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Best Online Reputation Management Services of 2021

By
Skye Schooley
,
Business News Daily Staff
| Updated
Nov 16, 2020

We researched and analyzed the best online reputation management services for individuals and small businesses. Read our reviews to discover which company has the right features for you.
Best for Small Businesses
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Key services: Online monitoring, content creation, social media, review management, crisis response, positive reputation management and strategic PR
Best for Individuals
Gadook
Key services: Brand building, rebranding, brand protection, social profile optimization and review management
Best for Review Management
Podium
Key services: Review acquisition, review management, centralized inbox, web chat, feedback and team chat
We researched and analyzed the best online reputation management services for individuals and small businesses. Read our reviews to discover which company has the right features for you.
  • Reputation management services employ a combination of strategies to build and maintain a positive reputation or repair a negative one.
  • Common reputation management strategies include content creation, review acquisition and management, social media management, search engine optimization, crisis management, and online monitoring and reporting.
  • Custom reputation management services can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month.
  • This article is for professionals and small business owners who want to learn about the best reputation management services available and how to choose an online reputation management service.

Knowing how important an online image is, many businesses and professionals turn to online reputation management companies to repair and/or maintain theirs. To help you choose an online reputation management service that's right for you, we researched and analyzed more than 40 services. To select the services we think are best, we looked at various factors, including cost and contract length, their specific services, and whether they use black-hat tactics. Read on to learn about the best reputation management companies for individuals and small businesses.

If you want more tips on how to choose a reputation management company for your brand, check out our buyer's guide.

Find the Right Online Reputation Management Service for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.

Our Reviews

WebiMax: Best for Small Businesses

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WebiMax is a digital marketing agency that provides a host of online reputation management services, including content creation, online monitoring, social media monitoring, review generation and management, crisis response, brand preservation, positive reputation promotion, and strategic PR. WebiMax conducts an initial analysis of your brand's online reputation and then works with your company to develop a strategy to meet your brand's specific needs. The company assigns you a dedicated project manager to inform you of your campaign's progress each step of the way.

Pricing for WebiMax's reputation management services is based on the specific strategies your business needs. The agency doesn't require any long-term contracts, working instead on a month-to-month basis, which allows the flexibility to change strategies at any time.

WebiMax offers a wide range of other digital marketing services, including lead generation, local marketing, online PR, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing and web design. The company's website offers helpful resources such as blogs, whitepapers and FAQs. For additional questions or support, you can contact WebiMax agents by phone, email, live chat or contact form.

Read WebiMax Review

Gadook: Best for Individuals

Gadook is a full-service inbound marketing and reputation management company. It offers reputation services for individuals such as company presidents, CEOs and founders. Its primary reputation management services are brand building, rebranding, brand protection, social media optimization and review management.

To determine which of these services you need, Gadook analyzes your current online reputation. Based on what it discovers, the agency implements a specific plan to either repair a negative online image or boost and maintain a positive one. Its strategies include creating positive, search-optimized content to push negative content off the first few pages of the search results.

Gadook customizes pricing for each business depending on the strategies it employs. Although the company does not require a long-term contract, it recommends you stick with its campaign for at least three to six months to achieve the desired results.

Gadook offers additional marketing services, such as web marketing, web design and development, project management, system administration, and senior-level participation. These services cost $80 per hour. Gadook representatives are available to answer questions by phone, online contact form or web chat form.

Read Gadook Review

Podium: Best for Review Management

Podium focuses on review acquisition and management. It works with all businesses, regardless of size or industry, to improve and streamline their online review process. Its primary benefit is the ability to centralize reviews from all review websites, like Google and Facebook, into one location. From the management software, you can send review requests, share reviews on the platforms you choose, and promptly respond to reviews that need immediate attention.

You can also take advantage of a centralized inbox. The Podium platform compiles your messages from several locations – such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, text messages and your website – into one location. You can filter conversations, set automated responses and improve response time. You can also integrate Podium's chat widget onto your website, giving customers the option to communicate with you by text.

Podium offers custom plans for each business, tailoring its prices to your needs and budget; however, the company requires an initial 12-month contract. You can reach sales members or customer support representatives by phone, contact form, or chat-to-text.

