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Online reputation management: Do it yourself or hire a pro?

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by Jennifer Bridges  @JenBridgesRD

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Once you’ve decided to improve your online reputation, you need to determine the best way to go about it: Should you try to manage everything on your own, or should you hire someone to do the work for you?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including your unique reputation situation and how much time and effort you can realistically dedicate to the task.

When to do it yourself

This approach works best if you:

  • Have time in your schedule to perform the work involved.
  • Can write well and can commit to doing it regularly.
  • Know something about search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Need to fix a relatively minor reputation problem, such as a few bad reviews or an unflattering picture popping up on social media.

The goal of managing your online reputation is to push negative content off the first page of your search results, thus making these items invisible to the average searcher. To accomplish this, you need to do four things:

  • Evaluate the state of your online reputation: To find out where you stand, you need to Google several variations of your name, including your name coupled with your location or profession. The items that appear in your search results effectively define who you are.
  • Minimize the impact of content that makes you look bad: You can do so by removing negative contentresponding appropriately to it, and flooding the Internet with positive content. To automate some of this process, you can use tools like ReputationDefender Local to send customers automated invitations to review your company or product.
  • Establish a robust online presence that portrays you the way you want to be seen: An effective way to suppress unflattering search results is to publish content that Google values highly. This means creating a strong social media profile and writing SEO-optimized blog posts, which are the key driver of our flagship ReputationDefender solution. For advice on blogging, see our article How to blog your way to a better online reputation.
  • Monitor the web so you can quickly address new reputational threats as they emerge: You can use social listening tools like Talkwalker or Google Alerts, for example, to notify you whenever your name appears in any comments, reviews, articles, or social media posts.
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Doing all this work yourself is a good way to save money. However, this savings often comes at the expense of your valuable free time.

When to hire an online reputation management company

This approach works best if you:

  • Don’t have time in your schedule to perform the work involved
  • Are a high-profile individual or business
  • Have little knowledge of SEO
  • Aren’t a great writer or can’t commit to blogging regularly
  • Are experiencing a reputation attack

Reputation management firms employ the same basic techniques that you would use to strengthen and protect your own reputation. The difference is that we have teams of experienced professionals to do all of the work for you, and we know from our work with other clients what works and what doesn’t.

Hiring a reputation management company also means you have access to:

  • Reputation professionals with years of hands-on experience and insights into cutting-edge industry trends.
  • Dedicated customer service teams available to answer your questions and guide you through the reputation management process.
  • Technology solutions developed specifically to improve how you look online.
  • A variety of services, from content suppression to privacy protection to review management, to help you take control of your online presence.

“Their [reputation management companies’] services are priceless … I always share with business people and professionals that your digital image is usually the first impression your client will see of you … and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”Sue Scheff, cybersafety advocate and author of Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate

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Sometimes, it’s a competitor bombarding you with fake negative reviews. Other times, it’s a disgruntled ex-employee running an online smear campaign on social media. At ReputationDefender, we offer a variety of solutions designed to address problems like these.

We begin each engagement by performing a thorough reputation audit to get a better idea of the scope and severity of the client’s problem. This helps us create a personalized suppression strategy regarding how many pieces of content to publish, what type of content to create, where to publish, and how often. We also provide reputation monitoring to help you respond to new issues as they arise and analytics that show you how your reputation is changing over time.


For more information about the best way to manage your online reputation, give us a call. We are always happy to provide a free consultation. You can also learn more about online reputation by reading the following articles: