Online reputation management is a difficult service to narrowly define as it depends greatly on the services you require and what your overall goals are. A surgeon reeling from an isolated negative review of a patient who suffered complications beyond his control needs a different approach from the international hotel chain that is trying to clean up a long line of customer service disasters caused by previous management. Therefore, it’s important to begin by knowing what your company’s existing reputation is, what you hope to accomplish and how much you are willing to pay.
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While internet reputation management can help salvage an unfairly tarnished reputation or enhance a good one, it can also have an underside. Our articles on reputation management explore these services and what reputation management entails. We especially recommend the article on identifying ethical practices. You may also want to check out our sister site’s article on choosing an online reputation management service.
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Some of these online reputation management services focus in specific areas. All of them can cover national reputations – after all, they are providing online reputation management – but Gadook is among those that specifically say it works with local reputation and SEO. Some services, such as WebiMax and Netmark, take a positive approach to online reputation management, while Reputation Management LLC has a strong focus on countering reputation attacks by competitors.
All of the companies will provide regular feedback, but WebiMax and Netmark in particular say they will advise you on how to handle negative reviews. Go Fish Digital has a strong focus on training its clients to handle their reputation management over the long run, while Reputation.com and Reputation Hawk help you track your own reputation with their software.
For instance, in most places in the US, if you search for “Chris Silver Smith,” my site is likely to come up at the top of search results (since I speak nationwide at conferences and work professionally nationwide). However, if you search in the Miami area, Google is more likely to present web pages about an attorney, Chris Silversmith, who lives and works there.
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I’d urge proceeding with a very careful cost-benefit analysis of your desired .CEO domain name at the costlier end of the range, because my other tips here establish that you can often obtain effective alternatives for much cheaper.
If you have a very unusual name, and you’re not well-known as an executive, you may be able to obtain YourName.CEO for the relatively low price of $99, but I’ve seen ranges going upward from there to a few thousand dollars due to domain name speculation. For instance, I checked just now, and they offered me “ChrisSilverSmith.CEO” for $99, “ChrisSmith.CEO” for $499, and “JohnSmith.CEO” for $999.
Tools In order for an online reputation service to do its job, it has to monitor opinions expressed online. Some companies do manual searches of the common complaint websites to find out what is being said about you, with the top online reputation services going a step further to read the complaints and identify common issues. Most services employ monitoring software that they develop in-house or buy commercially. Others have computer labs for automatic searching and clicking in order to influence the ranking of websites.
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You can expect the proposal to contain specific tasks, reports and expected results. Some of these may have a one-time fee attached; most have a monthly fee. The first month is sometimes more expensive, as a lot of content building happens in those first weeks. We found services targeted at small businesses with fees ranging from a few hundred dollars a month to tens of thousands of dollars per month.
Online Reputation Repair
I would say that in general, none of these confer any specialized advantages, but they can work quite well as simple, solid TLD extensions on a proper name domain. (One of my close friends has operated “John.org” since 1998, but I think he mainly maintains it just for his email address. It does indeed rank very well for a few queries, which is mildly surprising, since there’s no optimization put into it, and it’s not at all focused on his full name.)
It used to be that online reputation management was something you only needed to consider if you or your company had fallen victim to negative reviews or slur campaigns. However, consumer practices have changed over the years, and people are more likely to seek out information about a company or product, especially when they expect to do more than make a one-time purchase. It’s therefore become vital that you not only show up on the first page of a website search in a positive light, but that your online reputation spans the entirety of the internet, from social media to online news sources.
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Use keyworded gTLDs — Honestly, this is a great tactic to use for many professionals online as their overall commercial optimization. Attorneys could use .LAWYER, .ATTORNEY or .LEGAL domain names. For doctors, .CARE, .HEALTHCARE, .SURGERY may be great options. Indeed, quite a few professions are covered, such as: .ACCOUNTANT, .ACTOR, .CONTRACTORS, .DENTIST, .BANK, .REALTOR and many others.
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Reputation management services also work with the content to build links among these venues and any articles mentioning you. Backlinks tell search engines like Google that the information is important to readers. Finally, the best services provide training, which cover everything from SEO writing to responding to complaints posted on social media sites.
10 Domain Name Secrets To Repair Your Online Reputation
Adding just a few letters near the end of the name can function well, too, in certain circumstances. Example: ChrisSmithCEO.com or JamesSmithBanker.com. Mostly, avoid tacking on additional words or letters, though, or you start eroding your exact-match domain advantage. Longer domains/URLs function correspondingly worse in search engines, so only adding very few letters should be considered if your options are limited.
To add to the complexity, many services are rightfully wary of divulging the identity of the companies they’ve helped. After all, if you are employing a service to fix a damaged reputation, it’s counterproductive to let people know you had a bad rep. Even when we obtained a case study, we did not have access to complete before-and-after pictures for comparison. Therefore, getting a concrete sample of the service in action proved difficult.
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Geographic TLDs — Examples of Geographic TLDs: YourName.NYC, YourName.Miami, YourName.Paris. In a lot of reputation management cases, an individual’s name is closely associated with their local geographic areas in search results, rather than being prominent nationwide. A common case for this is when well-known proprietors of local businesses may be searched for with higher frequency in their cities than elsewhere, and Google will present different search result rankings according to geography for this reason.
Unless you are specifically looking for reputation repair, you may want to consider a different service. Reputation management companies focus mostly on reviews or on countering bad press or slur campaigns. If you are more concerned with increasing your brand’s online visibility, online marketing services might better suit your needs. You can read our online marketing service reviews to learn more. Similarly, if you are interested in improving your social media customer relationships, check our reviews on social media monitoring services.
While reputation can be influenced by a concentrated program, that alone may not be enough. For example, an online reputation company may do a brilliant job of promoting good reviews, but if your business doesn’t fix its customer service problems, the problem will continue to surface. There are also other variables that influence this as well. For example, your website can have superb SEO, but if the website complaining about you has better SEO or if it has a great social media presence, it may rank higher than yours. Therefore, it’s prudent to go into online reputation management understanding that it should be one tool, among others, for improving your company.
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Add a misspelling domain — If your ideal, exact-match domain name isn’t available, you may be able to use a misspelling to obtain virtually the same level of advantage. If “JohnSmith.com” isn’t available, “JohnSmiths.com” may work just as well. Google and other search engines have worked very hard to handle plurals/singulars and stemming variations of words, often treating them nearly identically.
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Treat yourself to a .ME domain — While this is technically the TLD for the country of Montenegro, the government there decided to operate it as a Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD), because they recognized that it held a wide commercial appeal worldwide, since “Me” is the English self-referencing pronoun. Domains with the .ME extension can function very well in search results, and the extension has a decent degree of recognisability. It’s short; it makes sense; it seems to convey that it’s operated by the person bearing the name used in the domain — it’s simply elegant!
Other factors we considered were speed of response and the quality of the phone consultation. We assessed how well the sales representative answered our questions, how up front he or she was about costs, and whether or not we received specific information on methodologies or just general promises of results. We evaluated privacy by asking services for references to see how easily they provided the names of current or former customers. Some services provided a list of customers who’d consented to being used as references while others wouldn’t provide names at all.