While the importance of having and policing one’s own online reputation and owning up to one’s mistakes cannot be emphasized, there are times when even the most careful people or conscientious business fall victim to specters of the past or plain old malicious slander. In a world where a handful of bad reviews or the slanderous words of a detractor can undo a lifetime of good work and excellent service, online reputation management (ORM) has become a solid and entrenched idea and a rapidly growing industry.
However, ORM is often poorly understood, surrounded as it is by the buzzword-laden world of Internet-based services. An understanding of what ORM is and isn’t goes a long way in helping plot the course of action in dealing with negative press.
Online reputation management isn’t a cure-all or panacea that would magically banish any and all offending content from the Internet nor does it involve actively removing content from search engines (which is a distinct, arduous process prone to backfiring, ideally reserved for extreme situations). The process uses search engine rankings of favorable content to draw web traffic away from the damaging content. While deceptively simple, it is very effective in keeping traffic away from negative content. The content is ideally positioned in a way that would maximize the incoming traffic coming from social media, boosting their rankings even more.
Seeking professional ORM services is often the most practical solution for both proactive and reactive ORM. These companies generate positive and neutral content about or related to their clients, optimized to rank high in search engines. Often, they accomplish this while promoting whatever content that the client already possesses, maximizing their exposure and burying the negative content more effectively.
The foundations of every ORM campaign, reactive or proactive begin with the creation and optimization of content and the foundation of social media accounts to serve as the primary means of interaction to divert traffic toward the person or business in question. It is often recommended that people and businesses lay these foundations regardless of the standing of their reputation. Additionally, it is important to understand that a successful campaign does not rely on black-hat techniques—even more so, that it takes time, careful planning, and sustained legwork in order to achieve its goals.
Now, as the ORM industry grows, so does the number of companies offering the service. In the pursuit of one that’s effective, efficient, and capable of yielding long-term benefits, it is crucial to seek companies that have a proven track record, measurable techniques, and legitimate strategies. Businesses and individuals who turn to quick-fixers might find their selves in more trouble than they sought to get out of in the first place.