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The Best Online Reputation Management Providers of 2020

By Skye Schooley,
business.com Writer
| Updated
Oct 15, 2020

Which is the best online reputation management service for your business?
Best for Small Businesses
Month-to-month plans
Full-service management
Live chat customer support
Best for Reputation Attacks
30-day money-back guarantee
Crisis management
Negative content removal
Best for Review Acquisition
Multiple review acquisition tools
Real-time review alerts
Easy-to-use dashboard
Best for Review Management
Aggregated inbox
Chat-to-text feature
Response automation
Which is the best online reputation management service for your business?
 

Whether you have a negative online reputation that needs to be repaired, a positive online reputation that needs to be maintained, or a nonexistent online reputation that needs to be created, reputation management services can help your business's online presence. Many of these services offer similar strategies, so to help you identify the best one for your business, we researched and evaluated more than 40 agencies. To determine which ones are best, we examined each company's specific services, features, costs and pricing structure.

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How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
41
Considered
14
Researched
4
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

  WebiMax Reputation Resolutions BirdEye Podium
Free analysis Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contracts Month to month Month to month 12 months 12 months
Review management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Crisis management Yes Yes No No
Live chat Yes No Yes Yes (by text only)

Reviews

WebiMax: Best Online Reputation Management Service for Small Businesses

WebiMax has flexible month-to-month plans that you can modify to fit your budget or cancel at any time.
WebiMax is a full-service agency that offers everything a small business needs to manage and improve its online reputation.
WebiMax does not list pricing on its website.
WebiMax is our choice for the best online reputation management service for small businesses because of its flexibility, one-on-one guidance, and wide selection of services. It provides well-trained reputation management support.
Read Review

Reputation Resolutions: Best for Reputation Attacks

Reputation Resolutions can remove negative content or suppress it through the creation and promotion of positive content.
Reputation management services are available with month-to-month pricing and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Reputation Resolutions doesn't have a live chat feature for customer support.

Thanks to its focus on crisis management, content removal and reputation monitoring, Reputation Resolutions is our choice as the best reputation management company for resolving reputation attacks. Unlike many of its competitors, Reputation Resolutions offers tailored services to improve both business and individual reputations – so it can help regardless of whose reputation is under attack. Its reputation management services are available on a month-to-month basis and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

This agency can deploy several strategies to fix your reputation, including content creation, content removal or suppression, review management, social media profile creation and management, and ongoing reputation monitoring.

Reputation Resolutions Pricing and Terms

Reputation Resolutions is great for companies that need flexibility in their service. It offers month-to-month plans, so you can cancel the service at any time without penalty. This is also one of the only companies we analyzed that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This type of guarantee takes some of the pressure off, especially for small businesses that are new to the world of reputation management and hesitant to sign a long-term contract.

The company offers a free demo for potential customers, and if you sign up, it creates a custom plan based on your needs. The average cost ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 per month. Although this is slightly more expensive than some other companies we examined, it is not unusual.

Reputation Resolutions has a unique offering for content removal: It only charges for the service if it successfully removes the harmful content in question. Content removal results can be instant; content suppression takes roughly four to eight months, depending on numerous factors.

Reputation Resolutions Features

Reputation Resolutions can use a variety of strategies to improve your online reputation. It can even remove negative, false and defamatory content from the internet, which not many competitors offer.

  • Analysis: The process starts with a free analysis of your online reputation. The company evaluates your search results, directory listings, online reviews, social media, news and blogs, and company and/or personal website. This helps the company determine which strategies would best serve your business.

  • Crisis management: Reputation Resolutions has a robust team of PR and social media crisis management specialists, internet law and online defamation attorneys, media placement specialists, cyber forensic investigators, and search engine specialists that can help you manage reputation attacks and negative publicity. Unlike many competitors, it even offers content removal, which can be a key element in handling reputation attacks.

  • Review management: The company's managed services monitor your online reviews and reply to them on your behalf. If a negative review is published, Reputation Resolutions can respond to it within 24 hours or advise you on the best way to handle it. If the negative review violates the host review site's guidelines or policies, the company will work to remove it. This diligent management and quick turnaround is ideal, especially when you're dealing with reputation attacks.

  • Social media management: This service can create and manage social media profiles for your business as part of its branding and suppression campaigns. It also uses social listening tools to track social media conversations and respond to social mentions in real time.

  • Content creation: To help build a positive reputation for your business and displace negative content, Reputation Resolutions has a team of professional writers who can create content for you, including articles, blogs, press releases, websites and any other content-driven web assets.

