HOW TO REPAIR A BAD ONLINE REPUTATION

After establishing a prospering business — whether online or off — a person eventually understands the great importance of having and maintaining a positive online reputation. This has become especially true in the last decade as more and more people get all their information about a business from online sources.

Reputation management basically boils down to generating a positive image about your company. If your business suffers from bad reviews, news stories or both, you need to overwhelm that bad with good — you need to get positive information about your business posted online. While ideally you'd like any bad information removed, that's seldom possible — once negative information appears online, it's typically there for good.

Your business reputation (or the reputation of your personal name) can always be improved. No reputation management firm, no webmaster, no individual can create this turnaround immediately, though. Google works on their own time frame, and changing the results of Google searches will always take some time — regardless of the severity of the reputation damage.

Creating Your Own Content

You can't control what others write about your business. You can control what you write about your business. So there's the short answer of how you repair your reputation — post positive information about your business. And do so to a degree that the positive far outweighs the negative.

When that's done, the positive will start appearing higher up in searches, and the negative will be gradually pushed down lower, where it will end up out of sight to all but the most inquisitive, determined searchers. Very few people look past the first page of a search, and almost no one ventures beyond the second page of results. The further down negative information is forced, the fewer people will ever discover it.

The easiest means of posting positive information is to make full use of social media. If you haven't already created accounts on the major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so forth), do so now. When you create those accounts it's essential that you include your business name within the account name (so you'll have a Twitter account with a URL of twitter.com/MyBusinessName, for example). Likewise, if you're concerned about the reputation of your personal name, include your name in your account URL (twitter.com/MyFirstLastName).

Fill out your profile completely for each social network account, and make sure to include some posts with positive information about your business. If you already have an account on a social network, spend some time browsing through your existing posts and pictures to ensure that you haven't casually put out information that could be viewed as controversial or embarrassing. If you have, delete it.

Another source of positive content that can be self-made is a website. If you don't already have one, create one. Again, you want your business name in the URL, so buy a domain that includes your company name. If your concern is for your personal online reputation, buy a domain that matches your name.

If such a domain is already registered to someone else, check the availability of some slight derivation of your name: include your middle name in the domain name, or place a hyphen between your first and last name, or choose an extension other than .com (see if FirstNameLastName.net is available, for instance). You website doesn't need to be expensively done or huge in page size. Just populate it with some positive and neutral information and pictures.

Ideally you'd like to get positive information about your business in articles appearing on existing websites. For most people that can be a difficult task, though, as most website owners have no interest or no incentive to post what is to them some random article about a stranger. Here at Fix Your Search Results we have a great many of our own websites that we fully control. As such, we can post any content on them that we want — which is something that works to the advantage of our clients.

Positive, Positive, Positive

No one has the ability or power to actually remove all the negative information about a business or person from the Internet. If you didn't post the bad information yourself, on a web property that you control, you can't force the source of the information to remove it, and you can't force Google to ignore it. What you can do is fight back by posting your own positive information to an extent such that it overwhelms the negative.

The more positive information you get out, the more you control the narrative of your brand. Think long-term. Each positive piece of information that goes on the web now will be of help down the road. The more positive information that accumulates on the Internet, the greater insurance you have of maintaining a positive reputation online after you've finally improved it.