Online Reputation Management (ORM) is an SEO service that is done when clients want to protect and fix their reputation online.
 
Usually, clients are very concerned about a negative remark made about them on a website, and its in their best interest for them to fix their reputation.
 
Keeping a clean and spotless reputation in the age of the Internet is certainly not an easy task.
 
Oftentimes, a disgruntled customer or consumers will resort to posting negatively about the business very quickly because of the ease and simplicity with which it can be done.
 
When this negative feedback or comment ranks on page 1 of the organic search for client brand searches, it will make most client’s who are genuine – cringe.
 
ORM can be a very lucrative SEO service, if you know how to do it right.
 
It primarily involves making sure that no negative results are shown on Page 1 of te SERPs when users search Google for the client’s brand or, in the event of a professional (lawyer, doctor etc) when people Google their name.
 
If you provide SEO service, you’ve probably done some aspects of ORM already as this is a common demand from a lot of clients.
 
As a digital marketer your very first step is to convince the client to engage in an active dialogue when possible with the disgruntled customer that has left the negative remark online and that’s ranking for the client’s brand. 
 
If that’s not possible, for whatever reason – then you need to roll your sleeves up and get active with active SEO strategies and tactics that are targeted to perform ORM.

Why not just have the website remove the bad / offending page?

You might be thinking that it should be easy to contact the business behind the website that is hosting the offending page and requesting them to remove it. This will not be possible 99% of the cases as the websites don’t have any obligation to do so and since the internet is above freedom of voice, they will cite their TOS etc.
 
Sites like RipOffReport.com are notorious for doing this, and its impossible to get then to remove a page once published by any user. Their whole business model thrives on getting traffic from consumers doing research on brands in Google before engaging with the brand. Unless you get a court order, which is very expensive to do – you’re out of luck. 
 

SEO Superheros To The Rescue!

As an SEO provider to fix your clients reputation – your primary goal is to push good pages up and above the offending page so the offending page gets pushed down and off of page 1.
 
Pushing Good Pages up so the offending page get pushed down – is your priority!
 
And, you can push the offending page down by either…
– pushing listings that are below this page above it with good SEO 
 
or by,
– creating new pages and getting them indexed and then push them with SEO to rank higher and above this page. 
Alternately,
– You can also do Negative SEO to the offending page, so it gets flagged and removed by Google from the index.
 
* A word about doing Negative SEO – should only be used in ethical cases. In this case, if the offending page is hurting the client’s business and the original poster of the listing is not prepared to come to some understanding to remove the listing you could try and negative SEO the page URL so it gets flagged off as a spam page and loses it rankings or gets totally de-indexed by Google.
 
In all these cases we are basically trying to push the offending page off of page 1.
 
Now, lets go over some of the strategies that you can use for different pages that you can push easily to rank high in the SERPs – that will eventually displace and move the offending page off of page 1.

Check Results of Client Search in SERPs to Devise Your Strategy

 As a first step you need to check the current SERPs with the brand/name search results to see how many bad pages are ranking on Page 1 and how you can replace it. 
 
If you see the offending remark is in a rich media format that is a video on top, or tweet, or image – then you need to replace it with the appropriate media type. 

If the offending remark is a page on another website listed as a regular website and not a rich snippet, then you need to push another URL website above it so it gets displaced down.
 
The higher the bad stuff is in the SERPs on page 1 – the harder your task  will be. 
 
Bad pages with poor star ratings appearing in the SERPs are really bad need immediate attention. 
 
If there are many multiple bad pages, then that means a lot more work for you and you can charge higher.
 
You need to then look at page 1 and page 2 for any other website URLs that are already ranking and don’t have any damaging information about the client/brand or social profiles. 
And, make these your initial set of target pages that you can do SEO on and push up to displace the bad pages.
Its important to realize that pushing an already ranking page (that may be on an authority site) is easier than creating a new profile page on another social site and waiting for it to rank. Sure, this could be done in a later phase but you should focus to push ranks for pages that are already one page 1 or page 2.
 
So, as a next step – start making a list of all target pages that you can start ranking and pushing above the bad page.
 

Analyze and Simulate Top Celebrity SERPs

To get ideas of preferred sites on which you could list clients brand on and then promote them – simply do a brand search for a popular celebrity. See what kind of sites Google is showing on priority. You will notice that Google shows news blurbs on top, the official website of the celebrity, instagram, wikipedia, videos, youtube vanity profile URL, twitter, etc.
 
To get an idea and see what a typical brand search may look like and which domains rank well you can simply search for any top celebrity name or if you are looking for an example of brand related ORM (in the case of a company), then simply do a brand search of a popular brand.
 
Then examine the search results in Google and see the sites that Google favors for top rankings. You are specifically looking for social sites that are ranking. Avoid the one of news article sites / mentions.
 
Here’s an example of SERPs for “Elon Musk” search…
 
 

Registering Client Name or Brand on Social Websites

You should register the clients name / brand on as many social sites as possible – if you’ve not already done this as part of SEO citations .
 
A good starting point is to visit Knowem.com to get a quick overview of which socials are available for your clients brand / name with vanity URLs (their name in the URL slug). 
 
Knowem will tell you exactly which socials are available.
 
Do note that you don’t need to register all the sites Knowem shows you! Check and register only the top socials that are available and open to register. 
 
These are some of the top socials that you can register on…
 
  • instagram
  • youtube.com
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • AboutMe.com
  • crunchbase 
  • Quora
  • wikipedia
  • vimeo
  • tumblr
  • gravatar
  • …and if there are niche industry sites, then register on them
 
If the client already has some of these registered, then you don’t need to register it again. Simply boost the already existing site pages.

