18 Sep 2009

Be Proactive With Your Reputation Management

September 18, 2009Social Media

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Imagine Googling your business name, and just beneath your company’s #1 ranking is another result, but this one isn’t something you want people to see.  Maybe it’s a lawsuit that was brought against your company, maybe it’s the insane rantings of a blogger who happens to hate your company.  Maybe the story being told is true, or maybe it’s not.  But it doesn’t really matter…you need

that result off the first page, and quickly.   That could be difficult, but what if you could have prevented it in the first place?  I’m gonna show you how…

Reactive Versus Proactive Reputation Management

The truth is, many businesses have heard about reputation management, but few of them are doing it proactively.  In most cases, they’re probably reacting to situations like the one I described above. This is a bad situation to be in.  If the negative result is already out there and being propagated, responding to it in a reactive way is like damage control.  The damage has already been done, and all you can hope for is to limit the amount of damage done.  And depending on who you’re battling against, it could cost you.

But what if you were to handle your reputation management proactively?  What I mean by that is actually agressively pursuing specific keywords, like your company name or the name of the owner, and dominate the search results for that particular term.  Now, please understand, you CANNOT do this for a generic search term, but you can do this for a very unique search term (again, like your company’s name).

The Reputation Management Method

The method consists of utilizing social media to create multiple opportunities for top 10 rankings from a multiplicity of websites, all for one specific keyword.  Let’s take “Vertical Measures” as an example.  If you Google our company’s name, these are the results you’ll get on the first page:



Now, just take that in for a minute.  You’ll see that we dominate 8 out of 10 positions for our business name, and that’s as it should be; I mean, it is OUR business name, and not someone else’s, right? But look, 6 of the results are from social media websites.  They include big players like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  But they also include a social profile on a website specific to our niche: SEOmoz.  Now, this should tell you something.  If you’re trying to be proactive about your company’s reputation management, you need to make sure you have profiles on these types of websites.

16 Opportunities to Dominate the Search Results for Your Business Name

Here’s a list of the top social media and local listing sites to join based on the research we’ve done.  Factors include obvious things like PageRank, traffic, and cost, but also how well each site ranks in search results for business name searches.  I.e. LinkedIn and Merchant Circle profiles have a tendency to rank well in the search engine results pages. This list is not exhaustive, so if you’ve got more you think should be included, post them in a comment below.

Website PageRank Traffic Cost Description
LinkedIn 8 12.8M U.S.; 25.2M global Free; Business $25/mo, Business Plus $50/mo, Pro $500/mo Professional network for individuals and businesses
Merchant Circle 8 6.3M U.S. Free; Advanced marketing for a fee Local business social network
Facebook 9 94.6M U.S. Free, supports paid ads Social networking king
Twitter 9 27.6M U.S. Free Social media in 140 characters or less
Yelp 6 7.4M U.S. Free, supports paid advertising Local review website
Plaxo 7 1.1M U.S. Free Social network to connect to family, friends and coworkers, share photos, and create your own profile
Fast Company 7 941.3K U.S.; 2M global Free, supports advertising Business magazine for owners and entreprenuers
MyWikiBiz 4 6.5K U.S.; 13.5K global Free Wiki for business listings
Ecademy 6 49.4K U.S.; 232.6K global Free, $5/mo basic, $140/mo pro Social networking site for businesses
Spoke 6 2.6M U.S.; 3.4M global Free, $25/mo, $50/mo, $100/mo Business networking website
123People 6 76.0K U.S. Free; $15/mo reputation manager People search tool to help monitor online reputation
BusinessWeek 7 650.4K U.S.; 903.3K global Free Networking website for business professionals
Fast Pitch Networking 4 6.8K U.S. Free, $9 premium, $27 platinum A professional social network for businesses
ZoomInfo  6  3.7M U.S.; 5.8M global  Free, fee for recruiters and sales pros People and company search; also offers products to sales people and recruiters
Google Profile  10 141.7M Free Create a Google profile
Naymz 6  400K U.S. ; 860K global  Free, $8/mo  Build professional relationships with this social network for businesses

What to Include in Your Business Profile

If you are trying to dominate the company’s name in the search engines, then each profile should include as much information about your business as possible, including the following:

  1. Company name as the username whenever possible
  2. Company name used as the vanity URL whenever possible
  3. Company name within the profile page description
  4. Keywords used within the profile page description
  5. Company contact information, including address and phone number
  6. A link to your company website

If you are trying to rank for some term other than the company’s name, then just subsitute it into the information above.  For example, you could substitute a company executive’s name for the company name.

