Google yourself. Do you like what you find?
Online reputation management is the process of improving or restoring your name or your brand’s good standing in the online conversation. Online reputation management consists of countering negative information found online with positive information to improve the quality of your search results. Enabling customers or clients to find the right materials when they search for you.
It is the process of fixing or improving an individual or company’s reputation. Done well, it can create balance, counteracts misleading information and generates new business opportunities.
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important
Everything we do now is recorded online.
Considering that 87% of Australia active users use the Internet on a daily basis, and 86% of the Australian households have internet access, it is essential to monitor your brand’s online reputation. After all, Internet users are actively searching for information on products and services they want to purchase, as well as the company that provide them. If your brand is presented negatively online, it is likely that they will decide to go with your competitors, costing you potentially valuable revenue, and customer profitability. More importantly,
Reviews about your business can dramatically impact your search rank results. Statistics reveals that more than 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and among them 31% of consumers are more willing to spend on business with an excellent review.
Thus, every piece of content matters.
Having a good online reputation helps you, and in today’s digital era, it is crucially important for everyone to understand and know how to protect their online reputation. However, most businesses do not know how to do it – and we are here to help.
In the following guide, we will show you the easiest way to monitor, detect and build your reputation, in your favour.
- Diagnose and Adjust Your Present Online Reputation
The first step you need to do is to go on any of the search engines and search yourself, or your brand up. By doing so, you could determine whether or not you have a problem with your online reputation and if you find anything negative online, how bad the situation is.
Before doing so, it is recommended that you sign out of all your accounts ( Google, Yahoo etc.), as search engine algorithm tend to customise your search result to provide you a personalised experience. Therefore, searching as an outsider will give you the most honest and independent search result.
If applicable, don’t forget to try different names. Make sure you cover all the potential names people are likely to be searching for you or your businesses with.ann
Once you have done your research, it’s time to determine which of the following scenario the search result of you falls under:
- Positive: Positive, accurate information about you. If you fall into this category you’re doing well, but there are always further steps you can take to improve your online persona.
- Negative: Negative listings that you would want them to be deleted. This could be a bad review from an angry customer or a bad photo from your high school days. Don’t worry if you do not fall into this category, we are here to help
- Irrelevant: All of the results about ‘you’ are either about other people with the same name, or they are outdated information.
At the same time, you could examine your social media presence and delete any content that would be considered too sensitive, or too personal. Today, most of the employers or customers are increasingly using search engines before making any important decisions. As a result, what shows up on the search result could mean a difference between a new business opportunity or a lost customer.
Now, after gathering up all the information needed, it is time to plan on how much work you should put into managing your online reputation.
(2) Personal Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is an umbrella term that covers all of the strategies and techniques that aim to improve the overall ranking of a particular web page in the search engine results. It refers to the process of creating or optimising web pages content to boost search rankings and search visibility.
As for individuals, effective SEO technique can be applied to help gain insights of your online reputation, monitor and ensure your best content are optimised to appear on search engines. It is often be structured in ways so you and relatable content such as work experience will be (1) Easily found on search engines and (2) Linked to credible and authority website on search engines.
Personal SEO is an essential step because search engines adopt a complex mathematical model — algorithms to assign search queries to particular search outcomes. And good SEO techniques will not only improve not only the ranking of the website, but also user experience and usability of a website. Personal SEO is particularly useful when you have a personal website or blog. In today’s competitive market, the right SEO technique will help you stand out from the crowd — and to increase your chances to land your dream job.
Search Engine Optimisation will effect Organic Search Results:
How Search Engines evaluate authority and ranking of a web page?
Google’s utility as a search engine is because their powerful algorithm does the work for you. By searching for pages that contain the search term you entered, then assign a rank to each page based on two fundamental factors: relevance and authority.
Relevance refers to the measure of how appropriate a page match a search query. Today, instead of solely relying on keyword matching, search engines also take factors such as content, backlinks and mobile index.
Authority, on the other hand, is the measure of the credibility and trustworthiness of a page. In the case of Google, it has no single authority metric but instead uses a variety of signals to determine the authority on a page-by-page basis.
Common SEO techniques
SEO techniques can be divided into two broad categories: On-page and Off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is the series of practice of optimising each web page in order to improve SERP rank and generate more relevant traffic for your target audience. On-page consists of all aspects of the websites, including both the content on the page and HTML code of the page that can be optimized. In other words, by working on on-page SEO, it ensures your content and code follow the best practices as determined by search engines.
On the other hand, off-page SEO emphasised on promotion methods that are beyond website design. It includes factors that require extra work than adjusting existing web pages. Common techniques include social bookmarking, social media marketing and directories.
(3) Building An Effective of Online Presence for Search Engines
Your digital foundation will be the framework that supports every piece of your online presence as well as to back up other elements of your digital marketing strategy. A strong digital foundation contains the necessary information and should be updated on a regular basis and presented appealingly.
