The Best Reputation Management Companies – How to Choose

Choosing an online reputation management services agency

Reputation management companies engineer online profiles, especially their own. Finding the best reputation management firm is sometimes difficult. For example, if you choose a firm from a "top companies" list, the firms on that list almost certainly paid to be there. So how do you find the best one?


Online reputation management (ORM) companies offer various services to monitor and enhance their clients' online brand image. However, not all ORM companies are the same, and they have different strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. Some specialize in review management, some are one-person operations, some are PR firms, and many (if not most) are offshore. Finding the right one for your needs is key.

This article outlines the different types of online reputation management firms there are, and the differences between them.

Is it really a reputation company or something else?

Many "reputation management companies" aren't actually reputation companies at all. The reputation management industry is full of SEO companies or traditional PR companies that have bolted on a service that isn't their specialty.

Choosing the right firm to partner with is important and well worth some research. Here is a list of the types of reputation management partners out there, as well as suggestions for picking the right one.

Types of ORM companies

Offshore reputation management firms

The word "offshore" means different things to different people. Most online reputation management companies are based in countries like India and Pakistan, yet they seem to be located in North America or Western Europe. Where a firm is really located is important. For example, if the majority of your consumer base searches from France, your ideal pick would probably be a company that's based in Europe and speaks French. Here's why:

  • You have better legal protection if companies are based where you are
  • The people doing the work should be native to the culture for which the work is being done
  • They're awake at the same time you are

Note: In this example (your consumer base is located in France) a French-Canadian partner would also make a great pick. While time zones would differ, a Canadian partner would still be native to the French and would be more likely to produce high-quality content. 

SEO companies

While SEO (search engine optimization) is an important part of the online reputation management lifecycle, SEO firms are not usually reputation agencies. What is the difference between SEO and ORM? It's like the difference between an engine and a car.

In any reputation management campaign, it takes a qualitative touch to make an emotional impact on your audience. 

SEO is a tool used by reputation companies to leverage positive content and increase the effectiveness of a larger campaign. While SEO is an incredible tool for strengthening the visibility and effectiveness of content, it needs to be used in conjunction with a strong and flexible narrative, review management, negotiation, and other skills a good reputation management firm will have.

SEO tends to focus on a single website, whereas ORM companies focus on many websites simultaneously.

Another big difference between SEO and ORM is that SEO focuses on a single website, whereas ORM companies focus on many websites simultaneously. A good SEO company is great if you just need some help raising your website in search listings. Still, they’re not so good at providing reputation management services, including the many psychological elements that make up a comprehensive reputation project. I

Review management companies

Companies specializing in review management are a good choice for local businesses wanting to improve their online reviews.

They don't usually engage in suppression, removal, protection, or related campaigns, but they’re effective in bumping up your review rating on Yelp.

Single-person reputation firms

Most reputation experts are of the "one-person-and-a-garage" variety. These are a great choice if you want to hire a dedicated reputation consultant to work with your existing in-house PR and SEO teams. But most reputation campaigns require a team, and if your needs grow too large, the chances are a one-person operation is going to farm their projects out to an offshore firm.

PR is different than reputation management

The best choice for many businesses is to use an internal or external PR provider for public-facing issues and let a reputation management specialty company like Reputation X manage the "behind the scenes" portion of the projects.

Often known as a "Reputation PR" company, specialist PR agencies like this frequently use our white-label services to make a difference for their clients discreetly.

Finding a company you trust

No matter whom you choose to work with, your reputation management company should have firm, positive references and a shining online image (after all, that’s what they’re promising to do for you). Read reviews, ask around, and consult with multiple firms before deciding. Choose wisely—hire the wrong firm, and you could create a bigger mess to clean up.

Reputation company FAQs

What are the different types of reputation management firms?

Reputation management firms range in specialties and experience. The best online reputation companies execute every campaign differently because every company and individual is different. Some of the types of reputation management firms include Automation-based reputation management, search engine optimization companies, public relations firms, and reputation PR.

What is the difference between ORM and SEO?

SEO is an activity engaged in by ORM companies along with many other tools and strategies that go together to make up the practice of reputation design and development. SEO tends to focus on a single website, whereas ORM companies focus on many at one time.

How do I choose the best reputation management firm for my project?

Read reviews, ask around, and consult with multiple firms before making your decision. Choose wisely—hire the wrong firm, and you could create a bigger mess to clean up.


About the author

Kent Campbell is the chief strategist for Reputation X, an award-winning reputation management agency based in California. Kent has over 15 years of experience with SEO reputation management, Wikipedia editing, review management, and strategy. Kent has helped celebrities, leaders, executives, and marketing professionals improve the way they are seen online. Kent writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics, and is an expert witness for reputation-related legal matters. You can find Kent's biography here.


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