  • Monitoring and reporting: The company proactively monitors your reputation and reports its progress to you by phone or email. If it's running a branding or suppression-based campaign, it sends a monthly report with a breakdown of all deliverables it completed for the month and a graphical analysis of the positive changes in Google search results based on its efforts.

Reputation Resolutions Customer Service

Reputation Resolutions is accredited with the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ rating on the site, and has multiple five-star reviews. These are signs that the company is supportive and capable of managing its own reputation, which is a must in a reputation management company.

Reputation Resolutions offers customer support by phone, email and online form. When we reached out to the company by email, we didn't receive an immediate response; however, when we filled out the contact form, we received a quick response that thoroughly answered all of our questions.

More

BirdEye: Best for Review Acquisition

BirdEye lets you collect reviews via multiple channels (e.g., text, email, Facebook plugins, your company website and mobile kiosks).
BirdEye explains the entire review acquisition and management process through comprehensive demos.
Customers are required to sign a 12-month commitment contract.
BirdEye is our choice for the best online reputation management service for review acquisition because it has many ways to help you collect online reviews of your business, as well as robust review management tools.
Read Review

Podium: Best Online Reputation Management Service for Review Management

Podium lets you access and respond to all your reviews from one centralized inbox.
As a Podium user, you can communicate with customers and elicit feedback via text message.
Podium requires you to sign an annual contract.
Podium is our choice for the best online reputation management service for review management because of its easy-to-use platform that helps you acquire new reviews and manage them once they've been posted. This review management service uses text messaging to encourage customers to leave reviews. You can send customized text messages asking customers to leave a review about their experience. From the link inside the message, customers can quickly leave a review and designate which site, such as Google or Facebook, they want it posted to. A major benefit of using Podium is the detailed analytics the company provides on your reviews. You can break down the evaluations to spot trends in negative and positive reviews that will help you improve your operations. Podium also offers a web-chat widget that encourages people to leave their name and mobile phone number so you can answer their questions via text message. This is another convenient way for your customers to communicate with you. All of Podium's pricing is customized based on the specific features you need and how many locations your business has. Although a 12-month contract is required to start, moderate pricing is available. Businesses can access Podium's e-books and customer stories, or reach out to customer support via web chat, phone, text, email or a contact form.
Read Review

Online Reputation Management Pricing and Negotiation

Improving an online reputation is a unique process that depends on the type and extent of digital damage, as well as a business's overall goals. That's why very few reputation management companies offer a set plan or price. Most services customize their pricing based on which strategies are necessary to improve your brand's image and how long they anticipate the process will take. This means pricing can vary greatly. We found services geared toward small businesses with fees ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars per month.

To estimate pricing, most online reputation management companies start by performing a free reputation analysis. They discuss the current state of your online image and your goals with you. Each service asks for your website and keywords, and then conducts preliminary research to see where your online reputation stands. The company uses this information to create a formal proposal, which outlines the strategies that could benefit your business and estimates how long it would take to see results.

Businesses should be aware of these potential fees and contracts:

  • Multiple locations: Businesses with multiple locations should expect to pay a higher rate than those with only one location. To bring up your overall business reputation and reviews, online reputation management companies will likely have to perform more work to build and maintain the reputation and business listings for each of your locations.

  • First-month fees: Some agencies charge higher fees for the first month of service. This is not common, but a lot of content building happens in those first weeks, so you should ask about this upfront.

  • Setup fees: A few online reputation management agencies charge setup fees. Though uncommon, these fees typically range from $200 to $500. Be sure to ask the company you're considering if it charges these additional fees and, if so, if they can be waived.

  • Long-term contracts: Some agencies work on a month-to-month basis and do not require long-term contracts, allowing you to walk away from the service at any time without penalty. However, because online reputation management typically doesn't yield immediate results, many agencies do require long-term contracts to ensure you don't leave the company after it performs all of the initial work to get your reputation on the right track. We found a variety of contract lengths in our research, with most ranging from three to 12 months.

Since there are rarely set plans or pricing in this industry, there might be room for negotiation. When you receive a formal proposal from an online reputation management company, don't be afraid to try negotiating a lower rate.

Here are some ways to negotiate lower costs: 

  • See if the company will cut your costs if you agree to pay for the length of the contract upfront rather than monthly.

  • Ask if the agency is willing to match a competitor's lower price.

  • If the company doesn't require a long-term contract, see if it will lower its costs if you agree to a six-month or annual commitment.

Buying Guide

What Are Online Reputation Management Services?