Finding Niche Opportunities

Checking up on your competitors is an age-old strategy.  So this situation is no different. If you’re looking for niche networks and websites to create profiles for your business, simply do a search for the name of your competitor’s business and see what comes up in the top 30 search results.  If they have profiles on websites that you don’t, add them to your list!


  • Oscar Del Santo Sep 18, 2009

    This is an interesting post, full of useful advice.

    We professionals are sometimes called to ‘repair’ reputations ‘after the event’, something that is always time-consuming and rather costly.

    Implementing some of the measures recommended in this post before any potential reputation attack can save a business or individual time and money in the long run.

  • Gregory Kohs Sep 20, 2009

    Ralph, thanks for including MyWikiBiz as one of the best 16 spots to build a proactive reputation. Many of the small businesses who post a directory page on MyWikiBiz are amazed when it shoots onto page one of Google results for keywords flagged semantically in their directory listing.

    We’ll need to get Vertical Measures going on MyWikiBiz, don’t you think?

  • Jonathan Bentz Sep 21, 2009

    Hey… for tech-related companies, CrunchBase cannot be overlooked. Perhaps this falls into the niche category but I wanted to make sure that site is at least mentioned here.

    Also, if you work for a startup, I would highly suggest a social media business profile on YouNoodle.

    And, for all you link builders out there, profiles on these websites also allow for different forms of anchor text-friendly link opportunities. Only catch is that YouNoodle redirects their anchor text links.

  • eBoost SEO Sep 21, 2009

    I’ve heard good things about Business.com. But when I’ve tried it, the profile hasn’t ranked well. Have you had any experience with them?

    Will definitely be trying this list, plus those sites listed in the comments. Thanks!

  • Ralphm Sep 21, 2009

    @Gregory Kohs – Done! Thanks for the suggestion :)

    @Jonathan Bentz – I was going to include CrunchBase, but they are in private Beta right now.

    @eBoost SEO – I don’t have any experience with Business.com, but SEObook has a great conversation about it in the comments on this page.

  • eBoost SEO Sep 22, 2009

    Thanks… I love the little tidbit at the end about getting the free link through Work.com.

    Added to the tool belt! :)

  • Jonathan Bentz Sep 23, 2009

    @Ralphm – not sure why CrunchBase is still in “private beta” unless they forgot to take it publicly out of private (does that make sense?). I have been using that site for my tech related clients for weeks.

  • Ralphm Sep 23, 2009

    That’s weird about Crunchbase. What page are you signing up on? You can see on the link I provided that it says they are still in beta and just provides an notification form.

  • Nick Stamoulis Sep 24, 2009

    Waiting until negative press finds it’s way into the search results for your name or your business name is not the right time to start this. It is important to already have these in place prior.

  • Mike Verdicchio Jan 27, 2010


    Great article with some really good practical advice – so many little pieces can make a big difference. Thanks for writing it.

  • Kelly Baggett Feb 09, 2010

    As long as your domain name is your exact company name, you already have a huge leg up on your competition. You should now be sure to also have high PR internal pages, so that you can have multiple listings on the first page of Google in addition to your profile rankings. Thanks for the article.

  • SpaceOdyssey42 Jul 17, 2010

    Thank you for the advice! Very useful article!

  • Reputation management Aug 10, 2010

    your business online reputation is very important as customers nowadays don't just order but do more research about your products or services and your company before purchasing. and once they've read something bad about you they'll definitely think twice before ordering.

  • ctrlonline Sep 01, 2010

    Good article with the basics put in a logical and understandable way. Especially to help MSE starting with their online rep. W.r.t. title would ' How to be proactive with your Reputation Management' be even better? This because 'How to..' attracks more readers. Thx!

  • Cedric Filyaw Mar 14, 2011

    I was recommended this website by means of my cousin. I am no longer certain whether this post is written by him as nobody else recognize such distinct approximately my problem. You’re wonderful! Thank you!

  • Asher Elran Oct 11, 2013

    I would exclude yelp from the list. Take company local splash for example. Its yelp profile comes up on top of the search if you Google the company name-and most of the reviews are bad. You want something that you can manage a little better like Twitter Facebook, Merchant circle (you can delete unfavorable review from this one yourself).