Online reputation problems can be one thing you had no concept of until something went wrong. But when you start to realise that negative reviews and damaging content harm your business or brand’s reputation, it soon becomes clear that you need to take control of the situation and fix it to prevent it from escalating.
Online reputation issues aren’t limited to businesses either; they can also create enormous problems for individuals. Take a look at what happens when you type your name into online search engines such as Google or Bing. Do you like what you see? If you’re presented with harmful content, then now is the time to become focused on repairing your online reputation.
Online reputation management companies are experts in getting your reputation back to where it needs to be. Their depth of experience in helping both individuals and companies means that they know the best way to repair reputations.
Why Does My Company Need Online Reputation Repair?
Online reviews can be the difference between the success and failure of a business. With review sites like Tripadvisor adding thousands of reviews and new content every day, the chances are that there will be some harmful content within those. We can often be more motivated to share our outrage over one poor service incident than we are to share positive reviews. And while every business can expect a negative review now and then, even a small number can influence whether potential clients come to you or your competitor.
Online reputation management can ensure that visitors to review sites do not have their opinion swayed by a handful of unfair or negative reviews.
Having an online presence is essential for every business, and now, that not only includes having a website and being found by Google, it also requires a positive social media presence for your brand. While this can be hugely beneficial to your online reputation, it also brings the potential for negative content. Whether that’s customer complaints, damaging reviews, or poor comparisons to competitors, you can be sure that there will come a time when reputation repair is needed.
Search Engine Results
When you find that the Google search result for your business or brand is less than glowing, then a strategy is needed for online reputation repair, and that needs to happen before the damaging effect starts to damage sales. That’s because when a potential client is presented with negative search results on page one, it’s going to cause doubt in their mind as to whether they should utilise your services. When people see negative reviews and disparaging comments from discussion boards, well, they’re not going to click onto page two to see if there are more balanced opinions; instead, they will begin a search for your competitors.
A positive first-page search result is essential to the online reputation of your business.
Why Do I Need Online Reputation Repair?
What others see and read about us online can have a significant impact on our lives. Taking action to repair your online reputation can be the first step to fix and regain control of your online presence. No matter what information you need, the chances are that you turn to a Google search to find it. Whether it’s finding out the opening times of a local shop, a train schedule, or what to watch on TV, search engines provide endless information to make your life easier. But this isn’t the only type of information that we turn to Google for help with. We also head online when we want to check out the reputation of a company or a person.
How employees present themselves on social media and in discussion forums can significantly influence their employer’s online reputation. Whether that’s photos of drunken behaviour, discriminatory comments, or less than positive remarks about previous employers, they’re not things they want to be associated with. This then means that it’s not unusual for hiring managers to first look at their online profile before inviting the person to interview.
If your online reputation is getting in the way of your next career move, then repairing your damaged online reputation is a crucial step to take.
So, imagine you’ve found your dream property, you’re all ready to sign the lease when you’re told that the landlord has offered it to someone else, again. While you might just be having a string of bad luck, it might also be your damaged online reputation causing this result.
Just as with employers, landlords may also take a look at the applicant’s online presence to decide if they are the type of person they would like to be their tenant. Images of pet damaged homes, large parties, and antisocial behaviour are unlikely to go down well with any potential landlord.
When you take a proactive approach to reputation repair, then you could finally get the lease to your perfect home
Colleges and Universities
Student online behaviour has a direct influence on the reputation of their college or university. In 2020, Xavier University rescinded an offer they had made to students when they became aware of their offensive and racially charged posts placed on social networks.
Mistakes made in the past and flippant comments made without considering their implications can seriously jeopardise gaining a place at your university of choice. If you need the opportunity to present who you are now, rather than who you were in the past, then make sure that repairing your online reputation is the next vital step to take.
Friends and Family
The use of the internet is now so widespread that it’s likely that friends and family, no matter their age, will probably use the web to look for information and reviews. They may also use sites such as Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch. That then means that they are likely to come across content that you’ve posted. If there is potentially damaging content that is important to remove or to remain hidden, then there are steps that can be taken to repair and safeguard your online reputation.
