Online Reputation Management for businesses & Individuals

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Why is it important to have a good online reputation?

 

There’s no doubt that online reputation is one of the most important elements there is in today’s digital world. Your online impression is often the first and only impression that high-profile individuals and companies have the opportunity of making.

If you’re a CEO, the results yielded by a web search will impact the decisions of potential customers. If you’re a politician, your online reputation can and will shape the views of your constituents. If you’re representing a business, reputation is your new “online salesman” in this digital era.

If you need help restoring and protecting the reputation you’ve worked so hard to create, look no further, we are here to help.

If you’ve been the victim of negative reviews, unfavorable press coverage, or simply want to protect yourself against unexpected obstacles, your best and most useful option is hiring the services of an expert online reputation management team.

Not only will you get help with regain and maintain control of your online image and search results, but you will also get a tailor approach to suit your specific goals and needs.

You may still be wondering if reputation management is right for you.

Well, continue reading to learn why reputation management is so important, what you can do to improve yours, and what measures you can take to protect your online reputation both now and in the future.

A single negative search result can drastically impact how the public perceives you and your brand.

 

When Your Online Reputation Counts

It’s true that there are certain times during your brand’s life that your online reputation truly matters. However, maintaining a positive one should be a constant effort.

You never know when a good online reputation will be required.

Consider these times when an impeccable reputation is necessary:

  • Closing a business deal
  • Developing a business partnership
  • Networking
  • Running for public office
  • Customers searching for reviews of your business
  • Attracting new clients
  • Attracting new investors
  • Comparison shopping
  • Talking to reporters
  • Applying for college
  • Starting a business
  • Searching for a job
  • Asking for a promotion/raise
  • Connecting with co-workers
  • A negative online reputation can especially harm those seeking jobs.
The majority of companies in the United States recruit and screen candidates online.

Unfortunately, 34 percent of hiring managers have had to dismiss potential candidates due to a damaged online reputation.

Additionally, 82 percent of colleges use Facebook to screen potential students.

Networking and attracting new clients is another near-constant way in which your online reputation matters.

While some of these screening events can be foreseen, others may come as a surprise.

That’s why it’s critical to retain a positive online image, regardless of where you may be in life.

Your Online Record is Permanent It’s important to reiterate that it doesn’t matter if you currently do not need an impeccable online reputation.

You will need one one day, so it’s important that you are aware of what’s out there and what you continue making available for others to find. While the internet is a fast-moving machine, it also is not quick to forget.

Negative news stories or distasteful photos from decades ago may still appear on Google’s first page of results if the search engine deems them important.

Additionally, tools like caching and the Wayback Machine have the ability to make some internet content virtually permanent.

Any content that you post online is recorded and saved, and those who know what to search for can quickly retrieve it.

Furthermore, people can search for stuff that you post on your social media accounts.

Therefore, it’s important you know how to use these assets to your brand’s advantage.

FAQ

5 Things You Don’t Know About Online Reputation Management

Reputation management entails much more than ensuring that a negative result does not appear in the first ten Google results.

There are multiple ways an individual or a brand can have their online image destroyed or damaged.

1) Private accounts may not be so private:

Many people feel free to post whatever on their social media accounts as long as their settings are set to “private.” However, while the setting on your profile does afford you a certain amount of privacy, remember that anyone who does have access to your profile can also save pictures, take screenshots, copy text, and otherwise share anything that they’ve seen on your profile.

2) Your ability to get credit may be affected by your online reputation:

When making financial decisions, many lenders are increasingly turning to social media. While they are primarily used to confirm identities, social media is increasingly being used to assess creditworthiness. What’s more is that social media may soon be incorporated into FICO scoring.

3) Review websites are stronger than you:

Sites like Yelp and Ripoff Report have thousands of pages of content. As such, these reputation-busting powerhouses tend to rank highly in Google. If you get a bad review on one of those websites, it can pretty much be a lost cause.

4) Google – and the law – may be on your side:

Have you been the victim of horrible search engine results?

