Whether your a business, celebrity, or just a prominent figure the world is watching your every move. Showing up on the cover of US Weekly or the National Enquirer doesn’t have quite the same flair as GQ or Cosmopolitan. Today your reputation can be damaged for good via a photo, article, or even a Google search.
That’s right more and more companies today are doing a Google search for your name prior to doing business with you or hiring you on as an employee. Voters are making decisions based on articles they find online. Athletes are deciding which schools to sign with based on what they read about the coaches and programs online. With billions of searches conducted each day print media isn’t the only thing that can damage your reputation.
Reputation management, and more specifically online reputation management, has several different definitions and points of view. Let examine what it really means.
Wikipedia defines reputation management as:
The process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report creating a feedback loop.
The feedback loop can start offline via a news report, article in the newspaper, or just a rumor passed along. More people are turning to the Internet and search engines to find out more information once learning about the initial story. Google’s algorithm has be programed so that fresh content, new stories, is pulled to the top of you search because it’s seen as being more relevant and timely. You’ll notice if an earthquake or natural disaster happens Google will have articles and press releases that appear almost instantaneously for searches related to that area.
This system will apply for you and your company too. Articles, blog posts, comments, photos, and videos people post tagging or clearly defining in text you or your company’s name will appear in a Google search.
Lee Odden provides a pretty good post on the basics of online reputation management. Monitoring the search engine ranking position (SERPs) for your name is the first step. You can use specific online reputation management tools, one of the best I’ve used for clients is Trackur, or you can hire a company like EngineWorks to provide you with these services.
So what do you do if you wake up tomorrow and find your photo plastered across Facebook and 30 blog posts talking about how much “fun” you have last evening? There’s several techniques that can be used.
U.S Special Counsel Scott Bloach had his employees go to sites that posted negative comments about him and repeatedly comment until the negative comments were at the bottom and virtually invisible.
Another way is to release several press releases from your personal website or company’s website because they will have higher authority than third party sites. As studies have shown, search engine users typically only view and read the first three searches. Users typically don’t search past the first page of results. This means if you write a few blog posts, release a press release, and then post your articles and press releases with services that come up in the SERPs suddenly the bad press is non-existent.
Online reputation management is becoming more popular as technology and search engines become more sophisticated. Today there are tools, methods, and companies that can get you and your company back on track.