This post was most recently updated on April 15, 2021
While we continue to change and grow from year to year as businesses and individuals, so does Google and how people are searching for and finding things online. With the constant growth of the internet and social media, it is all the more important to actively control, manage, and define your online presence with these 20 reputation management strategies that are effective in 2021.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
How ORM works
Effective ORM Strategies
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What Is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Online Reputation Management (also referred to as ORM) is the ongoing management of controlling the perception of a brand, business, or person through strategies and techniques using online channels.
Online reputation management includes monitoring reputation and addressing anything that could affect a brand’s image online, including customer feedback. Ultimately, utilizing online reputation management strategies to prevent and solve problems and improve the brand’s image in Google Searches, social media, review websites, and other online channels.
The majority of internet users are spending their time online:
researching products and services before making a purchase
looking up family, friends, peers, prospective employees, and potential dating interests
browsing topics on the web that are relevant, important, or interesting to them
It is impossible to control what others might be posting about you online. That’s why it’s important to develop your online presence online. That way, you can promote yourself or your business in a true and positive light for family, friends, employers, competitors, and the whole world to see.
The new year always welcomes feelings of exciting opportunities for a fresh start.
How Online Reputation Management Works
In a nutshell, ORM is all about monitoring and managing your brand’s reputation across the web, ensuring that your business is represented correctly and that potential customers are left with a great impression of who you are and what you do.
Media Types and Online Reputation
There are multiple channels that fall within Online Reputation Management. Though it may seem overwhelming at first to embrace all these channels, let’s think about them in terms of the PESO model. This breaks down the 4 types of media: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.
Paid media is marketing that an organization or person pays for. With paid media, you control the message and content, as well as who to reach. This type of online media is used to promote content to drive earned media and direct traffic to owned media.
Owned media are digital marketing channels that a person or organization exercises complete control over. This includes websites, blogs, and social media channels. Paid media and earned media can help to improve owned media.
Earned media is publicity or exposure for an organization or person gained from methods other than paid advertising. This can include mentions, shares, and reviews on other websites, social media channels, and more.
In the age of social media, shared media is a term coined for media related to social media. The use of social media can be an excellent way for brands to engage with followers and businesses. With social channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, brands can promote content to be shared on these platforms.
More information on the PESO model, this is a pretty extensive post on this topic.
Effective Online Reputation Management Strategies
This year, don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a reputation crisis. Instead of reacting to a crisis or negative circumstance, you should aim to be proactive in strengthening and protecting your online reputation with a solid foundation and knowledge base for success.
When you know what the online landscape around your brand is, it is time to set up an online reputation management strategy. However, before we get into details about it, you have to get your priorities straight
Begin 2021 on your terms with these 24 reputation management strategies:
Register a domain name
Develop a great user experience
Optimize website images
Add website testimonials and reviews
Add a contact form
Use Google’s autocomplete to find keywords
Choose relevant keywords for SEO
Don’t over-Google yourself
Develop a content marketing plan
Diversify content strategy
Don’t over-post content online
Find guest post opportunities
Keep social media usernames consistent
Refrain from Posting Too Much on Social Media
Avoid Fake News
Create Your Own Press Releases
Build Brand Identity
Participate in Professional Networking
Create listings for review website
Encourage users to leave positive reviews
Respond to online directories
Be Proactive and Patient with Your Online Reputation
Consider Working With a Reputation Management Company
In terms of an online reputation management strategy, creating a website is a big part of taking control of your reputation.
1. Register Your Domain Name
If you haven’t already, it is best to take control of your name or business name’s web domain. Once someone else has purchased that domain name, it can be difficult and expensive to get back. Even if you are not planning on building a website right away, it is a convenient tool to keep under your belt.
*There are currently over 1.5 billion websites across the world wide web, with new ones being added every second! With this in mind, you will want to act fast. As many are already aware, the .com is the best-ranked domain extension by far. However, in the event that your .com name has already been taken, you will still want to register your domain with the next best option. This could be a slightly different name with the .com address, or another top-level domain such as .org or .net.
A reputation management professional can help you decide which option is best for you and help you through the domain purchasing process.
2. Develop Your User Experience: Think “User-First”
Paying attention to the user experience, or UX design, of your content is incredibly important. You want to create content in a way that is sociable and easy to understand to the masses. What you create needs to be engaging and interesting as well as educational. Google even created the E-A-T rule to help users optimize what they post online to perform better. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and that’s exactly what Google is looking for when it comes to what you publish online. Your content needs to be written with this rule in mind.
