Part 5: The Beginner’s Guide to Taking Control of Your Online Presence
If you’re reading this, it probably means that you’ve diagnosed your Google Rankings, understand personal SEO, have built your foundational online presence and have deployed advanced SEO techniques. If not, then check out the rest of our series. But if so, you get an A+. Even with all of these tactics in place, it may feel like that’s not enough. This last part of the series discusses potential tactics for people who have negative or unflattering content on the first page of results.
Bad Search Results Can Happen to Good People
While this section may seem like it’s only relevant to politicians, criminals or celebrities, negative search results can happen to anyone. All it takes is one bad blog post or status update from an angry ex, a disgruntled former client or employee, or one questionable photo to wreck an otherwise pristine reputation. Bad results can happen to good people, so what can you do to salvage your reputation?
Option 1. Get the negative search result taken down.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just email someone and they would immediately remove this negative content, no questions asked? Of course that would be ideal, and while it is possible to get content removed, there are some known risks and issues associated with taking this route:
The owner refuses to take it down. Unless you own the content and control the site (Wait, you do? Go take it down immediately!), it may be a very expensive and arduous process to get the owner to take down the content.
The owner refuses to take it down… and decides to make the situation worse for you. Depending on the particular circumstances regarding your negative results, if you are dealing with somebody who has it out for you, there is always the chance that this person will choose to make it worse for you by becoming even more active and retaliate against you online.
The content doesn’t fit the criteria for Google’s Right to Be Forgotten (if you’re based in the E.U.) or any of Google’s legal causes for removal in the US. However, if you think that these unseemly results do fit the criteria for removal, then submit your request ASAP!
The result is still archived. If you are lucky enough to have your content removed through emailing the webmaster directly, filling out a request form or through legal channels, it’s still likely that the undesirable result will be archived and continue to show up when your name is searched.
Option 2. Pay for a service that claims to “instantly fix your search results”.
There are a number of businesses and “consultants” popping up all over the place who claim that they can remove the negative result and fix your online presence practically overnight. However, if this person or company is focusing on building your brand with long-term results in mind, then they are lying or making a promise that they can’t necessarily keep.If someone says that they can fix your online reputation overnight, RUN!
In all likelihood, they are subscribing to black-hat SEO practices that may work for a day or two, but just as quickly as you see these results you will be back to where you started…but with less money.
Option 3. Run a paid social media campaign.
Now it’s important to note that this approach should be handled with care, and used in very specific cases. If you have already invested time in building out your sites, and continue to be consistently active on these sites there is no doubt that over the next year you will see positive changes in your online presence.
However, if you need a boost with a particular objective in mind – like getting more customers, increasing brand awareness or getting specific kinds of social media engagement, then perhaps you should consider a paid social media campaign.
This is not a sustainable solution for increasing that social media account’s rankings, but if you do it the right way, it is an opportunity to create some traction for a specific goal that you can build on. The idea behind a paid social media campaign should be to focus on the positive content that you are creating, your business or services so that there will be more activity geared toward the properties that you control as opposed to the negative result.
Option 4. Continue to build your brand the right way (JFYI you should do this).
The best way to combat negative results is to suppress it with positive content and properties. Instead of spending time and money on tactics that won’t necessarily lead to any long-term solutions, allocate your time to consistently creating high quality content that is as search engine friendly while engaging regularly on various social media where you build and connect with relevant communities.
This concludes the series. Remember that managing your online reputation is an ongoing process, so even when you begin to see positive results, it’s important that you remain active on social media and that you update your site regularly. There are a ton of ways to improve your profile online, and we have covered a lot of ground throughout this series. If you want some extra help with the process, consider signing up for our free DIY tool. And if you don’t have the time to maintain your own sites and social media accounts, then take a peek at our managed services. We’re always here to help.
Check out the entire series here:
If you’re finding this series helpful, you might be interested in signing up for BrandYourself’s online reputation management tool for free. It helps to monitor, enhance and protect your online presence.