With the expansion of internet within our homes, its relevance has increased further. It is more than likely that once you hand over your business card to your boss, girlfriend/boyfriend, or anyone else, he/she would go online and search your name on the search engine. In case he/she finds something negative about your online reputation, there are grave chances that it could spoil your offline reputation too. As per estimates, about 80% of the recruiting managers from the USA make a search for the prospective employees through the search engines before recruiting. Astonishingly, the study by Microsoft in the year 2009 mentioned that as high as 70% of these managers rejected candidates based on the search results they obtained online.
Hence, it goes beyond saying that you need to do everything you can to make sure you have a positive online reputation in place. There are certainly a lot of things which you might do, but the basics that can be easy to follow and easy to maintain includes the ones mentioned below:
- Conduct an overall research as for where you stand. This means that before you commence your strategy for managing your online reputation, it would be a wise idea to do a proper assessment. This can be done quickly by adopting the following measures:
a. Search your name on your preferred search engine, for example, Google or Yahoo search engine.
b. Set up Google Search Alerts by using the “Me on the Web” tool
c. Take corrective measures for something that you find should have been private and is appearing in the search results. For instance, a picture that might be appearing on Flickr and you would have liked it to be kept private should be deleted. You might even need to adjust your privacy settings. After removal of the offensive content, it would be advised to use the Google’s URL removal tool that will stop the content to appear in the cached copies too.Moreover, Google has tools and measures in place that automatically deletes any personal information that could be used for any form of criminal activity. It may be the social security number, credit card details. Bank account numbers or even a handwritten signature. In case your personal details have been featured on a high traffic news website, then you need not worry. As per Patrick Ambron who is the co-founder of the personal online reputation management service termed as Brand Yourself, Google online ranks one result per domain name per page. In a situation wherein there is another result for the same profile on the same domain due to better optimization, then the person has the liberty to knock off the bad article. A way to do this would be to create a profile on the news website with your full name and a number of links to point towards that particular link from all the other web properties that you own or have profiles on.
- Start posting some positive content online. At times when you are unable to remove the unwanted content from the original site, it might be difficult to get it removed from Google Search Results as well. In such a scenario, instead of trying to reduce the visibility of such materials on the search pages, you could try publishing more positive stuff about you or your business online. This will eventually rank the negative webpages below the fresh contents that are relevant. Another good thing to do as advised by Google is to reply to all forms of negative reviews.
- Develop an Identity Hub. One more key to making a positive impact on your online reputation would be by creating a hub that links to all your online content. This will eventually push the hub to appear at the top for the searches made for your name. The best thing to do (if possible) would be to claim the domain in your name. The URL of the web page needs to have all your information in one place. Follow this up by linking your content. Make sure the links are pointed towards your site from reputable sources and not any other website which might have been made by you yourself. Moreover, the social media profiles that you have, are attached to reputed sources like Facebook or LinkedIn. The popularity and reputation of these profiles also count a lot when it comes to determining the quality of your online reputation. So maintaining a large number of “ACTIVE” social media profiles would be recommended. Search engines love to have fresh content.
- Adopt an automated process. With the demand for online reputation management, there are a number of agencies that are providing their online reputation management services. These service providers can help you keep a track on your reputation from a single dashboard. Additionally, they come up with advises that could help the users to improve the quality of existing positive content.
With these basics in place, you can easily maintain your online reputation and ensure that it’s done in a professional manner. The relevance and its usage has already expanded and would further expand in future.