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Online Reputation Management: What You Need to Know
Thursday, July 12, 2007
It's safe to say that reputation management is vitally important for all organizations that exist. In fact, whether it's on a personal or corporate level, everyone should be concerned about their reputation. On a personal level, having a damaged reputation can mean being a part of the "in-crowd" or being a loner. For businesses a damaged or negative reputation can mean millions of dollars. The importance of reputation management cannot be emphasized enough. In the wake of a negative experience and tarnished reputations, organizations have lost millions overnight, have had CEO's step down immediately and have even folded within months of negative publicity.

Prior to the development of the Internet, news often travelled slowly and methodically, but with the increasing popularity of blogs and social networks, news tends to travel rapidly and reaches the masses with swiftness as never before. In many cases, the general public is aware of information about your organization that you may not even be aware of yet. Online reputation management is a necessity.

Online Reputation Management What You Need to Know

Rumour, gossip, disgruntled employees and customer scorn can be highly damaging for brand reputation. Competition is increasing and PR firms are often reactive as opposed to proactive when dealing with their client's reputation. In fact studies about the world's top 10 PR firms suggests that around half of them have been linked to supposed PR disasters. So how do you go about protecting your online reputation? There are five keys to online reputation management.
  1. Monitor Your Existing Online Presence - consumers use search to find information. When they perform a query in hope of finding information on your organization or brand, you want to make sure that your website and online properties are listed high in the search results. In order to manage your online reputation, you need to know what is being said about your brand online. An easy way to do this is through tools such as Google Alerts to see how your brand is fairing in the online world of Google. Set up alerts for key branded phrases including your company name.

  2. Analyze Your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results - the search engine results update their index on a regular basis. With the increase in consumer generate content out there, it is not uncommon for a blogpost or negative article about your company to surface in the first page of organic search results. A company scandal or an ongoing law suit can provide fuel for the fire and can appear in the prime real estate of Google or other search engines. You need to get a grasp and develop a keen understanding of your search engine environment and that of your key competitors.

  3. Control Your Online Destiny with Optimization - optimize your site and online properties so that you dominate the search results for your important branded terms. This includes optimizing your main corporate site, any micro-sites and sub-domains, corporate blogs, press releases, articles as well as online properties such as employee blogs and partner sites.

  4. Control Your Online Destiny with Participation - Be active in industry forms, social networks, consumer review/opinion sites and the like. If your online reputation is suffering, participation within these areas can help change the negative perception that you may be incurring. Blogs are extremely popular for consumers and are often the first place they will go to find information. As a reuslt commenting on blogs can help communicate your stance and promote your company in a positive light.

  5. Repeat Steps One Through Four - online reputation management only works if it is ongoing. Being proactive and understanding the consumer's perception of your brand and your organization is one of the best ways to begin with your online reputation management strategy.
To prevent the loss of revenue and repeat business, an ongoing online reputation management strategy should be developed by all organizations. Online reputation management can ensure the ongoing success of your brand and your organization.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, July 12, 2007  
  • At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Jacob Wolfsheimer said…

    Enjoyed the post! Proactive reputation management should definitely be on-going to be successful. I would highlight the part of your post about controlling your online destiny with participation that reflects your company in a positive light. Otherwise, you end up with people who think all engagement in social media is a good thing, and end up doing things like the Whole Foods CEO.

  • At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Dan said…

    Nice post with good points. I think tools like Technorati and Google alerts are excellent ways to instantly and easily monitor mentions of your name or company in the blogosphere. It's also a competitive advantage to immediately respond and participate in the discussions about your brand.

  • At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Joseph Fiore said…

    Great post!

    I’m the co-founder of a brand and reputation monitoring company that tracks online communications with intentions to smear, harm, thieve, attack or target business.

    We are seeing more and more business wanting to tap into social media and online environments because they understand that by the time negative publicity hits the mainstream, its too late to manage the damage.

    In our dealings with PR professionals and social media analysts who have incorporated our paid services into their corporate strategies, they seem to understand the limitations of free tools, and how paid services are able to go beyond any vanity search or a collection of feeds.

    For instance, advanced warnings on consumers or employees expressing their dissatisfaction on a message board or a gripe site won’t get picked up by free alerting tools.

    In addition, it is vitally important that one considers the depth of sourcing, monitoring scope and reach that draws on all forms of online discussion, including blogs (+ comments), forums, message boards, consumer sites, gripe sites, social networking sites, videos and images.

    Then there is the all important content filtering and human analysis. Net-savvy execs get put off if they receive links to splogs or irrelevant alerts, wanting only to spend their time reviewing information specific to their business requirements (ie. *Union discord brewing over potential “strike”* as opposed to *Yankees pitcher “strikes” out the Red Sox*).

    We offer client dashboards and analytic areas to conduct review and analysis on such things as data scoring on tone/sentiment (ie. positive, negative, neutral discussion), geography, media source (ie. blog, forum, consumer site, video, etc.), and other important media measurement tools to draw on (ie. blogger influence, discussion reach, blogrolls).

    As I see it, it can be summed up into an advantage where automated software, human insight, core competence and best practices save business the precious time to compile, store and report on any and all online views that can make or break a brand. Timely reporting and precision monitoring that in my opinion greatly enhances the reputation management strategies of business.

    As far as reputation management strategies are concerned, because there is no comprehensive and all encompassing “how-to” guide to manage your reputation and brand online, my advice would always be to call in firms like ours to continue on a company's brand success, especially if you are realizing that free tools aren’t enough.

    - Joseph

  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Karl Hourigan said…

    Good post, thanks. I recently wrote about individual's online reputations, too, addressing recent college grads. I would welcome any comments.


  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jody said…

    Thanks everyone for stopping by. All good points. Thanks again!

  • At 2:59 AM, Blogger starwin said…

    hi..u have certainly created a right impact about online reputation management. An ORM plan in place can not only cure the perils of negative publicity but thwart anything which can affect your business or personality negatively.


  • At 2:18 AM, Blogger Durgesh said…

    Enjoyed the post! Email Marketing
    It is a great post to provided information about reputation management.

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger vivek.bandebuche said…

    nice story dude..keep writting

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger Rep Fixer said…

    Great post. I am sure many people will benefit from this post because this post provide nice info about online reputation management. Looking forward to read more. Thank you very much.
    Online Reputation Management

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