How to Start Reputation Management BEFORE You Have Problems

online reputation managementWe get a lot of requests at SEO.com for reputation management services. Truth be told, they aren’t the most fun projects in the world, and often times it takes a few years to really clean up any negative results and keep them away from the first page.

I am a huge believer in starting a reputation management campaign in the initial phases of launching your business, or even launching a simple website selling an affiliate product.

The purpose behind this strategy is twofold: One, it provides you an opportunity to fill the search engine results pages with relevant content about your business, your website, or even your executives, before anyone else can come in and dirty them up. Second, it allows you to take that content and strengthen it via backlinks and other methods so that if you do screw up or have a disgruntled customer posting negative online content, yours is aged, more authoritative, and is harder to outrank.

So, this sounds good right? Sure it does!

But how do you get started?

First

You need to identify certain properties you would like showing up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the names you want to protect. Obviously, I want to make sure my website is ranked #1 for the search query. I will also set myself up to capture positions 2 and possibly 3 in the SERPs by having a blog and other authoritative pages on my site.

Next

Identify the basic Web properties you know that you can have full control over. These are sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Squidoo, and HubPages. You might also look at building a Wikipedia page, although it’s a bit more risky since you don’t have full control over the content of the page. I will then take the time to build out an optimized profile on each of these sites and begin interlinking them and building some external backlinks to them as well. For your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn profiles, you might also link to them from the footer of your website to help pass your site’s authority to those properties.

And Next

After you have the properties set up and optimized, you definitely aren’t done. The sole purpose of these is to keep any negative content from creeping up to page one of the results. To better your chances of success, you will continually need to strengthen them through different methods.

Building external backlinks will help, but often times they only get you so far. One way I like to strengthen these properties is by finding ways to build internal links. With just a few internal links from pages with a lot of authority, your company’s profile pages will quickly start to rise in the SERPs, and have staying power.

There are other methods and strategies you can execute to strengthen these pages, but this should help you get off on the right foot. The most important things to remember are that one: you need to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to reputation management. Start early and push hard to protect your what’s rightfully yours. And two: pick properties that you can control. Nothing is worse than putting out some content to assist in the reputation management process and finding out that you aren’t able to moderate comments and you just shot yourself in the foot.

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4 Comments

  1. MichaelAllen says

    When it comes to reputation management, one thing to note is that you can’t control overseas blacklisting people/companies. There are tons of Russians out there getting paid to go to places like complaintsboard, ripoffreport and scam and destroy peoples online reputation. At least Google is doing something about this. The problem is that people believe what they read on the Internet. It’s really a sad day for these mom and pop shops that get slammed by their competition in these ways. Just sad…

  2. Boris Krumov says

    So, let me get this straight – this is like turning on the fan prior to the landing event, right ?

    You get fresh cool air before the hit !

  3. Adam Smith says

    When it comes to online reputation management, it is indeed of vital importance to start your campaign in the initial stages of your business. We have also faced the same problem when some unknown person who was not our customer put some negative reviews about our website just to tarnish our image.

  4. mike says

    how do companies with lots of negative complaints with ripoffreport, complaintsboard protect themselves so well.  For example, liberty university, godaddy, sprint, university of phoenix.  
    I understand about being proactive but most people don't act until damage is done.  These companies don't have negative content until p.10 and beyond.  By having multiple domains with the same keywords and updating frequently is that the best way to make sure that any new negative content does not penetrate p.10. 
    Also, I think a year is a long time to get a result. I was under the belief that a few months of concentrated effort will get the desired results.

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