More on Reputation Management
in SEO: Right or Responsibility?
Regardless of what you believe, online reputation is important and is something we should all take seriously as individuals, as a society, and as an online community. Yes, we have the right to our personal information—past, present, and future—but we also hold a great deal of that responsibility at our fingertips. We have the power of the Internet on any given day, time, and place, but we also have the power to choose what we do and do not share.
The Internet has made our lives smaller. We are all a part of a digital “web” of social networks spun by technology. Our ability to pick up any kind of electronic device and “connect” with the rest of the world in a matter of seconds attests to the level of power we have at our fingertips; however, with great power comes great responsibility. When the Internet became popular in the average household in the early to mid-90s, we were all like children on Christmas morning—excited to log on and hear AOL’s coined greeting, “You’ve got mail,” via a dial-up signal. Our society was so consumed with our new “toy” that we really weren’t sure of how to handle it. Twenty years later, we face various challenges and controversies, such as cyber theft, identity theft, plagiarism, and even sharing and managing personal information.
To make matters more critical, just –not- having anything negative is not going to cut it anymore. If there is nothing on your name, then your invisibility can speak volumes. Suppose someone searches you and finds the only thing to your name is someone else doing something completely unrelated to what you do or a personal profile that doesn’t feature anything related to your business. In that case, it’s not a good look compared to those with profiles, published documents, appearances in guest posts, and press releases relating to their business ventures. The role of a reputation management agency isn’t about suppressing or curing the negative as much as bringing the positive truth and personal branding to the forefront. In our years of practice, we’ve found that the best success with online brand reputation management services is to build a foundation.
Let’s look at Europe’s “Right to Be Forgotten” law, which is becoming increasingly complicated. One of the factors that Google uses to “rank” a website for credibility, authority, and legitimacy is the number of links. Over time, these links appear in search engines, visible to all. However, Europe claims that links that appear in EU-based search engines violate the “right to be forgotten” and the “right to information” proxies for the right to privacy (European Convention on Human Rights, article 8; and Declaration on Human Rights, article 12). Europe’s Courts passed the law allowing users to request the removal of past personal links from search engines. However, these requests are becoming more and more complicated for Google. In fact, some might ponder on how to legislate various geographical spaces of the Internet and our rights to specific information. These are just some reasons why the Right to Be Forgotten law is raising more questions than answers…
As time goes on, Google only faces more scrutiny about how it seeks to handle “forgotten” requests and its approach to managing the removal of links. In fact, Google is beginning to face European social and political pressure to “open up” and speak about how it plans to respond to these requests. On the other hand, some believe that the “Right to Be Forgotten” law is wrong, putting unnecessary pressure on Google to find a solution to a problem that is “unworkable” and “unreasonable.”