It’s not uncommon for individuals to make mistakes and run into trouble with the law. Also, because mugshots are taken when individuals are arrested and not when they’re convicted, some individuals without any criminal record end up needing help with mugshot removal.
If there’s a mugshot of you on the internet, it can create problems for you in business and in everyday life. Employment opportunities can often be limited, and the mugshot can also affect interpersonal relationships.
This is why reputation management and mugshot removal services exist. However, there are a lot of scam artists in the mugshot removal industry as well, and some mugshot sites are simply out for your money.
That’s why we’ve put together this primer on mugshot removal. By reading this article, you can determine whether your mugshot is on a legitimate or scam site. You can also learn how to have the mugshot removed from the public eye.
At Reputation Enhancer, we’ve been helping individuals and businesses save and maintain their reputations since 2014. We can surely help you with your mugshot removal conundrums as well.
So Your Mugshot is Visible Online – What Next?
If you’ve been arrested recently or in the distant past, it’s important to check and see if your mugshot is visible online. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve already seen a mugshot of yourself online.
You may be worried about employment, dating, family, or other areas of your life. A mugshot being visible online can have a negative impact in any of these areas.
However, removing your mugshot might be possible. Read on to discover what to do next when you see your mugshot online.
How Did You Find Your Mugshot Online?
If you were arrested and ran a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search on your own name and found your mugshot, it may be part of a legitimate mugshot database. These exist to serve the public, although they are controversial.
If you received an email or social media message containing your mugshot, you may be the target of a scam.
Mugshot Removal Scams vs. Legitimate Mugshot Sites
It’s often very hard to tell the difference between scam mugshot sites and legitimate mugshot sites. Scammers in this area are often highly resourceful and can make their scam sites look legitimate.
Legitimate mugshot sites that supposedly exist for public service should never ask you for money to take your picture down, however. If a site asks for money, it’s likely a scam or a business with a disreputable model.
If a mugshot site asks you for money to take down your mugshot, it will be tempting to pay them. However, it’s usually best not to do so. To understand why, let’s look at a hypothetical example.
Mugshot Removal Scam Scenario
Two months ago, Mark was arrested on a DUI charge. Although he was found not guilty in court, he received an email after his trial informing him that his mugshot was pictured in an online database.
The email, claiming to be from a legitimate reputation management firm, said that his mugshot could be removed for $400. He gladly paid the fee. The mugshot was then taken down.
However, in six months he received another email from the same company. His mugshot was pictured on a very similar site. He was asked to pay another $400 for the reputation management firm to take it down.
In another six months, the mugshot was available again. This process repeated itself for several years, and eventually Mark had lost thousands of dollars.
Mugshot removal scams can really burn up money.
Miles and miles away, a creative scam artist had become a few thousand dollars richer.
What We Can Learn from This Scenario
There are reputation management firms out there who are less than reputable. These firms often seek to take advantage of clients in a unique way.
They create or acquire mugshot databases and post mugshots online. The mugshots are then viewable by the general public.
For a fee from the person pictured in a mugshot, they will take the picture in question down. However, because they still own the picture, they can repost it at any time. This means that they can charge the individual in question again.
This is one of the many reasons that the mugshot industry has become so controversial in recent years. These sorts of scams are highly effective and lucrative, meaning that plenty of scam artists will try them.
Also, these scams occur in a legal gray area. Although these sites’ practices seem to fall under the legal definition of extortion, it is often hard to fully accuse them of extortion. This is because mugshots are often considered a matter of public record.
How to Beat a Mugshot Removal Scam
There are a few ways it is possible to beat a mugshot removal scam without paying the company or individual publishing your mugshot. Two have been shown to be highly effective.
First Path to Free Mugshot Removal – Becoming a Nuisance to the Mugshot Removal Site
This is technically the easiest path to free mugshot removal, but it often involves the use of a lot of time and/or resources.
To do this, you’ll first need to find a way of contacting the mugshot removal site. Because of these site’s construction, this can often be very difficult.
You will then need to contact the site multiple times – often as many as ten times a week. It helps to contact them by multiple methods, such as using both phone and email.
When you contact the sites, you will need to repeatedly refuse to pay and threaten legal action. You need to do your research here to see if there is any possibility of actually taking this action. If there is, the site will often back off.
Essentially, to do this successfully you need to make yourself so annoying or threatening (in a legal and ethical way) to the site that they determine you’re no longer worth the investment.
Second Path to Free Mugshot Removal – Making the Mugshot Disappear from Google & Other Search Engines
This method is more complicated than the first, but in most cases is more effective. Whenever the experts at Reputation Enhancer are charged with removing a mugshot from the public eye, we usually try the first method first and then resort to this one.
This method involves the use of SEO. SEO, short for “Search Engine Optimization,” is a way of creating web content that is often used in marketing and reputation enhancement.
The web content is question is positive. It is also designed to be naturally appealing to search engines. Search engines are companies like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, which deliver users results from all over the internet based on search terms.
When reputation management companies or marketers use SEO, they essentially try to make positive content more likely to appear higher in search engine results than negative content.
For example, in a mugshot removal scenario, we would try to make content like a blog or social media profile of yours appear higher in search results than your mugshot. This would make your mugshot much harder for the general public to find.
Although this method is highly effective, it is often prohibitively expensive and complicated for most individuals to try on their own. That’s where hiring a professional reputation manager may come in handy.
The Art and Science of Mugshot Removal
As you can probably tell, mugshot removal is a tricky business. This is why many legitimate reputation management firms that specialize in this area exist. We are here to combat the scam artists trying to wreck your reputation for money.
