This post was most recently updated on July 27, 2020
Repairing a damaged or bad reputation online requires analyzing your first-page search results and developing a removal or suppression strategy to promote your brand and rebuild your positive online reputation.
When you meet someone for the first time, how quickly do you form an opinion on them, regardless of whether it is positive or negative? We subconsciously form judgments off of our first impressions, and sometimes they can be far from the truth for those who don’t know us.
According to Forbes, first impressions are formed within the first seven seconds of meeting someone, and it only takes a tenth of a second for someone to decide if they’re likely to trust you. The same statistics apply when someone sends you or your business’s name through a search engine like Google for the first time.
The first page of search results is what that person will use as a judgment of your character and their ability to trust you. The way people view you can also go hand-in-hand with how they will treat you.
That level of trustworthiness is known as your online reputation.
Sections to Jump To:
What are the Benefits of Improving Your Online Reputation?
Improving your online presence is a way to create a desirable brand image for yourself and improve your credentials by showing people that you are a trustworthy and likable source.
Now, more than ever, your online results matter. When you apply for a job, before you go on a first date, meet new friends, waiting to get accepted into college – anyone can Google your name and get the answers and information that they need to know more about who you are, what you’re interested in, and just what kind of a person they might, or might not want to get involved with.
Your online reputation can be compared to an online brand for a business. Just like negative reviews from angry customers can hurt a business online, negative material posted online can mark your reputation in a negative way and impair others’ abilities to trust you or want to invest their time and money into you.
On the other hand, positive reviews can increase sales and improve a business’s reputation. This goes the same for an individual’s online reputation. The more positive online material associated with your name, the more likely you will impress your audience.
Your online presence is everywhere, social media, review sites, forums, blogs, articles, and anything that offers information associated with your name.
How to manage your online reputation:
You can put a value to your online reputation by calculating your online reputation score with a simple Google search. Based on Google ranking, the most relevant search results will end up at the top of the page. Depending on the value of those SERP results or Search Engine Result Pages, you’ll quickly get a sense of how positive or negative your online reputation actually is.
Having a positive online reputation is incredibly important for businesses and professionals who hope to utilize online networking to grow their success. Positive search results benefit you in many ways:
Establishing your brand
Gaining new clients
Building client trust
Promoting value in products and services
Exceeding in your career
If you find yourself in a situation where your search results are sub-par or even need borderline crisis management, there are simple tools to use that can have an amazing impact on boosting positive links, images, and posts.
1. Remove Negative Search Results
If you happen to be one of those people who have negative search results that are harmful to your reputation, you can try deleting them entirely and remove them from the internet.
Sometimes we publish things ourselves that can come back to bite us far after we’ve initially shared it. For example, a friend might have shared a photo from a party where you were having a little too much fun. A few months down the line, that photo somehow circulates the office just in time for you to try to get that new promotion. Convenient? No. Frustrating? Absolutely. Queue damage control.
If you are looking specifically at business reputation management, you might be dealing with something as simple as a spelling mistake that got published and spread like wildfire. Easy mistake, but it could hurt your brand’s reputation.
Whether personal or professional, having the ability to delete something directly from the source is always your best bet and the quickest way to repair reputation damage.
However, sometimes we can’t delete it ourselves. In this case, you have the ability to suppress the negative search results by implementing healthier sources of content associated with your search term, which is either your name, the brand’s name or your business’s name.
To restore your reputation, you first have to understand how Google works in order better to build a reputation through the suppression of results. Sound a bit complicated? Let me explain.
Google is an answer machine – this vastly intricate computer is designed to get your answers based on search queries. The search query you type into the search bar is usually called your search term, which can be broken down into keywords. Those keywords and terms are the scents on the trail, and Google sends out the hounds to track down the best match with the use of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is an acronym that helps determine if something posted online is a trustworthy, valuable, and worth-sharing information.
To push down negative results, you need to tell Google that the bad news is irrelevant and that you’ve got better content to replace it. You can do this by:
Creating a website with your search term
Starting a blog and posting regularly
Utilizing optimized images and video
Sharing on social sites
Networking on sites like LinkedIn
By creating these new outlets of information for Google to pick up on, you’re reinforcing healthy content with your search term. The more regularly you post and share on various sites, the higher the domain authority will grow within those platforms, and eventually outperform anything that is tarnishing your online reputation.
3. Hire a Professional Online Reputation Management Company
Hiring a professional is always an option that will get you immediate results and confidence that your reputation is in good hands and on its way to a brighter future. With the help of a trained professional, negative search results can be removed, suppressed, or combined to take control of the situation ultimately.
An online reputation expert can help individuals and businesses repair their reputation by utilizing their SEO, brand management, digital marketing, and social media networking skills.
Not only will reputation management services help you clean up your current online search results, but they can also promote and protect your future professional brand. Hence, you stay on track far after the negative results have been removed.