Repairing Your Online Business Reputation
Where it’s a competitor or a disgruntled ex-employee when damaging content appears, a process needs to be placed to work through to resolution. It would be unrealistic for any customer-facing business not to have damaging information posted now and then. Still, when the content is malicious, defamatory, or unsubstantiated, help is needed to get it removed.
When you know who the author is, one approach to his situation would be to contact them directly requesting the removal of the offending content. Should that tactic fail to work, then the next step would be to contact the website owner in the case of a discussion group or forum. If this proves to be unsuccessful, then the website hosting company and the ISP are next on the list.
It’s found to be impossible to find someone who will help and take action. Then the time may have come to start legal action.
So, as you can see, there are several approaches to use in this situation, but when your brand’s online reputation is under threat, it’s essential to get action taken as soon as possible. An online reputation management business’s services will save you time to get the situation resolved by quickly identifying the strategy that will work best for you.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines such as Google utilise algorithms to decide which content should appear on the search results’ first page. Online reputation management companies are experts in ensuring that each search result for your company or brand presents positive content. This will then make sure that when people are looking for information, Google provides important and positive information first.
Encouraging positive reviews is a vital aspect of online reputation repair. It’s often the case that customers only post their reviews when they are exceptionally happy or exceptionally unhappy with the services they’ve received. That means that many other people are very satisfied with their experience with your brand or company but have not posted their thoughts. It’s also worth noting that online reviews can appear in Google search results, which can then make their impact on your brand reputation even more important.
A reputation management company can take control of the review process, encourage positive reviews, and implement strategies to remove misleading or fake reviews.
Social Media Listening
Do you know what people are saying about your brand right now? How about whether it’s more positive or negative than last week? Taking a baseline measurement is an essential step before the start of the online reputation repair process. This is carried out by listening to social media messages and taking optimistic and damaging content, which refers to the brand or company.
Once an online reputation management company has implemented its strategy to fix online reputation issues, it can reassess the communications taking place to measure the brand message’s positivity.
How you can fix online reputation
Removing Content From Google
If there is content on Google that presents a negative impression, you may decide to take steps to get it completely removed from the internet. This means that nobody will be presented with that data, photos, or video within the search results, whether deliberately checking your reputation or by accident.
Reasons that Google may agree to remove the content include where it is:
- Outdated or irrelevant
- Defamatory or unsubstantiated
- Non-consensual explicit or intimate images
- Financial or medical
While Google has steps to follow for you to request the removal of content, there is no guarantee of action being taken. This is when the help of an online reputation management company is the best option. The legislation around the removal of content is continually changing and is very much dependent on where you are located in the world. This means that a reputation management team is needed who has a depth of experience that allows them to implement a successful process to best help their customers.
Strengthen or Push Up Positive Content
With the serious impact of a negative online reputation, it may seem that not having personal online content may be the answer. However, taking this approach can be that there is no balance should someone else post reputation-damaging content. This means that as well as acting on negative search information, there also needs to be a strong presence of positive reputation content.
The process of gaining control of search results and then being able to strengthen positive reputation content needs knowledge of the latest techniques in search engine optimisation. Reputation management companies work with their customers to make sure that search results present appropriate details, time after time.
Weaken or Push Down Negative Content
If it’s not possible to get negative search results removed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t repair your online reputation. It is still possible to fix the situation, but instead of removing the damaging content, you reduce the likelihood of it being seen. When we carry out an online search on Google, we tend to look at the search results on the first page. So, if the negative search results are presented further back on, for example, page three shows less chance of the damaging information being seen.
As you can imagine, the process of strengthening positive search results and weakening negative search results is a delicate balance. Having the help of a professional online reputation repair company to fix the situation can be the start of regaining your online reputation.
An experienced digital PR, marketing and social media marketing strategist, Claire leads PR strategy and delivery at Igniyte across multiple countries and sectors.
With 16 years’ experience in marketing, communications and PR, she seamlessly directs all elements of B2B and B2C online PR to gain high-ranking positive coverage for our clients in regional, national, international and specialist online media – and she helps ensure that any risks are managed and mitigated.