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How to Manage Your Personal Reputation Online

I’m writing this piece after reading an article by Catherine O’ Mahony in today’s Sunday Business Post. The article is behind a pay wall on http://www.businesspost.ie but it talks about the challenges of managing your personal reputation online.

 

Protecting your reputation can certainly be done by a professional SEO company like ourselves or others for a lot cheaper than the $3,000 to $15,000 that reputation.com is charging.

 

In fact, most of it can even be done by yourself if you’ve the time on your hands and a bit of expertise. While we usually work with companies rather than individuals, the same principles apply to managing your reputation online. Whether you’ve been in a court case, been criticized on a blog, have the same name as someone else, a case of mistaken identity, been criticized on a blog or had some other type of negative mention online – your identity and reputation is important to manage.

 

Overview Strategy

Your strategy should encompass three main points:

1. Remove the negative mentions
2. Defend yourself
3. Promote other websites to rank above the negative mentions
4. Monitor your reputation

 

 

A.      Remove the Negative Mentions

Your first port of call should be to try to get the negative mention removed.

 

1. Depending on the situation, reaching out to the person who criticized you with an olive branch to remove the mention can solve not only the negative mention but the whole problem. Of course it’s not always this easy.

 

2.If the person refuses to remove the mention, go over their head. If it’s on a forum, ask the moderator or admin to remove it, failing that contact the owner of the website. Check whois.domaintools.com to find this information out.

 

3. Offer a payment settlement to remove the negative mentions.

 
4. If you’re being defamed, sending a solicitors’ letter to them will usually do the trick. If they dispute this and you decide to take the legal route – caveat emptor – it will cost you a small fortune and draw more attention to the matter.

 

5. Engaging in negative SEO on the website that is harming your reputation. This essentially involves trying to take down the website from Google’s index.

 

 

B.      Defend Yourself

If the negative comment cannot be removed, depending on the situation, it’s generally best to respond if possible where the comment has been published. My advice is to reply once with the aim that it will be the final time you respond and not engage in a discussion on it.

 

- Write a detailed defense and address the facts.

- Avoid aggressive or threatening language.

- Get someone to read over it before you publish it.

 

If you made a mistake, in certain cases you’re better off admitting it, apologising and moving on. If you are genuinely in the wrong and you try to defend yourself too strongly, it can fan the flames of the situation and whip up a frenzy against you.

 

Remember that arguing publicly on the Internet produces no winners. Pick up the phone or meet the person face-to-face, people have a tendency to be more passive aggressive online.

 

 

C.      Promote Other Websites to Rank above the Negative Mentions
Register and optimise your profile on social networks

http://www.facebook.com/

http://twitter.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/

https://plus.google.com/

http://www.naymz.com/

http://www.kontain.com/

http://www.myspace.com/

 

Register on Video Sites:

http://www.youtube.com/

http://vimeo.com/

 

Register on Forums:

http://www.boards.ie/

http://www.askaboutmoney.com/

http://www.politics.ie/

http://www.irishwebmasterforum.com/

Do this clever search and this other clever search if you want to find more relevant forums to register on.

 

Register on Q&A sites:

http://answers.yahoo.com/

http://www.quora.com/

 

Post classified ads to sell something and mention your name clearly there:

http://www.adverts.ie/
http://www.donedeal.ie/donedeal/
http://dublin.gumtree.ie/
http://dublin.craigslist.org/

 

Register on other type of sites:

https://about.me/
http://www.slideshare.net/
http://www.scribd.com/
http://www.flickr.com/
http://www.reddit.com/
http://digg.com/

 

Have a profile on your corporate website if you can be listed in the management team for example.

 

Register yourname.ie and yourname.com and make sure both are optimised for your name and any key terms you want to appear for. Post a regular blog and link back to your two named sites from your presence online

 

The truth is if you follow these strategies you should be controlling all websites that are mentioning you on the first page of Google. Unless you’ve gotten a lot of negative mentions online then it will just require some more advanced strategies. If you’re negatively mentioned in sites like Wikipedia and large news outlets it just becomes that bit harder.

 

D.      Monitor your reputation

Register on http://www.google.com/alerts to monitor mentions of your name. This can help you take action quicker and keep tabs on what’s being said about you. There are plenty of other tools too.

 

 

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