When all else fails, and things feel like they aren’t moving fast enough, remember that Google ultimately ranks content and sites based on their user-friendliness and ability to provide the information that is being searched for. If you focus your efforts on providing for the user, you will eventually see improvements to your Google search ranking.
3. Optimize Images for Web and Performance
A well-rounded reputation management strategy is not just about written content, especially in 2021 when information is easily and immediately presented to us in a large variety of ways. As we mentioned diversifying your content up above, we also encourage you to utilize images, photographs, artwork, etc., that are uniquely your own. Incorporating images into your sites and profiles is an important piece of establishing your online presence.
In the same way you want to take the time to develop high-quality content, you will also not want to skimp on creating high-quality images to increase the value and attractiveness of your sites and profiles. Simply taking an image from the top of Google Image results will not provide any added benefits and may bring you into trouble with copyright laws.
*In some cases, users will first come across your websites, blogs, and profiles from a unique image alone. Google often highlights a few top images on the first page of search results and also includes them in most featured snippets. Putting out high-quality images that can grasp a viewer’s attention is another great way to increase traffic to your site.
4. Add Testimonials and Reviews to Your Site
As a way to build credibility, you’ll want to have some testimonials and reviews on your website. Whether it’s on your website’s homepage or a testimonials page, consider posting a few testimonials from people who have great things to say.
5. Add a Contact Form
When you decide to build out your personal or company website, it is essential to include a “contact” page or way for people to get in touch with you. Just a simple contact form will increase your credibility, showing you are approachable, trustworthy, and engaging. This will allow you to make real connections with your audience and online users rather than simply throwing up content on your sites with no way for your readers to engage or respond. Networking and building connections online are the way of the future for both businesses and individuals.
Using SEO (search engine optimization) is a great strategy for online reputation management. SEO for ORM has great long-term benefits in protecting your brand online.
6. Find Keywords Using Google Autocomplete & Searches Related
While trying to develop your brand voice and content strategy, the best thing you can do is figure out what is already out there that you can leverage and connect to your new profiles and sites. Google has many tools to help users find related content to their searches, including Google Autocomplete, Searches Related, and “People Also Ask”. Using these tools will help you identify potential topics to use in your content and brand strategy closely related to your specific search term that other people are already searching for.
*Using these tools can also help you discover topics connected to your name that you may want to stay away from and replace with more positive, accurate, and relevant topics that portray who you are now rather than negative or outdated instances from the past.
7. Choosing Relevant Keywords for SEO
While it is important to diversify the content itself that you put out, you will want to stick to only a few specific keywords and topics to write about and highlight throughout your sites and profiles. This will help make your brand or persona memorable and easy to understand, both to Google and your target audience.
You simply can’t be known for everything everywhere across the internet all at once. Allow your profiles to gain strength and traffic in certain targeted areas through high-value keywords and keyword topics related specifically to your brand. If your content is too diluted with an unorganized mess of topics, your sites will become confusing to readers and Google while trying to decide which search queries to rank your sites for.
Now that you’ve viewed and analyzed your Google search results to obtain the information you need to start your reputation strategy, it is important not to continue googling yourself over and over again. This unnatural searching behavior can be confusing to Google site crawlers and robots causing your search results to jump around. This means any progress you may be making will be hindered as Google tries to understand the reason behind a sudden upsurge in searches.
*When you complete your initial Google search and analysis, take a screenshot or print out your results so that you can look back at them at any time without having to keep googling yourself. You can also set up Google Alerts or allow a reputation management professional to monitor your results through their own professional platforms and programs.
Creating content can be an effective ORM strategy. Here are a few techniques for content marketing:
9. Develop a Content Marketing Plan
Before you can develop an effective reputation management strategy, you will need to discover and analyze what is already out there. What do people see when they search your name or a search term you are affiliated with?
For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, you may already have a strong presence in search results when someone types in the restaurant’s actual name. But what if someone were to search, “Italian restaurant in <insert your city here>” or “best chicken parm <insert your city here>”. Does your restaurant appear in search results where the highest number of potential customers are looking?
Figure out how you are being found online or if you are being found at all. A company without any online presence will likely lose business to a competitor with a strong, positive presence at the top of search results.
The same goes for someone looking for a job. A hiring manager may be more likely to call back a candidate with a distinguished, professional profile over an individual with no online presence or an individual who has negative associations online.
*To get the most accurate picture of how people see you online, conduct a Google search in an “incognito” window so that your previous searches or browsing history will not impact the results.
