Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management – or ORM, to save time! – is a vital tool now for most companies, as well as individuals, to employ in the ongoing battle to keep what’s written and said about them Online under control.
Whilst the Internet is undoubtedly the greatest of all the modern innovations, it poses its own unique set of problems. Namely that anyone can say anything about you Online, often anonymously, and with total impunity and without fear of punishment. So ex-employees, ex-partners, disgruntled clients who would not be satisfied – they all have the perfect platform to air and exaggerate their grievances; often with a deliberate intent to cause harm and damage.
With little or no chance of police or legal intervention, and truly helpful Internet monitoring / content posting laws seemingly forever away; the relatively new discipline of Online Reputation Management was born, and if you choose the right company and follow their guidance there’s every chance you’ll successfully repair / restore your Online Reputation.
But what if you’re trying Online Reputation Management and it’s not working? What if that all-important Page 1 of Google is still just as bad as when you started – then what?
It’s important that you seriously consider the following reasons why your ORM may not be working.
- Not enough time has passed. Just because you’re impatient for results, doesn’t mean Google is going to move quickly. It can take anything up to 6 weeks for new content to even be indexed on Google and then it may initially be indexed on Page 2 (or lower) and have to be manually moved up the rankings…..so patience is your best tool here. Depending on the amount of damage / negative content, it could take 12 months or even longer to repair – providing you’re with a company that’s doing it properly, of course.
- Your results have been ‘locked down’ by Google. Google’s clever. It uses exceptionally advanced algorithms to detect ‘bot’ (automatic) attempts to manipulate the search results. Beware of companies offering quick fixes – if it seems too good to be true, it is. Companies employing ‘black hat’ techniques to manipulate the rankings are going to be a huge waste of your money – no matter what they’ve promised you, the end result will always be the same. Google will detect the automatic manipulation attempts and lock your entire search results in place, making it next to impossible to fix from there on in.
- You’ve neglected to try your Legal Take-Down or Right To Forget Requests. Google is legally obliged to consider both Legal Take-Down Notices and Right To Forget Requests which, if you can successfully make your case, will lead to the link being de-indexed by Google and no longer appearing in your search results. (Hint: it’s still there at the source website however so you may also need to consider legal requests to the host website to remove the offending article / posts / comments etc). Look for a company with a history of successful legal removal requests and one that actively makes the suggestion of trying this approach alongside the other ORM work.
- Not enough high-quality positive content has been posted to have an effect. One of the most effective ORM tactics is to bury the negative with positive. However, if the content created isn’t high-quality or innovative enough, it simply won’t work. Look for a company that creates you your own website, posts blogs monthly and creates and posts online Press Releases for you on a regular basis too. This, plus a clever use of Videos and Images, will soon have enough quality Page 1 & 2 content indexed to begin having a substantial effect on your profile.
- You don’t have a close enough working relationship with your ORM company. You should be in touch at least on a monthly basis (and in the beginning of the relationship probably daily) discussing content, images, exchanging ideas, looking at performance graphs and charts of the new and old content’s rankings on Google….in other words, for this to work there needs to be a constant contact and flow of information. Look for a company that asks you to actively participate – provide pictures, a biography, an edited CV, the occasional blog or article written by yourself for example. Also look for the company that’s going to go the extra mile and give you a personal (senior) contact available out-of-hours and even on weekends: you want somebody who’s going to care as much about this as you do. You’re in this together, and it’s going to take a team effort to fix it.
- You didn’t choose the right company to start with. There’s often a harsh reality to commissioning a company to do work for you, which is this: you don’t always get it right first time. Did you check the company’s own reviews? A good ORM company is only going to have positive reviews, not negatives. Can they prove their success for example by offering personal testimonies from former (or current) Clients? It shouldn’t be too hard for a good company to prove what they do is genuine, and a very good company should offer this information before it’s asked for. Are they UK based and using UK staff? A cheap fix from a foreign company is likely to ultimately prove to be a waste of time and money, as you’ll likely have to buy the service all over again from within the UK. And finally, did they take time to get to know you and understand you when you first approached them; and did they offer you a unique quote tailored just for you? A damaged Online Reputation is different for everyone, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Beware of companies offering standard packages, they won’t be treating you as an individual nor will they be giving your case the individual attention it deserves.
So ultimately, what’s the lesson in all this?
Yes, Online Reputation Management does work – you’ve just got to be sure you’re working with the right company and that you both fully understand the journey you’re going to be travelling together.
Here at DigitalOx we’re happy to talk to you and to help, no matter how grave the situation seems – we truly believe that anybody and everybody deserves to have an Online Profile they can be proud of.
- Article written by Alana Benson for Digital Ox Ltd, 8 September 2017