With this first impression in mind, a person will determine whether or not to interact with you further or continue to develop a relationship, whether it’s business or personal.
However, there are steps you can take to control the way your brand and reputation are perceived by actively monitoring and managing your Reputation Score and taking direct action in the areas you may need to improve upon to increase your score, credibility, and accessibility while cleaning up your online profile.
The first step to developing a successful personal reputation management or business reputation management strategy is to fully understand your Reputation Score and the different factors that contribute to its calculation. Think of your Reputation Score to be much like a credit score for your online reputation.
Why is Your Reputation Score Important?
As noted below, there are a wide variety of factors to consider when determining your Score with the use of online reputation management. Why does a good reputation score matter so much? It affects others opinions based on your Google search results.
Since your online reputation represents how you are viewed by people and businesses all around the world, it holds a high impact on nearly every aspect of your life or career including:
Whether a potential client decides to do business with you versus a competitor
Whether an employer chooses to hire you or offer you a job interview over another qualified candidate
Whether or not you receive a promotion, bonus, raise, higher title, etc.
Whether or not your application will be considered for a college or university
Whether or not someone agrees to a first or second date
Whether or not an individual decides to vote for you in the next election
Whether or not someone will want to invest in your new business or startup
If you have a strong knowledge and understanding of how you appear online, you will find it much easier to gain success in the above mentioned scenarios and other related situations that come up in our daily lives.
Individuals, companies, and corporations everywhere are now taking Reputation Score into higher consideration with search volume trends increasing drastically from 590 searches in September of 2018 to over 3,600 searches for the term in February 2019.
*UPDATED * Throughout the year 2019, we have seen searches for “reputation score” continue to grow even higher from around 5,400 searches in March to nearly 13,000 in the month of August.
These rising search trends show that this concept is becoming more and more of a concern holding a high level of significance in all different types of industries from colleges and universities, to grocery stores, to social media companies, and beyond. Online platforms like MyLife and Latium have even begun to establish their own versions of these scoring systems to help users establish trust and credibility both on and offline.
The MyLife site that has approximately 300 million public pages “almost everyone in America” states a poor reputation score can hurt you.
One of the most important factors in determining your Rep Score is analyzing how you currently appear online in search results that you are associated with. For individuals, this is typically a search of your name while businesses may be interested in additional search queries such as “motorcycle repairs in (specific city or location)” or “best Italian restaurants in (specific city or location)”
While analyzing these search results, there are a variety of aspects to consider including:
Uniqueness of your name
Search volume and traffic
Level of competition for given search term
Page and domain authority of listed sites for given search term
Number of sites on first page that are related to you vs. someone else
Number of sites on first page that are positive vs negative and/or neutral
After collecting data about your search results, the next step is to analyze the content within top ranked sites as well as content on all sites, pages, blogs, forums, etc. that relate to you or mention you in any way (positive, negative, or neutral).
Some specific areas of content that are considered in determining your score include:
Quality and relevance
Duplicate content vs unique content
Diversity of content (different formats including long form and short form – blogs, social media posts, website pages, press releases, interviews, news articles, etc.)
Keyword strength and relevance
Keywords connecting negative content with your positive content
Images and Video
While written content is one of the most important factors in determining your Reputation Score, images, video and other forms of visual content are also highly considered. In today’s world where people want their information fast and easily accessible, visual content has become increasingly popular and utilized online. Positive images and videos can do wonders to your score while negative images and video can easily leave you without a job or without a first date.
When determining one’s Rep Score, some image related factors to consider include:
Quality and relevance
Original and custom images vs stock photos or images taken from other sources
Tagged photos on Facebook, Instagram, and other photo sharing sites
Alt text and title tags
Social media platforms can be great tools to increase engagement, build connections, and contribute to important conversations with people all over the world. However, there are also many ways social media users can slip up and fall into a reputation crisis with the click of a button – in which case crisis management is needed to repair your reputation
Areas of social media that can contribute to one’s score include:
Number and type of social media platforms you are active on
How often you are posting
Type of content you are posting
Engagement with other users (how and how often)
Engagement on your own posts from other users (likes, shares, replies, etc.)
Quality, appropriateness, and relevance of content
Having an effective linking strategy is essential to building authority on your sites and profiles while also helping users find your content. When you are able to build links from outside sources such as guest blogs, news articles, directories, and more, you are building trust and credibility for your brand or business while increasing your Rep Score. At the same time, building links on low quality, spammy sites or sites unrelated to your industry can penalize your sites and cause them to drop in rankings, effectively lowering your reputation score.
A few different ways links are considered in determining Reputation Score include:
External links and backlinks
Quality and relevance of links vs spammy links
Authority of sites where you are getting links (.edu, .gov, .org, etc.)
Public Sentiment & Online Reviews
Many of the above mentioned factors are elements that you can have some if not total control over when developing your online reputation. You are able to control the content and images you put out there as well as the way you behave on social media.
One thing that is nearly entirely out of your control is what others are saying and posting about you online. Things to look out for in this area include:
Comments on blogs, forums, articles, etc.
Content published by competitors, dissatisfied customers, disgruntled employees, etc.
Recency and volume of content
In many circumstances, there are ways to remove and suppress these negative sites and publications, however while they are present, they will leave a daunting impact on your overall reputation.
It is important to always be on the lookout for mentions of your brand or name with online monitoring tools such as Google Alerts so that you can attack potential problems head on before they become something bigger.
Determining your Reputation Score will help you discover any potential risk factors so that you know how close you may be to a crisis or how protected you are from avoiding a crisis. Remember that your score will only stay high and improve with a continuous monitoring and managing of your content, sites, links, and beyond.
Reputation scores are now starting to be factored into every aspect of one’s life from financial Institutions assessing your character for loan applications to hiring managers for job interviews. The importance of a good online reputation is clearly being taken into account.