Background Shape

The Ultimate Guide to Conducting an Online Reputation Management Audit

Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Explore tips, examples, and a step-by-step checklist for conducting an effective an Online Reputation Management audit, and leverage insights to enhance your brand's online reputation.
The Ultimate Guide to Conducting an Online Reputation Management Audit

Online reputation management (ORM) audits are far more influential than many realize. According to a 2023 study by Forbes, 90% of consumers consider online reviews and ratings as the primary factor influencing their purchasing decisions. Given their significant impact, businesses must approach ratings and reviews with a strategic and technical mindset.

In this blog, we'll explore everything you need to know about conducting an ORM audit and how you can use the results to strengthen your brand image and drive more sales.

What is an online reputation audit?

An online reputation audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a brand’s presence and perception across digital platforms. It involves systematically analyzing various aspects of your online footprint to understand how your brand is viewed by the public and how effectively your digital marketing efforts are working. This process can identify areas for improvement and help reallocate resources to maximize efficiency and impact.

Recent studies have shown that 30-40% of digital marketing spending is ineffective and can be quickly eliminated or reallocated after a thorough audit. This highlights the importance of regularly assessing your online reputation to ensure your marketing budget is used wisely.


Brand audit vs online reputation management audit

A brand audit focuses on evaluating the overall health and positioning of a brand, examining aspects such as brand identity, market positioning, and customer perception. It assesses elements like logos, color schemes, and brand voice, aiming to refine the brand strategy, ensure consistency, and strengthen the brand's position in the market.

In contrast, an online reputation management (ORM) audit specifically targets the brand’s online presence and reputation. It involves monitoring and analyzing online reviews, online mentions, and search engine results to gauge public sentiment. The goal is to enhance the online reputation by addressing negative feedback, amplifying positive reviews, and ensuring a cohesive and positive online image, thereby managing the brand's digital footprint effectively.

Do you need an online reputation management audit?

Yes! Any business, within any industry, needs to run an online reputation management audit regularly. An online reputation management audit is essential if your business faces frequent negative reviews, unexplained drops in customer engagement, or a lack of positive online presence. This audit helps you understand the current state of your online reputation and provides actionable insights to enhance your brand's image.

How much is an online reputation management audit?

The cost of an online reputation management audit typically ranges from $699 to $1500, depending on the scope and specific niche of your business. This investment can uncover inefficiencies and highlight opportunities to enhance your online reputation, leading to significant improvements in customer perception, engagement, and loyalty.

Investing in an ORM audit yields substantial returns, including increased revenue from higher conversion rates and enhanced customer loyalty. It also helps businesses save costs by streamlining operations, gain a competitive edge, prevent crises, and improve the effectiveness of marketing efforts. By transforming insights from the audit into actionable strategies, businesses can achieve long-term profitability and a stronger market presence.

What is the purpose of an online reputation management audit?

An online reputation management audit serves several crucial purposes:

a. Identify negative customer sentiments

According to Forbes, 94% of customers avoid businesses with negative evaluations. An audit helps you systematically identify these sentiments across various platforms—review sites, forums, and more. Pinpointing the specific issues driving negative feedback can help you address them directly, improving customer satisfaction and preventing further damage to your reputation.

To learn more about the effects of negative reviews and how to mitigate them, read our article Negative Review Response Examples: Don't Let Bad Reviews Ruin Your Business.

negative tripadvisor review screenshot
This negative review is marked by Tripadvisor as the most helpful review for the establishment.

b. Identify and improve operational loopholes

An audit helps uncover these weaknesses by analyzing feedback from multiple sources, including customer reviews. By identifying recurring complaints about specific aspects of your operations—such as customer service, product quality, or delivery times—you can make targeted improvements. This not only enhances customer experience but also streamlines operations, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

very detailed tripadvisor review
The business should use this very detailed review to improve their operational units mentioned.

c. Improve offers, products, and services

Customer feedback is a goldmine of information on how your products and services are perceived. 80% of companies use customer satisfaction scores to analyze and improve customer experience, as reported by Harvard Business Review. An audit collects and analyzes this feedback, revealing areas where your offerings may fall short. Through understanding these pain points, you can refine your products and services to better meet customer expectations, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

Positive Google Review
A guest lauding the hotel for improving their establishment.

d. Adapt to new trends and attract new opportunities

Adaptability is crucial in today’s fast-paced digital marketplace. Companies that are more adaptable achieve higher revenue growth and profitability. An online reputation audit helps you stay ahead by identifying emerging trends and customer preferences. This allows you to adjust your strategies proactively, capitalizing on new opportunities and ensuring your brand remains relevant and competitive.

