Have you Googled Yourself Lately? Your Online Reputation Could Be Killing You!
Businesses and individuals are more visible than ever. Do you have a nasty reputation as far as the internet is concerned? Think about it: How much of your public and private life is being documented online?
The fact is that your personal information is becoming less physical and more digital, whether you like it or not. So unless your background is as pure as freshly fallen show, this can pose a problem. The online world is even more complicated for business owners whose competitors or old employees have damaged their reputation online with malicious reviews.
Let me share a quick story to illustrate the point:
Mike (not his real name) made some bad choices and got into a bit of trouble about five years ago after he had been out with his friends at a bar. After a few drinks, he made a poor decision to try driving his car home, which was only a mile from the bar. No sooner had he driven a few blocks than he got pulled over for a burned-out taillight. The officer smelled beer, had Mike take the field sobriety test, and within a few hours, Mike was being fingerprinted and having his photo taken by a couple police officers down at the station. He ended up losing his job because his boss read about the event on the local newspaper’s website…seven months after it had happened, because it was the first thing to come up when the boss searched Mike’s name on Google.
So if you ever plead guilty to a DUI, or were arrested for either a misdemeanor or a felony, if you had a mugshot taken, or even dated someone who decided to post embarrassing details about you, you probably know that all of this sensitive evidence is online for anyone to see: your family, friends, co-workers, employer, and neighbors have instant access to the information.
What will your children think when they see your mugshot? How likely do you think it is that you will get a new job once the employer sees that you were charged with something five years ago? It does not matter if you were guilty…just the implication is often enough to ruin your reputation with a current or prospective employer.
Let’s not forget about the entrepreneurs out there–have you Googled your business? With online review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google+, now anybody, even your competitors, can destroy your company’s reputation with a few keystrokes. Other sites like Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer are designed to entice people to destroy your business—and they will not, under any circumstances, remove the report.
It is not so much to say that anybody can do a search to figure out what you ate for breakfast the previous morning–unless you’re one of those people who post photos of every meal you eat to Instagram or Pinterest–but the internet does provide people with the ability to see all the skeletons in your closet. Arrests records are just fraction of the personally damning information that can be unearthed on any individual online if it is looked for hard enough, and with the potential for even more information to go online, the need for people to manage their online reputations has actually grown at an exponential rate.
Why Every Business Needs an Online Reputation Plan
If you are like most individuals, before you purchase from any company it is likely that you will head online and do a bit of research into their reputation. After all, you want to ensure that you are making the right decision regarding whether you are getting value for money. If you own a company then you can bet your bottom dollar that your potential clients are doing the same. Positive reviews online will typically swing clients towards you, whereas negative reviews will usually push clients away. Therefore, it is crucial that you have an online reputation plan in place.
The main benefit of an reputation management service is the fact that you will have some degree of control over the types of reviews that appear to your potential clients when they search for your business or name online. You will not have full control as these reviews will tend to be placed on other websites, but with the right online reputation plan in place you may get more positive results appearing and you will be able to push those negative reviews off the front page.
In addition to this; with the right online reputation management in place you may even be able to entice people to leave positive reviews that they may not have on their own (remember; the majority of people out there will only ever leave a review online if they have something to complain about, most people do not bleat about good service, sadly). Straightaway, all of this is going to combine to make your company appear more reputable in the eyes of potential clients. This is fantastic since you want to make sure that you give off the best impression possible. There is a lot of competition out there!
Reputation Management Consultants: solving your image problem
There are a number of services to be found that serve the purpose of making a person’s sketchy past less public, but for no less than a $5,000 up front fee with a several hundred dollar ongoing maintenance fee to continue suppressing the damning info. The fees are much higher if it is a business. These agencies do something known as ‘online reputation management’, which boils down to a number of techniques used to hide all negative information about you that could pop up on Google if somebody was truly determined to dig up all the dirt associated with your name.
The online reputation management services also put in a great deal of work in order to make new, positive information rise to the top of Google searches for you name. This greatly improves your reputation in the eyes of all the people who are likely to happen upon your name on the internet one day.
Rep management services, while highly coveted, are not cheap and it involves a great deal of work to do it properly. Yet, for those who care about their reputation, the use of such services could be a lifesaver for their career and income, the difference between being gainfully employed and unemployable. Many businesses and celebrities already have staff members who are dedicated to making sure that negative online information is always kept at bay.
Absolutely no company is perfect. Try as you might it is likely that you will end up getting some negative reviews sooner as opposed to later. Most people out there will frown a little when they see somebody has written something bad about their company. With an online reputation company on your side, you could potentially turn this to your advantage. People tend not to care about negative reviews if you have demonstrated that you have taken the time to deal with the problem.
If you spot a genuine, negative review online then take the time to respond to it. Tell people how you have dealt with the situation and how you are changing things for the better in the future. People will admire this. You may even end up gaining the customer back that left the negative review (more money in your pocket is always good, right?). Obviously you still want to avoid getting those negative reviews appearing in the search engines, but at least if somebody stumbles across them you will have demonstrated that you have actually tried to do something about the situation.
For those who do not have huge bags of money sufficient to blot every mistake they have committed off the face of the digital Earth, there are still options. Our team of experts at NegativeSEOguy.com are fast becoming a leading force in the field of online reputation management because we have many clients whose reputation has been restored as a result of our relentless commitment to ensuring that our clients get the second chance they deserve.
If you would like to hear more about how our reputation management services can help you, please get in touch now using one of the contact forms available on this page.