Managing your reputation can be an unwieldy task. With all the social posts and cross-platform commenting and phots that dredge up memories, it’s safe to say that what people say about you online really matters.
If you’re trying to grow a business and have negative information about your name online, many people won’t want to work with you.
Learn how to reshape your digital image by reading these steps below.
Start by Googling Yourself
Just about every person on this planet uses Google–this means potential clients, managers, your friends, and your upcoming Tinder date.
Log out of Google before conducting your own search. Your account saves cookies that alter the results based on who is looking at the search results. Logging out ensures you’ll get the same experience as anyone else running a search.
From there, look through the first few pages and take stock of anything that comes off as negative. This could mean poor reviews, unflattering images, unprofessional social media tags, and mentions online.
On the plus side, a lot of the social media stuff can be removed. Adjust your privacy settings or take down anything that could damage your reputation.
Know that most social channels make public profiles the default setting, so be sure that any personal accounts are relegated to friends and family. Keep any business accounts separate.
Negative reviews and bad press are another story. You might not be able to remove these, but you can make it hard for others to find.
The point is, knowing what’s out there is the first step. Keep reading for more on how to prevent bad press from affecting your current reputation.
Create Social Media Profiles to Connect with Others
The biggest social networks have the advantage of having a high Google PageRank. PageRank is an algorithm the search engine uses to measure importance on a scale from 0 to 10.
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all fit the bill. Users link to profiles and content from these platforms on a regular basis, giving them unique weight in the search results.
And one more thing. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to customize your URL to reflect your full name. Do this anywhere you can, as this these profiles will come up when someone Googles your name.
Additionally, you’ll want to buy domains containing your first and last name. You don’t need to use them, but owning the rights to do so will keep bad actors from creating malicious content. Use a site like TecnoWeb to secure these URLs.
The second part of this? Actually using the platforms. You can’t sign up for a brand-oriented Instagram or Twitter and sit there lurking. Instead, you need to push out new content on a semi-regular basis–you know, so Google can find you.
Take to the Blog-o-Sphere
One way to take control of the search results is to make your own content. Because we live in the digital age, blogs and social channels make things easier for content creators.
Starting a blog allows you to develop as much content as possible under the same URL. So, as you grow your blog, Google has more opportunities to index your content, ranking for certain keywords.
That said, if you’re worried about your reputation, you’ll need to consider how your blog will affect that reputation. For example, if your name is the URL or the title of the blog has your name in it, it will rank high for your name.
Now, the solution might not be right for everyone out there. If you’re not prepared to do the work that goes into creating and maintaining a blog, it’s better to skip it for now. Posting erratically or jumping ship after a few months reflects poorly on your brand.
Do Some Guest Blogging to Boost Your Name Online
While blogging on your own website has the potential to increase your clout in the Google universe, guest blogging spreads your name online across other URLs. Meaning, if someone Googles you, results will point towards the work you’ve done for various websites.
Reach out to blog owners or publications that fall within your area of expertise and start pitching stories. Again, these sites should reflect your personal brand, so don’t just commit to any website that will have you.
Remove Unwanted Content from Google
Now, this doesn’t work in every case, but you can ask Google to remove unwanted photos or links. That said, all Google can do is remove said page from the search results–not the actual webpage.
This means people can still access that content by sharing a URL or linking to it on social media.
The second part of this is; Google’s removal policies extend to things like nude or explicit photos, bank account numbers, or an image of your signature–the serious stuff.
If your concern is bad reviews or sharing unflattering information, it’s a little harder to make your case with the search engine. There, your best bet is getting in contact with the webmaster. This person is the owner of the website and can remove the page entirely.
Post, Post Post
Post comments on prominent blogs and websites. The point of this is to cover your tracks by layering more content on top.
Sites like the New York Times let you post comments and turn up ahead of small blogs or mentions that might hurt your rep.
If you’re hoping to get more traction in a specific niche, look for the most significant blogs in your space and become a regular commenter. Now, for this to work, you need to know what you’re talking about.
Put your best face forward and talk about what you know, ask thoughtful questions about what you don’t know.
Consider Working with a Reputation Management Firm
While keeping tabs on your social accounts is likely within your purview, juggling brand mentions with running a business is tough stuff. With Reputation Results, you’ll work with a team that actively manages negative reviews, so you can present your best self to prospective clients.
Contact us today for a free audit and take control over your name online once and for all.