Fortunately, not all is lost. For serious infractions, including inaccurate information, online defamation laws may help you remove content. In some instances, you might even be able to obtain compensation for damage to your online reputation.

And while it’s typically reserved for specific circumstances, Google can even offer assistance in removing sensitive personal information from search results. Furthermore, individuals haunted by mug shot websites can find help from new laws and Google algorithm changes.

California citizens ages 18 and under, as well as certain members of society, may be able to use Internet eraser laws as well.

5) Bad reputations happen to good people:

A negative online reputation can occur through no fault of your own. For example, a criminal may have the same name as you.

Perhaps you were dragged into a political debate, or you were falsely accused of doing or saying something. An organization can have thousands of positive reviews, but a single negative comment written on a particular website can badly damage its reputation.

While it’s difficult to control outside factors such as these, they can influence your online reputation anyway.

Is Your Online Reputation Good or Bad?

While each person or brand’s online reputation is unique, certain general factors can signify if your online reputation is helping or hurting you. Indications of a Positive Online Reputation

Accurate search results:

If the majority of search results that appear for your name indeed apply to you, then that’s a good sign of a positive online reputation.

You don’t want someone with a similar name, a famous person, or a criminal to pop up when someone searches for your name. If someone Googles you, they want to find you.

Accurate information:

The chances are that if you have submitted your resume to a potential employer or connected with a new contact on LinkedIn, they will probably do a Google search on your name.

Does the information that you’ve shared with them match with your online reputation?

If it doesn’t, it could negatively affect your new connection’s opinion of you.

Active online participation:

If someone Googles you, they ought to see that you’re active online – whether it’s through your blog, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Your online activity should show that you’re knowledgeable about your area of expertise.

At the very least, it should indicate that you’re at least interested in learning.

Positive articles and reviews:

Let’s keep it real. Often, whenever we Google a person or an organization, we’re looking to find something negative. What reports appear about your brand?

What have news articles written about you or your brand in the past said? Signs of a Negative Digital Reputation Inaccurate information or a total lack of content Failing to find information on a person or a brand can be just as detrimental as finding something negative.

Failing to discover information online can be frustrating; it may make the business appear as if they lack credibility.

Furthermore, individuals without information about themselves online means that the door is wide open for false and unfavorable material to be published should something unfortunate occur.

Negative news stories or bad reviews:

One of the most harmful things for your online reputation is having someone speak negatively about you. It not only shows that you made a mistake, but it also indicates that it was bad enough for someone to share with the world.

For example, a news story about an arrest, negative comments from irate clients, or even a crazy ex wife writing about a divorce can all tarnish your online reputation in the blink of an eye.

Hateful or controversial opinions, inappropriate language: The Internet is great because it allows you to connect with not just friends, family, and acquaintances, but it also allows you to engage in conversations with, literally, the entire world. Forums, Facebook, and other popular outlets for discussion are the ideal place to share your opinions and learn from others.

Nevertheless, these outlets can destroy your online reputation.

Results yielded by search engines can associate your name with negative views, and controversial discussions can turn others off.

Inappropriate and embarrassing photos:

Without a doubt, compromising pictures of any kind negatively affect your online reputation. Teachers and non-profit employees have been fired for just a single questionable picture on social media.

Unsavory records:

The Internet is not very forgiving. Your single night in jail or the bankruptcy that you filed decades ago may feel like a thing of the past, but it can still show up online.

If an online search for your name indicates that you’ve had run-ins with the law or major financial issues, it may be time to focus on improving your online reputation.

How Much Do You Know About Your Online Reputation?

Power is knowledge, and that’s never been truer than concerning your online reputation. Even if it’s not where you want it to be, knowing what you’re up against is much better than being ignorant to or ignoring the facts.

Search engine results are constantly changing thanks to changing Google algorithms; articles that were once buried could now appear on Google’s top ten.

Similarly, new content appears all of the time, so articles, pictures, and social media entries that you weren’t aware of before may now be visible to the world.

For that reason, it’s important to stay on top of your online reputation via regular assessing and monitoring.