Read Podium Review

How Much Does Online Reputation Management Cost?

While some companies have service plans with a set monthly cost, most online reputation management companies customize pricing, because not all businesses have the same reputation management needs. Most providers conduct a free initial analysis to see which strategies your business can benefit from the most. Based on that information, they build a campaign package for your specific needs.

The costs for reputation management services can be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month. It all depends on the type of work you need done. Some of these services require a three-, six- or 12-month contract, while others work on a month-to-month basis that allows you to cancel at any time. 

Key takeaway: Reputation management services' prices are often customized and range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month.

What Is Reputation Management?

Reputation management is the strategic monitoring and implementation of tactics to promote positive online content and suppress negative online content. These tactics can include any combination of content creation, review acquisition and management, social media marketing, search engine optimization, crisis management, content removal, public relations, and online monitoring.

Consumers go online to read about new products, vent about unsatisfactory services, and interact with their favorite brands' social media accounts. To ensure that the information being spread about you is positive, it is important to facilitate reputation management tactics – or hire a service to do it for you.  

Key takeaway: Reputation management is a combination of strategies (e.g., content creation, review monitoring, social media management) to build and maintain a positive reputation or repair a negative one.

What Are the Core Elements of Reputation Management?

Online reputation management services employ multiple strategies to boost a brand's online image. These are the most common ones: 

Content Creation 

Creating positive content is one of the best ways to suppress negative search results and build an online reputation that you can control. Most reputation management agencies offer some form of content creation, including websites, articles, blog posts, wiki sites, press releases, business profiles and business listings.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  Reputation management companies can help you optimize your online content for search engines. They make sure your content has the right keywords, metadata, and headlines to give it the best chance of being seen when people search for your business or businesses in your industry.

Review Acquisition and Management 

Online reputation management services can help you acquire and manage reviews on various platforms like Google, Facebook and Yelp. They reach out to your previous customers to acquire new reviews, send auto-responses and promote positive reviews. If you receive a negative review, they can respond to it on your behalf or quickly notify you to remedy the situation. Some companies focus specifically on review acquisition and management strategies as their primary means of reputation management. They provide a platform where you can manage every review-related task in one place.

Social Media Management 

Online reputation management companies can create social media accounts on the sites that are most relevant to your business (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest) and then monitor and manage those accounts. This includes setting up profiles for you on all relevant social channels, deciding what and when to post on those networks, and monitoring them for negative reviews. Active social profiles are a good way to promote your brand as well as to manage negative social comments. 

Crisis Management

Not all reputation management companies offer crisis management services, but it can be helpful when you are the target of a reputation attack. Some strategies they may implement to quickly improve your reputation are content removal or suppression, press releases, and positive content creation.  

Online Monitoring and Reporting 

Online reputation management companies can monitor other websites, blogs, forums, and news sites to see if people mention your business. They look at review sites like Yelp and Glassdoor, as well as any other websites or blogs where your business is being discussed. This ensures you know when people are talking about your business online and what they are saying. The companies can also monitor your reputation results and report back on how the campaigns are faring. They report information such as how your search results have improved and what social media and review sites are most beneficial for your business.

Key takeaway: Reputation management companies can implement a variety of strategies to improve or maintain your brand image, like creating content for you, building and managing your social media profiles, acquiring and managing reviews of your company, and monitoring your results.

How Do You Choose a Reputation Management Company?

Reputation management companies provide a variety of services for businesses and individuals, including SEO, content development, social media creation and monitoring, review acquisition and management, and third-party website monitoring. However, your brand is unique, and your reputation management strategy should be too. 

When choosing an online reputation management service for your business or individual reputation, you need to factor in things like your budget, the features you want and the quality of the customer support. First, evaluate your current reputation in comparison to your ideal reputation. Are you repairing a negative online reputation, maintaining your current one or creating a completely new one? Which platforms would you like help managing? For example, maybe your website needs a revamp, your social media needs enhancement, or your company needs more reviews. 

You will also want to look for a company that can work within your anticipated timeframe and provides the level of customer support you need. Is this a two-month project, or will you need ongoing review maintenance? The level (and frequency) of the support you want should factor into your decision. 