10. Diversify Your Content Strategy
To stand out and develop high-authority sites that will rank in search results, you will need to create plenty of unique, relevant, and interesting content. Many companies and individuals will make the mistake of creating one bio or “about us” blurb to use across all sites and social media profiles. Publishing the same content on multiple platforms will not be interesting or refreshing to readers and can also leave your sites penalized for duplicate content.
Help yourself stand out by providing readers with something new and attention-grabbing with each site, blog, or profile they visit. Of course, each piece of content can have a similar theme or topic, but should never be presented word-for-word in multiple places. Additionally, all of your content does not need to be written. Diversify your brand by presenting yourself in different ways through video, infographics, podcasts, music, slideshows, and other media.
*Fresh and new content will typically have a better chance of rising to the top of search results than outdated content or content that is just repeating what has already been said. Even if you have an awesome website design and exact match URLs and usernames across your sites and profiles, these sites will dramatically decrease in value over time without good, high-quality content.
11. Do Not Over-Post Content Online
In the same way over-googling yourself can be harmful, you can also overwhelm Google by creating too much at once. Creating 100 social media profiles in a day is not beneficial to internet users, Google, or your brand or business. Having all of these new links suddenly pop up in a short time frame will signal to Google that something unnatural is occurring, especially if any of these sites are left as basic “shells” rather than properly built out and frequently utilized. Many of these new, quickly formed sites will likely be looked at as spam and penalized in search results.
12. Blog Consistently
While developing your online presence through websites and social media sites, you will want to stay relevant with fresh new content on a relatively consistent basis. One of the most effective ways to do this is blogging regularly, whether it is off your own website or other blogging platforms such as Blogger, Medium, Tumblr, etc.
Try to set up a schedule for your blog posts so that your followers know when to expect something new and keep coming back for more. The same advice stands from up above; don’t post too many blogs at once to overwhelm Google and online readers. Depending on your specific situation and needs, 1-2 blogs per week or even per month are plenty to keep both readers and Google interested.
*Blogging is not only a great tool to stay relevant, but it is also a great way to incorporate links to your other content and sites for users to find more easily, ultimately strengthening and adding authority to those sites while increasing traffic.
13. Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
Once you get the hang of posting blogs on your sites and profiles, you may want to seek additional opportunities to get your knowledge and content out into the world through guest blogging. There are many quality websites out there that allow users to submit a guest post or become contributors on their site. Putting content out on established, high-authority sites will benefit your blogging efforts as you gain exposure and build authority in your niche field or industry.
*Guest blogging will also help you build strong backlinks to your site from outside sources, an essential aspect of any reputation management strategy.
Social Media Strategies
Social media is not going away any time soon. Here are a few ORM tips for using social media.
14. Keep Your Social Media Usernames Consistent
As you want to go out and grab your personal domain name as quickly as possible, you will also want to acquire the same handles, URLs, and usernames on top social media sites that will be useful for your brand. Consistency in your usernames will help connect your sites to help both Google and users recognize you as one entity. It also separates you from sites that may be falsely posing as your business.
*Sometimes, it is simply impossible to use the same exact name for all of your online profiles. If that is the case for you, check out our blog post, including useful tips for when your preferred username is already taken.
*Once a site is penalized, it can be difficult to restore its ranking and linking value, even if it is eventually built out and used correctly. While it is a best practice to secure your name on different social media platforms, your efforts will be more effective in selecting a few sites at a time that work best for your brand and specific situation.
Social media can be your best friend when it comes to growing a following and boosting your reputation, but it can also be your worst enemy. Even something as simple as sharing a post or favoriting a tweet that was ill-timed or taken out of context can lead to an instant reputation crisis. While it’s important to be active on social media, engaging with others, and keeping your content up-to-date and relevant, how you present yourself is even more significant.
Participating in forums, threads, and other online discussions can be a great way to get involved and connect with others in your niche community. However, be sure to do your research and think twice before posting anything. And always avoid entering into an argument or harmful conversation online.
*Because news spreads so fast on the internet, once you make a mistake, it can be hard to bounce back. Be sure to freshen up on some of thetop social media dos and don’ts from our previous blog post.
News & Press
16. Avoid Fake News
2019 was a big year for fake news stories spreading across social media and other online platforms. While work is being done to combat this trend, the problem will still hold significant weight for businesses and individuals going into 2021. To have a strong online presence, you will need to be reputable and trusted by your audience. Taking the extra time to double and triple-check sources before sharing or publishing content will be well worth the effort to provide your audience with some stability in an increasingly chaotic online world.
