When folks hear about online reputation management, they oftentimes have the impression it revolves around strategic public relations responses and muting Internet trolls. While your typical online reputation management company is happy to have you think their hard work goes toward such seemingly exciting endeavors, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of protecting an online image revolves around SEO fundamentals. For individuals and small businesses, most of the work that goes into maintaining a respectable online reputation can be achieved independently, so long as you don’t mind a little digital elbow grease.
The first task on your list is to gobble up every domain you can related to your brand name or actual name. By acquiring these sites, you increase the chances that searches using the specific keywords and phrases associated with your online identity will result in the searcher arriving at a site in your control and not someone else’s. This is critical in preventing misinformation about you or your brand from ever being disseminated, whether maliciously or in error.
The second phase of your mission is to register with every major social network. For the sake of marketing you should have already done this, but it matters to reputation management as well. Similar to domains such as YourName.com, your profile on popular social networks is likely to rank high on the list of hits resulting in a specific search for you or your brand.
With that said, you can’t simply sign-up and walk away. Activity matters, even if it’s just a little bit. Social network profiles, as far as the search engines go, work in the same way any other web page does: traffic drives rankings. To make the hits in which you have control of consistently stay high on the results page, keep these sites and profiles updated.
Lastly, your online reputation management is sure to be kept on easy mode if you follow basic Internet ethics especially if your enterprise involves commerce. Resist the urge to make enemies online, no matter how remote and therefore harmless these entities may seem. In addition, avoid becoming a keyboard warrior yourself. Whenever conflict or confusion arises, strive to communicate respectfully and reach compromise. Bad behavior on the other side does not excuse it on your own.
When it comes to online reputation damage control, you should probably seek the help of some professionals. But as far as routine reputation maintenance is concerned, making it easier on yourself couldn’t get any easier itself.