Only one year ago, if you were to Google “online reputation management”, you would get a couple of hundred result, basically pointing you to some college students with a bit of free time on their hand. They would charge you a quick $30 and let you know what AdWords and Google News currently says about you, something you could easily have done yourself, saving yourself the $30 as well. Today, however, online reputation management (ORM) and online reputation repair are hot topics, and services that everybody now needs.

ORM and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO has been around for some time now, and many who first developed it did not realize that they were actually engaging in reputation management. However, when they did start to discover this, they started to treat ORM as if it was the same as SEO, and that simply isn’t the case. Yes, there are strong links between the two, mainly that you want certain pieces of information to be easy to find on Google, but you have to take different approaches as well.

If you find yourself in need of ORM services, it is likely that you have made somebody very angry. The only thing standing between that becoming public knowledge (read “found on the first page of Google”) and you, is your ORM company. Now, unfortunately, everybody seems to know quite a bit about SEO right now. Hence, whoever you have angered is likely to be looking for your tactics to make their information invisible, or to otherwise paint you in a good light again. This is exactly why traditional SEO techniques simply will not work. For every positive piece of content you write and publish to counteract the negative opinion, they will add their opinion to two more sites.

ORM campaigns designed to repair your reputation (not the ones designed to build and maintain a positive reputation) should be done in secret. This does not mean that their actions should be secretive. Quite the contrary! Grabbing the bull by the horn and addressing the problem head on is often vital to help you save face. However, you don’t want to launch a press release to say you have hired an ORM company to help you combat a negative piece of information either. In fact, you should leave the sending out of press releases to the ORM company, as that is a vital tool towards improving a damaged reputation.

One of the other reasons as to why you should be somewhat secretive about you hiring an ORM company is that, if you have angered someone enough, they may also take their anger out on the company you have chosen to work with. In fact, the number of threatening emails ORM companies have had to face because of clients is staggering, to the point that some have had to go out of business. Do you want to have that on your conscious, and be forever branded as the company that made another one go bankrupt?