Content on internet can have a great impact on your business for better or even worse. If a series of positive reviews can lift the credibility of your business than a couple of negative reviews can completely ruin your online reputation. People have started relying on online reviews nowadays, making it a credible source of information.
Given that any anonymous user can post any information these days about your business, even malicious or inaccurate which can compromise your online reputation. It might be tempting to use “black hat” reputation management tactics to fix it. Though it can be effective at first but people often fail to realize that they have to pay steep cost down the line.
Understanding Black Hat Online Reputation Management
It is a host of tactics which may be effective but often illegal. While the short term results may seem rewarding but these tactics often return to bite a brand and create even bigger problems that a handful negative reviews ever could. Below are some of the commonly known black hat tactics
Black Hat SEO
Search engine optimization tactics that are in violation of Google’s guidelines like invisible text, keyword stuffing fall under the sphere of black hat SEO. Other methods include link manipulation, spamming and reporting competitors.
Planting paid or fake reviews for your brand to suppress the negative content is known as “astroturfing”. This is unethical practice and can malign the image of a brand in long run.
Content marketing can be an effective tool, but creating and posting low quality spam content does not qualify. It is not only a bad tactic but quite noticeable move which can be easily recognized by consumers.
Creating multiple social accounts and websites to push the same service in another black hat tactic, which must be avoided. It is often paired with use of artificial backlinks to create a network of redundant pages.
Attacking Negative Content
If you use distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) spambots or attacks to push back against negative content and harm its search results. It is a common example of attacking negative content.
Such tactics may produce desired results in a short span but sooner or later, your brand will face the consequences.
Consequences of employing Black Hat Online Reputation Management tactics
In some cases, if search engines catch on to tactics like black hat SEO, you can be charged with penalty and your rankings can be plummet. In this case, your target audience won’t be able to find your product or services.
Some tactics are even illegal, like buying fake reviews. In worst case scenario, you can be charged with massive fines and lawsuits which not only a blot on your reputation but create considerable financial liabilities as well.
When considering ORM service provider, you should ask the company all the relevant question and get to know about the exact process. Below are some of the negative signs of the any potential ORM service provider.
- Guaranteed first page ranking
- Guaranteed positive review
- Promises of overnight success
- Secretive methodologies
You must take special care during the procurement process for any product or service because this pertains to something really sensitive, your brand reputation.