Online reputation repair is not the bull-horned aggression it’s played out to be. The rise of malicious SEO tactics in the stampede for top search results rankings conveys this misconception. In truth, a rational and effective campaign plays out like any well-oiled marketing project and the rest of SEO efforts are secondary.
When it comes down to the basics, online corporate branding is the pillar of unimpeachable online reputation. This is only logical. Online non-entities could no more be targets of defamation and mudslinging than a random stranger could be the talk of town. What sparks online conversation, flattering or otherwise, are presence and recognition. The more people know about a business, the more likely it is to be the subject of — unfortunately, in equal measure — either rave reviews or flak.
The Internet crowd’s propensity to enlarge information to a hyperbolic extent creates a threat out of the wisdom that “you just can’t please everyone.” Every business with an online presence has to rid its basket of sour grapes and rotten apples. Disgruntled employees, desperate competitors, and sensitive customers could torch fragile business reputations by talking smack. But they could poison only the narrow margins if the business is inherently strong. This means that it has, from the very moment it set foot on the web, created a loyal following and enduring stake in its industry through its judicious branding methods.
Making good in its deliverables is expected of any business, and in that regard, any self-respecting business can rest well at night. Still, it has to build word of mouth around its legacy of reliability. Online corporate branding is the extension of doing good business, and it is achieved through more specialized methods.
Business presence in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. is the base of all online reputation management. A company that has taken the initial step of covering these bases has more or less built a fortress, and the rest is upkeep. Having control of one’s social media image from the outset is already a natural buffer against negativity, which can’t hold up to a solid and powerful brand presentation. Hence, social media provides the channel through which a company could address complaints, questions, and essentially keep the most loyal clients warm.
It is not in flimsy good faith to assume that clean, negativity-free search results are a product of proactive online reputation management. Businesses that are easily hurt by backlash have merely been beaten to the punch, and it is not a rare scenario that trash talkers who rank in search results are the first sources of information about a heretofore unknown business. In sum, a well-established online corporate branding campaign relieves subsequent online reputation management efforts of the mad dash to clean up search results and coasting on a good reputation is the antidote to that high-pressure expense.