Your business's online image is an important part of your ability to attract new customers, but it can be hard to monitor and manage on your own. Online reputation management services can help you build a new online reputation, improve a negative reputation, and/or maintain a positive one. They do this through a variety of strategies, such as content creation, review acquisition and management, social media management, search engine optimization, and online monitoring. Many of these services offer easy-to-use online dashboards, status reports, and dedicated customer support to keep you informed along the way.

Online Reputation Management Features

Online reputation management services have three main goals: to repair poor reputations, build new online reputations and maintain positive ones. Here are some of the strategies and services these companies use to accomplish these goals.

Reputation Analysis

The first step most online reputation agencies perform is an analysis of the current state of your business's online image. They scour the web for mentions of your brand, and they look at your website, blog posts, and customer reviews, researching both positive and negative feedback about your business. The goal is for the first pages of search results related to your business to have all positive content. The more negative results the companies find on the first page of your search results, the more work needs to be done.

After the reputation management company completes the analysis, it puts together a proposal outlining the strategies and tactics it thinks are necessary to meet your reputation goals. Most companies offer this analysis for free. 

Content Creation

One of the most common tactics agencies will use to improve your online reputation is to flood the web with positive content about your brand. The goal is to get as much positive content (that you can control) on the first page of your search engine results as possible. To this end, most online reputation companies create content such as microsites, articles, press releases and videos.

The best business reputation services concentrate on the types of content that will help your site the most. For example, a travel agency specializing in honeymoons might benefit from a honeymoon-focused microsite, while a company changing management might bolster its reputation with press releases and interviews with the new CEO.

Search Engine Optimization

It's one thing to create all of this content; it's a whole other thing to make sure the search engines recognize it. Online reputation management companies make sure all of your content has the proper SEO, which includes ensuring the proper keywords are mixed in with the content, the headline is correct, and the metadata is optimized. Reputation management services also work to build links to your content in any articles that mention you. Backlinks tell search engines like Google that the information you offer is important to readers.

Online Review Management

Acquiring and managing online reviews is another key component of online reputation management. The first step of this process is to acquire positive reviews. These companies will help you develop strategies that encourage your customers to leave reviews. The second step is to manage all these reviews. You want to know when new reviews come in so you can respond to them promptly and accordingly. For negative reviews, you should find ways to correct the problems that resulted in the customer's poor experience. For positive reviews, you should thank customers for their kind words. Quickly responding to your reviews shows others you care about what your customers think of you. Also, analyzing trends in your reviews can help you improve your business practices.

Social Media Management

Online reputation management services can manage your accounts on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you don't already have social media pages for your business, reputation management companies can create comprehensive profiles that accurately reflect your brand. They focus primarily on the platforms that your target customers are most active on.

Additionally, some services keep your profiles up to date with engaging content. An active social media presence can reflect positively on your brand. Some services help you monitor your social media profiles so you can quickly and efficiently respond to customers who engage with your business. Responding to positive comments and addressing negative comments can greatly improve your online reputation. These services can also monitor social networks to see what others are saying about your brand and your competition.

Crisis Management

Should your brand run into a crisis or a reputation attack, online reputation management companies have tactics to repair your image. Some reputation management companies can help you repair your reputation by suppressing negative online content or removing slanderous content. They can help create positive content about your brand to flood the internet and push negative content down in the search results. Many reputation repair and crisis management strategies also include managing and responding to negative reviews and social media posts.

Online Monitoring

Online reputation services monitor opinions expressed about your brand online. Some companies do manual searches of the common complaint websites to find out what people are saying about you. The top online reputation services go a step further to read the complaints in depth and identify common issues. Most services employ monitoring software, while others have computer labs for automatic searching and clicking to influence your website rankings.

It is important to remember that online reputation management services can only help you up to a certain point. For example, an online reputation company may do a brilliant job of promoting your good reviews, but if your business doesn't fix its customer service problems, negative reviews will continue to surface.

Other variables influence your online reputation. For example, your website may have superb SEO, but if the website containing complaints about your business has even better SEO or a great social media presence, the negative content may rank higher than yours. Therefore, it's prudent to enter online reputation management with the understanding that it should be just one of the tools for improving your company.

Online Reputation Management FAQs

What can an online reputation management company do for me?

It used to be that you needed to consider online reputation management only if you or your company had fallen victim to negative reviews or smear campaigns. However, consumer practices have changed, and people are more likely to seek out information about a company or product, especially when they expect to do more than make a one-time purchase. As such, it's become vital not only for you to appear in a positive light on the first page of an online search but also for your good reputation to span the internet, including online reviews, social media outlets and news sources.

