Like it or not, a single negative online post, article, or review can sway a likely customer from signing on the dotted line, or make a hiring manager rescind a lucrative new job offer.
It only takes a few seconds to type a name into a search bar, and the results may affect you financially and personally — no matter how hard you work, or how good you are.
5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation Like a Pro
However, with these 5 ways, you can control your online reputation and learn to make the Internet work for you.
1. Create Positive Content
Hardly anyone looks past page two of search results, so burying the bad posts on page one with your own positive posts is an effective strategy. Although you may want to, you do not have to erase those bad articles forever.
Simply create new articles, blogs and content yourself, and then ask others to do the same.
Even better, if you can get backlinks from authority webpages, you’ll strengthen the position of this content in your search engine rankings. A web page with more incoming links has more value in a search engine’s eyes.
So, the new content will rise in rankings to page one.
2. Broaden Your Online Presence
Buy your name or business name domain (for instance JohnOconnor.com) and build a WordPress website there. Add a bio, articles you’ve written, or resume as content. Assuming you regularly update it, this site will eventually take the number one spot, because the domain name is your name.
If you have a common names like Jim Smith, it will probably already be taken, so get creative. Make up a domain name with your name plus another word, like Jimsmithswebsite.com, or include your business (i.e. jimsmithcontractorreviews.com).
With a little extra effort, you can outrank those other John Smiths.
3. Hire An Online Reputation Management Company
Several companies help business owners and normal folks clean up their online presence. For instance, check out sites like Reputation.com, and you could find one with a track record of real success.
Fees are reasonable considering they’re dramatically outweighed by the cost of keeping that bad post online for everyone to see.
4. Network and Mingle Online via Social Media
Create Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Tumblr accounts and use them to post positive things about yourself and your company.
If you use your real name or business name as the URL in your profile page and update your content regularly, your profile could eventually appear in the number two or three spot on search engine results.
You can customize the URL for your profile in the settings area of your account.
5. Go to the Source (Google)
If a page is blatantly defamatory or untrue in nature, or if it violates any applicable privacy laws, make a request and Google could remove it entirely from their search results — even if you don’t own or control the web pages.
Go to Google’s Webmaster Tools and you will find a link to remove a page or site from Google.
You must send Google a legal removal request and include a valid reason. If Google agrees, they’ll remove the page from their search results.
If a bad post or review by an angry customer (or perhaps even an unscrupulous competitor) is costing you business, or stands in the way of landing a better job, take action and wipe your slate clean.
Although none of them are easy or foolproof, taking these steps will help you regain control over your online reputation.
Wanted to share how you manage your online reputation, do in the comments!