Additionally, maintaining a positive online reputation is essential for attracting quality business partners in an ecosystem organizational structure.

Japan Hotel Self Checkin
This hotel in Tokyo offered a self-checkin listing after a huge number of recommendations from customers.

e. Protect brand name

Your brand’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. In fact, 79% of customers value online reviews as much as personal recommendations, highlighting the importance of creating positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty. An online reputation audit helps protect your brand by monitoring for negative content and potential crises, allowing you to address issues swiftly and maintain a strong, trustworthy brand image.

Discover how to leverage online reviews to boost customer trust in our article How to Collect Reviews and Elevate Your Brand's Image.

Negative Review for a Hotel Chain
A negative review for a specific hotel chain reflects the entire brand.

Online reputation management audit checklist

Addressing these questions can help you conduct a thorough online reputation management audit, ensuring your brand is accurately represented and positively perceived across all digital channels.

a. Platform visibility

1. What are the most important platforms for your business where customer journeys start?

  • [ ] Identify key platforms: Google,, TripAdvisor, etc.
  • [ ] Assess visibility on these platforms.

2. Are you visible for relevant search queries?

  • [ ] Check visibility for relevant searches. For example, for hotels, you can consider SEO syntax like “luxury hotel in London” or “vegan restaurant in Berlin.”
  • [ ] If not visible, analyze the three main factors influencing visibility:
  • Relevance: Is your business accurately described with keywords in the name and description?
  • Distance: Are you located in the relevant geographical area for the search query?
  • Reviews: Do you have better and more recent review ratings than your competitors?

b. Online reviews and public customer feedback

1. How many reviews do you have across different platforms?

  • [ ] Track the number of reviews on key platforms.

2. What is the average rating of your reviews?

  • [ ] Calculate the average rating across all platforms.

3. What are the common themes in customer feedback?

  • [ ] Identify recurring positive and negative themes in reviews.


c. Listing activities

1. Are all your business listings accurate and up-to-date?

  • [ ] Check for consistency in business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation.

2. Do you have complete profiles on all relevant platforms?

  • [ ] Ensure all listings have complete information, including photos, descriptions, and contact details.

3. Are your listings integrated with partner platforms?

  • [ ] Ensure that your business listings, such as Google Business, are synchronized and visible across partner platforms like Google Hotels and Google Maps searches.

d. Brand mentions on other platforms

How often is your brand mentioned on review sites?

  • [ ] Track the frequency of brand mentions.

What is the sentiment of these mentions?

  • [ ] Analyze whether mentions are generally positive, neutral, or negative.

Are there any influential mentions or endorsements?

  • [ ] Identify mentions by influencers, media outlets, or industry leaders.

What are the general topics of the identified mentions?

  • [ ] Identify the key themes or topics mentioned alongside your brand across review sites. This can provide insights into areas of strength or areas needing improvement.

How do you measure your online reputation?

Now that you have a strategic checklist for conducting an online reputation management audit, it's time to learn how to implement it.

a. Define objectives and metrics

25% of enterprises without a business plan fail within the first two years of operations because of a lack of objectives in key endeavors. The same goes for ORM auditing.

To effectively measure your online reputation, it's essential to start by defining clear objectives. Determine what aspects of your brand's reputation are most critical to evaluate, whether it's brand sentiment, customer satisfaction levels, or online visibility. Once objectives are established, align them with relevant metrics that provide quantifiable insights into your brand's performance. Consider metrics such as search engine rankings, sentiment analysis scores, online review ratings, and frequency of brand mentions.

Additionally, gaining a comprehensive understanding of your customer journey is crucial. Identify key touch points where potential customers interact with your brand, allowing you to prioritize investments and efforts where they will have the greatest impact.

Learn how to measure the ROI of online reviews using star ratings, point systems, NPS, and CSAT in our article Understanding the ROI of Online Review Ratings: Metrics, KPIs, and More.

b. Identify data sources

Identifying the right data sources is fundamental to obtaining a holistic view of your online reputation. While Google can be a staple, as 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses, it's highly recommended to pinpoint sources that are relevant to your industry and target audience. These may include search engines like Google, popular review platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, and industry-specific forums or communities.

Utilizing online reputation management tools can streamline data collection from diverse sources, providing a consolidated view of your brand's digital footprint. When selecting data sources, prioritize those that align with your objectives and metrics defined earlier, ensuring that you capture relevant information to accurately assess your online reputation.

