24 Jun 2011

Reputation Management: Six Steps to Restoring a Positive Web Presence

Restore Online Reputation

Maintaining a positive online reputation is just as important as maintaining your image in everyday life. These days, if you’re curious to find out more information about a person or company, the first thing you do is Google them. That is why it’s so important to be aware of what is being shared about you on the web, and know how to fix it and mitigate any negative portrayals. The following steps will help you maintain a positive image online.

1. Be Listening

The first step in successful online reputation management is to know whether or not you have a bad reputation before others do. Set up a Google alert for your company’s keywords such as the company name, owner’s name, and company nicknames. Google has recently made setting up these alerts a lot more accessible and has renamed the tool: Me on the Web.

Some other free tools to monitor your reputation online include:

2. Be Proactive

Set up and create positive profiles on popular sites on behalf of your company so that users are able to find out more information about you. This establishes your presence online, and allows you more control of the information being stated about you. Your sites and profiles can be utilized to outrank negative search results. Some examples of the top ranking social media sites to consider are:

Remember, it is better to be prepared than to scramble after the fact.

3. Be Realistic

There is no magic delete button that you or anyone else (including your friendly internet marketing company) can use to erase negative information online. The only people who can remove content is the webmaster, moderator or creator of the content on the site. If you need to address an online reputation management issue, be aware that it takes careful planning. Developing and implementing a strategy to outrank the negative results can take a considerable amount of time.

4. Be Cool

Don’t engage in arguments with online complaint posters. Respond only once in a polite and informative matter. Offer to contact them, or have them contact you, privately so you can resolve the situation. Consult a public relations specialist to assist in crafting your response. Remember to only respond once. Responding multiple times can lead to an embarrassing public argument between you and the negative poster, and may also strengthen or increase the ranking of site.

5. Be Active

You cannot simply set up sites, blogs, or profiles and expect them to rank highly in the search results. You must consistently remain active and engage the communities that surround all of them. This is time consuming, but well worth the end results. Blog often, update your status, upload new videos or pictures, and engage with other users to stay active online.

6. Be Optimized

The sites, blogs, and even the social media profiles you set up to outrank the negative search results must be optimized just as you would optimize your main website.

For the sites you set up, make sure to purchase domains with your keywords in them. Note that these should be the keywords that when typed in, bring up the negative results you are trying to outrank. Besides optimization, you will need to acquire back links to these sites to assist in ranking them in the search results.

Optimizing social media profiles is not something discussed as often, but plays a vital role in your strategy. Here are a few tips to optimize your profiles:

  • Interlink your social profiles: There are places in each social profile where you can add links to other profiles. Make sure you take full advantage of this. Be sure to promote blog posts through your social profiles as well.
  • Establish your custom or unique social profile URL (e.g Facebook.com/VerticalMeasures)
  • Always create your username using your keywords. For example, if negative search results appear when a user Google’s “Bobby’s Bakery” then that should be your username. However, if the negative search results are for” Bobby Smith”, the owner of the baker, then you need to use his name as the username.
  • Use keywords within the profile description: Most social profiles have areas to fill out information about the user. Insert your keywords wherever and whenever you can (within reason) so that your username isn’t the only place your keyword shows up on the page.

There’s no doubt that managing your online reputation is a time consuming task. However, if you follow the steps above you will be on your way to restoring a positive web presence.

Do you have an online reputation management tip to share? Please add it to the comments below.


  • Virtual Data Centre Jun 27, 2011

    Some resourceful tips here. Many of us, expect on-demand results from our efforts, in reality this is not the case. It is important to make your investment a gradual process. It is about earning respect of the search engines and our your target market.

    It is a long process, but focus in one area of SEO and this is the best way to succeed. Too many of us, spread ourselves too thin. There’s lots of Social Media outlets.

    Great blog.

  • Len Soul Sep 01, 2011

    Hey Sarah, this is a great post! I agree that today one of the best ways to maintain a positive reputation online is a good social media strategy. Many people are just spamming those networks with their links, but my opinion is that the most important thing is to engage in the conversation and try to activate readers.
    I also think that companies should be more involved in offline engagements like conferences, seminars, festivals (depending on your niche), and then using them in online promotion.