The Basics of Online Reputation Management – 10 Strategies for Protecting Your Reputation Online
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of protecting and managing your reputation in a digital world. There’s a lot of information about online reputation management, some of which are right and some of which are wrong. We’ve compiled the basics to help you learn how to protect your brand on the internet.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
In short, ORM refers to the use of strategies that keep negative commentary from appearing at the top of search results when someone searches for your brand or business name online – whether it’s positive or negative commentary. It’s essentially “damage control.” However, the goal should be damage limitation rather than damage elimination because eliminating all negativity from existing content may not be possible (nor desirable).
Google and the Importance of ORM
Google is the most used search engine, with 65% of all searches coming from Google. When a person searches for your brand or business name, you want to control what appears on page 1. If your company has been mentioned and there’s harmful content at the top, an unsuspecting user may click on that link, thinking it’s relevant information about your brand. This can have a very negative impact on your reputation thanks to Google’s prominence as an advertising platform – not to mention potential legal implications if someone makes a defamatory statement against you!
How Does Online Reputation Management Work?
You can use many digital strategies to enhance the way people perceive you online, but this article covers ten tactics for ORM. These tactics are not the only ways to improve your online reputation, but these are some of the most reliable and effective solutions for real results.
1. Website Analysis
The first step in ORM is to do a website analysis. You’re probably wondering what this means – it’s very simple! A website analysis is when you examine your existing website for any issues that could negatively affect your brand’s reputation online. Here’s how:
a) Review Google Analytics
I want you to log in to Google Analytics (Google provides an excellent guide on how this works here ). Once inside, you’ll need to search for “site content.” This tells you what types of pages rank well and why they rank well, along with their location on the page and other important statistics. It’s also essential to see what content is performing poorly to decide if you want to include this in your site audit.
b) Review Analytics Within Domain
Next, I want you to log in to Google Webmaster Tools (see a great guide about how to do this here ). Once inside, look for “Search Queries.” This shows you queries that have been clicked on your website (they don’t show up in search results). Search Query reports are a critical component of effective ORM because they tell you precisely what people are looking for when they come across your site! This will allow us to create content that meets user needs and helps boost our rankings.
c) Create A Site Map
A site map is a tool that allows you to see all the pages on your website and discover any broken links. It’s also an important part of SEO; when Googlebot can’t crawl your entire website, it’ll rely on elements within your site map to determine what content it should be indexing (making page 1 even more important). Creating or updating a site map will make sure other non-indexed pages aren’t negatively affecting your online reputation. It’s also worth noting that having too many pages can lead to search engine optimization problems.
2. Create Content That Addresses Concerns & Questions
It all starts here – if we first identify user questions and concerns about products or services, we can create content that directly addresses these issues. It’s no secret that content is king when it comes to search engine optimization, so here are some tips for getting started:
a) Determine What People Are Asking When They Search For You Online
This seems like a simple concept, but many fantastic tools can help you do this, including the following two free ones:
i) SEOQuake Toolbar – This Firefox extension will show you “keywords” and how many times they appear in Google (it also gives you helpful search tools).
ii) EdgeRank Checker – This Chrome extension will show you which sites rank on top for specific keywords. There’s also a great guide about how to use it here.
ORM also involves knowing what people are saying about your company or brand online to provide answers and content on your website. There’s a great tool called Talkwalker Alerts (see how to use it here ) that allows you to see all the conversations about any keyword, hashtag, URL, name – just about anything!
b) Optimize Content For Keywords With High Searches And Conversations
Now that we have a list of essential questions, we can start writing content around them. One effective strategy is to target keywords with high search volume but don’t get talked about as much in public forums like blogs and message boards. This will help ensure your content gets found by users looking for helpful product information or answers!
c) Optimize Content For Pages That Are Already Ranking Well
This is an integral part of ORM – it’s all about presenting yourself as an authoritative source for this content, not duplicating or stealing from other websites that are already ranking well.
3. Submit Your Site To Directories
Submitting your site to directories can be a great way to expand the reach and gain inbound links from reputable sites that have been around for years. Here are some popular websites where you can submit your business:
a) DMOZ – If you see any greyed-out categories on the right side of the page when you search for keywords, these are directory listings that still accept submissions. However, you’ll want to check back regularly to avoid missing your category since only one new listing per category is allowed each month.
b) Your Industry’s Blogs & Communities – You can also be proactive by identifying the most influential blogs in your industry and reaching out to their editors to get yourself included (many people tend to forget about this strategy). Additionally, these sites often have “community” pages where users can post reviews of products or services; if you’re proactive, then they might add on to what you already have up!
c) Local Directories – Think outside the box here. Community websites/blogs for cities or local businesses can be an excellent way to get found since they’re often underutilized. Also, if you have local stores, office locations, or anything else that appeals to a local customer base, then a directory listing for those keywords could help!
