Reputation Management is a huge part of society in general. No-one wants bad things saying about them, but the fact is, it does happen. So what can you do?
You will be delighted to know that I don’t entrust your name or brand to automated software, as many other similar services do. When you hire me, you are hiring an online specialist consultant with more than 18 years of technical experience knowing what helps websites to rise and fall in the search engines. This translates to a service that can either help build a brand, or bury negative press.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Your online reputation can speak volumes about you or your brand. From getting a new job, to those damaging social media posts and product reviews, the Internet has made it very easy to get caught in a situation you would rather wasn’t there. This is where I can step in.
This is always the first question I am asked and the answer is surprisingly simple. Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the control of information seen about you when searching online. This can be either personal or business related but is always focusing on how you are perceived.
It is generally accepted that there needs to be a clear strategy in place for this concept to be able to gain any benefits – but a strategy that you control.
Customers no longer have to suffer in silence. The Internet has given them a voice and plenty of opportunities to use it. This is why it is considered prudent to know what is being said about you and what you can do to keep it clean.
If you start to gain negative reviews and feedback on the likes of Facebook, Trust Pilot and Google, then you need to know how to handle these.
The frustrating thing here is, that it isn’t you that decides to make this information public. Quite often an unhappy client, customer, partner, friend will say something online and the next thing you know, it is causing you stress, anxiety, worry, loss of sales or simply damaging your brand.
But this is very much the World we are in now and as individuals or businesses, everything we do has a chance of winding up online – a scary thought for many.
This is probably why online reputation management has seen a huge jump in requests recently. No-one likes the idea of their name being dragged through the mud for anyone to see. It can be hugely embarrassing and damaging.
Luckily, all is not lost if something appears in the search results that you would rather is buried forever. With constant testing and advancements in techniques, I am able to push negative results down past page 1, where people generally don’t bother looking.
Negative search removal can be imperative if something has turned up in Google, but depending on the results that are being seen, it can also be possible to have them removed entirely!
There are generally two top-level tactics that can be used.
- Dominate the first page, or
- Make use of other 1st page results
Both can work in most circumstances, although sometimes it is advisable to choose one over the other.
However… This all depends on what has been said. Sometimes negative feedback can work in your favour if you attack it head on. If people can see a real person / business who cares if something has gone wrong, it makes others feel comfortable.
See what it is before rushing off and trying to bury it.
Why would you not want to safeguard your name? It makes sense that if something does crawl up from the depths of the Internet, that there is already work in place that will prevent it from hitting page 1 of Google.
Being proactive when it comes to protecting your name or brand sounds like a common-sense approach, but still most companies have no plan in place.
But you should never use this as a tactic to ignore feedback – you should always respond to negative feedback in a positive manner. It can help prevent future issues and gain you a lot of trust.
It does happen – probably more than you would ever really give any thought to! So what would you do if tomorrow a news article from 10 years ago suddenly surfaced? Would you try to deny it? Contest it? Be angry? Be upset? All very common emotions and thoughts, but you sometimes have to take a step back for a moment and think about the implication of your actions.
Get in touch if you have an immediate requirement for some help.
Reputation Management Rules To Follow
Just because something may be an issue with a social profile or a brand in turmoil, doesn’t mean that you can’t do something about it. By creating your own ‘bubble’, you create brand protection – whether that is personal or business. When someone searches in Google for your name, you want them to see only the positive.
Here are some additional online reputation management tips for you to think about – perhaps you will find something here that you feel will help your situation. If not, then please get in touch.
Criticism is going to happen, no matter what. You are never going to please 100% of people 100% of the time – this is just a fact of life.
However, you can learn from what others are saying and by taking this on board, you will show that you are willing to listen and action issues. Remember to be patient and take the time to understand their grievances.
If people respect you, they are going to take more notice of what you have to say – this is why earning trust is so important to your reputation. How you become a respected authority depends on the market you are in, but one sure-fire way is to look at others who are winning in your field – how are they doing it?
Take the time to become the person or brand that is synonymous with respect and trust in your industry.
If you get something wrong, don’t think for one second that there is anything weak about apologising. This shows you are human and like the rest of society, capable of making mistakes.
Just make sure it isn’t one of these thin-veiled apologies that carries a retort with it. Hold your hands up if you are in the wrong.
It doesn’t matter what it is, the longer you leave it, the longer you leave it open for negative remarks to start spilling out, or for others to get involved.
Every business must have a level of unhappy customers and it doesn’t matter if they post this online or tell you over the phone, you mist be seen to be doing something about it as soon as you can.
Remember that if you react quickly to an issue, you have much greater chance to prevent it turning into anything other than just a comment.
This doesn’t mean you will ever really have need for a plan, or at least not on a daily basis, but as the saying goes “forewarned is forearmed”.
This means that you are prepared for anything negative happening or an unhappy customer coming along, you will have a plan to deal with it – hopefully one that has been carefully thought out.
Knowing what could potentially be around any corner will set you in good stead and allow you to handle any issue before it becomes a crisis.
Remember, this is Google we’re dealing with. There is always a chance that if something bad happens, you can be damn sure that if someone has mentioned it online, Google will find and index it.
There are two ways to deal with this:
The proactive approach is the one that most who end up having to go with reactive, wish that they had done. Preparing yourself for any eventuality is a lot cheaper (and easier) than having to try and deal with a more reactive campaign and bury negative search results if something does happen.
It’s always going to be tempting – you see something bad about you and you are immediately going to want to click and see what it is. But you must resist this urge!
By clicking on any search result, you are fuelling Google with signals about search phrases and popularity (amongst many other signals), when what you want to be doing is distancing yourself as much as possible.
Sometimes people like to write articles, comments or posts that might get your blood boiling, but resist the urge to get embroiled in a heated discussion – or any discussion!
People like this are known as ‘trolls’ as that is what they are doing – trolling. They are trying to get you to take a bite of the bait that they have written with the sole prpose of causing arguments. This can then be used against you, so as much as you might want to get involved, don’t.
One of the backbones of SEO is content. Google loves great content and will index it accordingly – a strong content strategy is an absolute must. It is almost impossible to create a campaign without content of some sort, so time to get creative.
If, like lots of other folk, you are struggling for time, then you need to find a writer who can help you. There is no point in trying to rush this because it will end up doing nothing for you other than waste your time.
Look for guest blogging opportunities or posting content on sites that naturally rank well in Google and with that, will come the opportunities for them to play a part in your campaign.
By now, most people in the World have a social media account of some sort and quite often they have multiples. This is another area that is going to work in your favour. It will do the following for you:
- Google indexed and displays profiles from most social platforms
- You can gain a following, thereby increasing your authority
- Whatever you post can be seen and shared to a much wider audience
This is why it is so important. It works for you in multiple levels and offers many benefits. If someone searches for your name, would you rather it be Twitter that shows up or a negative article?
Just remember, even though it might appear everything is private, work based on the fact that nothing is ever fully private so don’t take chances with what you post or what you say.
How I Can Help You
I have been an SEO for more than 18 years and offering Reputation Management for more than 10 of these. Drop me a quick e-mail and lets have a chat about how these services could benefit you.