You can find (almost) everything on the web these days, and it doesn’t take much effort to dig up the dirt on anyone or any business you’re interested in learning more about. I mean, what do you think most employers, potential customers, neighbors, and new acquaintances do when they want to find out more about you? That’s right, they search for you online. Here’s why this is definitely a double-edged sword…
On the one hand, having so much information readily available makes it incredibly easy to do research about people that you need to know a little bit more about, products you’re interested in, and businesses you’re thinking about working with.
However, on the other hand, anyone with access to a computer has the ability to add to the global collection of information available on the web at any point in time.
That means you do not have complete control over what’s said about you, your business, or your personal life online.
This is why online reputation management tactics and strategies are so important, especially if you’re dealing with some underhanded competitors that are just out to crush you with lies and slander.
To help you get off on the right foot with reputation management, we’ve outlined two crucial facts you need to know:
- Reputation management is an ongoing process.
New content is published every day so companies must be watchful. Though it would be nice to be able to effortlessly protect your reputation with one push of a button, nothing could be further from the truth.
Online reputation management is all about taking the necessary steps to implement dozens of tactics and changes that help you control the narrative online. It is consistent efforts that will carry the day, and the best time to start a reputation management campaign is before it is needed.
- Reputation management is all about controlling, not erasing, content
When people say that “once something hits the web it’s there forever” they really, really mean it.
And it’s 100% true.
You will never have complete control over the content posted to the web, and even if you could control what got uploaded you’d never be able to control the conversation that can happen on social media – or people’s genuine reaction to your business.
This is why effective reputation management is all about controlling the content and its influence on the web and not trying to erase it. We all have the freedom to express our opinions, and some customers are impossible to please, no matter how many times you try to make it right.
However, there are some basic guidelines you should abide by if you find yourself affected by something online. Let’s say there’s a less than favorable (and untrue) web post about you or your business that is showing up in the number one spot on Google for your most valuable keywords.
The thing to do here would not be to contact Google and ask them to remove the page for you – this request will always fall on deaf ears. Google supports freedom of speech and expression as long as the published material does not contravene any laws. This means that people are free to share their opinions about your business, even if they are negative. On the other hand, if it is a slanderous or defamatory page, contact an attorney. But customer reviews, or opinions of a patient or client about your services (like those found on Ripoff Report), fall under free speech laws; so does the publication of mugshots and police records.
Still, just because something is online, doesn’t mean that it is entitled to be prominent for search results. There is a huge difference between the existence of information and how easy it is to access. Why live your life haunted by critical and unflattering information?
This is where reputation management (or ‘crisis management’) comes into play. Instead of senselessly banging your head against the wall by hoping Google will magically remove the website from their search index (they won’t), the solution is to use an online reputation management company to boost your own positive pages ABOVE the negative ones so that you reclaim the top spot.
You’ll not only push the negative results deeper and deeper into the search engine rankings (making it much less likely that people will find the content in the first place), but you’ll also be able to control the narrative with your own positive information in the top spot.
If you do nothing to fight back, you are deciding that the way you will be remembered for the rest of your life is by the negative and damaging things that others have chosen to say about you.
It isn’t an overnight process, nor is it easy, but given the alternative of surrendering your reputation to fate, online reputation management is the best investment you can make to preserve your good name.