Use Full Names Always

Make sure that you use the full name of the company or name in the profiles that you setup on the social or web2.0 properties.
 
For example – don’t use only just the first name while entering the profile name!
 

Promoting Your Tier 1 Pages

The most favorable tactic of promoting your social profiles quickly and easily is using PBNs. You can build out your own or simply buy some PBN links and point them to your social profiles.
 
Also, since these Tier 1 pages are located on authority sites that already have massive amounts of trust – you go about building a larger set of lower quality links to them without endangering the rankings of your main website. 
 
You are going to be building the links to the actual profile pages of the client/brand on the sites.

Registering Exact Match Domain Name

If your client is a professional and is looking to protect their individual name from negative offending posts, you need to make sure that they have a domain registered with their full name – which is their official website. Preferably they should register a .com and if that’s not possible then .net
 
Google loves ranking official websites of individual names. 
 
So, if your client is Matt Cuts then something along the lines of mattcutts.com or mattcutts.net
 
The reason we are doing this is that  Google does still favor EMDs to some extent and specifically when it comes to brand searches (and keywords without money phrases) – this plays a key role in ranking high for brand searches with minimal offpage and onpage SEO.
 
Once you have this domain registered, go ahead and put up a mini one-page site like a portfolio site or profile site for the client ( you can find many wordpress one page themes to help you do this). 
 
Even though this is a one page site you want to make sure that the page has good content (introducing the client etc) on it, because this page will be ranking high and there will be real traffic that lands on this page. Make sure to include contact information in this page.
 
Then, link to your main website from it, add the client’s social links to it and then simply submit it to Google for indexing. 
 
Once indexed you can proceed with doing off-page SEO – and ranking this page should be relatively easy with a few decent backlinks that use the Domain Name or Brand as the anchor link.

Ranking Social Profiles 

Pushing brand / client social profiles higher up is the most common and prevalent strategy while doing ORM because it works wonders and is easy to get done.
 
The top tier 1 social media sites like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube have a ton of authority making single page on them easy to rank – specifically brand/individual profile pages for name searches in Google.
 
Its much easier to rank brand / profile pages that are located on social media sites.
 
Look at the SERPs and see which social profile pages show up and where to the brand searches. If you’re seeing social pages that belong the client / brand and that are ranking below the offending page – it should be pretty easy for you to bump them above the offending page, thereby displacing it.

Getting An Official Wikipedia Page

I won’t go into an in-depth explanation of getting a page on Wikipedia here – because it is an extensive process in and off itself. However, I will probably post about how you can do this in the future.
 
However, lets discuss just the basics for now.
 
Although this is a challenging process, and difficult to do – you should aim towards setting up a dedicated Wikipedia page for your client / brand. Wikipedia has their TOS for which businesses / entities or brands can create a wiki page. You should go through and understand these terms. 
 
Basically, they want other people / sites talking about your brand or website. They want notable sources – external references that reliable and verifiable. To do this, you will need to do a press release, get listed on government business directories, have wiki pages of key people in the business (if you’recreating a company wiki page) The more reputed the citing source is the higher will your chances of getting the wiki page to be approved and to stick. 

Send Out Tweets Often!

Make sure you tweet regularly so that your twitter feed appear prominently as a rich media listing with the latest 3 tweets right on top of the SERPs for your brand / name searches!

Images for ORM

Get images from the client and put them up on the official website and on flickr. Then build links to these images (the image URL) directly. This will help show the clients images in the SERPs for brand based searches. Google loves to show these photos.
 
Make sure that you use the brand/full name as the image file names and include caption on the images. This is good for easier rankings.

Press Release

Doing a press release is one tactic that works wonderfully well in building authority. It will help you rank higher in the Google Maps pack as well as introduce a ton of sites in the SERPs that contain your news release.
 
The trick is to make sure you have a news story that makes the client look good. One good approach is to talk to the client and ask them to do a charity event that you can write about or sponsoring some local/national charity event.
 
Another story could be to write an ebook. You could hire a ghost writer to write say a 20 page ebook and then do a Press Release story around releasing this ebook. 
 
You can then release this book on amazon. Then, do some offpage SEO to the URL of the ebook page on Amazon.
 
You should aim to do one press release each month for 3 months. Make sure that the topics are different each time and you have a news story to tell. 
 
PRnewswire.com or 247pressrelease.com are two good services for press releases.

Creating Guest Posts & Promoting Them

Getting a guest post that is written about the client / brand is another way of building up reputation. If you can get a guest post on one of the bigger sites like Forbes, Bloomberg, Business.com, Inc.com or Machable.com it would be ideal. However, these sites are expensive and the price ranges from $1000 to $3000. You can find vendors who can get this done for you for this cost – on a marketplace site like PeoplePerHour.com 
 
If this budget is way too high, you could look for getting a guest post on a smaller tier site or perhaps on a niche specific website that is known in the industry.
 
Once, you get a good guest post you can go about promoting if through offpage SEO.
 
Since the guest post is on an authority site – you will be able to blast a larger quantity of lower quality links to it – and can resort to some of the mass tools or cheaper backlink tactics out there in the wild!
 
That’s it for now. I hope you liked the post!
 
I may just do an in-depth video at some point of time – as this really is good money for a lot of SEO providers out there.
 
Please leave a comment below if you have any methods that I missed or if you have questions.