Online reputation management companies consider this and can deploy several strategies to salvage an unfairly tarnished reputation, enhance a good reputation, or even build a new reputation for a business that doesn't have one yet.

Why should you have an online reputation management plan?

It's important to have an online reputation management plan so you know how to react when someone posts something negative about your business online. The more quickly you react to these situations, the better chance you have to mitigate the issue before it turns into a problem beyond repair. Your plan should include how you'll respond to negative reviews and the steps you'll take when a negative blog post about your business is published. Also, what if your business gets wrapped up in a full-blown PR crisis? You should have a plan to address the situation immediately.

Figuring out the best strategies to handle each of these situations is one reason why it makes sense to work with an online reputation management company. These firms have experience dealing with each of these scenarios and many more. They can help you lay out a specific plan to diminish the impact of a negative online post. In some situations, they can also help you turn a negative situation into a positive one. The key is to have a plan that allows you to react quickly. The longer you wait to respond in these situations, the bigger hit your reputation will take.

How important is a modern business's online reputation?

For businesses today, a positive online reputation is critical. When deciding where to spend their money, a growing number of shoppers turn to the internet first. They want to see what others are saying about your business, services and products.

This is especially true for shoppers looking for businesses in their local communities. Recent research from BrightLocal shows that 86% of consumers read local reviews to decide whether to use a business. The studies also show that what consumers read online ultimately impacts their decision to shop with a local business: 68% of consumers said positive reviews make them trust a local business more, while 40% said negative reviews could deter them from using a business.

Considering how much consumers trust and rely on what they read online, your online reputation can't be an afterthought. If it is, you take the risk that consumers will have a negative impression of you, which will surely lead to a decline in customers.

How bad can it be to have a negative online reputation?

A negative online reputation can have drastic consequences. There is a good chance that consumers won't even consider spending money with your business if you have a poor online image. Star ratings are critical: The BrightLocal study found that more than 90% of consumers won't even consider shopping at a business that doesn't have at least three stars on Google, and 47% said they need at least a four-star rating to choose a business.

Even if you feel the negative reviews aren't accurate or fair, you still need to address them. If you don't, you run the risk of never proving those reviews wrong, because most shoppers will never give you the chance.

What is an example of online reputation management?

Online reputation management can take many forms, depending on your current reputation and what needs to be done to it. For example, a business that has negative online reviews could use an online reputation management company to find and respond to the negative reviews, acquire and promote positive reviews, and resolve any internal business problems that common complaints identified. Additionally, the reputation management company could monitor the business's website, Google reviews, social media profiles, and third-party review sites to ensure any future reviews are addressed immediately.

What is the difference between public relations and reputation management?

Public relations and reputation management are similar, with some overlap. The purpose of both is to improve your business's image; however, their primary strategies tend to differ. PR firms use overt strategies to enhance your brand, like writing and promoting press releases, putting out social media statements, and booking interviews and news conferences. In short, PR is more promotional than reputation management.

Reputation management is the behind-the-scenes work necessary for your long-term image. This can include acquiring and responding to online reviews, updating your social media profiles, creating positive online content (e.g., websites, microsites, blog posts), enhancing your SEO, and removing negative content. Reputation management can also entail creating and promoting press releases, but that is not its main focus. Some agencies perform both reputation management and public relations.

How can social media affect your reputation?

Social media is a relatively new aspect of reputation management, but it is one of the most important. Most online shoppers look to social media to analyze a new business. Your presence on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can give consumers a better idea of who your business is, and it gives you a chance to acquire and respond to online reviews on social networks. This can all enhance your overall image. 

Since your customers are likely already on social media, having business profiles allows you to connect with them and stay top of mind with fun, engaging content. Social media is a less formal way to interact with consumers, read and respond to social threads and mentions about your business, and promote your products or services in unique ways.

Why are online reviews so important to local businesses?

You can't please everyone, and that's OK – but you should still respond to them. Many consumers turn to online review platforms to complain about a product or service that didn't meet their expectations. Fewer consumers turn to those platforms to write a positive review. This means that, regardless of how great your business is, there is a good chance that negative online reviews are hurting your company's reputation. Without review management, this can greatly impact your bottom line.

Most consumers read online reviews before they decide whether to purchase a product or service from a business, with more than half forming an opinion after reading just one to six reviews. Research also shows that nearly half of consumers won't use a business with less than four stars. In other words, if your company has negative online reviews, you are losing out on a lot of potential customers. It is important to have positive online reviews to enhance your online reputation and entice new customers to support your business.

