The Secrets to Managing your Online Reputation
Updated: Jan 30
SwiftlyLabs.com experts have worked for years on managing and beautifying online reputations for prominent businesses and individuals. Our online reputation management (ORM) knowledge and combined experience speaks volumes evident by the high percentage of new customers that reach out to us solely because of word of mouth. As a matter of fact, customer referrals and direct traffic to our website represent the #1 source of business for SwiftlyLabs.com.
While our knowledge about the online reputation management processes and our methodology are considered trade secrets, we believe in paying it forward. After all, not all victims of defamation, false and misleading online content can afford to pay us to fix their online reputation. In some cases individuals who seek our online reputation management services are students bloated with student loans or under-funded charities with a good cause, for example.
Why is Online Reputation Management Important?
The importance of Online Reputation management is best demonstrated by the effects a bad online reputation has on a business or individual. In today's digital world everything is in the open. Years ago, the average person or customer didn't have the channels to communicate his or her opinion about people, products or services outside the usual ones. Usually people were spreading their opinions amongst family and friends. Once the Internet was invented, the monster was unleashed.
Now, anyone with a computer or a smart phone and an Internet connection can go online and share their opinions freely. A disgruntled customer can go online on product review websites and tell the world about his bad experience with a certain company. They can also submit positive product reviews when treated well by a business. Online reputation has become vital for everyone.
The problem lays in that there is no control over what people can spread online. For instance, a competitor can hire fake pretenders to submit negative reviews about a business. A jealous ex-girlfriend or a mate can go on cheating sites and drag your name through the mud. There is no end to what people can say about you or your company online. Your online reputation matters.
This freely accessed super information-highway has created the need for Online Reputation Best Practices.
Managing and Repairing your Online Reputation:
In this post about Online Reputation Management Secrets we will outline some of the ethical and legitimate tactics we use with our customers to enhance their online reputations and defend their online profiles and digital footprints by :
1) Suppressing negative search engine results and moving such content deep in the SERPS
2) Enforcing positive online content and owning the first page of Google results
3) Deleting defamatory and false content from the Internet altogether
Before you attempt to repair your online reputation you need to keep in mind that such an endeavor is a strategy not a list of tasks. Patience is a virtue. The nature of Search engines and the algorithms that decide what search results rank higher and when, proves this proverb couldn't be more true when managing your online reputation. Patience and systematic work will win the online reputation battle.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Have you ever tried to Google your name or company's name? Nowadays, people Google names of companies, job candidates, friends, potential partners, rivals, etc. to learn more about them. Aside from the results clearly labeled as ads, everything else on the results pages is what we call organic search results. Organic search results rank on Google based on over 200 criteria and determined by an algorithm that no one knows how it works except Google and is speculative in nature.
It is these results and the impressions they give the searcher about a company or an individual that paints the picture about them, in other words they form their online reputation. Go ahead and search for your brand or personal name. Spend enough time visiting each result and reading the content. Can you form an opinion about you or your organization?
When it comes to your online reputation there are three types of search results:
1) Positive Content
2) Negative Content
3) Neutral Content
Positive content includes your website, blog, social media profiles, company fan pages and, other owned media. Negative content includes online negative or bad reviews, bad press articles, false and misleading comments, bashing and fierce online criticism and other earned media. Neutral content is whatever content that is neither positive nor negative.
Labeling each search result correctly forms the basis of a sound Online Reputation Management Strategy.
Dealing with Negative Online Content about your reputation:
Obviously the first thing that comes to your mind when trying to fix your online reputation is how do you get rid of all these negative search results? Similar questions our customers ask us daily include:
- "How do I remove my name from Google search?
- "How to get news articles removed from the Internet?"
- "How to remove negative information from the Internet?"
- "How to delete unwanted Google search results?"
- "How to remove defamatory content from search engines?"
- "How do I remove malicious information about me from Google?"
- "How to restore a company reputation?"
- "How to fix a bad reputation in a business?"
Don't you wish you can click a button and delete them at once from search engines? While there are options available to you to delete some negative content from search engines, not all search results are created equally.
Google and most search engines have policies in place that allow you to report search results that affect you negatively but the success rate of removing them is very low. They will only remove search results in the following situations:
- If the search results include personal information that can be used in identity theft ( Social insurance numbers, bank account information and other intimate data about you or your company)
- If the online materials are sexually revealing
- If the content has personal threats and bullying statements
- If the content is outdated
Google and the other search engines like Bing will not remove online content if it is in the form of:
- Government public records
- Criminal charges
- News articles and media coverage
- Online reviews, etc.
If you spot a search result about you or your company that you feel is untrue, biased or damaging and should be removed then you have to take three steps:
1) Contact the website that hosts the content directly and ask them politely to remove the content.
2) Contact the search Engines and follow their online content removal processes.
3) Hire a Reputation Management Company that works with law firms to legally force the hosting websites and search engines to remove the content.
Some Online Reputation Management services cost $3,000-$10,000 to remove one single search result. The reason this online content removal service is expensive is because it requires a lot of work to accomplish. If you have the time, resources and patience it might be a good idea to peruse this course of action yourself or in-house.