In our article Discover the Best Customer Review Sites for Your Business, we've discussed the top review websites that connect your business to relevant audiences.

c. Collect data

Once data sources are identified, employ a combination of automated tools and manual monitoring techniques to collect data effectively. Automated tools facilitate the scalable collection of data across multiple platforms, while manual monitoring allows for in-depth analysis of specific conversations or mentions. Capture a broad spectrum of data, including brand mentions, customer reviews, sentiment analysis, search engine results, and any other relevant online content associated with your brand.

d. Analyze and interpret data

With data collected, conduct thorough analysis to derive actionable insights into your brand's online reputation. Evaluate key performance indicators against established objectives and industry benchmarks to identify areas of strength and opportunity. Analyze customer sentiment, review trends, and engagement metrics to understand how your brand is perceived and where enhancements can be made.

Incorporating real-time data analytics can further enhance your analysis process, providing up-to-date insights that enable agile decision-making and proactive reputation management strategies. This approach has proven effective for businesses, with 80% reporting increased revenues due to real-time data analytics.

e. Iterate and improve

Continuous monitoring and evaluation are essential components of effective online reputation management. Regularly assess your brand's online reputation to track progress and identify evolving trends or challenges. Iterate on your measurement approach based on feedback and changing business requirements, adapting objectives, metrics, and data sources as necessary. Implement strategic initiatives informed by your reputation analysis to actively manage and enhance your brand's online presence, perception, and overall performance.

How to boost your online reputation? – Game Plan after ORM audit

Boosting your online reputation after conducting an audit requires a multifaceted approach aimed at proactive reputation management:

1. Implement proactive reputation management strategies:

  • Maintain an active online presence: Regularly update your profiles on relevant platforms and engage with your audience through posts, comments, and messages.
  • Engage with audience feedback: Respond promptly and professionally to customer reviews, comments, and inquiries to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Encourage positive reviews: Actively solicit feedback from satisfied customers and encourage them to share their positive experiences online.
  • Monitor online conversations: Use monitoring tools to keep track of discussions about your brand across various online channels and promptly address any negative feedback or issues.
  • Share quality content: Create and share high-quality content that reflects your brand's values, expertise, and unique selling points to position yourself as a trusted authority in your field.

Learn how to boost your online reputation management in our article Online Reputation Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Hotels

2. Online reputation management software

Invest in reputable online reputation management software to streamline the monitoring, analysis, and management ofyour brand's online reputation. These tools offer features such as sentiment analysis and review tracking to help you stay on top of your brand's online presence and address any issues effectively.

Interested in learning more? Read our article How an Online Reputation Management System Can Transform Your Online Presence

3. Online reputation management agencies

Consider partnering with online reputation management agencies that specialize in enhancing brand reputation and managing online perception. These agencies bring expertise in reputation monitoring, crisis management, and strategic planning, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business while they handle your online reputation.

Discover how to choose the ideal reputation management firm with our comprehensive guide: How to Choose a Reputation Management Company for Your Business

Boost your online reputation management with MARA

Harness the power of data generated from your online reputation management by utilizing an intuitive ORM tool like MARA. It provides efficiency, personalization, and time-saving benefits.

Streamlined Review Inbox

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google,, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. And you can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA Review Inbox
Easier monitoring with MARA Review Inbox.

Intuitive Review Analytics

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find outabout specific issues like "water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast option”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA Review Analytics
Guest sentiments report from MARA.

The most personal response AI

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback, and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Final Thought

Conducting an online reputation management audit is essential for businesses seeking to thrive in the digital age, with online reviews and ratings influencing consumer purchasing decisions. By strategically assessing and managing their online reputation, businesses can identify negative sentiments, operational weaknesses, and emerging trends, enabling them to adapt, improve, and safeguard their brand integrity. With the appropriate software like MARA, businesses can streamline the review management process, personalize responses, and derive valuable insights from customer feedback. So, why hesitate to give MARA a try? It's completely free for testing, doesn't require a credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

This article is part of our hero content on “Online Reputation Management for Hotels".

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to do a reputation audit?

Conducting a reputation audit involves assessing various aspects of your brand's online presence, including customer reviews, online mentions, and search engine results. You can start by identifying key platforms and sources of feedback, analyzing customer sentiments, and addressing any areas for improvement.

What is an online reputation management audit example?

An example of an online reputation management audit involves evaluating a hotel's digital footprint. This may include assessing its presence on review platforms like TripAdvisor, monitoring online mentions, analyzing guest feedback, and implementing strategies to improve overall reputation and guest satisfaction.

Reply with AI - the best-kept secret of leading businesses.

review AI for Westin hotels
review AI for Radisson hotels
logo steigenberger
review AI for Accor hotels
review AI for Moevenpick hotels
review AI for Best Western hotels
review AI for Leonardo hotels
review AI for Sheraton hotels
No credit card required 

Related articles:

Loader 3 dots