With the arrival of the Internet, we’ve also seen our reputations go online. Everything about us from social media profiles to news articles to public records is now out there and widely available to read. But our online reputations can rapidly get out of our control, and that’s when we call in online reputation management companies.
In this article, we’ll look at these companies, what they do, and the value of having one in your corner. In the long run, all of us can use someone helping with our online reputation, whether we’re a private citizen or a major celebrity.
What Do Online Reputation Management Companies Do?
Also called “Internet reputation management companies” or “online image management companies,” these companies help you assess, build, and monitor your online reputation. In some cases, they will also help you repair your online reputation if it’s been damaged or isn’t in the best shape.
How Can My Reputation Online Be Damaged?
Unfortunately, there are many ways your reputation can be trashed online. Former business partners, ex-lovers, estranged family members, disgruntled employees, and even total strangers can create reputation problems for you and your business online in a myriad of ways. They could post slander about you on a gossip website, defame you in the comments to a news article, even run an entire smear campaign against your good name or rally people who are unfamiliar with the situation to harass you in the belief that you’re somehow the bad guy. Thus, having an online image management company protecting you is key to doing business on the Internet.
Similarly, past mistakes can linger for a long time on the Internet. Many of us did something foolish in high school and think it’s years in the past, but the Internet has a way of bringing those past mistakes back for everyone to see, often when you least want it to.
On a business level, sometimes there’s a problem that you just can’t shake, even when you’ve put it in the past. Even the biggest and most well-managed companies will make a mistake at some point; just ask Coca-Cola’s marketing team how sick they are of hearing jokes about New Coke. An Internet reputation company can help fix marketing missteps and public relations problems that would take far, far longer to go away on their own.
How Do Internet Reputation Companies Protect My Reputation?
Generally, reputation protection starts with search engine optimization, or SEO. Most people, if they’ve heard of SEO, think of it as “controlling” your search results, but, in truth, it’s more complex than that.
Search engines keep how they rank content a closely guarded secret, and for excellent reason; the top search result for a term is worth more than a third of all Internet traffic through search engines. As a result, they’re sensitive to attempts to “game” their results.
Internet reputation companies don’t try to trick search engines. Instead, they carefully monitor how search rankings change over time to see what can raise or lower search engine rankings. Then, they apply those lessons carefully to custom content they develop for their clients to ensure that this content rises up your ranks. Each Internet reputation management company has a different strategy they use and different methods to bolster content online, but they all have the same goal; to, over time, push up positive and smart content about you while pushing down or even deleting negative content about you from the internet entirely.
What Should I Look For In An Online Image Management Company?
There are many different factors that should go into choosing the company that’s right for you, but there are a few overall factors you should consider when you’re looking at a reputation management company.
How many years of experience do they have? Reputation management online is undeniably a relatively “young” industry, as the Internet itself really only came into its own in the last twenty years. Still, companies that have been around longer are better able to accommodate changes in SEO trends, and will have more experience dealing with smear campaigns, internet blackmail, and other problems that younger companies may not have dealt with and might not be prepared for.
How broad is their focus? Far too many “reputation management” companies and their tools take a limited scope of the Internet at best. It’s great that you’re able to track your social media engagement or see how one search engine is ranking you, but you often need to take a broader view of the entire Internet in order to fix your reputation. If a company only promises to improve your social media presence in one part of the Internet, you should probably keep looking.
What kind of products do they offer? Different people and companies on the Internet have different needs for their reputation. A small firm will have different needs than a large one, and a private citizen without much of a reputation will have different reputation problems than a local celebrity looking to get past a personal setback. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, and any site trying to sell you one will probably wind up needing to be backed up by a more mature firm. The best will have strategies and assistance available as well.
What are their products built on? Companies that have been around for a number of years will have a history of products that their current ones have been built upon. That experience building software and strategies will be invaluable when you need something that falls outside of the “standard” reputation experience.
What level of support do they offer? Some companies will only sell you some software, or a web login; once you get into their website, or download the software, you’re on your own. A good Internet reputation company will help you figure out what you need, and even provide you with reputation advisors to help you use the products the best.
ReputationDefender is among the most experienced and powerful online reputation companies out there. Whether you’re looking to move on from your past, or lift your business to new heights online, contact ReputationDefender today.
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