Staying abreast about your online reputation can help you identify and address any status issues before they get out of hand.

Steps to Assess Your Online Reputation Search yourself

Since searching your name is the first thing anyone researching your online reputation will do, it should be your first step, too.

Google “your name.” Use the name others are apt to use when searching you. What name do you use on your resume? It may be helpful to add your city to the search, and click through Google’s tabs including images, videos, and other links that may be associated with your name.

And just because Google is the most popular search engine doesn’t mean it’s the only one. Bing and Yahoo! yield different results. Check those out as well.

Concentrate mostly on the first page of the search engine’s results, as most searchers don’t bother looking beyond the top entries.

Check out your social media accounts:

Do you have any compromising pictures, angry rants, or overly negative posts floating around Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and other public accounts?

They could have an adverse impact on your online reputation. If you’re uncertain which accounts are still active, KnowEm helps you check for your username on over 500 social networks and domain names.

Which results are relevant?:

As mentioned before, having too few or no results appear in a search can be just as bad as having negative results. Those searching you may think that you’re trying to hide something. They may also conclude that there is nothing remarkable about you. If a search for your name yields no results, you need to work on building your online reputation. Without an established online reputation, you are vulnerable to negative search results creeping in.

Assess whether your results are positive, negative, or neutral:

Save or bookmark any search results that require attention. You can work on rectifying those at a later date.

Ask a trusted person to take a look, too:

When it comes to ourselves, our judgment can often be clouded. For that reason, ask for some outside opinions concerning what you’ve found. While you may not view individual posts or pictures as troublesome, others may not share your opinion.

How To Repair Your Online Reputation?

However, Online Reputation Management can help you achieve success by incrementally fortifying the search landscape with positive and sustainable content.

This will free you from worries and distraction and allow you to concentrate on growing your brand or organization. In the meantime, you can improve your own reputation by following a few steps.

Attempt to remove the content:

If the questionable content is of your own doing, the solution is easy.

If the content is posted on your own blog or social media account, you can simply untag the picture or remove whatever is causing the issue. If it’s on a friend’s page, kindly ask them to remove it. Removing stuff that you’ve uncovered on a website is a bit trickier, but it is possible.

Google suggests contacting the webmaster of the page and asking them to remove the disturbing content. If they’re unresponsive or refuse, you may be at a dead end.

However, if the information is sensitive, including pictures, contact information, and inaccurate information, Google may be able to help you remove the page from the search results.

Change your screen name: If there are embarrassing comments, social media accounts, or blog posts under a screen name that’s affiliated with your name, attempt to log into the service you used and change your display name to something more anonymous.

Avoid making the same mistake next time:

If you diligently attempt to build a positive online reputation, you may be able to push negative results down to the second page or lower. However, that’s only effective if you’re able to stop making the same mistakes that caused you the trouble in the first place. For example, if a questionable picture got you in trouble but you keep posting embarrassing photos, they’ll never go away. Identify what is damaging your online reputation, and take action to ensure that you no longer feed Google results that reflect you in a negative light.

Move on and make your reputation positive:

While you may be unable to remove each negative online entry, you can overcome them. From here on out, focus on proactive measures that will enhance your online reputation. By doing so, you can cover those results that you’d rather the world not see. To learn how you can build a positive online reputation, keep reading. VI. Preventing Online Reputation Mistakes While it is possible to repair a damaged online reputation, it’s a lot easier to avoid building a bad one. What can you do to avoid making mistakes that can have reputation-destroying consequences?

Keep what’s private, private:

Some things are better left private. Additionally, content that may be misinterpreted by others should be kept secret. You should also keep opinions that may upset certain sectors of the population to yourself.

Monitor your online reputation:

The quicker you become aware of something new associated with your name, the quicker you can address it. By doing so, you can respond proactively and even prevent further damage. Features like Google Alerts can inform you via email whenever new hits a particular query yields new results.

