This article was most recently updated on April 21, 2022.
If someone Googles your name or business, what type of information will they find? Protecting your personal reputation on the internet is a crucial step in improving the long-term success of your personal brand or business. How do you protect your reputation online? Learn what you can do to gain confidence knowing your name is secured online while improving your online presence for good!
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What Is an Online Reputation?
Your online reputation is based on how accurately your online presence represents either you as an individual or your business. Your online presence is formed by all of the information published on the internet that mentions your name or business name.
The Importance of Protecting Your Online Reputation
Protecting your online reputation allows you to remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to your online search results. Not only is protecting your personal information incredibly important, creating a positive online reputation can be extremely beneficial to your personal life and your career.
If and when someone Googles your name online, the first search results they see are a determining factor of whether or not they will be able to trust you as a credible and trustworthy source. Over 90% of Google traffic does not click past the first page of search results.
When the person Googling your name is a hiring manager, college acceptance board, new client, customer, or coworker, it’s in your best interest to make sure you’re on the first page of Google search results to highlight your best qualities, not your worst.
Online Business Reputation
Protecting your reputation extends beyond just personal reputation. For businesses of any size, protecting your online reputation is critical to the validity of your brand. Establishing a positive online reputation allows your customers to trust your business and build healthier client and customer relationships.
How to Protect Your Reputation on the Internet:
There are a few simple steps to protecting your online reputation. Whether it’s a personal reputation or business reputation, these key steps can be utilized to improve anyone’s online presence.
Part 1: Be Proactive
Here are some strategies to defend against negative content that can hurt your reputation.
A search engine’s main goal is to provide you with answers, and Google is the single most important search engine on the market. Odds are, if someone has a question about you or your business, they’re going straight to Google for their answer.
Conduct your own SEO or search engine optimization audit by Googling your name or your business. Take note of what type links, images, articles, review sites, and profiles fill your first page of search results.
Use Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free tool from Google where you can create alerts for specific keywords to notify you when those keywords are mentioned anywhere online.
You can create keywords for your name or business name to help you protect your online reputation. Knowing what people are saying about your brand helps you assess your current reputation and gives you a baseline to improve upon.
Manage social media settings
Another proactive measurement you can take to protect your reputation online is to increase your privacy settings on social media.
You can change your profile settings on Facebook that limit who can find your profile on the platform by degrees of connection. This setting is separated by friends, mutual friends, and anyone on Facebook.
You can change your profile settings on Instagram to private so that your photos are hidden unless the user is following your account. Plus, you have the control to decide who can and cannot follow you.
Stop and Think Before Posting Online
Think twice before you hit that “post” button. You might have the best intentions when sharing content online, however not everyone else might feel the same way. It is best to have someone you trust take a look at your content idea before publishing to get a second opinion.
If you don’t have anyone you can immediately ask, think to yourself, “is this something my family would approve of?” If the answer is no or you’re unsure, it’s best to leave that post in your drafts.
Part 2: Strategies for Damaging Content
Finding not-so-flattering content about yourself online never feels good. But don’t panic! When there is something online that can hurt your reputation, here are a few strategies you can do to help.
Delete Negative Content
Are your Google results helping you build a positive online presence, or is there questionable negative content that could be potentially harmful to your business or personal brand?
By removing negative content, you’re able to clean up your online search results and build up your online reputation with more positive content.
Tip: Do a social media cleanup across all of your social networking sites. Delete any negative comments, links, and images that could potentially be harmful to your online reputation.
Make Your Own Website
Another great way to help improve and protect your reputation online is by creating your own website.
Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress allow you to create your own website with premade templates. This is especially useful for personal brands.
By creating your own website you give yourself the ability to answer questions someone might have about you. Use your website to highlight your achievements, interests, and insight.
Reputation management teams like Reputation911 are incredibly useful in creating a website that will land at the top of your first page of search results. With the help of SEO techniques and trained reputation management professionals, your site will check all the boxes to help clean-up your online search results for good.
Secure Your Name Across All Social Platforms
You always want to make sure to secure your name across all social networks. This allows Google to understand that your name is associated with those profiles, helping to send them to your first page of Google results.
In order to protect your reputation on the internet, you should always incorporate your full name into your social media profile usernames.
Publish Content Regularly
Publishing content regularly helps build up the credibility of your sites. Whether on your personal website, blog, or social media profiles, publishing content regularly helps tell Google the information is relevant and fresh.
Adding a new blog post or social media post weekly is a simple and easy way to regularly manage your online reputation and improve your online presence.
When to Hire a Professional
If negative reviews and defamatory comments or links have turned your Google search results into a reputation crisis, it’s time to hire a professional.
Reputation management companies like Reputation911 provide internet reputation protection services are trained in all areas of privacy protection. By working with a professional, you’re able to create a concrete plan of action to get you back in the driver’s seat of your online reputation.