Online privacy and discretion seem to be a major focus for people these days, as the pendulum starts to swing regarding personal information available online. It was reported by Search Engine Land this week that 74% of United States adults would delete themselves from search results were it possible to do so. At the moment however, if Google or other search engines pick up on negative stories that are about you, or mention you, then there is little anyone can do, except to seek out a firm that specializes in online reputation management.
I Read That You Could Tell Google To Take a Link To Your Name Down….?
If you are European, yes – the “Right to Be Forgotten Rule” has allowed you to control online search as related to your name much better now that the European courts have determined that is a personal right. In any case, if you are American, the ability to demand that Google take down any search results that show your self or your firm in less than the best light is NOT to you. So – what is there to do when a search for your name or your company name pulls up negative results? Well, we have some simple suggestions below that can help you begin to repair your online profile. But, considering the money that can be lost when people or businesses are linked to bad press or reports of negative activity, we also recommend that you speak to an online reputation management specialist that can help you neutralize a negative search profile.
Product Content or the “Knock Them Down” Strategy
One of the most basic steps in changing your online reputation in search results is to produce enough quality content so that you are able to create pages to overwhelm the initial results provided by search engines and knock the competing, negative information lower in results.
Leverage the Public Nature of Social Media Accounts
Make sure that you have created social media profiles and set all of your profile settings to “public” so that they are searchable. This way, when someone searches for your name, your social network profiles will show up in search results. These naturally tend to have a high ranking, and so you should be able to push negative links further down in the search results fairly easily.
Write New and Fresh Content
If you are an expert in your field, or have a topic or subject that you are passionate about, then write about it. Write about it for your own blog. Write guest posts for other blogs (don’t ask for backlinks – the value of these posts is simply to get them online and attached to the name you are trying to rehabilitate). Even better, see if you can write for a high rated content outlet (like Forbes or Huffingtonpost), where your content will link highly in search engines as connected to your name.
If less than glowing reviews are a part of your online profile problem, then you need to be proactive in neutralizing them. First, it would be best to read them and determine which reviewers may have a legitimate argument for the poor customer service, or poor experience that they are reporting. If they do, fix it. Then reach out to them and try and turn their bad review/bad write up/bad comment about you into a more positive experience for them. You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar (so the saying goes). And every now and then, addressing an online complaint will result in that person either correcting or withdrawing that complaint.
If that doesn’t happen, if you cannot manage to convince someone that their negative content regarding you should not be online, then be proactive about seeking out positive coverage. If you are an individual, appeal to your friends and colleagues to give you glowing reviews on LinkedIn, or Google My Business. If you have a business, solicit Google and Facebook reviews from your loyal client base. Ask people who come into your store, or whom you interact with to give you written testimonials that you can post on your website. Even better, ask them to post something about yourself or your services on their website.
Your Reputation is Important
In the end, what search engines have to say you is often the first impression that many people have of you and/or of your business. If you haven’t actively been tracking what Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have to say about you, then you are missing a necessary step in online marketing. Search your name now, and set up a Google Alert monitor so that going forward mentions of your name online will be forwarded to you to track. If you find that your online reputation isn’t quite as wonderful as you assumed it would be, then find a firm that knows reputation management and enlist their help. After all, the first impression is often the only impression you get to make. For help on managing your online reputation, contact the experts at Premiere Creative and give us a call at (973) 346-8100.