Online reputation management is all about being able to have control over what people see when they search for your name or brand in the search results. One of the biggest fears for businesses and brands is when something negative gets posted on the biggest review and complaint sites on the internet. Sites like RipOff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp are the most harmful.
During our ORM Experts interview series, we always make sure to ask our experts what their thoughts are on the hardest attacks to suppress and what brands can do to protect themselves. We’ve listed three of our top experts and their advice below.
In your opinion, what do you think are the three hardest attacks to suppress and why?
Certainly RipOff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp represent the evil trinity when it comes to reputation attacks, but it would be unfair to say that they are always the three toughest to suppress. A negative article in the New York Times, a negative ruling or fine on a .gov web site, or a reprimand by your organization’s governing body can all be just as hazardous to your reputation’s health. Any site that enjoys the favor of either the public or Google’s algorithms is going to be tough to defend against.
Ripoff Report is certainly hard to recover from. With some good ORM, you can probably push its Google listing to page 2 or even 3, but to truly make it go away you have to pay ROR their $15k extortion – umm, I mean, “fee.”
Even trickier is negative Google suggestions. For example, if you type your brand’s name into Google, and Google autocompletes it as “(your brand) scam” and “(your brand) lawsuit,” that will perpetuate the negative online sentiment more than anything else. People are obviously going to search that if it’s one of the top suggestions or related searches. And it will inevitably bring up negative crap. To combat that, you have to get searchers to search for something else related to your brand. Easier said than done, of course. A “black hat” ORM tactic is to hire people offshore to do these positive sentiment searches (a tactic that I, of course, don’t condone). Less “black hat” is to rally your fans to conduct specific brand-related searches on Google.
Another tough attack to suppress is if a trusted media outlet wrote a negative article. That will almost certainly occupy the first page in Google.
- Authoritative Sites: Various news sites, government sites are highly authoritative sites. The reviews on these sites are highly regarded by search engines as well. So, although not impossible, it is a daunting task to have reviews removed from these sites.
- Offline Media: If there is one place where you could see a molehill turning into a mountain, it is in the media. A bad piece of information could prove to be very harmful for your reputation, when the same news is distributed throughout the media. As most of the media houses have their own websites, too, just imagine how viral the news could go to the extent of disrupting a reputation.
- RipOff Report or Pissed Consumer: These are the hotspots for consumers to reveal their frustration. They simply post whatever comes to mind. Sometimes false claims are posted as well (due to their frustration), however, they are very tough to overcome, as the negative reviews on these sites come right on the top page of Google and other search engines.
As you can see, the common answers among industry experts are sites like Yelp, Pissed Consumer and RipOff Report. These are the sites and negative situations you want to avoid. The best way to keep control over your online reputation and brand is by owning the first page of the search results with your own content and not sending customers to other sites to post reviews.
To start monitoring and gaining more control over your online reputation, track your brand mentions through the Brand.com Command Center.