An Online Reputation can make or break your image before a first impression can. With the evolution of the online infrastructure, search engines and social media, the way we receive information today is quicker, more authoritative, and transparent as ever. It’s not as Orwellian as it seems however. Once believed to be the door to the dystopian Big Brother scenario, it seems we were destined for something even bigger. The thing about Managing Your Online Reputation and what the Googles and Yahoos say about you is that much of it is in your hands. Owning your online reputation is not easy, and in some cases it can be a fight like nothing you’ve ever experienced. To answer all your questions and concerns, we’re going to be explaining what Online Reputation Management is, why it’s important, the many challenges and scenarios that exist along the way, and what you can do to build or restore your name.
What does online reputation management do? It’s more than you think. Merging the fields of digital marketing, public relations, journalism, social media, and the expansion of web development technologies, our reputation management agency specializes in building awareness to a new brand or business development, bringing brick-and-mortar businesses to the forefront of communicative evolution, or the fun part, playing Extreme Makeover: SEO Edition.
Let’s Move That Bus…. Or Rather, Online Reputation.
The basis of Online Reputation Management is promoting content that accentuates a client’s desired image. Regardless of being a Fortune 500 or a Mom and Pop shop, having a sound strategy succeeds in giving you the maximum control of what information is most accessible online. The need to manage your digital reputation is becoming all the more demanding for reasons including:
- Visibility- If your business can’t be found in Google: in this day and age you’re invisible. When trying to get your name out there, a variety of other listings related to similar keywords can clutter the visibility and influence of your brand.
- Keeping Your Information Current- Say you are in a great situation, doing great things, and making big deals happen. Yet the front page of Google says that you work somewhere else, or there’s an embarrassing photo from your college days that stands out, or maybe someone shared something horrible that you were mentioned or tagged in. The past can linger and stick around on search results as bad as a neck tattoo of an ex-girlfriend’s name.
- Maintaining Your Credibility – As much as Google has systems and algorithms in place to bring the most current and authoritative content to the forefront, we know that not everything posted online is true. Many times you’ll see content online that is borderline-slanderous but juicy and authoritative. Often in these cases, Google will rank the more authoritative, engaging, and best optimized page over the other, regardless of which side of the story is the right one. When a user has to go to Page 3 just to hear your take on the matter, to quote the popular meme, “You’re Going to Have a Bad Time.”
- Telling Your Story- This is especially the case for companies who don’t take ownership of their presence on review sites. By not responding to a negative review or a problem, having a website with content that explains the finite details of your service to answer the questions and concerns of other customers, or publishing proof that establishes the legitimacy of what you do, you lose the opportunity to explain yourself. You are lending your voice to what THEY have to say about you, and if Snapchat has taught us anything: They Don’t Want You To Win.
Reputation Management: 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 own personal information—past, present, and future—but we also hold a great deal of that responsibility at our own fingertips. We have the power of the Internet at any given day, time, and place, but we also have the power to choose what we share and what we don’t 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 the matter of seconds attests to the level of power we have at our fingertips, but 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. Now, twenty years later, we face a number of 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. If someone looks you up 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, it’s not a good look in comparison to those who have profiles, published documents, appearances in guest posts and press releases relating to their business ventures. Business Reputation Management 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 Internet Reputation Management is to build a foundation.
Let’s look at Europe’s “Right to Be Forgotten” law, for example, which is becoming more and more complicated. One of the factors that Google uses to “rank” a website for credibility, authority, and legitimacy is by 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 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 legislate various geographical spaces of the Internet as well as our own 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 to 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”.
How Can You Stand Up For Yourself?
The internet can be cruel and unforgiving. If someone wants to do damage to your name, there are many ways to skin the cat. Here are a few scenarios that require the services of an Online Reputation Management Specialist:
- Online Mugshots
- Having a Prison Record
- Slanderous Material Published by an Ex-Spouse
- Court Documents
- Negative Press Releases Hosted on .gov Websites Such as the FBI and SEC
- Ripoff Report/Pissed Consumer
- BBB (Better Business Bureau) Complaints
- Negative Message Board Posts
- Negative Scores on Popular Review Sites Such as Yelp, TrustPilot, Google Reviews
- Negative YouTube Videos Ranking in Position 1 of Google Video
- Libelous Stories/Publications
- Mistaken Identity/ Being Implicated for Someone Else’s Actions.
