reputation management cost

The Cost of Reputation Management Factors and Timelines

Reputation management cost varies depending on factors and timelines. Find out the pricing that fits your needs.


When it comes to reputation management, one of the first questions clients ask is how long the process will take. This question is understandable, given that the majority of consumers now turn to Google to research companies before doing business with them. The first page of Google search results has a significant impact on how potential clients and partners perceive a brand. However, determining the timeline for conquering the first page and securing a brand’s online reputation is not a simple task.

Quick Answer: How Long Does ORM Take?

On average, an online reputation management (ORM) project takes about ten months. However, this number can be misleading because each campaign is unique and influenced by various factors. Some reputation marketing campaigns can never be considered “done” but only improved over time.

Longer Answer

To truly understand the timeline for reputation management, it is important to consider several key factors that can influence the length of an ORM campaign. Underestimating the work involved in improving online sentiment can lead to unrealistic expectations. Let’s analyze these factors in more detail:

The Existing Online Reputation of a Brand

The existing reputation of a brand plays a significant role in determining the ORM strategy. If a brand already has a positive presence on the first page of search results for its main keywords, it is relatively easier to secure the remaining spots. These results are already considered “authoritative,” requiring less effort to boost and secure them.

However, if the target keywords already display negative articles, forum threads, or social media posts in the top results, a considerable amount of work will be needed to either remove or push them down. In some cases, having no online presence at all may be better than having a negative online reputation.

The timeline for an ORM campaign can vary based on the existing reputation of a brand:

  • Terrible Reputation: 12+ months
  • Bad Reputation: Approximately 12 months
  • Fair Reputation: Approximately 9 months
  • Good Reputation: Approximately 6 months
  • Excellent Reputation: N/A (improvements can still be made)

Building a positive reputation from scratch takes time, but it is generally easier than countering negative content that ranks high.

The Strength of the Competition

The level of competition for target keywords is another crucial factor that influences the complexity and duration of an ORM campaign. If there is intense competition and other companies are heavily investing in SEO, SEM, link building, and social media, it becomes more challenging to achieve desired results.

Google’s priority is to display the most relevant and high-quality search results for every keyword. It considers over 200 ranking factors to determine the quality and relevance of each search result. When competition for a particular keyword is high, a brand must outperform its competitors on as many of these factors as possible.

The strength of online competition can be categorized as follows, along with the resources needed to improve brand reputation:

  • Very Strong Competition: 5x resources
  • Strong Competition: 4x resources
  • Average Competition: 2x resources
  • Weak Competition: 1x resources

It becomes evident that when the competition is strong, reaching the top of search results takes time and patience.

The link profile of a website is a key consideration for Google when ranking content. When high-quality and reliable websites link to a brand’s content, Google sees it as a vote of confidence. The number of high-quality backlinks pointing to a site is often directly related to its search rankings.

However, acquiring these links is no longer as easy as it used to be. In the past, buying a large number of backlinks could quickly boost search rankings. But today, following the same strategy can lead to penalties or even blacklisting. Acquiring backlinks from authority sites now requires a comprehensive link-building strategy, which can take months and cost thousands of dollars per backlink.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that Google will index and consider backlinks from high authority sites as part of a brand’s link profile. Rising to the top of search results in a highly competitive landscape requires time and patience.

Content Marketing Efforts and the Brand Story

A strong and positive brand story is a powerful tool for reputation management. Brands that engage in reputation management often need to address existing problems with their story or “brand mythology.” Turning this narrative around can be challenging.

A well-designed and compelling content marketing strategy can make a significant difference in the costs and efforts required to improve online sentiment. A compelling story has the potential to go viral, with others creating content and sharing it for the brand, effectively improving its reputation for free.

The costs involved in brand reputation management services are influenced by the quality and quantity of the existing content marketing effort. The better the marketing effort and the quality of the story relative to competing online content, the lower the costs:

  • Very Strong Content Marketing Effort: 0x cost multiplier
  • Strong Content Marketing Effort: 1x cost multiplier
  • Average Content Marketing Effort: 2x cost multiplier
  • Weak Content Marketing Effort: 3x cost multiplier

In other words, brands with compelling stories find it easier to get people to create great content around them, requiring fewer resources and lower costs.

It is important to note that sites with superior content can even outrank competitors with fewer backlinks because the linking sites are often of higher quality.

Existing Online Assets and Profiles

Apart from a brand’s website and blog, several online platforms require attention to secure the brand’s name. Well-managed and populated profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are essential for a positive ORM strategy. Building and optimizing these profiles may require additional investment before they can positively influence the overall reputation management efforts.

SEO Outreach and Influencer Marketing

Reaching out to key influencers and opinion-makers in a brand’s niche is another crucial aspect of ORM. Influencer marketing has gained significant importance in recent years due to the impact online influencers have on consumer behavior. Engaging micro-influencers who are popular in specific sub-niches can accelerate progress and yield better results faster.

There is typically a 10 to 12-week lag time between performing SEO efforts and seeing results. SEO outreach techniques aim to get publishers to mention, cite, and link to positive content, which eventually contributes to improved search rankings. However, patience is required to witness the impact of SEO efforts in search results.

How Long Does Review Management Take?

Ethical online review management should align with the approximate velocity of normal reviews in the past. In other words, if a business has historically received an average of five reviews per week, it is best to maintain a similar pace for new reviews. This helps prevent new reviews from being flagged as unnatural by review sites like Yelp. If a large number of reviews suddenly appear, it may raise suspicion and cause the reviews to be hidden, even if they are genuine. The timeline for review management depends on the number of existing reviews, with fewer reviews requiring less time than a significant number.


As evident from the factors discussed in this article, there are multiple variables involved in an ORM strategy that make it challenging to determine an exact timeline for results. The existing reputation of a brand, competition in the industry, content strategy maturity, the quality of the brand story, and search engine optimization factors all play significant roles. It is crucial to set realistic expectations and understand that reputation management is an ongoing process. For more information on our reputation management strategy or to discuss a potential timeline for your project, contact us today.

Note: This article was written by Kent Campbell, the chief strategist for Digital Rep and Reviews, an award-winning online reputation management agency. Kent has over 15 years of experience in SEO, Wikipedia editing, review management, and online reputation strategy. He has helped numerous individuals and companies improve their online presence. Kent regularly writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics.

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reputation management cost

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