— July 18, 2017
An unfortunate fact about reputation management companies is that most of them are not really reputation management companies. They’re really public relations agencies, search engine optimization companies, or just some guy in an apartment somewhere. Most of the time they are ‘offshore’, but often have a US telephone number. There’s nothing wrong with offshore, but for the cultural differences. In reputation management, culture is very important. If you think about it, our agency should be of the culture in which you want to improve search results
Research and Strategy Are Key to Success
Real reputation management research and strategy are the hallmarks of the best online reputation management firms. Most firms have a list of websites they build and social media profiles they populate that don’t change much from client to client. This method used to work many years ago, but in the age of artificial intelligence-based search they no longer do. In fact, these methods are now referred to as search engine “spam” and can negatively affect how a brands’ sentiment is perceived.
Beware Reputation Automation
Some reputation management agencies truly are that; it’s all they do. Real flesh and blood people working to help. But some reputation management companies are really just robots. Seriously though, they rely heavily on automation rather than people. Too much automation leads to cookie-cutter results and worse yet – patterns.
Patterns are a problem in reputation management because they can be quickly identified by search engines. At their core, search engines are pattern-matching machines. When patterns are identified they can seem ‘unnatural’ to search engines, causing all of the hard work you put into your reputation campaign to be downgraded by search engines as ‘spam’. Be careful of firms that rely heavily on automation.
Cheap Reputation Companies and Temporary Results
Long term web reputation results are the result of excellent, well-written content, SEO web design, and search engine optimization. Below average reputation companies do below average work that seems to provide results in the short term, but that later fade. Cheap reputation management companies often fall into this category.
The fact is – quality is an investment. The results purported by some companies fade because search engine optimization (such as earned link building) has not been used. Search engine optimization (SEO) is expensive, and customers cannot always tell if the online agency has used it. By not executing a proper SEO campaign most ‘reputation’ companies save a lot of money and no one is the wiser. Make sure the company you do business with performs SEO.
Excellent Content is Key to a Great Reputation
Believe it or not, many reputation agencies use machines to write for them. They call this ‘spun content’. Spun content works like this: the agency feeds a single paragraph into special software, the special software then ‘writes’ many versions of the content that are then used for ‘spamming’ search engine results pages (SERPs). Here is an example of machine ‘spun’ content:
“The truly on the go internet marketplace seems ruggedly handsome to excellent charities. Changing ideas about the ‘wow factor’ has preceded ambiguous enhancements. When will the siren lie down?”
Example of ‘spun content’
You can imagine that spun content can be worse than just funny, it can destroy your reputation. Cheap reputation management companies can damage your reputation.
Guaranteed Reputation Management
Refrigerators have guarantees, why not internet reputation? Internet reputation management firms do not control Google. Many would like you to think they do though. It is possible to use ‘black hat’ SEO techniques to quickly and impermanently fool search engines. Some companies use these techniques to show a customer how fast they can do things. They ‘guarantee’ fast results.
Search results do indeed change temporarily, often just long enough for the guarantee to be void. Sometimes reputation management guarantees take the form of changing ‘at least one’ search result on page one or two (something anyone can do at least temporarily). Read the small print regarding reputation management guarantees.