In some cases the person has a name-twin. Name Collision is a big predicament where you find yourself sharing the same first and last name with a convicted felon or criminal. Neither Google or people searching for that name can determine that they are dealing with 2 different people. This situation is much harder to handle and does require the help of a professional Online Reputation Management service provider as well as a legal team.
Not everyone succeeds at deleting negative online search results. Once you determine that you have exhausted all of your options trying to delete negative online content you have one option left. At the heart of every successful online reputation management strategy is search engine results suppression. Simply put, Negative content suppression is about creating more owned positive content about you or your brand and optimizing such content to rank higher on the SERPS.
A mix of on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and Content Marketing will ensure that Google and other search engines have positive content that it can rank to push the negative results deep into the SERPS.
Own Page One of Google Search Results Pages:
Your Online Reputation Management strategy and activities must focus on one important goal; to own the first page of Google. Analyzing the work SwiftlyLabs.com and our experts have been doing to help our customers fix their online reputations, we came to a conclusion that to suppress one single first-page Google search result, you need to develop at least 4 positive highly SEO-optimized web properties. That's a ration of 4 positive results for every negative one. This means, to own the first page of Google search results you need to develop at least 40 unique web properties.
Our definition of a web property is as follows:
A web property is a unique website, blog or social media profile that is optimized to rank on the first page of Google and other search engines for your brand or name. A blog with 10 different posts counts as one single property. Your www.your-name.com website with all the content in it's sub pages also counts as one single property.
Your twitter account, with all the tweets and followers is also considered one property. This might sound like a lot of work to the average person, but this is the only way you will be able to repair your online reputation.
We suggest that every brand or individual concerned about their online reputation, signup with all the available social media websites, create a YouTube video channel and upload multiple SEO-optimized videos and remain active on all the social media sites. Simply creating these properties and forgetting them is not going to work.
Make sure that all your web properties are active in the eyes of the search engines. The way to do that is by regularly submitting new content online. Search engines love fresh content.
Other types of positive content you can create:
We advice our customers, once we have fixed their online reputation to establish themselves as experts in their field by continuously answering questions on websites like Quora and StackExchange. We also recommend using their real names and commenting on news articles and blog posts regularly.
Another worthwhile option that will greatly help clear your name online is press releases. Getting in the habit of creating and syndicating press releases is a great way to tell the search engines you are a company or a person of prominence.
Dealing with Positive Online Content about your reputation:
Once you have created positive web properties about your company or personal name, make sure you interlink them together. Web page and domain authority is a measure search engines use to determine if these websites are popular. The more backlinks your existing and newly created properties have, the higher they rank on search engines.
If you find positive content about your brand or name that is not owned and controlled by you, it makes since to periodically link to them to get them ranked higher as well. After all, existing positive content is easier to rank than newly created content.
Dealing with Neutral Online Content about your reputation:
Neutral online content can be a good thing. High ranking neutral content can be an obstacle to negative content. Earlier we mentioned that already indexed and highly ranking content is perceived better by search engines. Each result has a age stamp. The older the page the better chances it has to rank higher on Google.
Promoting the neutral content by linking to it from your existing and new properties can prove to be a good practice when it comes to enhancing your online reputation.
Before and after you fix your online reputation:
While it is usually too late to advice people with bad online reputations on what to do to avoid such a situation, it is worth mentioning. Be decent. If you run a business, treating your customers right will lead to a good reputation. In the event of having an unhappy customer, the best solution is to speak to them and fix their issues. When your business acknowledges wrong doing and tries to fix the clients problem, more often than not it leads to happy company advocates.
In your personal life, living a life where you treat people right, including your enemies; will almost always guarantee a good reputation.
After you, your in-house team or the best online reputation management company cleans your online mess and once you have a great online reputation, comes maintenance. Reputation maintenance is as important as fixing your reputation problems in the first place. You must stay proactive and keep your online profiles alive. Consistent contribution to your online profile will ensure that any future negative content will struggle to be visible on the first 1-2 pages of search results. As a company it is essential to respond to online negative product reviews quickly.
Your online reputation is very important. We have heard many stories of businesses going bankrupt because of negative online reviews. We have also heard many stories about people who could not land a job simply because the search engines brought up negative content about them, even though the content was false. What happens in Vegas, stays on the search engines. We have posted the results of various research initiatives in 2017 and 2018 that support this fact: Online Reputation Management Statistics.
If you are unable to follow our advice in this document titled : The secrets to managing your online reputation, you should not hesitate to hire The Best Online Reputation Management Company to get you out of trouble. The cost of Online Reputation Management services vary from one service provider to another, but generally speaking you have to be prepared to spend upwards of $10,000 over 3-12 months to properly repair your online reputation. Here is a link to explain how Online Reputation Management Services are priced.
Another piece of advice: when choosing an online reputation management company, look up their reputation! Do you think a reputation management company with a bad reputation can help you? Search online for Online Reputation Management Consultants Reviews before you pay your hard earned money.