputation, you must control the information that is displayed when people search for you online.

You can do that in two (2) ways:

1. Create The Appropriate Online Presence

Your online reputation consists of the information already out there. For most people, it means your social media presence. For business owners, online reputation management also includes third-party websites that can be accessed directly.

Thus, the first step in managing your online reputation is to create a suitable presence on websites that you control. These may include:

  • Personal or business websites
  • Social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Blogs and forums
  • Rich media sites (YouTube, Flickr)
  • Business directories
  • User review sites
  • Press coverage

2. Make Sure It Is Found

When you search for something online, how many results do you look at? Of course, not many. Typically, when you find what you are looking for, your research ends.

Reports show that about 10% of people go beyond the first page and less than 1% move beyond the second page.

Consequently, online reputation management is not only about publishing photos, content, etc. You also need to encouraged Google to push important content to the top of the search results, where people will find it.

The factors that influence search ranking:

  • Trustworthiness - Age of domain, website security, user friendliness.
  • Relevance - The content matches search intent.
  • Links - The number of unique and relevant domains linking to your website.
  • Authority - The strength of the website's backlink profile.
  • Recency - How often is content updated.
  • User behavior - How long do users stay on your website.

Content is King, but Marketing is Queen

We’re all familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk’s famous line from the 2008 Blog World Expo.  But, these days, online reputation management has taken on so many dimensions.

Here are a few examples...

  1. Work on generating quality Backlinks. The more websites direct people to your websites, the higher you will rank in search results. Occasionally look for websites that might be willing to link to your materials, and then reach out to them.
  2. Create unique contents. Some people try to bury their online reputation issues by posting similar or the same text across several low-quality websites. Do not engage in such activity. It will look suspicious and extremely easy for search engines to spot. Consequently, you will end up spending lots of money and time creating websites without any staying power.
  3. Diversity and Quality: Having the best reputation management plan produces unique and premium contents published across several sources. When everyone is saying almost the same thing, people and search engines, in particular, are more likely to believe it.

Developing Your Online Reputation

Since you now understand your online status, you need to create a workable plan to enhance the information you have online.

In your ORM process, you must balance the following factors:

  • What comes easiest for you
  • What will have the most impact
  • How much can you reasonably do?
  • What do you want to achieve?

Ignoring any of these principles will likely make your ORM strategy unsuccessful.

Follow the steps below to build a workable, practical plan.

  1. Determine Your First Target: Have a sense of which search terms bring up the positive or negative content.
  2. Set A Realistic Reputation Goal: A realistic reputation goal might be to introduce one new profile onto the first page within two months. With a bonus goal of displacing one of the lower ranking negative results.
  3. Choose Appropriate Tactics: Your approach must be specific to your situation and your goals. Make sure you consider major content categories, like Forums, professional sites, Business listings, Press releases etc. While some are applicable across the board, some will only apply to certain situations.
  4. Create Quality Content: To create great contents, do not forget keyword placement and to create relatively lengthy content that covers the topic in depth.
  5. Monitor Progress: Keep track of your search results as you conduct your reputation management campaign.

Improve search results

Final Thought

By now, you should have a clear understanding of the search terms people use most to find you often, including those that bring up any positive or negative results. Online Reputation Management is a long term strategy. It needs to be practiced consistently over an extended period of time to achieve long term success.

 

Manage Your Online Reputation

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