online reputation management for small businesses

Online Reputation Management for Small Businesses

Online reputation management for small businesses: Boost your online image with our expert services. Gain trust and attract more customers today.

In 2023, the reputation of your business is closely tied to its online presence. With nearly 80% of interactions between consumers and new businesses starting online, how your business presents itself and how others talk about it online can have a significant impact on its success.

While you can’t control what others say about your business, managing your online reputation gives you the opportunity to shape the overall narrative and protect your reputation during a PR crisis.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a set of strategies implemented by businesses to influence and improve their online narrative and overall perception. A successful ORM strategy aims to achieve the following:

  1. Ensuring that your business is easily discoverable in search engine results.
  2. Ensuring that the results for branded keywords, usually your business name, accurately represent your brand in a positive manner.
  3. Preventing negative results, such as negative reviews, social media comments, or news articles, from ranking prominently for branded keywords.

An effective ORM strategy involves building and maintaining a strong online presence for your business, as well as having a plan in place to respond to negative coverage. This includes creating a website and social media profiles, developing a content strategy, monitoring online conversations about your industry, and having a response plan for negative news or reviews.


ORM and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are closely related, although they have different goals. SEO aims to rank a business’s website for broad keywords that potential customers may use to find their offerings. On the other hand, ORM focuses on ranking multiple online assets for branded keywords, which are usually less competitive but more specific to the business.

Both ORM and SEO involve managing how your business appears in search results and influencing those results. While ORM and SEO have different objectives, many SEO strategies can be used in an ORM campaign.

The Importance of Business Reputation

In 2023, how your business appears online has significant implications for customer retention and acquisition, investor relationships, growth opportunities, and overall success. A reputation study conducted by Deloitte identified brand reputation as the highest strategic risk area for companies. Negative information, such as reviews or rumors, can impact product evaluations and reduce purchase likelihood and sales.

A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. With 97% of people searching online to learn more about a business, your online reputation has a significant influence on consumer perceptions.

A bad reputation can have severe consequences for a business. Just one negative article ranking online can lead to a potential loss of up to 22% of prospective customers. Businesses with four or more negative articles in search results risk losing up to 70% of prospective customers. Furthermore, 87% of consumers report that they will reverse a purchase decision after reading negative news or reviews online.

However, a positive online reputation can be highly beneficial for your business. Consumers trust businesses with a positive online reputation, and nearly 90% of consumers remain loyal to businesses that share their values. A good reputation can also protect your business, as negative news has less influence on those already familiar with your brand.

Given the stakes and potential benefits, managing your business’s reputation should be a central focus of your corporate strategy.

Online Reputation Management for Small Businesses

When it comes to online reputation, negative feedback is inevitable for every business. It could be a bad review, negative article, or a misstep that becomes a bigger story. The key is to position your business and respond effectively to these situations.

This is why reputation management is crucial for small businesses. It allows you to actively participate in the narrative surrounding your business. The goal is not to remove other opinions but to have the opportunity to represent your business in online conversations.

Here are some strategies to help you build, manage, and protect your online reputation:

Get Familiar with Your Online Reputation

The first step in managing your business’s online reputation is to understand what that reputation is. Search for your business in an incognito browser with cleared cache to get accurate results.

Take note of what you see. Is your business appearing in search results? If not, you need to investigate why.

If your business does appear, analyze the results. Where does your website rank? What about your social media profiles? Do other businesses rank? Are there any local pack results? What third-party results rank for your business? Are they positive, neutral, or negative?

An audit of your online presence will provide insights into the profiles you need to create, topics you should cover, and the current online narrative. Remember, it’s not just about what ranks but also where it ranks. The top three results receive the majority of clicks, and results on the second page can still be visible to users.

Build a Strong Online Presence

Once you have assessed your current online presence, it’s time to start building a solid foundation. The most important owned assets are your website and social media profiles.

To optimize your website for search engines, consider technical aspects of SEO such as page speed and structure. For users, provide the information they are looking for, including details about your business, employees, and products.

Secure relevant social media profiles, even if you’re not ready to use them yet. This will save you headaches in the future.

Maintain Your Online Presence

Creating an online presence is just the beginning. Inactive or outdated online assets can deter users from engaging with your business. If you’re not regularly using certain profiles, set them to private until you have a posting schedule in place. Create a content calendar to ensure regular updates, and remember that quality is more important than quantity.

Maintain consistent branding across your social media platforms, as presenting a unified image can increase revenue by up to 25%.

Use Content to Provide Value

Content is king in both SEO and reputation management. Informative and useful content can build your authority, trustworthiness, and expand your audience and customer base.

Identify your audience and the questions they have. Develop high-quality, unique content that answers those questions. This can include blog posts, website copy, and product pages. Use customer surveys, support inquiries, and industry knowledge gaps to identify content topics.

Quality content can also increase your exposure and visibility in search results. Consider opportunities for earned media to further amplify your business’s reputation.

Leverage Reviews

Online reviews are crucial in 2023. Consumers rely on reviews to learn about businesses, and positive reviews have a significant influence on their decisions. Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, is essential.

96% of consumers read a business’s response to reviews, and those that respond to all reviews are more likely to be used by consumers. Reviews and responses can also have a positive impact on your business’s SEO.

If you receive negative reviews, having a response strategy can help turn a negative into a positive.

Stay Aware of Online Conversations

Reviews are not the only online conversations you should monitor. Stay up-to-date on news related to your business and industry. This information can guide your content creation, social media posts, and help you avoid saying the wrong things during sensitive events.

Utilize tools like Google Alerts and social media listening to keep track of online conversations. Pay attention to your competitors as well, as their results can provide valuable insights and potential earned media opportunities.

Know When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, managing your business’s reputation may require professional assistance. If your business lacks the capacity or experience to develop and execute a reputation management strategy, or if you are facing a reputation crisis, consider hiring an ORM firm.

An ORM firm can assess your online reputation, identify areas for improvement, and develop a custom ORM plan for your business. If you’re unsure where to start or if an ORM firm is the best option for you, schedule a free consultation with to get started.

In conclusion, online reputation management is crucial for small businesses in 2023. Your business’s online reputation has a significant impact on customer perceptions, retention, and acquisition. By implementing effective ORM strategies, such as building a strong online presence, leveraging reviews, and staying aware of online conversations, you can protect and enhance your business’s reputation.

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online reputation management for small businesses

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