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Your business reputation is fundamental to your survival and growth. It always has been. 

In today’s digital world your company’s reputation is always under the spotlight. Therefore actively managing your business reputation is essential. 


While this section may seem like it's only relevant to politicians or criminals, negative content is something that can happen to anyone. All it takes is one bad blog post or status update from a pissed off ex, one disgruntled former client or employee, or one photo tagged in bad judgement after a night out with a friend. The point is, bad results can happen to good people, and this guide is meant to walk you through the emergency tactics you can use to salvage your reputation.


So what do we mean when we talk about business reputation management? Well, it is the process of managing and monitoring your company’s online presence. This means that the perception of your business will showcase the positive allows you to stand out from the crowd and gain new customers.  


In a world where everything is online, business owners can no longer afford to ignore what is being said about them online. Business owners can spend years developing a strong reputable brand, but having a poor online reputation, or having negative stories appear, has the potential to ruin all that hard work.


A positive reputation can be your greatest asset


A positive online reputation can be your business’s greatest asset, or it has the potential to be your biggest weakness. Clients, colleagues, and employees all use search engines like Google to help make decisions every day. 


Everybody ‘Googles’ everything now, and they see websites, social networks, blogs, review sites, press, and media, that tell them about your business. Having negative press, social media comments or reviews puts people off. But, if they are positive, people are more likely to trust you and do business with you. 

One negative article, whether it is truthful or not, has the potential to create a reputation crisis, which can impact the success of your business. 


Defamation Removal Tip: Setting up a Google Alerts account is an effective way to combat libel and online defamation. Just enter your name and you’ll be notified as soon as it shows up anywhere online. Online defamation is like a wildfire, the longer you let it sit and spread, the more damage it’s going to do to not only your personal life, but your professional one.


Why is corporate reputation important? 


Corporate reputation is the overall viewpoint held by your internal and external stakeholders based on your past actions. A good reputation will cause customers, vendors and stakeholders to be more trusting and loyal to your business. 


So, what you want people to see when they ‘Google’ your business is a search results page filled with links that truly reflect who you are and what you do. This is important because: 


  • Google controls as much as 92% of all search engine traffic.

  • The first page of a Google search for your company’s name attracts 95% of traffic from an average search.

  • 90% of people only look at the first page of search engine results to form their impression.

  • 64% of people trust online search engines the most when conducting research on a business.

What’s the real influence and impact of different search results online to businesses?

  • 46% of companies have been damaged or are worrying about negative press coverage, (up 29% since 2014).

  • 1 in 3 businesses say negative content has already damaged their business and 1 in 3 worry about the impact of negative content on their business and its value in future.

  • A further 1 in 3 businesses say negative social media posts pose the greatest reputation threat.

  • Damaging content costs money.

So, it’s clearly important to develop a corporate reputation management strategy. But what impact does all of this have on customer behaviour?

The impact of reviews alone is huge:

  • 93% of people say that online reviews impact their buying decisions.

  • 90% of people admit reading online reviews before visiting a business.

  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a business more.


What you might find surprising, and worth noting when you want to grow your bottom line, is that 68% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if assured they will have a better experience.  Which really shows the impact and value of positive reviews and how important it is to respond to reviews. 


But when what people see, and say, is negative, be it reviews, press, social media comments and other content, it’s doing a lot of damage.


  • Businesses are risking losing 22% of business when potential customers find 1 negative article on the first page of their search results, and 70% with 4 or more negatives. 

  • 51% of businesses say that their company has been negatively affected by unsubstantiated online reviews or targeted by trolls.


Search engines, such as Google, Bing and others, don’t care about your reputation. They don’t filter search results based on what’s negative and positive, but they do filter them based on what’s relevant and popular, making online reputation management especially relevant.


Get it Taken Down


This option is often the first step people take. In some cases it's worth it to try and have the content removed (although there are a few issues with this route which we'll discuss later on). If choose this route, there's a few steps you can take:


  • Ask to have it removed: Find the source of the person who posted the content (article author, social media account owner, website owner, etc.) and approach them about having it taken down. If you approach the owner professionally and explain why you need the content to be taken down, they may oblige. Chances are there's a reason the other person put it up in the first place, and they have no intention of removing it. If you do decide to take legal action, it can prove to be a long, drawn-out process that is difficult to undertake.

  • Submit a legal complaint to Google It is very difficult to have Google remove content from its search results, but it can be done. If the content is defamatory or contains personal information such as your social security number or credit card information, you can file the legal complaint.

