Online reputation management isn’t just for businesses—though certainly, more and more brands are investing in it, and the benefits are both obvious and far-reaching. For all of the advantages that an online reputation management campaign can offer to corporations, however, it’s also tremendously advantageous to individuals
Think, for a moment, about all of the times when someone might Google you. You can rest assured that any and all prospective employers are going to do their due diligence, checking you out online and seeing what kind of reputation you’ve really got. The same is true for potential dates, new neighbors—really, the possibilities are endless.
Sadly, Google has made it so that maintaining a clean reputation is much more difficult than it used to be. No longer is it enough to simply avoid DUI arrests and keep your name out of the newspaper.
Now, a single embarrassing photo (perhaps from your fraternity days) can make its way onto the Web and all but destroy your image—costing you the job, the date, or whatever else is at stake.
5 Steps for Defending Your Reputation
The good news is that online reputation really isn’t just for businesses anymore. There are practical steps you can take to ensure that your image is as squeaky-clean as possible, and that none of your Google listings will cost you anything, professionally or personally.
Here are five easy, Do It Yourself (DIY) reputation management steps that anyone can follow.
1 ) It always begins with monitoring—because, of course, you can’t defend your reputation if you don’t even know what your reputation is! Find out what people are saying about you by conducting Yahoo, Bing, and Google searches for yourself on a regular basis.
Set up search engine alerts to keep you up to speed on any new developments. Also make sure that you are logging out of Google before you search for yourself. Google personalizes its search results, and logging out will ensure that your results are as objective as possible.
2) Next, buy up all of the prime online real estate. Protecting yourself online means creating a defensive wall on Google—and that means getting all of the domains that are going to “rank” well in the search engine results. If your name is Brandon Powers, then, make sure you have control of BrandonPowers.com, .org, and .net, at the very least.
If you have these domains, nobody can use them against you—and, more to the point, they’ll populate well on the Google search results page, keeping negative listings out of the public’s eye.
3) Remember the power of social media. By creating—and maintaining—pages on social networking websites, you can add positive listings to the top of your search results.
Make sure that you use your name when setting up these pages, though, so that they will rank. Creative usernames are great, but they will not help you with managing your online reputation.
4) Take a crash course in search engine optimization (SEO). While there are many nuances that you may not need to worry about, understanding the importance of a keyword, which will most likely be your name, and how to use it will improve the success of your DIY reputation management efforts.
Combining this tip with the next tip will allow you to create content that ranks—and that readers enjoy.
5) The final and most important step, however, is content creation. Again, the secret to defending your online reputation is to make sure you’ve amassed plenty of positive listings, to keep potential negatives at bay. Publish blog entries or information about yourself to those domains you bought.
Maintain an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networks. Make sure there is plenty of new, positive information about you on the Web, on a regular basis—and in so doing, you’ll be keeping unwanted publicity from breaching your defensive wall
A solid reputation can take years to cultivate, but only a second to collapse. Following these steps will go a long way toward preventing that from happening—and ultimately, it will protect your personal and professional interests from any kind of online defamation, or simply embarrassment!
Image Credit: Franko_44