REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly The reputation management industry offers essential services, but not all reputation management companies are created equal

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a powerful tool used by businesses to generate leads and boost their own online visibility. The goal of an SEO campaign is to use the Search Engines as an ally. SEO marketers will target what are called commercial-intent keywords, using them to increase their visibility on a search engine like Google or Bing by ultimately ranking on the first page of online search results. These same principles also fuel the emerging field of online reputation management, but in this industry the goal is something very different. Online reputation management companies seek to maintain or "clean up" a client's image by completely covering the first page of search results. The reputation management field is crowded with competition, but a recent article in Businessweek suggests that not all reputation management companies employ the same strategies.

The article quotes a senior executive at Reputation.com as saying that, while his own company's online reputation is in disrepair, fixing it is "not really an option" based on the "time and money" it would take to suppress negative listings. Users who conduct a Google search for Reputation.com will see that "Reputation.com scam" is the top suggested search term that the engine offers, meaning the first thing a Google user sees when seeking information on Reputation.com is a negative listing.

While Reputation.com claims that combating these negative listings is ultimately not a prudent investment, other online reputation management professionals take a different view. Justin Singletary, who serves as Chief Executive Officer at ReputationChanger.com, says that maintaining his own company's reputation is vital for assuring his clients that he will do the same for them. "The services we offer clients involve seeking to remove negative listings from the first page of an online search, and ultimately to cover that first page with positive listings," Singletary says. "It only makes sense that we would try to do the same for our own online brand."

Even beyond this basic divergence in philosophies, there are other points of practice that distinguish between online reputation management companies. An increasingly common practice is for companies to employ what are known as Black Hat SEO tactics. Black Hat SEO views the Search Engines such as Google not as allies but as obstacles to overcome, and uses technology to essentially "trick" the search engine into thinking online content is valuable when in fact it is not.

The danger in Black Hat SEO is that it often prompts Google to remove these erroneous listings and restore negative ones to prominence. According to Singletary, this can ultimately result in the consumer getting burned. "Black Hat SEO often leaves the client right where he or she started, with negative listings on the first page of Google," he confirms.

By contrast, Singletary says that many reputation management companies, including Reputation Changer, utilize White Hat SEO. This approach involves not trying to trick the search engine, but rather seeing the search engine as a helpful tool for advancing positive listings, with the hope of those positives eventually pushing the negatives off of the first page of the search results. White Hat SEO companies focus on creating compelling and original content and combining it with a variety of advanced technology principles.

Singletary says that while any industry has its dark side, there are still many reputation management companies who care greatly about improving their clients' online image through these effective White Hat SEO tactics. Singletary points to Reputation Changer's new reputation management blog as an example. The blog pulls together industry insights and proven strategies, with the hope of showing users how to launch a "DIY" reputation management campaign. "We are passionate about what we do, and want to do it as honestly and as effectively as we can," Singletary notes. "Helping people restore their online reputation is the bottom line."

Singletary says the goal of ReputationChanger.com's new reputation management blog is to help the company's clients avoid the fate that has befallen Reputation.com. "When a potential customer conducts a search for information about a business, and the first thing they see is the suggestion that the business is running a scam, that is very likely to have an adverse impact on the business' sales," comments Singletary. "A reputation management service like ReputationChanger.com would make it a top priority to see negative listings taken off the first page of Google or Bing. We want to offer whatever information or services we can about how White Hat SEO, combined with a real dedication to preserving a clean online image, can ultimately benefit the client's brand or reputation."

ABOUT:

Founded in 2009 by a team of online marketing and sales professionals, Reputation Changer is one of the premier providers of online reputation management. The company works 24/7 to provide comprehensive reputation management strategies to its clients, which have included politicians, public figures, Fortune 500 companies, and more. Reputation Changer owns several media outlets, and is known for its innovation in positive SEO techniques, social media implementation, and more.

For more information about Reputation Changer, its services and how it can assist in reputation management and promotional campaigns, visit www.ReputationChanger.com.

SOURCE Reputation Changer



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