Once you list everything you want an online reputation management company to accomplish for you, seek out trustworthy companies that specialize in those areas.

Check out our buying guide to learn more about how to choose an online reputation management service.

Key takeaway: To choose a reputation management company, determine what you want the service to accomplish, set a monthly budget and anticipated timeframe, and list any additional features or strategies you want.

 

Community Expert Insight

To better learn what small businesses and individuals look for in a reputation management service, we reached out to the community to get their opinions. We found that most people prioritize review management and plan flexibility. For example, Natik Ameen, CEO of Canz Marketing, said his company uses Podium to manage its online reputation, primarily because of Podium's great customer relationship management features, including review management.  

"We use Podium for reviews, feedback, web chat and video chat," Ameen told Business News Daily. "I like how it made it very easy for businesses to maintain relationships and connect with their customers."

Most businesses, and some individuals, can benefit from review management, so this is a service you might want to prioritize when comparing reputation management companies.

You will likely want to find a reputation management service that also offers flexibility – customization and short-term contracts (ideally month-to-month service) are key. Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, said his healthcare business chose WebiMax to manage its online reputation mainly because of the company's extreme flexibility.

"Customers don't need to commit to a long-term contract but can opt to use the service one month at a time," he said. "The unique flexibility perk is beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises that do not have enormous funds at their disposal. It allows businesses to effectively manage their budget instead of dumping a large fraction of their budget to online reputation management alone."  

Online Reputation Management FAQs

What are online reputation management services?

Online reputation management involves creating the best possible online image for your brand. These services work to ensure that positive news and reviews are the first things customers (and potential leads) see when they search for your business online. 

For businesses that have negative information about them online, these services deploy various strategies to push undesirable stories and reviews off the first few pages of search results. 

For businesses with a positive online image, online reputation management services monitor the web to ensure the reputation stays positive and that the business can respond immediately when anything negative pops up. Online reputation management can also manage your online reviews to ensure they are positive. Some companies conduct a crisis response to any major incidents that could hurt your brand image.   

Who needs reputation management services?

Whether your online reputation is good, bad, or nonexistent, chances are that you can benefit from hiring a reputation management service for your business or yourself. The difference lies in what strategies would benefit your company or personal reputation the most. 

For example, companies and professionals that already have positive online reputations can benefit from maintenance strategies like review management and website monitoring. Those with poor online reputations may require more advanced strategies to minimize bad search results and highlight positive achievements. They can benefit from review and social media management strategies, especially since reputation services can help companies respond to customer complaints.    

Building a brand-new reputation can be difficult; businesses and professionals that don't have an established online reputation can benefit greatly from hiring a reputation management service. These companies can help you establish your brand and claim authority through techniques such as creating content, building your social media profiles, boosting your SEO, and acquiring and managing customer reviews. 

Unless you have an experienced in-house team working on your social media presence and SEO, creating your content, gathering and managing customer reviews, and monitoring your website and overall online reputation, you should at least consider using a reputation management service.

Why do you need online reputation management services?

While some people may think that only businesses with poor reputations need this type of service, all businesses and professionals can benefit from some level of online reputation management.  

Anyone with a negative reputation can use these companies to help repair their image. These companies employ strategies to reduce or hide negative discourse about the brand. These strategies include creating new, positive content that pushes negative articles farther down in search results. Crisis management strategies can be employed if there's a serious incident that requires immediate attention. 

Anyone with a positive online reputation can use these services to ensure their image stays that way. It can be valuable to have these services monitor the web for mentions of your brand. Reputation management firms can promote positive news and reviews about you when they appear online, and if something negative pops up, they can quickly notify you so you can respond and rectify the situation as soon as possible.  

How can a negative online reputation hurt you?

More than ever, consumers rely on the internet to determine where they shop, what they buy, where they eat and where they spend their money in general. They conduct research online and read reviews from other consumers to determine the best businesses to use. Knowing the high premium today's shoppers place on what they see online, businesses must keep a positive online image. A few bad reviews or negative online articles can do some serious damage. 

