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Chris Hinman, Reputation Management Expert on SEO and Reputation Management Companies

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Longtime Reputation Management Expert, Chris Hinman, has been in the industry for over ten years and has been a part of the growth of the reputation management industry as we know it today.

Reputation management companies typically help individuals and businesses either repair a harmful image online or work to establish one if little to no online reputation currently exists.

“I got into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at a young age, and it quickly became a passion of mine. I was originally self-taught, devouring blog publications, books, and anything related to the topic. What was crazy is that in the early 2000s, by the time a book was published from when it was first written, many of the tips and tricks were already outdated,” Chris Hinman says.

Hinman notes something stood out amongst all the noise that has stood the test of time: “One thing that never faltered, that has never changed to this day, is that Google loves quality, original content. You will succeed if you stick to that as your core rule with all things SEO and surround that with a sound, knowledgeable approach.”

While Chris Hinman acknowledges that there is a bit more to it than simply creating content, he is adamant that attempting to thwart Google is the wrong approach and, ultimately, the wrong mindset for successful Reputation Management and Search Engine Optimization. “I’ve seen it since I entered the industry from not only individuals but also large Reputation Management companies that are supposed to be the experts. Instead of attempting to “trick” Google, your mindset should be to work with Google to enhance your search results,” Hinman says.

Chris notes that Google has caught on to black hat tactics and constantly updates its algorithm. “What I’ve seen in the past continues today. Years ago, it was invisible text on websites and keyword stuffing. Today, Reputation Management companies use spammy backlinks and improper anchor text to boost rankings for their clients temporarily.” Hinman says that while this works in the short term, it’s only a matter of time before Google updates its algorithm once again, instantly wiping out months of work. “It’s a constant game of fighting Google, and clients are hurt in the long run. It’s unacceptable because you could achieve so much more by simply adopting the mindset of making Google your best friend and not the enemy.”

“Creating fresh assets for the client such as a custom blog site and social profiles and optimizing them for your name is key,” he says. Chris Hinman notes that while all reputation management companies currently do this, they don’t do the required work afterward. “These high-profile companies often outsource overseas and generate a mass amount of social profiles and hope some stick. They then send the client some lengthy report making it look like they have done all this work; meanwhile, none of it will rank well, and the client is left at the end of the campaign with poor or temporarily successful results.”

Chris further explains, “I’ve worked with the top companies in the space, and I know all the industry’s major players and how they operate. Despite what they will claim, there’s no magic formula or proprietary information. Accomplishing your goals with Reputation Management or SEO takes time and work. Many of these companies have cut corners to save costs instead of having quality writers create useful content that people will want to read and that looks good through Google’s eyes.”

So how does a company or individual choose a Reputation Management company? “If you decide to avoid tackling this yourself and want to hire another company, ensure they aren’t giving you cookie-cutter solutions. Does the company give you “Package A” or the “Platinum Tier”? Those are major red flags. Each campaign will be different as each individual’s and company’s results are different. Companies should work with the client on a unique approach tailored to that particular client. This isn’t as scalable or profitable, so many larger Reputation Management companies won’t offer this,” Hinman says.

What are some other questions to ask? Chris Hinman answers, “Ask them if they outsource overseas. Good SEO shouldn’t be outsourced and should remain in-house. After all, if they are “experts,” shouldn’t they be handling the core specialty they were hired for? Additional questions to ask would be who writes the content. I know personally of several large reputation management companies that are using AI to write articles, as it saves time and money. However, while AI has made huge strides in helping with content, it rarely reads as well as an experienced writer or journalist. Furthermore, Google is experimenting with tools that can detect AI-generated content and will certainly penalize this writing down the line.” 

Chris has explained much of what to avoid when choosing a Reputation Management company, but what are some positive things we should look for? Chris states, “Go with a personable company. Ask to speak with your future account manager before you sign up, not just the great-sounding salesperson. A great account manager working with you daily to create quality long-form content is critical. You should want to see your social profiles updated regularly with solid content highlighting you with something people would want to read. Your plan should be tailored to you specifically and no one else. Furthermore, your result should look professional and accomplish the job of controlling the search results for your name in a manner that won’t soon revert next time Google has an update.”

If you liked this article, feel free to follow Chris Hinman at chrishinman.com, where he currently writes about SEO and Reputation Management for businesses and individuals. 

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