Everyone’s favorite kite-flying and stove-making founding father, Benjamin Franklin, once said that it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, but just one bad deed to lose it.
And, to my knowledge, Ben never even encountered the internet!
He definitely was on to something, though, and what was true way back in the 18th century is perhaps even more so here in the 21st!
Each and every one of us has a reputation to uphold, and these days we may even have two – one that gets built (or dismantled) the old-fashioned rumor-mongering way and one that’s online.
That brings me to this question: Since it’s almost certain that you have an online reputation, what are you doing to manage it so that you can make sure that when someone Googles you, what they find is positive and not something that sullies your good name?
Because reputations need attention – and even more so if a bad deed or two is lurking around somewhere. (Just ask our friend Ben!)
So let’s take a look at a few things you can be doing to make sure your online reputation shines like a newly minted Franklin half dollar:
- Watch your P’s and Q’s. The best way to avoid online reputation problems, of course, is to not let them happen to begin with. Sometimes that’s easier said than done (you can’t control what others say about you online), but if you handle customer problems promptly or refrain from posting inappropriate messages on your social media, you can at least reduce the odds of bad Google results.
- Take advantage of social media. An active social media presence can play a pivotal role in your SEO and online reputation efforts. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are ranked high by Google when it comes to searches, which helps to push down less desirable links. In addition, you have control over your message in social media, so you get to say what you want in the exact way you want to represent your brand.
- Make use of PR. Your public relations efforts can go a long way in helping you to craft a great online reputation and at the same time perhaps displace some of the less flattering stuff that might be out there. If you can get yourself mentioned in online articles – especially with major publications – you will build a strong online profile and establish your credibility as a trusted expert in your profession. But print isn’t the only way to go. Oddly enough, landing radio and TV interviews also can pay dividends for your SEO. That’s because many of those shows also have an online presence that’s searchable much like a print article.
- Get knowledgeable. It’s helpful to brush up on your SEO knowledge. You’ll want to understand what goes into helping people find you (or for battling any negative publicity out there) and you’ll want to make SEO part of your overall digital strategy. Understanding SEO will help you make decisions about the copy you write for your blog or for your marketing materials. You’ll want to make sure everything has an SEO-centric perspective.
But if you discover that a Google search turns up negative articles, reviews or commentary about you and you’re unable to bury them under all your positive publicity, you might want to explore finding an SEO company to help. A good SEO company might be able to push any negative links off the first page or two of search results, reducing the odds of someone finding them and reading them.
Be sure to do your homework and seek referrals before signing on with anyone. Because it’s so misunderstood, the SEO industry can be a difficult industry to navigate and you want to make sure your money is well spent. Most SEO companies charge a monthly fee and are not particularly incentivized to bury those bad links for you if you’re paying them every month. It’s better to try and find an SEO company that charges a fee based on their success in burying the bad links.
Sometimes, if there’s a problem out there in Google Land, this reputation management stuff can take time. But that’s OK. Remember, energy and persistence conquer all things.
Our wise pal Benjamin Franklin said that, too!
P.S. If you’d like professional help getting radio and TV interviews and being quoted in the press, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 27 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!