At Go Fish Digital, we work with a large number of brands to improve their online reputation management. One of the things we find that our clients want to better understand is getting a quantifiable online reputation score to better give them an understanding of how to gauge their current reputation and how their campaign is improving over time. While sentiment is obviously a qualitative metric, as a data-driven agency we like to utilize metrics whenever possible to establish clear benchmarks and define progress over time.
For this reason, over the years we have developed our own internal online reputation score. This has helped both us and client better quantify how their reputation is trending. We now use this online reputation score as part of our internal ORM tracking tool and regular reporting. This metric has proved to be invaluable and we wanted to share our process for how you can calculate your own.
1. Start With A 100 Point Scale
To start calculating the score, we look at the first page of the search results as having a 100 point scale. All of the results for a given search are assigned a particular score. When summing the total of all results in the search result, you should end up with a value of 100. Of course, the biggest challenge here is to try to utilize some type of weight to each result. The #2 result should surely carry a higher score than the #8 result.
To solve for this, we weight a search result with 10 pages using this scale:
- Position 1: 35
- Postion 2: 18
- Postion 3: 12
- Position 4: 8
- Position 5: 7
- Position 6: 6
- Position 7: 5
- Position: 8: 4
- Position: 9: 3
- Position: 10: 2
To more easily visualize what this looks like, you can see the position and score in the following search result for “roto rooter plumbing”:
By establishing the 100 point scale, that now allows us to subtract points based on the sentiment of each result.
2. Label The Sentiment Of Each Result
Next, you’ll want to go down the entire first page of the search results and label the sentiment of each result. The sentiment label should fall into one of the following three categories:
Positive articles should be pretty obvious as to any page that you would want a potential customer to see. Negative articles should be fairly obvious as well. Neutral pages would be any content that doesn’t actively hurt your brand but doesn’t do a lot to help it either. For instance, a 3 star Yelp review would be a good example of a neutral article.
After you’ve labeled each result by sentiment, you’ll then be able to utilize our equation to determine the overall online reputation score for a given search result.
3. Subtract Points For Each Negative Or Neutral Article
So now that we know each positions weighted score and the sentiment of each article in the search results, it’s time to apply some basic math to help determine our online reputation score. To do this, you’ll review each result and perform the following subtractions:
- Subtract the full score of all negative articles
- Subtract half of the score of all neutral articles
- 100 – [Total Subtracted Points] = Online Reputation Score
Example: How To Calculate Online Reputation Score
Let’s go back to our “roto rooter plumbing” query to give you a more concrete example. We start at 100 points for any given search. Looking towards the bottom of the search results, there appears to be some Yelp reviews that do not have positive sentiments. The 2 star review would be labeled as “Negative” and the 3 star review would be labeled as “Neutral”.
Assuming the local results and People Also Ask results are positive, that leaves us with 1 neutral and 1 negative article. The negative article is at position 7 so we would subtract the full value of those points (-5). The neutral article is at position 8 so we would subtract half the point value (-2).
For this given search result, we would give a final online reputation score of 93. While there are a couple of non-ideal articles on this result, they are further down the search results page and are likely doing less damage for Roto Rooter. However, if the negative Yelp review moves up in the rankings, this could lead to a dramatic decline in sentiment score. It could still be in Roto Rooter’s best interest to take actions to suppress the negative search result.
How We Use Online Reputation Scores
The concept of online reputation scores has been so critical for us and our clients, that we have actually built this functionality into our own internal tracking. For a given search, our tool labels the sentiment of each result and then automatically calculates the online reputation score. This allows us to track the online reputation score over time. What we’re hoping to see is that the online reputation score improves as we’re able to reduce the amount of negative content on the first page of Google.
For instance, here’s a benchmark online reputation score at the start of one campaign.
Online Reputation Score: 60
After we were able to suppress negative results, we can see an updated online reputation score:
Online Reputation Score: 100
Of course, even we couldn’t get the score to a perfect 100, this metric still allows us to track improvements over time. If we saw that we were able to improve the online reputation score to 70 after 4 months and then 80 after 6 months, that shows us that the campaign is headed in the right direction.
While “reputation” can be a nebulous term hopefully this calculation gives you a better understanding of how to make the concept measurable for your business. Online reputation scores can help give you a better idea of your benchmarks for online reputation. As well, you can measure the score over time to see if it’s improving. This can help you get a much stronger gauge on any online reputation management initiatives you might be performing.
This is Chapter 2 of our Online Reputation Management guide.
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