ORM Case Study – NJ College Student

Online Reputation Management for an NJ College Student

Name: Peter M.

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Location: Northern New Jersey

Issue: Online reputation management

Online Reputation Problem: In his sophomore year at a local University, Peter, along with a group of his friends, was taken in by police for disorderly conduct. No one was harmed in the incident; it was typical, loud drunken, college-student misbehavior that was called in by a local resident. It was also Peter’s first brush with the law.

Taken to the local police station, he called his parents for advice. After expressing their disappointment and giving him an earful, Peter’s family immediately told him to not say anything further, and hired an Attorney, who ultimately was able to negotiate a deal which provided for an expungement of the criminal record. This made it so he could legally reply “No” if/when asked if he had ever been convicted of a crime, which was very important for his prospects for summer internships, graduate school, and future employment.

Peter knew that this was a wake-up call, and made an immediate vow to get his life together, refocus on academics, and cut down significantly on his alcohol intake. But the lingering challenge was dealing with the two online listings that appeared early in search engine results for his name, which detailed the incident. Even though he did not have a criminal record, he needed to manage his online reputation and push these listings down, if not remove them entirely.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) for Peter:

After legal efforts to remove the listings were unsuccessful, Peter set out to use standard online reputation management (ORM) tactics to push the stories down. As a Marketing major, Peter had taken Freshman-year courses in website design/development and was able to create three well-designed, simple websites that achieved rank fairly quickly, including:

  • A personal website which introduced people to him, his family, etc.
  • A portfolio website that included past work experience and a video bio
  • A Wordpress blog site that was dedicated to his passion of professional basketball.

He also created a LinkedIn site for himself, writing a comprehensive summary chocked full of Marketing keywords and attaching his video bio to the bottom. He included a custom header unit, new headshot, and detailed summer job descriptions. Within three months, the LinkedIn profile jumped to the top of search engine results for his name.

Peter’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy included:

  • Extensive keyword testing/work to help his new websites achieve higher rank in search.
  • A smart backlink and citation strategy with particular emphasis on his sports blog.
  • Video channels established and optimized on YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Creation of a series of 30 +relevant online listings.


The investment in content creation and search engine optimization resulted in over 50 new high-ranking listings (over a year’s time), effectively pushing the negative listings back to at least page 8 of search engine results. More importantly, the plethora of positive content that appears high in searches for Peter’s name, including his three websites, is an amazing marketing vehicle for his future career endeavors!

If you live in New York City and encounter an online reputation issue that you can’t resolve on your own, feel free to reach out to us directly to set up a free consultation.