Internet Marketing

Know Your Online Reputation

03. 10. 2008

Have you searched for your company name on your favourite search engine recently?  Give it a try. Add quotation marks before and after your name for more precise results - this ensures that the search results are based on the exact order of your search query.

Your website should show up in the first position of the search results.  Following this, you may see news items, press releases, articles, and directories that highlight your company's profile or information about something new you have done.  As you move further down the search results list, you may start to see reviews, forums, possibly even related social network content.  Ideally, you will come across comments or reviews that reflect on the positive interactions of people who use, recommend, or have questions about your goods or services. However, unexpectedly, you may also stumble on some negative and potentially damaging information about you or your firm. Something as trivial as an employee posting a reference to your company name on their social profile pages on LinkedIn or Facebook, may inadvertently create unwelcome exposure. Depending on how much of this information you don't mind being public or what your company's policies are regarding employee disclosure, you may decide that you want this information removed. You can attempt to talk to the employee, or anyone who has posted negative information about you, and try to reach an agreement with them to take it off.

Another option is to contact the website owner and ask them to remove the content. However, review, forum, and other social websites are unlikely to do so - if you are even able to find the proper contact information.  If that doesn't work, don't give up! This is where online reputation management (ORM) comes into play.  The intent of ORM is to push favourable content to the top of the search engine results.  Not to confuse with search engine optimization (SEO) with which the intent is to demonstrate to search engines that your website is relevant to certain topics and keyphrases.  The main difference between SEO and ORM is that SEO focuses on optimizing your website, whereas ORM is focused on optimizing other websites. Some of the ways you can get more favourable search results about you or your company within the search results is to post articles and press releases about your products, services, or expertise.  Visit your industry's forums regularly, listen, understand the situation and then post replies to others' questions or concerns.  Although not a thorough list of tactics, this should give you some ideas.

If you are not sure how to get started, contact an online reputation management service provider. Note that you will not see immediate results.  Online reputation management takes time and is ongoing.  Having a constant ORM plan ensures pre-emptive action as opposed to a last minute frantic re-action.

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