Don’t get angry online:

There will always be someone online who pushes your buttons; that’s just a part of life. If it happens online, just navigate elsewhere. Refrain from engaging negatively on the Internet.

Use strong passwords and secure your devices:

While you may have done an exceptional job of keeping your online reputation clean, a hacker can destroy all of your hard labor in a matter of moments. Even a friend who steals your phone and hacks your Facebook can cause you trouble. To avoid this, ensure that you choose all of your passwords carefully and that your laptop, cellular phone, and other Internet-enabled devices are not accessible to others.

Think before you post:

Reflect on the possible outcomes of your comments before you post them.

How To Develop A Positive Online Reputation?

Building a favorable online reputation is a beneficial way of showing your true colors and offering a more flattering angle of your online persona. A positive online reputation is also a good defense against a negative online reputation, as the good factors may outweigh the bad. The more positive search results you have associated with your name, the better.

Even if your online reputation is not an issue, you can take certain measures to ensure that it will never become an issue.

Don’t wait — do it now:

Fixing major structural issues is a lot more complicated than laying a solid basis in the first place. It doesn’t have to be a rushed affair, but take the time to build a positive online reputation. That way, you will have a head start on any potential negative reputation problems that may plague you in the future.

Invest in professional photos or logos:

Professional photos for your personal website, blog, online profiles, and news articles can positively impact your online brand. They will show your professional side, and if you use them enough, they may be able to outrank and existing (or soon-to-appear) embarrassing photos.

Claim all of your online properties:

While social media may not be your thing, it’s a good idea to claim an online property before someone else does. Even if you don’t intend on using Pinterest, Tumblr, or Foursquare, it’s a good idea to go ahead and register an account, and be sure to use your real name.

Additionally, registering your brand on various platforms can allow visitors to get an accurate representation of your brand. KnowEm is an excellent tool that allows you to identify social media accounts, domain names, and trademarks that you may be interested in claiming.

Once these accounts are registered, apply whatever privacy settings you deem necessary.

Claim Google+:

Google+ is a valuable tool that can help your website rank well both now and in the future. Posts, links, pictures, and other content that you share on Google’s social media service may rank well in the search results. You may also use Google My Business to manage your online reputation.

This is because Google My Business uses various elements of this platform to populate visible sections of the Google search results. This can include pictures, contact information, logos, business hours, and company reviews. Register your online domain: Snatch up domain names while you can.

It’s always good to obtain domains including yourname.com/.net/.org and others like yournamesucks.com, just to be safe. Try to register your name exactly as it appears on your license. It’s a lot easier to register yourname.net than having to change your name legally.

Since exact searches always rank better, do your best to register your name verbatim, even if that means that you must buy the domain from the current owner. Furthermore, register the domain for as long as possible since this makes it appear more credible to search engine and protects you from those who may want to purchase it whenever it comes up for renewal.

Actually use your accounts:

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube are five of the biggest social media websites.

As such, they all typically rank highly in search results. If you use any of these accounts, you can rest assured that it will appear in a search for your name.

Populate your profile with pictures and information about yourself that you actually want others to see. Ensure that the content you’ve shared will work on your behalf.

Each social media platform should shed light on your expertise, connect you with others, and support your brand.

You can use IFTTT to automate the process of posting the same information in all your social media accounts.

Start developing your own online content:

A personal website can help you share everything that you deem important online. Create a portfolio that spotlights your strengths and accomplishments and write guest posts.

Make a blog, Tumblr account, or Twitter and share your interests with the world. The ideal situation would be if you purchase the .com of your entire name, and use that domain to host content. Even if the content that you’re sharing is not super exciting or inspiring, having content associated with your name will assist you in influencing the results yielded by search engines; that matters for your online reputation. Just be sure that you use your legal name, and ensure that the content you’re sharing reflects you in a positive light. Link to your most positive online results: If a positive news article has been written about you or you have writing samples, pictures, or a portfolio that you’re particularly proud of, spotlight it with a link. Share the link on social media platforms to encourage engagement. This may also help you indirectly improve your search engine ranking.