4. Conduct A Comprehensive Assessment Of The Competition
Have you ever played chess? Of course, you need to carefully assess your opponent’s moves before deciding on yours. That said, there are so many tools available today that can make this process relatively easy (not so in the days of yore!). One free tool I like is Open Site Explorer, but there are also paid versions and other SEO keyword tools online which offer more detailed information if needed.
Here’s How: Go through some of the top results returned by your primary keywords. Then, check where they rank for more common variations and long-tail searches on tools like Google’s Keyword Tool, LongTailPro, SpyFu, or Market Samurai. You can also use the free MozBar addon to see what specific page titles, descriptions, and anchor texts are being used by competitors (some people prefer to use this over Open Site Explorer). I find it easier to do keyword research using SEMRush and/or Compete.com’s free version since you can just plug in your main keyword, click “show search volume,” and then “show clicks” for that term… now you have a list of all the queries related to what you’re selling!
5. Get Social & Provide Customer Service On Common Sites Your Customers Are On
I’ve always found it helpful to get into the mindset of my customers and target websites they go to for answers or community around similar interests, etc. Of course, Facebook is a given these days, but there are also other communities/forums that you might want to check out:
Tweaking4All: This site contains discussion & support forums about tweaking your PC (it’s most popular in Europe). It has tens of thousands of members, so I recommend getting active here.
DPReview: These photography sites have many users who browse their forums for tips, reviews, etc. Note that many of them allow you to submit product pages too!
Slashdot: Developers love this community, and it’s worth outreaching here for some of the valuable traffic it generates. Make sure to use your keywords in your profile, though!
Multiplier Effect: This is a large community of business professionals that share and exchange tips/resources. Be sure to start building relationships with others early on by offering some valuable insights yourself before you shamelessly attempt to promote yourself!
Trello / Lucidchart / Asana: These popular project management websites are very active, so they’re worth submitting too.
DeeperWeb: If you have anything helpful or interesting to share where people can learn something new (not just promotional), this could be huge since it’s an active forum with over 4 million members.
6. Bring Traffic To Your Website With Content Marketing
There’s no doubt about it; a great content marketing strategy can go a long way in helping your business. It’s the best way to attract new leads, build trust and establish thought leadership… all of which can be useful for SEO.
7. Socialize Your Content To Get More Traffic
I firmly believe that social media is the wave of the future as it relates to online reputation management. However, if you want your SMO efforts to contribute towards a higher ranking in Google directly, in that case, there are some things you need to do differently (i.e., mix up between posting “vanity” links/articles and those that truly provide value to your target audience).
8. Don’t Forget About Email Marketing
Email is still one of the most heavily used forms of communication online, so it’s important not to forget about email marketing when you’re building up a comprehensive approach towards your online reputation management efforts. I think everyone should take a look at a couple of brands, including MailChimp (very easy to integrate into any WordPress site) and GetResponse. In addition, many other reputable providers such as Constant Contact, iContact, and VerticalResponse offer free or paid professional-level email services for those who need something more advanced.
9. Use Press Releases & Link Out To Relevant Content From Blog Posts
Doing this while also promoting yourself on various social media platforms can help boost your domain authority, which is a huge ranking factor, as we’ve seen in the past. Here’s an example of a new lead-gen site called Curated IQ that used this strategy to build up their domain authority and get ranked for some valuable keywords:
10. Update Your Site Regularly With High-Quality Content (And Make Sure It’s Valuable!)
Duplicate content is a big no-no in search engine optimization, so if you’re building up a new website, you mustn’t be publishing all your content to multiple pages or having it published on other sites (i.e., guest blogging ). Google has become much more sophisticated in analyzing/indexing web pages, so you need to make sure that all of your content is both unique and authoritative. You can also use some advanced keyword research strategies, such as using a tool like SEMrush for researching keyword data!
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Online Reputation
I feel it’s important to stress that there is no overnight solution for protecting your online reputation. Instead, this process should be looked at as an everyday activity that requires consistent work and attention. Furthermore, this isn’t a comprehensive guide by any means, so if you’re serious about improving your online reputation, then I’d recommend reaching out to us to discuss how we can help you both protect your online reputation and maximize exposure for your brand.