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Google yourself. What do you see? Are you represented fairly?
Online reputation management (ORM) means taking control of the online conversation. Its techniques and strategies ensure that people find the right materials when they look for you on the Internet.
Done well, online reputation management creates balance, counteracts misleading trends, and allows you to put your best foot forward.
Why you should care about your online reputation?
Now, you might not think that people are searching for you, but chances are they are. Common reasons include:
- Employers doing pre-interview research
- Landlords looking into prospective renters
- Children searching for details of their parents’ “real lives”
- Curious significant others, past and present
- Former colleagues looking to share professional opportunities
No matter how “under the radar” or “low-tech” your lifestyle, there is a good quantity of information about you online—and people are seeing it.
If someone writes something negative about you online, it can put you at a serious disadvantage over the long term—especially if you’re not aware of it. You might never know why you didn’t get that apartment you wanted, or why a job offer never materialized after that phenomenal interview.
It’s important to keep tabs on what people are saying about you online and then take steps to correct any inaccuracies.
Online reputation management principles
- Search results are algorithmically generated. Your online reputation is determined by complex calculations run automatically by computers. After all, nobody has time to take in all the information that’s out there, so search engines and social media sites make educated guesses about what people will find interesting.
- Popularity over accuracy. No algorithm can tell whether information accurately reflects you or not, so popularity becomes the main measuring stick. That’s why embarrassing party photos, frivolous lawsuits dismissed years ago, and other kinds of irrelevant but intriguing “click bait” often dominate online reputations.
- Don’t click. It can be tempting to visit the negative pages in your search results over and over again. Don’t. This tells search engines that the page is relevant, driving it up in the results. For the same reason, don’t tell all your friends to go visit the page. And under no circumstances should you link to it on social media or from another website.
- Don’t engage with detractors. If someone writes something unflattering about you, don’t write back, don’t post a comment, and don’t refer to the offending item in online forums. All this does is send more attention to the issue you don’t want seen. There’s also the danger that truly malicious posters might take your response and twist the words against you. Why give them additional ammunition? It’s better to fight their taunts with radio silence.
- Get your story out there. You can only promote the materials that are out there. That means you need a solid base of positive, accurate content to improve your online reputation. You can do this yourself to some extent—starting a blog, posting YouTube videos, etcetera—but you may need a publication team in order to affect competitive search results.
- Use social media. Not on Twitter? Sign up, using your full name as your handle (e.g. @johndoe). Are you active on LinkedIn? Make sure your resume is up to date. Social media sites often rank well in your search results, and you control the content they display, so they can make a big difference to your online reputation.
- Protect your privacy. Keep tabs on the personally identifiable information about you posted online. Opt out of services that sell your personal information, and remove your data from people-search sites. This makes it less likely that sensitive personal details can be used to hijack your online reputation.
- Assume everything lasts forever. If something has been published online, it’s potentially part of your permanent online reputation. Search results aren’t arranged chronologically, so old news items, outdated information, and stories from years ago can continue to rank if they’re seen as relevant by search engines. This can work for or against you.
To learn what ReputationDefender® can do for your online reputation, contact us today.