Share your knowledge with others:

We are all experts on something. What is your area of expertise? Share your experience by submitting guest posts for blogs that could use your expertise. You can also seek out interview opportunities that would feature you as a professional. Help a Reporter Out lets you know when and where your expertise might be needed. The majority of guest-post opportunities and interview opportunities give you the ability to enhance your online reputation through a link in search results.

Have conversations online:

Participate in online discussions. Comment on articles that interest you. Connect with popular industry blogs, forums, and groups. Stay up-to-date on online discussions about your particular interests and hobbies. Ask questions, leave thought-provoking comments, and offer your assistance online. This not only helps develop a strong reputation, but it helps to build your network as well. If possible, use your real name.

Become an authority:

Authorities are more likely to command respect, yield positive online search results, and find reputation-boosting opportunities with the media. You can make yourself known as an online authority by posting on Q&A sites like Quora, creating an online group, and sharing your expertise via content like videos, blog posts, podcasts, e-books, and interviews. You can further promote your knowledge by speaking at conferences and industry events and subsequently post about doing so.

Share photos online:

If a Google search of your designation produces unpleasant results, you can bump down any questionable pictures by sharing various pictures of yourself online and from a number of locations. Aim for headshots, professional pictures, or images that will promote a positive online reputation. Post these pictures to your Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, and more. Use your legal name in the caption and tags so that the images will appear in search results. VIII. Ultimate Online Reputation Tools While creating and sustaining a positive online reputation isn’t always easy, certain exceptional tools do the majority of the work for you.

KnowEm:

KnowEm’s username search scans over 500 social networks, domain names, and trademarks. It allows you to see which ones you have claimed, which ones are available, and the ones that you need to hurry and snatch up before someone else does.

Google Alerts:

If any new content that is associated with your name, username, and common variations of the aforementioned appear, Google Alerts will let you know through an email.

Yahoo! Alerts:

Much like Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts will inform you via email whenever new results related to specific keywords become available.

Social Mentions:

If you want to know what’s being said about you online, Social Mention can help. This tool offers real-time social media search and analysis, allowing you to stay informed as to what people are saying about you.

HootSuite or Buffer:

HootSuite and Buffer can help you manage your entire social media presence from the convenience of one platform. With HootSuite, you can schedule posts, get analytics, and more. Help a Reporter Out: Responding to queries on Help a Reporter Out can help you, too. It will allow you to be interviewed and cited as an expert, both online and offline.

Complaint Website Search:

You can find out if you’re the subject of any complaint website rants with the Complaint Website Search tool.

Quora:

Quora allows you to both learn and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Through this site, you can find and answer serious questions.

Medium:

Medium is a content platform with millions of users that share their knowledge and interesting information.

Online Reputation Management Rules

There is much to do and consider in terms of managing your online reputation. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These straightforward online reputation management rules can help you keep it simple.

Know what you’re up against:

To know what others are seeing when they search your name online, just search for your name via a favorite search engine.

Keep your profiles clean:

Even if your profile settings are private, anything you say or post online can ultimately be shared with the world.

Claim important online accounts:

Obtain important online accounts before someone else does.

Remember that the Internet never forgets:

The Internet is not very forgiving, and what you post today will be visible for years to come. Avoid trouble, online and off: Stuff that happens offline may appear online. For example, if you get arrested, your mug shot might end up on the Internet. Also, do you best to avoid confrontation online. Don’t give anyone reason to post something negative about you.

Use your real name:

People seeking your online reputation will search using your real name, so be sure they can find you and that the things that pop up are things that you want others to see.

Be active online:

Be active online, but be sure that you keep the content professional, or at least flattering. Create positive content: Post content that you’d be proud of others finding. In the long run, it may end up outranking results that are not so flattering.

Stick to proper grammar:

While you don’t have to be a grammatical master, the language you use online ought to be professional and an accurate representation of your persona.

Develop a portfolio:

Show the world the very best of your work online.

Link to important, positive content:

Share cornerstone content by linking to it from your profiles, domains, and other online properties.