Everything in today’s world is digital. We make decisions based on running a Google search and don’t shop anywhere unless we have seen many positive reviews about the store and its products.

Through Google, people search for things and the most relevant results immediately come up. The race, therefore, is to be not just one of the first to come up, but also to come up in a really good light. This is what online reputation management aims to achieve.

What is online reputation management (ORM)?

ORM is essentially a method to make sure that their reputation is positive. Various activities are included in ORM, which is now seen as a strategic action.

Some of these actions include search protection, review management, social media branding, damage repair and reputation monitoring. Let’s delve a little deeper into these issues.

Reputation monitoring

This is perhaps the most important element of ORM. Two things need to be done, which are tracking overall reputation, and monitoring results based on keywords.

The latter means checking out news, social media sites, forums and blogs. These means have to be used in order to improve a businesses reputation, particularly if others are using it to bring it down.

Search protection

This is an activity that includes three main parts:

1. Brand keyword protection, which means that organizations are placed in a positive light on various search engines. This means that when someone uses certain keywords in relation to a business, they will see the good.

2. SE Wipe Outs, which is the action required to remove negative review. Remember that nothing that is online can truly be removed, however. Hence, it is more the action of making sure the bad press is no longer found, effectively pushing it back to the more obscure search result pages that nobody goes to.

3. Rich snippets, which is all about micro formats and authorship compliance, which ensures that Google is able to validate any information that is out there in relation to your business and/or brand.

Review management

This element also has three steps, being:

1. Onsite feedback, which is on the website of the company itself. This is reasonably easy to manage, as you get to choose which reviews are visible or not. It is easy enough to use these to promote the good things.

2. Integrated reviews solutions, something that Amazon offers for instance. These types of reviews will also be published across your social media sites.

3. Offsite reviews, which includes social media but also pages that you have no control over, like Yelp. An important element of this is pushing back any negative reviews.

Damage repair

This is an incredibly important element of ORM as well. This is found in three areas, being:

1. Negative review replacement or burial.

2. Dialogue control.

3. Decoy site or micro site creation.

Dialogue control

This is all about actually addressing negative reviews directly.

Burial or Replacement of Negative Reviews

As stated earlier, there is no way to truly remove anything off the internet. This means you must find a way to push it back to where it came from.