- Reports of Illegal Activity by Someone With a Similar Name
- Lingering Content Relating to a Previous Business Venture
- Viral NSFW Social Media Posts from Years Past
- Real Estate Lawsuits
- Class Action Lawsuits
- Illegal Activity Relating to a Disgraced Former Employee of Your Company.
For all of these issues, there is a way to fight back.
As explained by SEO Brand CEO, Mike Salvaggio, “The best, and most effective, action is authority. You just have to make sure that on every issue, your side of the story is heard. If it’s a Yelp review, write a response with an explanation as well as a potential resolution to the matter. If it’s a complaint on the BBB website, explain your side of the story. Other than that, the best way to build up your positive content is through quality. Actions such as publishing a press release, guest posting on a website that gets much traffic and influence in social circles, creating subject-specific websites such as micro sites, and appearing in high-profile media outlets such as the Huffington Post will always win out on SEO. As an online reputation management company, we understand that the worst thing you can do is let the negative press sit untouched and hope for the best. If it goes unaddressed, the more it will tend to stand out and engage other users on search, cementing their place in the search rankings.”
To help illustrate this, we have the following:
With Social Media and SEO, brands and individuals have more access than ever to best influence the flow of communication. Having a social media presence on multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever comes out in the next few months, as well as taking ownership of listings on review sites is essential to showing your new and existing audience all the things you excel at. Not to mention, but this shows your audience that you’re listening. By bridging the communication gap, you make a massive impact in brand perception much similar to word-of-mouth advertising. Throughout the past few years, we’ve seen this grow into the make-or-break element of a brand’s survival. By showing you’re a business that goes the extra mile to listen to what is being said out there, you can alter the search experience in a manner as effective, if not more, than native advertising. It’s not just about positive or negative stories, it’s also about whether or not you’re in touch with your audience.
The more authority sites you have ranking for your name, the more uphill it will be for negative stories to climb up the Google SERP. So make sure you have the essentials. Here are a few:
- A LinkedIn Page
- Business Profile Directories (Whitepages, Manta, Etc. )
- A Google Business Page
- Affiliated Google Properties (Blogspot, YouTube, Google Maps )
- Press Releases with Your Information and a Quote from a Company Spokesperson
- Positive Content Linking to Other Contents
- Engaging Content (news stories about charitable works and positive things for the community)
- Search Optimization of Online Images (They rank like web listings)
- Microsites (subject specific websites) of Your Current Ventures
To go the extra mile, use your positive content to build an audience. Connect with users on as many social platforms as you can. Make your websites, designed for this purpose or not, well-optimized for search and engagement with your audience. Make an effort to routinely publish new content, be it a press release, a YouTube video, or even a photo album. Finally, remember to maintain the high road and focus on your customers, fans, and supporters.
Calling On the Online Reputation Management Experts
Since much of Online Reputation Management relies on Search Engine Optimization, proper execution of SEO techniques is critical to the success of building a positive image. By working with the best in SEO services, you get the tried-and-true practices for achieving results in the most efficient and effective manner possible. This factor is the one that shouldn’t be overlooked. With the work of a reputable and reliable SEO provider you can save significant time, money, and resources toward achieving your goal.
A good SEO firm has teams of experts that will make sure your website is built and marketed with the best practices to drive results. Not only by incorporating tactics that are effective for search visibility, but also by taking actions that are relative to your specific industry. It’s also imperative to know that SEO takes time, a good SEO firm treats the search results as if a Sistine Chapel to be painted with quality masterpieces of content that stay plastered on the top pages.
With an expert team all of your online efforts will be optimized for best performance without harming the design, aesthetic, or accessibility of your website. Not only that, but a reputable and experienced agency will organize a successful campaign that is tailored to your business’ digital marketing goals. These are only just the first steps that we take in execution a successful SEO campaign.
It’s time to get serious about SEO. Online reputation and digital marketing today is a growing business. There are a lot of details and components that go into a good campaign, which is why you need experts who have got your back. At SEO Brand, branding has never felt so good. We specialize in both Online Reputation and Digital Marketing. Our staff of digital experts know what it takes to craft a performance-driven campaign designed for real world results. Not only do we boost the search performance of your website, we also boost your brand. We are an award-winning company because of our systematic, logical approach to resolving your reputation. We tirelessly track and measure our progress with frequent reporting, and an organizational structure to follow through on all the specific and critical aspects to meeting every challenge bestowed upon us.
For more information on working with a reputable, professional, and experienced SEO firm, contact us about our reputation management services or check out this site to review some rankings for SEO Brand, as well as our top clients.
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