Online Reputation Management and the “Spaghetti Method”

Online reputation management (ORM) is a huge, and growing market. For others it means they have a huge public relations problem. I have worked with a few companies and individuals with just such a problem. I’ll tell you the story and outcome of one such client, who will remain nameless.

ORM Problem: My client fired an employee who posts negative information about the company on a forum and review site. The truthfulness of the postings are irrelevant and they stand to lose a lot of business for people searching their company name. The negative postings (negatives) were listed in positions 2 and 4+5. Even someone searching for their phone number will see these negative results!

ORM Failed Solution: My client came to me through a referral. They had already hired an ORM firm ranked on the first page of Google and got literally no results after 3 months. They gave me all of the information they had which included a few business listings and web 2.0 type sites that were built with duplicate content. In all, they spent $3500 and had 6 web 2.0’s and 25 business directory listings. None of those 31 pages were showing up on the first 3 pages of the SERP’s. $3500 down the drain.

My ORM Solution: When I explained my approach to his problem my client was shocked and initially not interested at all, and you might be as well.

  • Step 1: Scrape content and spin heavily. I spun a single 400 word article to 98% uniqueness, then did it again with a different article and combined them into one 400 word article.
  • Step 2: Throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
  • When all that matters is the negatives moving down and off the first page or two, who cares what site is showing up in the #2-10 positions? All my client wanted was to have the negatives out of view. I created 8,000 unique pages of content over the course of 48 hours.

  • Step 3: Wait. For most people this is the hard part. You want to do something, but until you know what is going to stick against the wall. During this time, I’m getting the pages indexed. I usually give this step about a week. After a week I expect to have about 75% of the pages indexed and usually see some starting to show up on the first 5 pages. For this client, I had 5 pages in the top 10, and controlled the entire 2nd and 3rd page. Literally every single page was one I created for this client.
  • Step 4: Link building to the ranking pages. Now that we know what is sticking to the wall, we need to build some links to these pages to get them to move up. The timeframe is completely dependent on the quality of your link building methods. I generally shoot for 1-6 months depending on the competition of the keyword for this step.
  • Step 5: Change content so it’s appropriate. After you move the negatives off the first page, you should have 3-9 pages one the first page that you created. If the content isn’t reflective of your client, it needs to be rewritten and changed on the pages you created…You did keep the username and password of every page you created, right? Depending on the client, they might want to provide the content, they might want to review content you have created, or they might not care as long as it’s good.

This method does not work for competitive keywords and should be clearly explained to your client along with a timeline of expectations. In SEO, it’s usually impossible to give an exact timeline and I find it’s usually better to over deliver.

Some clients have a very public brand, are overly concerned about their public reputation, or get themselves into regular trouble. These clients generally need an ongoing ORM relationship. Small companies and single issues can usually be handled in under 6 months.

For my client, the total time from start to finish for 3.5 months. He now owns the entire first page. One negative is at the bottom of the second page, and the other negative is nowhere in the top 100. Success!

Brandon Hopkins owns a complete link building service at DiamondLinks.net. He frequently works with ORM clients and even agencies building links and content for their clients. Contact Brandon if you have a reputation problem!

photo credit: Shutterstock/Josh Resnick

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