Reputation Management Agency: What Do I Need To Ask Before Engaging

Singapore businesses should choose their reputation management agency very carefully.

If someone has left an angry review for your site or you’ve found a negative search result in Google, then you’re probably interested in improving your brand’s reputation. In this case, you need the help of an online Reputation Management Agency, or ORM, firm.


When it comes to finding the perfect ORM firm, there are a lot of options to choose from and not all of these companies offer the same caliber of service. So it’s important to choose wisely. Luckily, there are a few key questions that can help you weed out the reputation management agency that is right for you and those that raise red flags. Let’s discuss them.

Do they spend a lot on advertising?


One of the first questions you should ask before engaging an ORM firm is if they spend a lot of money on advertising. More specifically, you should pay attention to the companies that rank for the keywords ‘online reputation management’ as this keyword is pretty costly. In fact, it is searched a total of 8,100 times per month in Google. The problem is, reputation management companies that spend a lot on their advertising are likely prioritising new customer acquisition over offering quality services to their current clients.

In most cases, it’s a good idea to scroll past the paid search results and look for companies in the organic search results. Find out which of them rank well for this term without having to use paid advertising. These are the companies that are good at what they do and don’t necessarily need to rank for paid terms. Once you find them, research the company and its founder. Do they have a strong online presence? Do you notice negative results showing up on Google’s first page? If the company can’t maintain its own reputation, then you should keep looking.

Do they guarantee that they will fix your results?


Most Singapore business owners understand that digital marketing can take time. This is especially the case when it comes to SEO. But did you know that it also takes time when it comes to reputation management? You see, there are many firms that claim that can repair your company’s reputation in just a few months. Some even say that they offer quick fixes. If the offer seems too good to be true then it is and you should continue to search.

Do they use black hat SEO?

When you’re searching for a reputable company, you need to pay attention to terms like link farms, keyword stuffing, and any other phrases that are typically used when someone is trying to deceive Google. In certain instances, a company may feel confident in their ability to outsmart Google. But you have to keep in mind that this rarely ever happens, and when it does it results in penalties and sometimes deindexing. Google is very sophisticated and can easily see through attempts at black-hat SEO tricks.

The best companies are those that work within Google’s guidelines. They encourage you to release valuable content. They encourage you to build your brand and improve your reputation by being consistent. They understand that this takes time and is all apart of healthy, white hat strategy


Are they secretive?


Not only should the ORM firm that you work with use white hat techniques to improve your reputation, but they should also be willing to share their techniques with you. Do they outsource their work? Do they rely on bookmarking submissions? Do they focus on creating valuable content for your audience? Will you be working one on one with someone? If so, who will it be? These are things you need to know before hiring someone.


So make sure that you work with a company that is completely transparent about its processes. You should feel as if you can offer an informed opinion about the strategies that are taking place. You shouldn’t feel as if you’re in the dark about anything or that they are attempting to make the process sound more complicated or mystified than needed.

Do they prefer quantity over quality?

Sure, it’s a good idea to work with a company who has worked with a lot of other brands. However, if the ORM firm talks more about the number of clients they’ve had and never mention the quality of their work, this could be a red flag. Keep in mind that Google is mostly interested in the value that your brand offers. This means that the company you work with should be focused on providing value–not just links to thousands of bookmarking and social media sites.

This is also the case when it comes to companies that have a tendency to mention specific numbers. Some will promise you specific numbers. For instance, they may promise you 200 Tweets each month. This shows that the company has a lack of understanding of how Google actually works.


Are their sales materials diverse?


When searching for the perfect ORM firm, keep in mind that Google encourages businesses to offer different forms of content to users. This means that your ORM strategy needs to incorporate both short and long form content, websites on which to host the content, and social media properties on which to share the content with growing audiences. If the firm only submits links, or simply offers press releases then the effects won’t be long-lasting.

Can they show you case studies?

Believe it or not, not every business is willing to offer a testimonial for an ORM firm, even if they did fantastic work. This is because many of these clients are uncomfortable with the idea of their brand being associated with a reputation management firm. However, there are companies that are more than happy to testify to the skills and knowledge of an ORM firm.


These often make for great case studies. So ask the firm if they can show you a couple of their case studies. Before signing up, you need to know how the company has helped other brands. Once you have the case study, make sure that you look the brand up online. Take note of the quality.

Do they promise to quickly suppress negative results?


What Singapore business owners need to know is that in digital marketing, there are no guarantees. This means that ORM firm can’t say for sure what the next algorithm will bring. They can’t predict which of your properties will rank very high or how long it’s going to take to suppress negative results.

So if a company says that it can suppress results by a certain time, requires a specific amount up-front, and works for you until the result has been suppressed, this is a bad sign. Most companies can’t afford to do this over the long-term, so the services you receive will not be of high quality. In fact, it will likely be an automated service. Sure, a company can charge an up-front fee, but the best firms will allow you to pay by the month because they’re confident in their work.




It can be rather challenging to find a reputable ORM firm. Especially since there are so many options available. However, if you keep the questions in mind while doing your research, you can quickly cut down on a lot of the extra noise online.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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