Potential brand customers want to be sure about the quality of a service or a product provided. In order to do this, they get to know the company before purchasing. One of the ways of getting information about a brand is to search for its name in a search engine. This is where reputation management comes in. If a customer sees other clients talking positively about the brand, this will reinforce their loyalty and increase the probability of purchase.
Google is the biggest search engine in the world with over 3 billion monthly users. That is why a good reputation on the Internet is so important for companies. Proper Google reputation management can be quite time-consuming and costly, so if you are a small business, you might want to consider hiring an ORM agency that will do everything for you. Nevertheless, let’s revise what ORM is and have a look at how it is done on Google.
What is Online Reputation Management
When a customer surfs on the net, they find out that there are several companies on the market that are ready to supply a product or a service needed. To narrow down the search, a person studies the companies’ websites, prices and location. After that, the customer usually reads reviews about the companies. Actually, even if your advertising works and the client gets to the website, they will still make the final decision basing on your online reputation and other people’s opinion. If other clients’ reviews are negative, all previous promotional efforts are likely to be useless. Thus, ORM is what every company needs today to win the competitive battle.
It is applied in work with both brands and individuals and is considered to be a relatively new field.
Online Reputation Management allows:
- To build a positive brand image from scratch. This is relevant for new market entrants with little or no information about them on the Internet.
- To adjust an existing image for the better. This is necessary for companies that already have a negative reputation, which is becoming a problem.
Agencies specialising in reputation generally offer a full range of ORM services to their clients. In Reputation House agency, for example, a whole team of specialists works on devising strategies, analysis and audit, as well as SEO, SERM, Google reputation management and other things.
“To eliminate reputational risks, it is important to observe the two-don’ts rule: don’t waste time and don’t make mistakes.”
– Nikita Prokhorov, Reputation House CEO
Google ORM peculiarities
What type of services does Google offer?
Apart from being the most popular search engine in the world, Google also offers a great variety of tools that can be used in reputation management. All of them have to be taken into account when devising an ORM strategy. These include not only the Google search engine, but also images, maps, video, shopping, etc.
Google Online Reputation Management tips given by the Google support page are not informative enough. All that is given to the user are 3 steps to reputation management. They basically go as follows: Google yourself, create an account on Google and remove any unwanted content.
In fact, things are not as simple as they seem. Let’s consider how it works in details.
The ORM algorithm followed by big agencies can be split into the following steps:
1. Reputation audit
Before setting objectives and developing a plan, you need to assess your current position. To do this, you need to look at what people write about you on Google, so make a list of queries and find out what information is already online.
Your goal is to find all company mentions for particular queries on Google. You can use them to assess the ratio of positivity to negativity, to identify shortcomings and advantages of a product and to understand which comments are worth responding to in the first place.
2. Developing a strategy
Select the objects of monitoring. Decide what you want to monitor first of all and then update the list of queries.
Allocate resources. The initial audit will help you understand how to manage time, effort and resources for reputation management.
Allocate control points. It is impossible to assess performance without analytics. Reach and engagement are visible in reports only. The reports should also show the volume of mentions, the dynamics compared to the previous period, and the main topics of discussion in relation to the sources.
3. Implementing the strategy
Here you will have to gather a team that will work with your online reputation and report on the results. If you are not ready to create your own ORM department, it is better to outsource it. In this way, each specific stage of ORM will be handled by a particular specialist, and the whole working process will be supervised by the head of the group. Reputation House, for example, has employees who only deal with sorting and processing mentions, specialists in data analysis and moderation, account managers who develop work strategies, content managers and others. All of them are headed by Nikita Prokhorov, CEO.
As you can see, ORM is much more difficult than just following Google 3 steps. It is a complex, financially- and time-consuming process. Despite this, your good reputation that you’ll have as a result of ORM works will be worth every cent.
At the helm of your reputation
Now you know how ORM agencies basically do their work, but you may ask: what can I do on my own? Here are some tips that will help you to be at the top of your Google reputation management.
Just creating a Google account is not enough to be able to monitor your reputational standing in the search engine. However, Google does not leave you alone here. A special tool called Google Alerts is created to help businesses track their online mentions based on keywords. Set up your alerts in order to be informed by email every time a new search result connected with your brand appears online.
Delete damaging information
Deleting unwanted information is another way Google allows you to protect your reputation. The information that you want to delete has to fall into one of the following 3 categories:
- Terms and conditions violation
- DMCA (copyright) takedown notice
- The information is due to be removed by court order
However, proving that a certain piece of information or a website carrying it provides users with fake information or undermines a company’s goodwill can be rather tricky, because few things actually fall into these categories. In addition, most of the websites can simply refuse to delete information about your company. The more law-abiding ones will ask for proper legal documentation in order to do that, and searching for necessary evidence can take a while. Finally, deleting information via court takes a lot of time as well. Sometimes, cases are lost along with time and money spent on the procedures.
Create your own website and social media
Remember that the most flexible and easy to control websites are obviously the ones that are yours. Be proactive and buy your own domain. Create a website for your business, launch accounts in social media, make a Wikipedia page, publish some articles about your company and the services it offers, maybe even start a YouTube channel. Then you will be in control of information that goes through these channels. After that, just push them to the top of the search results and be the one who creates your own reputation online.
Respond to Google reviews
One of the perks of having a Google account is the ability to respond to the reviews left about your company. Be sure to look through these comments and respond to at least some of them. Thank the customers who showed their satisfaction and work with the negativity left by dissatisfied clients. Speak with your audience and turn their feedback into your experience. BrightLocal research shows that over 77% of customers read online reviews, so don’t ignore this useful and effective instrument.
Indeed, Google ORM is not a piece of cake. You can take some action on your own to improve or build your reputation in Google, but it will be even better to delegate it to professionals.
How can I clean up my reputation on Google?
Google Online Reputation Management support says that you can delete unwanted content, however, not much content actually falls into the category that can be deleted in accordance with Google Terms of Service. You can delete your personal information, of course, but it is almost impossible to delete a bad review or an unwanted article. You can try to push out a negative piece of news, write another article for the same platform or create a few official company sources.
What if I am already a part of a scandal? What can I do on Google?
Check manually or use automated systems to see what information has been published already. Find the most significant platforms that you need to work on. Devise a strategy and implement it. You have to work fast and make no mistakes, so hiring an experienced agency would be a good option.
How are SEO and Online Reputation Management connected?
Online Reputation Management is a full scope of works done on the Internet in order to improve a brand’s reputation. Meanwhile, SEO – is only a part of that scope. It is mainly about working with reputation on platforms owned by your company.