Online Reputation Defender
Having negative content about yourself or business is harmful to your reputation. Learn how to improve your online reputation today!
These days, your reputation extends far beyond your close-knit circle of friends, family, and colleagues and into cyberspace, where it is significantly more challenging to control and manage. On top of this, reputation is one of the key factors consumers use when deciding upon which product or service to purchase.
As a result, online services that help people defend and repair their online reputation have been growing in popularity. The rest of this article will be devoted to analyzing these services, what they offer, and how they do what they do. If you need to protect your reputation online, or have had your reputation threatened already, here’s how to get started today.
What Is an Online Reputation Defender?
Online reputation defenders work with individuals, executives, CEOs, and small/large businesses to help them remove or bury harmful content written about them. Along with this, they also work to increase the visibility of positive content. The result of these actions, they claim, is a net positive to your online reputation.
Although each company may have a different approach and philosophy, all top online reputation defenders understand that your online reputation is borne out of either a negative or positive cycle. The first occurs when individuals ignore their online reputation and allow rumors and misinformation to be spread about them. The second, and much more preferable cycle, occurs when one takes time to properly manage the online persona, building up a good amount of quality material over time that reflects well.
How Does the Negative Cycle Operate?
The negative cycle begins with misleading and nefarious content that ranks higher over time. Because people are naturally drawn to scandal, the more visible this content becomes, the more views it receives, further shaping public opinion about you or your business. Because of the way SEO works, whenever someone searches your name on a popular search engine, it is these undesirable posts that pop up first, and people rarely search beyond the first page of Bing or Google. In the end, these negative posts get even more exposure as they become shared on social media, resulting in even further damage to your reputation.
How Does the Positive Cycle Operate?
The positive cycle begins when quality content is tweaked to rank high in search engines. As a result, these good-quality articles are the first thing people see when searching your name or business. They continue to become more and more visible with every click. Eventually, the quality content is amplified by social media, and it opens the door to follow-up content that can be used to further develop and improve your online information.
How To Break The Negative Cycle
If your online reputation is stuck in a negative cycle, it can be both troubling and stressful as you watch harmful content about you or your business increase in visibility. Luckily, online reputation defenders provide people and businesses with a way to break the negative cycle and regain control over their online reputations. To do so, there is a series of steps and strategies these companies offer, the most important of which are listed below.
Reputation Report/Gap Analysis
Most online reputation defenders put together a reputation report for their clients. The way this works is simple. First, they look for the most visible content directly related to an individual or business and rank each search result in terms of how positive or negative they are.
Essentially, these reputation reports are looking to see what amount of interaction with your online persona is positive and how much is negative. At the end of the process, the you receive a grade, typically numerically or alphabetically ranked, which can be seen as a direct reflection of your online reputation.
Next, some online reputation companies will also perform a Gap Analysis. The purpose of a Gap Analysis is to take similar businesses or individuals whose online reputation is considerably higher and analyze why. For example, say a local realtor was unhappy with her online reputation and wanted to improve it. The first thing some of these reputation repair companies may do is look at other realtors in the same area and see where the differences lie.
Fixing Search Results
If you receive your reputation report and find yourself unhappy with the grade/score, the first thing to do is fix the search results. Online reputation defenders do this in several ways, but the main goal is to promote positive content to the first page while burying harmful content so far down the list that it effectively becomes hidden.
A major part of fixing search results is creating new content, which is then properly optimized to be the first set of results when your name or business is searched. Aside from search engine optimization, some reputation repair companies have developed relationships with many high-profile online publications that allow them to strategically place content to help further increase the visibility of positive content.
Removing Personal Info
Some content is simply too malicious and damaging to be left up and hiding it can be difficult. In this situation, there is no option other than removing the harmful content, which, luckily, can usually be achieved.
Negative reviews are very damaging to both large and small businesses. Even if much care has been taken to deliver a quality product or service, it is impossible to please everyone. Unfortunately, those who have had a negative experience are much more likely to post online than those who have had a positive one.
When this occurs, the only solution is to increase the number of positive views. This is where one must be careful, as some reputation repair organizations may undergo the practice of posting false reviews. While this may increase the score temporarily, should anyone find out, it can result in even further damage to your/your business’s reputation. Instead, it is better to work with companies who take the time to reach out to loyal customers, prompting them to write a favorable entry on a popular review site or social media.
Removal of Selected Information
Many people strive to maintain a disconnect between certain aspects of their personal life and their public life. This is especially relevant for CEOs/Executives, business owners, and public figures who have a brand or image that they do not always carry in their personal life. If this becomes public knowledge, it can hurt their brand or image, and the information must be taken down. Although not applicable to all individuals, several companies specialize in the removal, or scrubbing, of personal information from the web.