Monitoring your online reputation, especially customer reviews, is more important than ever. According to recent surveys, 70% of consumers check multiple review sites when considering buying from a local business. (The average consumer reads 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business.) Nearly half of consumers surveyed said they would not use a business that has less than four stars on review sites.

You want customers to judge your business for themselves. However, if they see some bad reviews online, there is a good chance they'll turn to a competitor that has a better online image. You may never get the opportunity to prove those bad reviews wrong, because shoppers won't give you a chance. As a small business owner, you must actively monitor your company's online reputation to ensure you are meeting the needs of your customers.

What causes a bad reputation?

Bad reputations can be due to things like over-promised and under-delivered services, low-quality products, and poor customer service. However, you can run a great company and still have a bad online reputation. It just takes a few upset customers to tarnish your brand if you don't properly manage your online image, especially if you don't have much of an online presence to begin with.

Businesses can earn a poor reputation by not responding to customers' negative online comments and reviews. Although it's tempting to ignore irate customers, responding to and resolving online complaints can improve your relationships and create loyal customers. Additionally, reading negative reviews can teach you where your products or services are lacking and where you can improve.

Almost as damaging as a bad reputation is no reputation at all. If your business doesn't have important online features like a website, social media accounts, up-to-date listings, reviews or online mentions, customers are less likely to trust your brand. If your business doesn't exist online, it doesn't exist to potential customers. 

How long does online reputation management take to work?

There is no set time for how long it takes to see results from online reputation management services; it depends on the state of your brand's image when you start and the strategies your hired service uses. Some businesses may see results within the first month or two, while others may not see substantial improvements for six months to a year. Remember that these services don't offer a quick fix; they employ strategies that take time to pay off. Patient businesses usually reap the rewards of online reputation management services.

What does an online reputation manager do?

An online reputation manager works with you to create a strategy that will best improve or maintain your brand image. They discuss your current reputation and goals with you, and then they create a custom plan that works within your budget and anticipated timeframe. Once you agree on the analysis and campaign plan, the reputation manager works closely with you to implement their strategies and enhance your reputation.

Your dedicated reputation manager that the company assigns to you should be a point of contact you have an ongoing relationship with. These managers often provide periodic reports and analytics on your reputation's and campaign's status, but you can also reach out to them with any questions about your reputation. 

What's the difference between reputation management and review management?

Reputation management is a combination of multiple strategies that can be used to maintain or improve your reputation, like content creation, social media management and online monitoring. Review management is one specific part of reputation management.

Customer reviews play a major role in a brand's online reputation, so some companies focus specifically on acquiring and managing reviews as their reputation management strategy. Other companies only use review management as one part of their overall reputation management strategy. Determine whether you simply want help managing reviews or want help with your entire online presence before choosing a provider.

Our Methodology

 

To select the best online reputation management services for businesses and individuals, we started with a pool of more than 50 vendors that we found online, including those reviewed by other websites. Here is an explanation of our selection process.

Locating the Best Services

To find the best reputation management company, we started by consulting our previous list of reputation management vendors. We looked at other review sites and researched the industry in depth. We sought out online reputation management companies that were transparent about their services, with pricing and service information available on their websites. We immediately eliminated those that didn't offer the full scope of online management services for small businesses and individuals. From this research, we compiled a list of more than 40 vendors.

Choosing the Best Services

We narrowed down our initial list to 14 finalists for our best picks. From there, we conducted a more in-depth analysis. We determined the specific services they offer, read user comments, reviewed Better Business Bureau ratings and complaints, and tested out services when demos were available.

Researching Each Service

We looked at the types of strategies the services employ, how transparent they are about the services they offer, whether they use black-hat tactics, the cost and contract length (when that information was available), customer service, online reviews, Better Business Bureau complaints, and whether they serve businesses, individuals or both. From there, we narrowed down our list to the top three reputation management companies by use case: WebiMax for small businesses, Gadook for individuals, and Podium for review management.

Analyzing Each Service

We adopted the mindset of a small business owner and gathered the data that would be readily available to such an individual. We contacted our best picks, posing as business owners and professionals, to test the companies' customer support and learn more about the services. Each of our best picks withstood each round of testing.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Business News Daily Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.
Image Credit: Rawpixel / Getty Images
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