How to Use Blekko to Manage Your Online Reputation

Developing an online reputation management (ORM) campaign can be tricky. It’s not always easy to determine why certain topics remain attached to your personal brand while others disappear. That’s where Blekko, a novel, human-curated search engine, can help you refine your digital PR efforts. Read on to learn how to use Blekko to manage your online reputation.

 

How Blekko filters out spam

Google search results are prone to spam; the search engine simply shows everything that passes the company’s algorithmic test of validity. Individuals seeking to tarnish your online reputation can use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to trick Google into promoting defamatory or misleading information. And, unfortunately, such tactics are growing in frequency. Even some politicians use them to hurt their opponents.

The subject of recent articles in the New York Times, Wired and other online publications, Blekko has received praise for its efforts to remove spam from search results. Searching for yourself on Blekko will return a list of websites that human moderators have decided are reputable. Spam websites are filtered out of the results in order to help searchers find quality information more quickly.

Blekko also provides detailed statistics on the results it returns, including the links pointing to each result, other sites hosted at the same IP address as the result and the “tags” or concepts associated with the result. This information can help you focus your ORM efforts.  Learn how to use Blekko to manage your online reputation.

 

Use Blekko to develop an ORM plan of attack.

Negative results fetched by Google but not by Blekko can sometimes be easier to deal with because they won’t appeal to human readers. This means that over time Google will figure out that these sites are less valuable and stop giving them high rankings. Standard reputation management techniques should work quickly and effectively against such sites.

But because Blekko relies on human moderators to determine the trustworthiness of a source, any reputation-damaging results that appear when you search for yourself in Blekko are likely to have staying power. But why should Blekko treat misleading or defamatory websites as reputable in the first place? Because the same pitfalls that afflict crowdsourcing also bias the Blekko moderator community. For example, common mistakes tend to be amplified, building a foundation of false authority. Compromised decisions arrived at by consensus might trample finer details that could make or break your online reputation.

The silver lining to this cloud is that it’s these very crowd biases that will help you focus your personal branding and online PR efforts. Blekko also provides you with tools to figure out how to outwit a strong defamatory source and control your online reputation.

 

Focus your digital PR activities.

Click on the “seo” tab beneath the title of the negative search result. The very first screen will show you a list of inbound links. These are other websites that refer to the negative one — that lend it authority. Peruse this list and determine if you can weaken any of these links.

For example, if a Wikipedia article references the negative website, you can go to Wikipedia and mark the negative website as slanderous, thus removing it from the article. If a blog comment links to the defamatory content, you can contact the owner of the blog and explain that the comment is misleading and unjustly hurting your online reputation.

The more links you can remove, the less likely the negative content is to stick around. You probably won’t be able to affect the vast majority of inbound links to the defamatory content, but every little bit helps.

In addition to helping you assess inbound links, information gleaned from Blekko gives you an idea of what you’re up against. To effectively repair your online reputation, you’ll need to produce several pieces of positive content that outrank the negative website. Blekko tells you how many inbound links your positive content will need. Blekko also tells you what to avoid; for example, don’t promote websites that also promote the defamatory item, as this will only increase the power of the links they provide.

Finally, Blekko can help you determine whether you should conduct your ORM campaign on your own or get professional help. If your negative content consists of a few, weakly supported webpages, you can probably handle it by yourself.  By knowing how to use Blekko to manage your online reputation, you can have your online reputation secured.