44 Actionable Checks

Build Reputation

Monitor Reputation

Polish a Response Strategy

Amplify Advocates

Win Back Detractors


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Reputation Assets

Reputation assets are pages that appear in a search for reviews, case studies, or product comparisons. They come in many flavors and vary a lot by industry. We'll begin by classifying the reputation assets that already exist.

Self-Hosted Review Asset Self-Hosted Review Asset

Does the brand have at least one page dedicated to reviews or case studies?

If not, one needs to be created. When it comes to managing brand perception online, this is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit.

Self-hosted Comparison Asset Self-hosted Comparison Asset

Does the brand have at least one page dedicated to comparison shoppers?

This should typically consist of a comparison matrix that leaves the brand in a positive light. Be careful to abide by the FTC's Policy Regarding Comparative Advertising when working within the United States.

Negative Assets Negative Assets

Google the following variations:

*company name*
*company name reviews*
*company name comparison*
*company name vs. (whatever autocompletes in Google)*

Leave tabs open with these searches for the next several steps. Repeat for any noteworthy trademarks. Record any outright negative content (ripoffreport.com, scaminformer.com) to the right. Thumb at least three pages deep in the results to be thorough.

Anonymous Assets Anonymous Assets

From the searches above, record any review sites that allow anonymous reviews.

We'll consider these lower-priority negative assets, because one disgruntled customer or competitor could potentially flood these with hundreds of bogus reviews. Note that this may also apply to any blog posts with open, anonymous commenting enabled.

Unpredictable Assets Unpredictable Assets

From the searches above, record any review sites that are positive overall, but do not allow for brand representatives to communicate with reviewers to resolve their issues.

This may look fine now but it's still not ideal, because it can get away from us.

Industry Reputation Players Industry Reputation Players

Many industries have review sites that are so popular that they're worth putting up with no matter what. That's because they'll have a major audience apart from anything we can do in Google. Examples:

g2crowd.com for cloud-based software.
yelp.com for restaurants.
tripadvisor.com for hotels.

Search for the brand's shortest, most 'core' keywords with *reviews* tagged on the end. Document any niche-specific review site with an Alexa score lower than 50,000.

ORM-Friendly Review Assets ORM-Friendly Review Assets

Does the brand have any review assets that put the brand's needs first?

There are a variety of services, such as CustomerLobby, that give near total control to brands. Other industry review sites carry so much weight that they're worth putting up with. Determine what sites we want to put up with long-term based on these factors.

Social Media Assets Social Media Assets

Document all of the brand's social media assets.

They'll be most likely to rank for *company* searches, if well-used. We *may* need to get creative and help them along in ranking for *company reviews* and such as well, depending on the next many steps. List owned social profiles even if they aren't currently a part of the day to day social media strategy.

Reputation Situation in Search

After documenting and classifying all of the brand's current social media assets, we need to determine what to do with what we've got, while also figuring out if we should be creating more.

Strong ORM requires 15+ positive assets in the strongest possible positions. The aim is to command the first 1.5 pages of Google with:

2x pages from our own site
5x social media profiles
3x review sites (only ORM-friendly or industry player sites)
5x single content piece reviews (ie. a blog or press release that's independent of a review site)

Review Page SEO Strength Review Page SEO Strength

Does the company's self-hosted review page rank #1 (or #2, after the homepage) for *brand reviews* searches?
If not, the SEO of this particular page should be strengthened. Begin by placing *Brand Reviews* and likely variants at the beginning of the TITLE and H1. Assure that the page has adequate content. Assure that the page is high on the navigational hierarchy (ie. on the static footer menu of every page).

The above steps should almost always be enough to rank for *brand reviews* searches, but if this still doesn't allow the brand to own the top 1-2 search positions, consider attaching this page to link building processes (ie. mentioning it in press release and guest author biographies).

Review Sprinkles Review Sprinkles

Do reviews appear throughout product/service pages?

Our first priority on this one isn't search, but it can help too. The fact is that audiences rarely navigate to a dedicated review page if search didn't bring them there. So we earn even more trust by always placing reviews/studies in-line with our landing pages. Consider linking back to a master review page from these subpages it doesn't rank #1/#2 for reputation searches already; the extra internal linkage will help that too.

Comparison Page SEO Strength Comparison Page SEO Strength

Does a targeted asset on the brand's own website (identified above) rank #1/#2 for *brand comparison* and *brand vs. (whatever autocompletes in Google)*?

If not, work on strengthening the SEO signals behind these assets using the methods discussed above for review pages.

Structured Data on Reviews Structured Data on Reviews

Do all instances of reviews use valid schema.org markup?

This boosts appearances in search by adding five review stars beneath SERP listings in Google and Bing. Here's the code.

Build More Social Media Assets Build More Social Media Assets

Do we have at least 5 social media assets?

If not, claim more, filling out each entirely with content. Use KnowEm to identify the largest opportunities quickly.

Interlinked Social Assets Interlinked Social Assets

Are all social media assets interlinked with each other?

This is easy, low-hanging fruit for claiming extra link authority.

Thorough Social Media Content Thorough Social Media Content

Are all social assets filled completely?

By this we mean, using the maximum word count for biography fields and day to day management heavily maintained. More followers mean more internal links within these sites mean higher rankings. More content means more value and higher rankings. Not every social site needs this level of attention - but social sites that we want to be serious ORM assets do.

Social Media Social Media "Review" Keywords

Are social media assets ranking for *brand* searches but buried by negative content for a *brand reviews* search?

Revise the biographies of social profiles to talk about the "rave reviews" that brands get. Modify the day to day social guidelines to include curated brand reviews in the daily posting formula.

Acceptable Review Outlets Acceptable Review Outlets

Did we fail to identify at least three existing ORM-Friendly or Industry Player review sites?

Then we need to go hunting for more. There are lots of review sites that give brands god-level power over the review process. Of course, the aim isn't to simply delete bad reviews - that can (and probably should) have serious blowback. But we do want control over the process with having a say in righting our wrongs and mitigating fraud when a negative review appears.

Competitor Google Ads Competitor Google Ads

Are any competitors running Google Ads on searches for the brand name?

By default, Google Ads allows this, but you can put a stop to it by filing a valid trademark request. More on this.

There are 24 more steps in this audit.


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