Your digital foundation first starts by identifying who you are, your experience and your passions or goals.
1.Invest in a personal domain
For a small annual fee, you can own a personal domain for use with a website and email address, among other online activities. It’s often extremely difficult to reclaim a domain once others have taken it, therefore it is recommended to register your personal domain as soon as possible.
When coming up with a domain name, the safest and easiest way is to use your professional name or your brand name. This is because much of website traffic is drawn from navigational search, which is the type of search query when users try to find you or your brand online.
2.Identify Your Objectives
Although the main purpose of building your digital profile is to create a positive online presence, online reputation management is the fastest means of achieving this objective. However, it is also important to figure what you want your online presence to help you acquire, which could be potential clients, to generate more sales, or to increase brand awareness.
3.Build a Simple and User-friendly Website
Having a website is the easiest and most effective way for anyone to promote their business or share ideas with other people. A website is a platform where you can showcase everything from your resume to personal hobbies.
A website with quality content is critically important to stand out in today’s digital era. Creating content that aligns and explores your target audience’s interests is the fundamental key to drive engagement, conversions, and margins. Learn more about content marketing and brand awareness here.
4.Get On Social Media
Social media platforms are a popular way to allow brands/users to engage with target or potential audiences and other interested parties easily on a daily basis. However, it is worth noting that not all every social media will be relevant in the case of online reputation management. For example, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are usually good places to start with as it is a great place to share news as well as asking questions, and they usually require authentication to register so that it will be seen as more credible in the eyes of search engines.
(4) Boost your Online Reputation with the right SEO techniques
While building your personal website, your main goal is to let search engines find and present the information. Having a great website that presents a positive accurate profile of yourself isn’t much use if no one gets to see it.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your site to ensure that it is optimised for search engine rankings:
Google favours sites with superior security across the internet. In 2015, Google announced that their HTTPS ranking boost might serve as a tiebreaker when the quality signals for two search results are otherwise equal. Meaning, in those cases where two search results are equal, in terms of page rankings, having a HTTPS might push one over the edge for a higher position. (Click here to learn more about HTTPS Certificate).
When your audience find your content relevant and unique, they will probably come back more often, and help attract more people to your website over time. Thus, one of the key to improve your online performance is to continue delivering excellent content.
Moreover, usually having long-form content creates an impression of in-depth analysis, and make your website appear to be a more credible expert in your field, and thus increase the likelihood of engagement and sharing, and ultimately improves the traffic to your website.
However, avoid adding too many irrelevant keywords or you might risk the chance of being perceived as keyword stuffing, which is a unfavourable SEO technique aiming to manipulate page’s ranking for a particular keyword. This method is being seen as a suspicious way to outsmart the search engines, thus it is like to be given a lower search ranking.
There are certain things on a web page that search engines consider more important than other elements. Once you have set up your page, it is time to choose the keywords that are related to your page, which in the case of personal SEO, are usually your brand name or your name. By including your name in different places including URL link, headings and anchor text, search engines could determine that ‘your name’ is the most important element on the page.
In particular, Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. Anchor text is a powerful tool that can determine the ranking that the web page will receive by search engines. Thus, if used correctly, you will witness your rank climbing higher on a daily basis. It is recommended to label each link with your brand name or your name so that search engines know what the links refer to.
Social Media Profiles
For anyone who is looking to become a well-respected leader within their industry, taking the time to build your personal brand online is the absolute key. One of the most powerful methods to begin to control your online relation in the search engines result pages (SERPs) is to create profiles on social media platforms. Since domains such as Twitter and Facebook have high authority, they are often easier to rank than actually building your website.
The big four social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are a great place to start. The following tips will help you ensure they are as SEO-friendly as possible and the most effective for online reputation management strategy:
- Create a complete profile: After obtaining the name com/companyname, you will need to complete a full profile in order to have a legitimate working account. The more information that you can fill in, the better.
- Keeping it clean: Before start promoting your social media profile, it is important to understand that everything you post on your profile is going public and can be seen by everyone. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to edit what is publicly available on your profiles as it is becoming more common for companies to check out social media profiles the considering job applicants.
- Engage and Interact: Simply participating in the online community strengthens your profile and gives your account more credibility. An empty account with only your name on it is more likely to be seen as a spam account.
- Add backlinks: High-ranking websites tend to have substantial backlinks from diverse domains. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to include a link back to other existing sites and as many other profiles as possible.
(5) Updating your Google Image Result
Google search is usually the first place people turn for information that is published about you, and now that Google usually shows the top image results for a corresponding web search on the first page, it is important to improve and update your Google Image Results. An online reputation management campaign can achieve the goal by: pushing up flattering new images, suppressing unfavourable pictures or actually removing negative images from Google’s Index.
Among, ‘burying’ bad content with better content is the most easier method to adopt. Frequently, unfavourable images rise to the first page of (Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) simply because there is not enough content online. Some of the effective strategies are as follows:
- Post and share maximum official images and material that accurately present the brand’s image on your official website, blogs and social media profiles. The more images available online, the more likely that they will show up on the first page of SERPs and suppressed the negative photos.