Community Expert Insight

As part of our research, we reached out to small business owners to find out what they look for in a reputation management service. The top features they looked for were flexibility and review management. For instance, Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, said his small healthcare business uses WebiMax as its online reputation management company mainly because of its 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," Harland told business.com. "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 reputations are changeable and unique, and your reputation management company should reflect that. Look for a reputation management company that is willing to adjust its strategy (or temporarily suspend its services altogether) to match changes in your business's needs.

Natik Ameen, CEO of Canz Marketing, said his team of more than 100 workers uses Podium for its business online reputation management because of its great customer relationship management features, including review management.

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

Our Methodology

Business.com strives to research and review companies fairly and objectively. To find the best online reputation management services for small businesses, we started with our current list of reputation management vendors. We added to that list by researching other reputable online sources, such as review and business websites, and conducting standard industry research. In total, we examined more than 40 reputation management agencies.

After analyzing each company, we narrowed down our list to the top 14 reputation management companies. We compared industries served, company accreditations, review acquisition and management, content creation, social media management, public relations, crisis management, online monitoring, customizability, and additional services.

From these 14 reputation management companies, four stood out as the best for small business, reputation attacks, review acquisition and review management. We reviewed each of these companies' pricing structure, setup fees, contract requirements, dashboards, demos and standout features. We reviewed each reputation management provider's website, compared features and prices, and studied company reviews, complaints, and reputations. Posing as small business owners, we contacted their support representatives to learn information we couldn't find online and assess the quality of the customer service. These four companies withstood each round of our testing.

community answers

Common Online Reputation Management Questions & Answers
Have an online reputation management question of your own?
Ask The Community
My boss had a negative article about her one year ago. Should I ask for a retraction?
17 Responses
Jeff Klingberg
Jeff Klingberg
Answered
Scott, 1.) Media outlets, editors, writers and journalists don't have to write an apology or retract the article unless the facts stated within the article aren't true. And, you've stated the facts in the article were correct. 2.) Media outlets writers, and journalists are not obligated to write a follow up article to an event they originally reported on unless the editor deems it is necessary to do so. 3.) Media outlets, writers, journalists, editors are not obligated to respond to...
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How important is a modern business's online reputation?
65 Responses
Michelle Brammer
Michelle Brammer
Answered
It's very important. In my industry (online advertising), it is completely normal for a business to change their name after some bad press. Now, we've had some missteps along the way as well, but we've never changed our name, and we consistently communicate that. As a result, we leveraged the tagline "If you want to succeed, you have to change the game. Not your name." We had many positive accolades for it because of how true it is of our industry. That being said, people who are...
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As an entrepreneur, is my business and personal brand the same thing?
17 Responses
Alyson Tesler Anderson
Alyson Tesler Anderson
Answered
Yes, they are two different things unless as another stated, you are a one-person business. I would caution you that in creating a "one-person" business where you are in fact the brand you are selling, it makes it very difficult to grow. You can not have John S. as the face of the business and handling a client, if the client is hiring Sue S. Consulting for a project. It makes it very hard for anyone else to have credibility working for you and very disappointed clients who expect the name of...
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How would you handle a PR crisis?
9 Responses
David Mair
David Mair
Answered
Even with the the minimal detail provided, there are a lot of moving parts in the question and the situation. In any case, for a small business owner, it is as important to have a response plan in place as it is for a major corporation or event. For Michellyn, being in a small town is an added level of complexity, since what may be news in her community wouldn't make the back pages of the paper in a large city. Remember first, the event may be news; your response is editorial in most cases....
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How do you put a positive spin on changing the name of the company?
8 Responses
Vincent Kernaghan
Vincent Kernaghan
Answered
Your business strategy and the reason(s) why you're creating the spinoff company should answer that question for you. I doubt that's the only question you need to be asking. Is there more value in the new company than there would be in keeping it part of the sister company? If so, why and why is that bad? Is there less value? If so, why the spinoff - just don't do it to begin with. Is there product/service overlap that can't be resolved by tighter niche/market focus in either company?...
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Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley,
business.com Writer
See Skye Schooley's Profile
Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. She received a business communication degree from Arizona State University and spent a few years traveling internationally, before finally settling down in the greater New York City area. She currently writes for business.com and Business News Daily, primarily contributing articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviewing categories such as remote PC access software, collection agencies, background check services, web hosting, reputation management services, cloud storage, and website design software and services.
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