It’s 2018, and online reputation management is here to stay. There’s no turning back the clock, no reducing the importance of your reputation online and no way to avoid the impact of google search results on your name. The front page of Google is – and has been for some time – the new business card.
At InternetReputation.com, our award-winning team has helped thousands of clients improve their online image, overcome falsified reviews, remove mugshots from image results and otherwise show the web their best side.
We’ve spent almost a decade refining our approach, developing new technologies and training our team in the latest approaches to great SEO. Now, we’re offering this knowledge to you.
Reputation management is critical to success, and we want to equip today’s professionals and business owners with the tools they need to get ahead.
Some reputation management cases and clients need the help of a professional team like ours to succeed, but others just want a good free guide for DIY reputation management. In a world where three of four hiring managers google candidates before hiring, and nine out of ten customers look at a business online before buying, no one should be denied the chance to polish their image online.
The step-by-step guide below will walk you through the process of setting up a great ORM strategy to secure your personal and professional endeavors for years to come:
- Know What You’re Up Against
You can’t fight an enemy you can’t see, so the first step is to assess the current state of your online reputation. Start by searching for your name on popular search engines like Google and Bing, then do the same for any names you’ve ever been known by and any businesses you’re associated with. Look at the first two pages of results and several pages of photos in the results.
Also, go to Google.com and type in your name without hitting enter to take a look at the autosuggest terms in the pop-down menu, if any exist. Do the same for any names and businesses you looked at earlier.
Screenshot everything you find, from the front two pages of search engine results to the autosuggest terms and everything in between. Make a bookmarks folder to catalog everything positive and negative that’s online about you, and every search you perform. This helps paint a clear picture of the current state of your reputation and is among the most important steps.
- Set Up Notifications for Future Related Content
Go to Google Alerts and set up notifications for every search term you went through above. This will notify you of any posts that mention your name, past names you’ve gone by and your business names that pop up in the future.
Once your notifications are established, you shouldn’t have to repeat step one ever again. You’ll be aware of what’s said about you online and you can respond to results as they appear.
If you’re a business owner, you should also set up notifications by claiming your business(es) on Google, Yelp and any other business review websites you’re listed on. This way, you’ll receive direct notifications of new reviews and complaints.
- Increase the Number of Web Properties You Own
Leveraging web properties brings new types of media with your name on it into search results when people look for you. Purchase domains that use your name(s) and business name(s) directly on a site like GoDaddy.com, claim profiles on all social media platforms you can think of and otherwise increase the number of web properties related to your name as much as possible.
This gives you platforms from which to post positive, useful content about your brand and prevents others from claiming these properties to use against you.
While you’re at it, head to existing social media accounts and other profiles to increase your privacy settings to the maximum extent allowed by the website. If you’re friends with business associates on your personal accounts, transfer them to a professional profile so only close friends and family see personal information.
- Educate Yourself
This one’s easy, but time-consuming. It’s time to educate yourself on maintaining an online presence. Purchase a few books on running a successful blog, managing your social media accounts, creating content with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind and branding yourself.
Once you’ve finished educating yourself, you’ll be ready to make use of your new web properties, respond to new content that comes up with your name on it and push negative items off the front page.
- Make a Realistic Long-Term Plan
With your newfound knowledge of social media and otherwise owning your online image, make a realistic long-term plan for your online reputation management. A typical campaign takes between six and twelve months to move to maintenance, so set your goals accordingly.
Each negative result on search engines represents a goal – you want to remove or suppress each one to remove it from public view. Each profile and domain name you claimed represents another goal – you want to maximize the benefits they yield and optimize them for the best effect.
Within your plan should be a regular posting schedule for your website’s blog, your social media accounts and any other online profile you’ve claimed. Start following this plan immediately.
- Start Re-Branding Yourself
Create a personal brand that outlines how you want to be viewed by associates, how you conduct yourself as a businessperson and who you are to the world. You’ll need to embody this in everything you do, which includes business practices if you’re a business owner.
Business brands should match your personal brand so you’re not claiming to be one person through one avenue and someone else through your business.
Use your newly-created brand to approach online content creation and reputation management. This gives you a direction for everything you post according to your posting schedule.
- Schedule Regular Check-Ins
At InternetReputation.com, we check on progress every month and we recommend you do the same. Revisit every bookmark you saved in step one, take new screen shots to compare to where you started, look at every Google alert you’ve received, draft a progress report and get an idea of where you’re at.
These check-ins will show you how you’re doing on your long-term plan’s goals. If you’re behind or ahead, you’ll need to modify your plan accordingly.
Don’t let a lack of progress upset you too much. Reputation management often requires upwards of eighty hours per month from our expert team, per client, and even we can’t produce overnight results. Search engines do not allow you to fix things instantly.
- Start Building a Great Team
With the dozens of hours every month you’ll likely devote to online reputation management, you want a great team on your side. For business owners, hire a bookkeeper and an attorney if you don’t already have one on staff. For individuals, hire a financial manager and an attorney to protect you from future legal problems.
Also consider hiring an online reputation management team to handle the daily tasks of content creation, social media management and review monitoring. This can free up a lot of time to focus on establishing yourself as a leader, getting positive press about you or your business and otherwise improve other aspects of your reputation.
The Bottom Line
If you follow this online reputation management guide, you will make progress on your reputation. We might not be able to guarantee that, as we do campaigns managed by our team, but you can make it a sure thing by dedicating several hours every week to hard ORM work. The more you learn, the better you’ll do, and we’re here to help.
Sometimes, doing things on your own is a little too tough, time consuming or expensive, and we’re here to help with that too. For those who’d like to start working with an excellent team sooner rather than later, you’re welcome to call us at 1-888-591-0930 to set up a free consultation today! We look forward to speaking with you.
Protect your reputation online.