- Sharing favourable photos on your account will increase the chances of getting those images into the first page and relegating more unfavourable photos to succeeding pages. It is also recommended to use your profiles to push the image online. You can simply do this by creating a new post with the image on it on your social media profiles. This will create more links to the favourable photo and increase its chance to be found on search engines.
- It’s important that search engines know the image is of you. It is suggested practice to always add some sort of descriptive information to a photo so the search engines will know it is an image of you. You can do this either by adding captions on social networking site, or simply tagging yourself in the photo.
- It is possible to have people such as a disgruntled customer or employee who post negative images or even defamatory content across social networking site. Engage with these people and address their concerns. However, if the issue is not valid it is better to leave it and upload more positive images in order to suppress the negative ones.
(6) Emergency Tactics for Fixing a Negative Search Result
This is one of the worst things that can happen to your reputation: misleading news results, embarrassing old photos, comments on a post that we regret — all of them can follow you around permanently online. As for businesses, there is nothing worse than being linked with a bad search result. However, we are in the age of information, and people are eager to share their opinions online. Sometimes, these opinions are not quite positive. In fact, trashing a brand name online is extremely easy, on social networking sites.
So, is there anything you could do to fix negative search results immediately?
Unfortunately, you can’t just contact search engines like Google get rid of the negative content appearing on their search engines. But there is still plenty of techniques and strategies that you can use in this situation. Read on to learn how to get negative results off of search engines, or at least bury them down with contents you favour.
Get it Taken Down
If you notice a defamatory comment, or a bad photo showing up at the top of the search results when you search for your brand name, your first instinct might be to try and have it removed online. Removing a link permanently unlinks the content with your brand and to ensure your targeted audiences will never see it again. Links to negative content will either be content you can control or under someone’s control.
Removing from Pages that You Own: For online profiles that you own such as on a Facebook page or Yelp business page, you can simply just edit your profile and fill it with more positive and accurate information. Alternatively, you can respond to comments in a welcoming and helpful way. If the situation has gone out of hand, and there is no other ways that you think can improve the profile, it may be possible to completely delete the account and to remove your online presence from the site. However, it should be aware that some websites may allow you to remove your business account, but keep the reviews public.
Removing from Pages that You Own: For online profiles that you own such as Facebook page or Yelp business page, you can simply just edit your profile and fill it with more positive and accurate information. Alternatively, you can respond to comments in a welcoming and helpful way. If the situation has gone out of hand, and there is no other ways that you think can improve the profile, it may be possible to delete the account completely and to remove your online presence from the site. However, you should be aware that some websites may allow you to remove your business account, but keep the reviews public.
Removing from Pages that you have no control: For web pages, you have no access or authority, removing negative content from search results can be much more challenging and can often require professional help. Although it is not easy, however in some cases removing content from a third-party website can be completed by yourself. There are several ways to do this:
- Ask the site owner directly: Approach the source of the person who posted it online and ask them about having it taken down. Explain professionally and tell them why you need the related content to be taken down.
- Submit a complaint to Google: Although in most cases are impossible to have search engines to remove unfavourable content, however with sufficient and perusable evidence, it can still be done. For example, publishing defamatory or personal information are prohibited on Google. If you notice any negative content that violates Google policies, contact Google and ask for it to be removed. However, the page will still exist, it just won’t appear in the search results.
- Copyright or legal infringement claims: If you believe that the negative content you found may be unlawful, you can always take legal action. However, it could end up costing a substantial amount of legal fees and could even draw unnecessary attention from the public. Therefore, you should consider the weight and risks before doing so.
The above methods are feasible; however, they can be time-consuming, frustrating and at times, expensive. And in the worst case, they may not even work. In this case, you may consider reverse SEO to suppress the negative content online.
Reverse SEO works by flooding the search engines with positive content to push all the negative content into deeper SERPs. Ultimately it is the process of removing unwanted information by making the rankings go down.
Most of the visitors will only enter the first few links returned in search results. Only 1% of the visitors will dig deeper than the third page of SERPs. Therefore, if you can get the negative content pushed to the third or fourth pages, it is likely that your target audience won’t get to see them.
Create and improve your digital presence, continuously. As mentioned above, you could do this by purchasing a domain name, opening a new blog or creating social media profiles. Most importantly, ensure everything you post are search-engine friendly. The more content you create and publish online, and the better quality they are, the more likely they will be ranked above all the negative contents. Over the course of a few months, strategic content creation aimed at convincing Google algorithms that the most favourable content is the most relevant, users will become increasingly likely to find the positive information rather than the negative.
This concludes our guide. If you follow the stages outlined you should be able to improve your search presence within a short period. If you found this guide helpful, you might be interested to learn more about online reputation management here. Brand management is essential for any business today; feel free to contact us to begin taking control of your online reputation.