Reputation management is a critical component of digital marketing.
Complaints, lawsuits, and negative reviews found on Google can harm the potential of any brand or individual – and more and more people are turning to online reputation management to resolve this.
Unfortunately, there are several myths in the space. Particularly that of “guaranteed removal” of Google content.
In this article, we’ll take a look at reputation management, why content removal services have become a popular option and dispell myths around this strategy.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Google Searches – for both brands and individuals – are only on the rise with smartphones in every household.
Before delving into the myths, it is useful to understand what Online Reputation Management, or ORM, is.
ORM is the concept of suppressing negative results that may appear in search engines like Google. There are many techniques used by service providers to achieve the desired results, including proprietary strategies, but the main focus is to present positive, rich, and relevant content that search engines pick up, then rank at or near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
By doing so, any negative search results are pushed downward, even disappearing from first-page SERPs altogether.
Imagine that you own a company that provides a product or service. Your business does well and ranks highly in search results. Now, imagine that a disgruntled customer or a former employee starts to post negative reviews about the goods or services you provide.
These negative reviews get picked up by search engines and appear in search results, and may even drive potential customers away when those customers read the negative information. A misstep in business practices, such as a lawsuit or a defective product, can also harm your company’s online reputation, particularly if that information is shared by news media outlets and social media platforms.
Even if your company is not plagued with negative reviews or unflattering search results, the principles of ORM can still build your brand to appear authoritative in searches. Proactive reputation management is always recommended.
It is no secret that your online brand must look good. Let’s get into a recently popular methodology to do this – which is deeply flawed.
Why You Should Avoid “Guaranteed Removal” Content Removal Services
There are hundreds of digital marketing firms in the United States that offer reputation management services. There are even firms that specialize in it.
Many of these firms, particularly several prominent nationally-known service providers, promise “guaranteed removal” of content from Google search results. Such as a newer player on the scene, Online Defamation Defenders.
Despite this trend, the fact is that guaranteed removal is a myth.
There are several reasons that guaranteed removal is a pipedream, at best, including:
1. It simply isn’t true
A given website is under no obligation to remove negative content unless that content is found to be slanderous, inaccurate, or without merit. Submitting takedown requests to a website posting negative information may work, but it is fairly unlikely. Without a successful takedown request and the good graces of the posting website, the negative information can still be found in search results. In simple terms: No company can guarantee the removal of negative content, even though many do make such claims.
2. It isn’t a sustainable practice
Reputation managers may be able to have the offending content removed from a given website, sure. But anyone can re-post the negative information on another site with a few clicks of the mouse. If that information appears on another website, Google can still index and rank it. What’s the point of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to manage your reputation, only to have the negative information reappear somewhere else on the Web?
4. There is typically more than one negative information source out there
Reputation managers may focus on ‘removing’ one or two of negative search results. But what about the 7-9 other results on the first page? Are those negative? Will you be getting them ALL removed? How will those negative results impact your business prospects?
Overall, it is important to ask yourself these questions before considering content removal.
Is ‘Standard’ Reputation Management a Better Method?
We have discussed why removing content from Google is a poor idea.
So what is the best solution to negative online image issues?
Let us get into why standard online reputation management, or SERM (Search Engine Reputation Management), is a better investment.
Improve positive sentiment
With proactive efforts, you can control the sentiment around your name or brand in search results. Instead of deleting a few articles, you can permanently push them far from visibility and direct users to places like your website, podcast, or social media pages.
Build your brand
With more positivity (or, lack of negativity) on the first page of Google, there is an opportunity to grow your personal or business reputation and branding.
Control your search results
Search engine reputation management has one objective: To control the first page of search results. Having control over how search engines perceive you is more important than ever.
Create a barrier from negative content in the future
Proactive efforts also help prevent negativity from reaching page one in the future. Google begins to put great trust in your brand pages. If done correctly and thoroughly, most unwanted content in the future will not be visible in your organic search results.
Increase visibility for your name & brand
Brand building, a component of ORM, does increase the visibility of your name. Promotions, content building, sharing, and more allow for positive sentiment to be seen across the internet.
Open the door for connections & engagement
Many individuals we have worked with enjoy a new professional life with a clean online reputation. It is truly priceless to be in control of your reputation online.
This is, of course, if you select an honest, trustworthy service provider.
Tips for Selecting an Online Reputation Management Company
Here are some things to consider when evaluating a Search Engine Reputation Management (ORM/SERM) firm:
Do they have the skill?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of reputation management. Unfortunately, some of the larger ORM firms do not have the skills nor the understanding needed to apply SEO industry best practices on their clients’ campaigns, wasting time and money on efforts that don’t produce favorable results. It is crucial that the firm has an understanding of the latest algorithms and how it impacts reputation management.
Big players vs. smaller players.
Larger companies typically equal higher costs, lower quality, and less communication. Smaller firms, on the other hand, tend to be more responsive to their clients, delivering results at lower costs.
Don’t fall for ‘proprietary software’.
Dedicated large ORM firms often portray themselves as industry leaders with proprietary software and strategies. While such proprietary software does exist, and it can be extremely valuable, the fact of the matter is: Search engines are continually refining their search algorithms.
Are those proprietary software platforms and strategies keeping up with the changes? Each campaign has dozens of variables; a well-rounded strategy is essential. You can’t just rely on some “game-changing” software.
Read online reviews.
Some of the most prominent ORM firms have dismal reviews. One of the so-called “industry leaders” in ORM has dozens of negative reviews, with reviewers claiming exploitation, breach of privacy, aggressive marketing, poor results, and many other negative factors.
Smaller digital marketing operations, on the other hand, tend to work harder than their giant corporate counterparts, delivering solid results and gaining many satisfied customers in the process.
With these factors in mind, it is easier than ever before to evaluate a potential ORM service provider. Don’t believe the myths or the hype; the real key to success is finding a company that uses proven methods and can produce measurable results.
Every reputation management campaign is different. Sometimes the campaign will take 60 days. Sometimes it will take 2 years. Be wary of locking yourself into a contract. Ask several different online reputation companies for an honest timeframe assessment.
Try Us Out
Faced with high expenses, poor results, and awful reviews from the big names, many brands wonder where to turn for RM services.
The answer? Universal Business Reputation. Our small, agile firm believes in delivering outstanding service with an emphasis on client communication and transparency.
We are a month-to-month service – we don’t operate on contracts. Earning your business each month is very important to us.
At Universal Business Reputation, our team is adept at helping people recover their online reputations. Using a variety of proven strategies, including digital marketing, link-building, and content development, our experts have a long track record of successes for our clients. Our expertise is why so many people have chosen us for online reputation management services. We’ve worked with both individuals and businesses, and produce the results you need at competitive prices. Our team is small, giving us the ability to remain flexible and respond quickly to online flak.
It all begins with a thorough assessment of your existing online reputation. Our team analyzes search results and ranking on the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. With the information uncovered in this detailed analysis, we can formulate a reputation management strategy that performs beyond expectations. And, our team is highly experienced with SEO, the core of successful digital marketing. We stay abreast of industry developments to leverage the incredible power of SEO – even as search engines evolve over time.
Our team works hard to push negative content and negative search results down in rankings. We replace that negative content with positive, relevant articles and content about you, your brand, or your company. This is the perfect opportunity to enhance your online reputation with desired information. Information that positively describes YOU.
As efficiently as possible, our reputation management experts can recover and restore the reputation that means so much to you. Universal Business Reputation’s methods and practices are sustainable, making us the best choice for long-term success in building your brand, controlling your reputation, and improving your ability to attract new customers. Read more about our RM services.