Your reputation is all you have. As Warren Buffet says “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” Now your reputation lives on forever on the internet. That is why it is important to manage your reputation online. Reputation doesn’t just apply to people but to businesses as well.
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is managing your personal brand reputation (or business reputation) online search results by somewhat manipulating the search results.
It’s really not manipulating the results but rather providing more results that rank higher than the ones less desirable.
I’ll get more into tactics later.
Who is reputation management important for?
Anyone that is a public figure, a leader of a business (CEOs), Attorneys, Doctors, Politicians, Personal Trainer, etc… As well as every single company out there should be doing reputation management.
Why is reputation management important?
Reputation management is important because you want to always be aware of what information is available to the public about you or your business. People turn to the internet for just about everything now a days and a person or company’s reputation is no different.
What the search results show about you is what people are going to believe about you or the company.
Perhaps you have a new product that you’re launching and an industry blogger who isn’t a fan of you or your company decides to write an article reviewing your new product in a negative way. Now when people search for your company or the new product, potential customers are going to come across that article. This will hurt sales.
Or perhaps you’re a realtor that focuses on family homes and a customer wasn’t happy because their deal fell through so they blamed the realtor and decided to write a blog about it. Not good for the realtors’ reputation.
Or maybe you’re a politician that is up and coming and potential voters are going to be searching the web to know more about the candidates. You want to make sure that what is found online is accurately portraying you. If there is anything that is negative it could really affect the minds of potential voters. Not good.
There are tons of examples of cases where unfavorable search results affected a potential customer’s buying decision. For that reason reputation management is key.
Now, what do you do if there is negative or incorrect information about you or your company?
Here are a few ACTION ITEMS to get you started on managing your reputation. At this point, you want to create a spreadsheet to keep track of your findings. I’ll explain what to add as we go along.
Phase I of doing Reputation Management – Organization & Research
Branded and Owned Properties
You want to begin by creating a list (a tab on the spreadsheet) of all your web properties that you currently have access to. Include the following columns: usernames, passwords, and link so you have them on record and can easily access the properties when needed. This includes your website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc…), YouTube, blogs, etc…
Keywords & Search Phrase List
Then you want to make a list (a tab on the spreadsheet) of the different ways that people would search for you or the company.
For example; it could be your just your full name; your last name with company name; your full name and industry that you’re in; there are a ton of different ways so just make a list of the most relevant ones to you or your company.
A term that is searched for often with a business name is “REVIEWS”, so make sure to include that in your search list.
Begin by going to Google and searching for the search phrases you put together in the last step.
Start by finding all the sites where you’re listed and a customer could leave a review and feedback. Search for “Your Name/ Company Name Reviews” and “Reviews Your Name/ Company Name”. You will find websites such as Google, Yelp, Avvo, WebMD, etc… In the spreadsheet save the following information under the reviews tab: Link to review site, your overall rating, and is the information correct (Yes or No).
Profile / Directory Sites
Now search for your main search phrase, your “full name” or “company brand name”. See what comes up on the first 5 pages of Google and make note of all sites where you are listed. You are looking for sites where you can gain access to the content and edit it.
There are many directory websites out there that just scrape the web and create their site. Many times the information on these sites could be outdated or incomplete; so you want to make note as they can be used for managing your reputation.
Columns you want to create: Site Name, Link to Site (link to your listing if you’re listed or the home page if not listed), Listed/ Not Listed, Username, and password. If you don’t have the username and password it is ok, just make note of the site.
You also want to look for any press that has been published about you good or bad. Add those to the spreadsheet as well. This can be a new tab as well, labeled “PR”. Create the following columns: Site Name, Link to Article, Name of Writer, Social Links of Writer, and Writer email. You may not be able to obtain all information from just the article so just do a Google search to find the information.
You want to also search for some of the top people/ companies in your industry and see what sites they come up on. Create a tab on the spreadsheet labeled “Competition Ideas”.
