Just ten years ago, who you were and what you did largely stayed within your community. But the Internet expanded and as it grows, more and more information about us is readily accessible online – and there’s more money to be made from that information. From Big Data that buys and sells our personal info to the Google searches done by recruiters, the way we live our lives personally and professionally is often an open book, accessible to all with just a few clicks.
Now, more than ever, online reputation management is crucial. Reputation.com believes you should be empowered online. We’re the industry leader – and we’re here to help you ensure the most accurate, current information is prominent online, identify and remove personally identifying data that puts you at risk, and manage and understand online reviews and social media.
What is My Online Reputation?
Essentially, your reputation online breaks down to two categories: what you post yourself and what others post about you.
The first is essentially what you do online – and it encompasses everything: the comments you post on digital articles, the photos and videos you share on social media, the entries you post on your personal blog. It’s easy to say what’s on your mind on the Internet – and tempting to do so in a brash way. But statements, photos and posts – especially without context – can come back to haunt you.
Your online reputation is also the information that appears without your control or influence. Think of it broadly: newspaper articles that mention you, discussions of your activities by friends, public records, people-search sites, even membership lists. Anything about you online essentially lives forever, no matter how far in the past it may be. First impressions can linger for a painfully long time.
Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management & Protection?
The Internet never forgets. Negative information about you that registers on search engines can stay at the top of your results if you don't act. Research shows that over 90 percent of people don’t go beyond the first page of search results – and 70 percent of people only look at the first four results on that page. If what’s there is negative, that can have a powerful impact on your life. Why? The Internet is how we find preliminary information about people – whether we’re potential clients, employers, even your upcoming first date – and then decide what to do next with what we find. And that's where protecting your reputation online comes into play.
How Does Internet Reputation Management Work?
Controlling your online image generally involves three steps. First, assess your reputation. Run your name, or the name of your business, through search engines and look critically at the links that are provided. What are they? Are they positive or negative? Are they content you control? What about images? Sometimes this can be surprising: For example, if you have an official site, and it's not your first search result, that's something you'll need to fix.
The next step is to use search engine optimization, or SEO, to adjust your results methodically over time. Many people mistakenly think SEO is a kind of "search engine control," but the truth is a bit more complex. Search engine algorithms are highly safeguarded and proprietary in order to beat the other guy at delivering us the most important and relevant search results. Each search engine looks at different factors and gives those factors different weight. At Reputation.com, our experts carefully observe how search engines rank the relevancy of content over time, and apply what they learn to the technologies we’ve developed to make content about you more relevant.
Being at the top is important to Internet reputation management because the first result is the only one more than a third of all people using search engines use. By contrast, anything on the second page might as well not exist.
Another common technique, especially when dealing with defamation and smear campaigns, is to simply remove the content from search engines. A patently false review of your business can be removed from many websites under their terms of service, and search engines will entertain requests to remove links from your results provided you can demonstrate the need is urgent enough. Unfortunately, while you may have a case for content removal, it’s not actually possible in most cases.
The final step is monitoring your online reputation. The Internet is not set in stone. It’s a dynamic, constantly shifting environment and accordingly, search engines are constantly improving and updating their algorithms to deliver the most relevant results. So monitoring your results is crucial to understanding what you look like online – but it can take considerable time and effort. Reputation.com simplifies that with patented reputation management technologies that do it for you.
What Should I Look For In An Internet Reputation Management Company?
Experience. Online reputation management is a relatively new field, but companies with a longer tenure will have more experience with search engines and will be more effective than the new companies. Reputation.com is the pioneer of the online reputation management company in the industry. Our technologies work: we hold more than 10 issued patents with another two dozen in the pipeline.
Diversity of products. Reputation management is not a one-size-fits-all field. After all, you’re unique and so is your search result profile. The best reputation management company will have a suite of products and strategies to help everyone from the private citizen with no reputation online to the person trying to move on from a tough chapter in their lives.
They're more than just software. Reputation management isn't something you can automate. The best reputation management companies will have reputation advisors who can help you work through your reputation objectives and form strategies to create and maintain a strong digital portfolio.
Since 2006, Reputation.com has developed products that support everyone from the Fortune 500 enterprise and the small business owner to the working mom and recent college graduate. Our products protect your reputation, help you manage and understand your reviews and defend your privacy. Get the best in your corner: Contact Reputation.com today.