  • File a DMCA Takedown: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects copyrighted information and prevents websites as well as search results from displaying copyrighted material without permission. You can file a request to the hosting site as well as Google. This can be an effective strategy but there needs to be an actual copyright violation and you need to be able to prove it.

  • Online defamation court order: As mentioned above, you can submit a court order to Google as well as a website if a judge deems the content defamatory. This has limited effectiveness given the first amendment and requires going to court and having them rule in your favor - this can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming.

  • “Right to be Forgotten”: This ruling in the EU requires Google to review requests for info to be removed from their search engines that may be “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive” This is only effective for EU citizens and even then the process is tedious, with requests being rejected more often than not.

  • Non-consensual pornography (revenge porn): Revenge porn is an increasing problem on the Internet that typically occurs in the aftermath of a break up where one partner shares intimate photos of the other in an act of revenge. Many sites are developing procedures to remove revenge via their Terms of Service and will have specific instructions to take on their site. Unfortunately, the laws surrounding revenge porn are moving slowly.

  • Miscellaneous Terms of Services: Some sites (like legal and news aggregators) will take down items when provided with the proper documentation. Not every site follows these guidelines though.


Unfortunately, many of these options aren’t feasible for most situations. Additionally, even if you are a candidate to get a result removed, you should be combining your efforts with suppression, or burying, anything unwanted. This provides long-term results while also safeguarding your reputation from something damaging popping up in the future. Before we jump into that process, we first want to take some time to highlight a few instances where removal is NOT an option or should not be explored as an option.


Why do you need reputation management?


A company’s online image is often the first thing that your customers, clients, stakeholders will look at when they are considering using your business. Customers are doing their research before making any purchasing decisions. For local businesses, this might mean consumers are reading reviews of local restaurants and using them to decide where to eat.  But what if those reviews are fake? 


  • 75% of businesses say that online reviews, comments, press and forum posts are important to the financial and reputational status of their business.

Failing to manage your online reputation could lead to a loss in sales, or even being unable to hire the right staff. 


What’s the benefit of corporate reputation management?


Online reputation management works to counter, weaken or eliminate negative material online and generate and promote the positive.


A well-managed corporate reputation online shows you in the best possible light. And this is good for you because your business benefits from higher trust, more business, attracting the best employees and future-proofing you from any harmful press, reviews and attacks on social media.


Business reputation management saves your business a lot of pain.


Did you know that damaging content costs 1 in 20 UK companies more than £500,000, 5% lose £100,000-£500,000, 1 in 7 lose up to £50,000? 


How does a reputation management firm work? 


If your business has any negative or out-dated content on Google, there are a number of things a reputation management company will do to improve your business reputation online. They will employ a combination of public relations tactics and advanced SEO marketing strategies that work to create positive content. 


This content will be fully optimized for search engines which will work to create a positive page one on Google. Positive content can include: 


  • Creating and optimizing websites. 

  • Thought leadership pieces. 

  • Press releases. 

  • Social media management. 

  • Blog posts 

  • Review management, and many more. 


As experienced professionals, the team at Igniyte know what is best to promote your business reputation over and above that of your competition. This includes: 


Suppressing any negative content 

Igniyte will create a positive online presence for your business by establishing professional profiles that will be optimized for all search engines. These will work with other online reputation management techniques to suppress any negative content. 


Managing a reputation or social media crisis 

Whether your business is trying to take proactive steps to prevent a business reputation crisis from happening in the future, or if you need crisis management now, it is important to take a step back and remain neutral. Igniyte would create a crisis reputation action plan which is personalized to your business and brand’s needs. 


Take control of your business reputation management – now

Taking control of your online presence with online reputation management services to enable you to present the best possible image of your business, brand or senior figures to the online community. It also protects your brand from any unwanted negative content online.


How? The positive profiles and content make it harder for negatives to rank in the first few pages of Google.


Because our approach to online reputation management is organic and personalized, rather than automated, our clients’ reputation strategies last as algorithms change over time.

Contact our experts to find out how we can help you to take control.


You have options when it comes to filing an online defamation lawsuit. Jurisdictional rules apply to all lawsuits, but online defamation cases can usually be filed in more than one state.


In general, you can choose between filing your lawsuit in states where:


  • You live

  • The defamer lives

  • Your business operates

  • Your customers live

  • You’ve experienced losses or damages as a result of the defamation