Like guest blogging, press releases are a way to get your name and content out there from a source other than your own to build authority and engagement. Unlike guest posts or blogs, press releases serve a more formal purpose to educate the public on a specific matter or to make a form of an announcement that is often newsworthy or relevant within a particular industry. When working to improve your online presence and reputation, the more ways you can put yourself out there in a positive light to different audiences, the better.
Branding can be a powerful online reputation management technique.
18. Build Brand Identity
Developing and understanding your brand voice will help establish your reputation management strategy as you begin to build out sites and put out content. Since nearly everyone and everything is reachable online in today’s world, you will need to set yourself apart from the rest with a unique voice that is easily recognizable and engaging to your audience.
First, figure out precisely what you are looking to get out of your online presence and build your brand from there. Are you looking to get hired, earn a promotion, start a new relationship, build a new business, become more relevant in your industry, etc.?
Once you know what you are looking for, you can develop a brand voice that allows you to promote that goal effectively as you understand when and where to post content as well as the type of content you want to put out there into the world.
Online Review Sites
For businesses and professionals, reviews are a critical part of online reputation management. Here are a few ways businesses and professionals can leverage online review sites:
19. Create listings for review websites
For customers or clients to leave reviews, you need to have listings online! For local businesses, a good starting point is Google My Business, Bing Maps, and more specialized review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angieslist, among others. Businesses and professionals should not neglect social media for reviews either. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are two platforms where it’s common to leave reviews and testimonials.
20. Encourage users to leave positive reviews
Once your business has been added to review websites, you’ll want to encourage your customers to leave great reviews and testimonials. Remember, many people will use these websites to find products or services, so having positive reviews and testimonials will increase your online reputation.
21. Respond to negative reviews
When a negative review does happen, you’ll want to address it. First, be sure to respond to the review promptly. When writing your review, be sure to be professional and polite while addressing the issue head-on. It’s best to take a personal approach with your response – the last thing you want to do is write a generic message. Lastly, make sure that you right the wrong. If you’re at fault, make sure to redeem your reputation.
Here are a few other strategies and tips for ORM to consider:
If you really want to take that next step in improving your online image and reputation, you will need to branch out and look for distinct ways to put yourself out into the world. As with guest blogging, online networking, and press releases, there are many other ways to increase your authority and credibility, such as:
Becoming certified in your particular field
Attending events and seminars related to your topics/fields of interest
Giving presentations or speaking at an event
Sponsoring an event, charity, local youth sports team, etc.
Get interviewed on a blog, podcast, local tv channel, radio, etc.
Through these connections, you will improve your reputation online while also gaining high-level links to your sites from outside sources.
23. Be Proactive and Patient with Your Online Reputation
Cleaning up or building up your online reputation can take time. Every situation is different, depending on a variety of factors, including:
What is already out there
The uniqueness of your name and/or level of competition for your desired search term
The domain authority of sites you want to remove or suppress
Your ability to branch out and increase your authority
And much more
With these factors, it is impossible to compare your situation with another individual or business. It is essential to understand that things will likely not happen overnight as it takes time for Google and other search engines to crawl and render your different sites and the changes you are making. If you can set realistic expectations, you will be happy to see your progress as you strengthen and build your brand.
*A reputation management professional can help you analyze these different factors to help determine the length of time and work required for your specific project. However, there is no way to know exactly how long each project will take as there are many other uncontrollable factors including Google’s constant changing and updating of its algorithms.
24. Consider Working With a Reputation Management Company
Hiring a reputation management company is always an honorable decision when it comes to taking control of your image on the web, and in turn, allowing new doors of opportunity to open in your life.
There are many reputation management companies to choose from, but how do you know which one is best? Here at Reputation911, we guarantee the removal and suppression of negative content and don’t stop until your online reputation is completely restored. Other companies might guarantee removals only but don’t suppress results that they can’t completely remove.
We fully understand that each of our clients needs a plan specifically designed for their needs. Our trained team of professional SEO and digital marketing experts have a proven track record of success.
Connect with one of our experienced engineers today to get started on developing a unique and customized strategy to improve your online image, reputation, and search results. Our team can help you monitor and manage your reputation while implementing these tips and best practices to match your exact needs.
Following these strategies and best practices will set you up on the right track for success for your branding and professional goals in 2021.
If you need more help, Reputation 911 can provide you with ongoing reputation management services. Learn more about what we can do for you.