Most people don’t give online reputation management a second thought until it’s too late and they are forced into a disagreeable, and potentially costly, situation. It’s easy for individuals and businesses to take their reputations for granted when there isn’t a sleuth of negativity plastered all over the Internet. Until the day they find their bottom line being negatively impacted by what’s said about them online. Then all of a sudden, online reputation becomes of paramount importance.
So how do you recover from an online reputation crisis and most importantly, how do you prevent yourself from having one in the first place?
Damage Control: What to Do Once You’re in Crisis Mode
If there are negative posts about you on the internet, one of the first things you have to do is start flooding the same SERP – the exact same keywords – with positive mentions.
- Create a list of keywords. For what keywords do the negative posts appear? Is it just your name, or the company name? Do the negative posts appear around variations of the name?
- What are the negative URLs you are trying to bury? Create a list of all of the negative URLs you are trying to bury. Start tracking the keywords they are ranking for and their current positions.
- Create or optimize your top-tier social profiles. If possible, make sure your social profiles include the target keywords. Some of the most powerful profiles that always rank very highly are LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Make sure these are as well optimized for the target keywords as possible.
- Register your second-tier social profiles. Use a service like KnowEm to register hundreds of secondary profiles. Some of these second-tier social profiles have high domain authority and will quickly appear in the SERPs.
- Become a contributor for high-profile sites. Reach out to authoritative domains that are accepting guest contributions and write for them regularly. Make sure you include your keywords – your name or company name – in the title so that these will start ranking.
- Link to your social profiles in your articles. On every article that you contribute to authoritative domains, choose two or three social profiles and link to them. These links will boost the authority of your profiles and improve their rankings.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. The key will be to create so many of these positive mentions that they drown the negative ones. To do so, you’ll need to keep your social profiles updated and active, and boost their link popularity.
Finally, you’ll need to track the results of your efforts. Whether you use a tool like AuthorityLabs to track your rankings or a social media measurement tool like TrueSocialMetrics, the key at this stage is to track the effectiveness of your campaign. What are the rankings of the negative mentions? What new mentions are you seeing on social media? Which ones need a quick boost to rank even better?
Online Reputation Management: Keep Your Reputation Clean
We all know there will always be a jaded customer who will love the attention of complaining about you or your business. Keeping a pristine reputation is practically impossible. What you can do is preemptively flood the search engines with positive mentions of your brand or personal name so that new, negative mentions won’t see the light of day.
Claim Your Name Everywhere
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve claimed your name on every possible social media site and/or profile. If your name is already taken, find the most viable variation. Make sure that the profiles have accurate information.
Promote Your Name or Brand Actively
There are sites – including Business2Community, Medium.com, BuzzFeed, and LinkedIn – where anyone can create and promote their own content. Start contributing regularly to sites like that, as well as any other relevant industry sites that welcome your contributions. Every time you write for other authoritative domains, link to your other articles, as well as your social profiles. The idea is to flood the internet with mentions of your name or brand so that the SERPs become saturated with positive, authoritative content.
Don’t Forget Multimedia
Google gives high priority rankings to results from YouTube and Google Images. Use those sites to create and share images using your name or company name. Create a Flickr account and upload your photos. Create a presentation and upload it to SlideShare. Research other opportunities so you can take over the image and video results, as well.
Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down
When it comes to reputation management, get ahead of the curve. Don’t find yourself in a PR crisis, suffering the results of negative reputation that can impact you on so many levels. Add reputation management to your digital marketing repertoire and prepare yourself and your brand for a future where online reputation is closely connected with your bottom line.
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