Create these columns: Site name, Link, and Type of site (review, directory, industry blog, etc…)
Your competition maybe listed in places that you didn’t know about that may be good for you to also be there. It is very likely that you will find opportunities to create additional web properties that will help you with your reputation management.
Phase II of doing Reputation Mangement – Execution
Now that you’ve done the research, now it’s time to begin taking over your reputation.
**For any properties created or claimed, make sure to add the username and password to your spreadsheet.
Branded and Owned Properties –
Here you want to start with the properties that you already have access to.
Start with your website. If you have a personal brand website that is all about you and your mission you want to make sure it’s optimized for search as it should already rank high in the search engines.
Make sure to have:
- Meta Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Heading Tags
- Img. Alt tags
- Have an About Page (complete bio)
- Have a Contact Page (contact information and links to your social profiles)
- Verify site with Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
- Create & Submit XML sitemaps to search engines
If you are a partner or CEO of a company and you represent the company, you want to have a dedicated page about you on the site. A Meet the CEO page.
You want to make sure that the items listed above are also completed if your profile resides on the company website.
Specific items would be: the URL have your name, the H1 is your name, the image has your name as the Alt text, the meta title and meta description also include your name. This way your profile page from the company website can rank for your name.
Linking to your social media profiles help search engines connect the dots between the different web properties. As well as if you link from your social profiles to your profile page and/or website.
Social Media Profiles –
After you’ve optimized your website you want to tackle your social media profiles. Social media profiles rank high in search engines because they have high authority so they are great for reputation management.
Here you want to make sure that each property has:
- your name; not a nickname from college
- All about areas filled
- Link to your website
- Link to other social profiles
- Upload profile image (make the filename “your name or company name” prior to uploading
You will want to do this across all your social profiles. Some profiles will have more areas available to place information.
A great high ranking platform is YouTube. If you don’t have a YouTube channel I highly recommend creating one. You can add a channel description and links to your website and social profiles. Then create a few videos (recommend creating it around your expertise) and upload them to YouTube. Use your name (or company name) in the title and description; as well as add links to your website and social channels.
Next, you want to go through all the review sites and gain access by claiming them. Usually, you will see a spot that says “Claim this Business” or “Is this your business yours”. You want to go through the process and claim the listing. Review the competitor tab to see if there are any review sites that you can go and list yourself.
The reason you want to claim the listing is so that you can make sure all your information is correct as well be able to respond to reviews. You can thank people for their review as well as respond to any reviews when necessary.
As part of making sure all the information is correct, you want to make sure that links to your website and social media profiles are all correct as well.
Profile / Directory
For these sites, you want to do similar to what you did on the review sites. You will want to claim or create your profile, have profile image, all information is filled out, and links to your website and social media sites.
Profile site – site where you create a profile for yourself (or company) example: about.me
Directory – a site where you can search for different businesses. Example: yellowpages.com
The press is one of the best ways to help manage your online reputation. But, it’s not the easiest.
Press is really good because when their articles get published online they usually rank really high for the topic they are about.
With the press what you want to do is reach out to them about possibly writing a piece on you and your new project, your point of view as a professional in the industry on a topic, or even give them an exclusive inside look into your business operation. Something that they will be interested in and they would be able to write an interesting article that people will want to read.
With your competitor research, you want to focus on the sites that you found within the first two pages of Google. You focus on the sites that were on the first two pages because they will likely rank high for you as well. You want to find the sites where you’ll be able to add your information.
Again, as before, add all information and be consistent. Try to change up your descriptions so that they aren’t the same everywhere. Google likes unique.
Those were some action items that you can start today to get a handle on your reputation.
What if you’re new and want to try to stay ahead of your online reputation?
Here are some tools to help you stay ahead of your reputation
Like most of us, we don’t have the time to sit and monitor the internet all the time. Here are two tools I use to keep informed. These are Free and easy to setup.
There are many other reputation tools. Here’s a good article about a few.
If you found this article helpful please share it on your social media. That would mean the world to me. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on social media @jvictorcast.