Learning About Mugshot Removal, Reputation Management, and SEO
In addition to the information I’ve presented for you so far, there’s plenty to be learned about mugshot removal, mugshot scams, and reputation management in general. Try reading some of the articles I’ve linked to from within this article, or take a look at our blog for more information.
It’s also very useful to learn about some of the basics of SEO. Read on for a basic primer in SEO. There are also some wonderful introductory guides to check out, such as the one available at Search Engine Journal (SEJ).
For a very quick introduction to the basics, check out the short video below. Although it is very condensed, it offers one of the best possible overviews of the art and science of SEO.
How SEO Works
SEO has a huge influence over what appears in Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engine results. Because most web users never go past the first page of search results – and many don’t even scroll all the way to the bottom of that first page – SEO can keep your mugshot out of the public eye.
SEO involves the manipulation of these factors on a website you create so that it outranks other content in SERPs.
When content you’ve created ranks higher than the mugshot sites, fewer people see those mugshots. Eventually, if your SEO is good enough, you can push the mugshots off the first page entirely.
What Factors Influence SEO?
Some of the factors that influence SEO include the following:
Links from other sites to the site you create
The use of keywords (search terms) on the site you create
The size of the content that makes up the site you create
Other pages related to your site, such as social media profiles
Popularity of your site
Google and the other search engines consider these and many other factors when ranking sites. A few of these, such as general popularity, are beyond your control at first.
However, you decide what is written on your site. You can use keywords you think people will search for related to you that will boost your site’s rank for those searches.
For most mugshot removal purposes, you’ll therefore want to create content that uses your name often. That way, if someone runs a Google or other search of your name, that person will find your content instead of the mugshots.
You can encourage other sites to link to yours simply by creating engaging, useful content. There are also a few other tricks that professional SEO experts use to get links. These usually involve having a lot of contact with other webmasters (website owners).
The Role of SEO in Mugshot Removal Technique
As stated above, creating content that outranks mugshot sites will push your mugshots off of SERPs for searches of your name.
You can also try to improve the popularity of sites that are related to you but not created by you. These include social media pages, YouTube channels, LinkedIn profiles, and more. These sites can also replace mugshot results in SERPs.
Because mugshots are images, you should also look at some SEO techniques for images. These will help push your mugshots further down Google Images results.
Also, because of the imagistic nature of mugshots, you should be sure to include lots of pictures on any websites you create.
How Reputation Enhancer Can Help with Mugshot Removal
Learning about and implementing SEO for mugshot removal can be a daunting task. This is why many people stuck in the situation you’re currently in choose to hire professional reputation managers.
Professional reputation managers like the experts here at Reputation Enhancer know SEO. They also know a thing or two about mugshots, mugshot scams, and the reputation industry in general. Furthermore, they have contact with webmasters who can lend a helping hand.
Often, simply hiring a professional can be cheaper than acquiring and creating web properties on your own. It is also almost always less time consuming than going out on your own.
If you choose to hire a reputation management firm to handle your case, be sure you do your research. There are several internet resources that can help you spot the difference between good reputation managers and hacks and scam artists.
If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to mugshot removal here at Reputation Enhancer, read on. Then fill out the form below or give us a call.
Although we charge for our services like any business, we offer free consultations in cases like yours. We also provide estimates and a money-back guarantee to all of our customers, whether they’re purchasing mugshot removal or other reputation management services.
This can be a very stressful time in your life, but it doesn’t have to be with professional help.
Our Method in Detail
When a client first contacts us needing mugshot removal services, we discuss the problem with the client in detail at no charge. We then do some of our own research so we can develop a price estimate. Our prices often beat the competition because of our low overhead costs.
Give us a call anytime!
As soon as we figure out an exact price and you sign up, we get to work. We also offer a money-back guarantee for the first month, in case you decide to cancel.
As mentioned above, we believe the best way to begin a mugshot removal campaign is by contacting the mugshot hosting site. We will often spend months contacting hosting sites multiple times per day.
Sometimes this first approach works, and sometimes it doesn’t. If we don’t see results through negotiation and communication within the first 30 days, we get to work on SEO-based reputation enhancement.
We will create a wide variety of profiles and blogs on your behalf – with your input if you so desire – and use positive or neutral images of and related to you within the content on those sites.
Then we will go on to use our SEO expertise and webmaster contacts to make sure these positive and neutral sites rank higher than the mugshot hosting sites.
Although no method can entirely scrub a mugshot from the internet without the owner’s permission, this approach will bring you personal security and peace of mind. Though this is certainly a difficult time for you, these pictures do not have to remain in the public eye.
Other Reputation Enhancement Services
We also offer a suite of other affordable reputation management services from which you may benefit. These include the suppression of other arrest records, as well as other negative content about you online.
Through our years of experience in this industry and unparalleled expertise in the field of SEO, we can bring you the results you want and need. Please, contact us by filling out the form below. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone or email.
Even if you don’t end up purchasing our services, we’re happy to help you get through this trying time any way we can.
Even if you’re not considering purchasing reputation repair services, you should think about how you look online. However, there are some important things you should know before paying someone to repair your reputation.
There is a lot of misconception and misinformation on all sides of this industry. For example, many people who need reputation repair services don’t hire them. There are also plenty of scams out there that take advantage of people who need reputation help.
We’ve been in the reputation repair service industry a while here at Reputation Enhancer. We’ve pooled our knowledge here to put together a few facts and a little advice for anyone seeking reputation repair services.
Before we dive into that, though, here’s a big question you need to answer:
Do You Need Reputation Repair Services?
If you’re reading this, you’re at the very least interested in hiring a reputation management service. However, you might not know 100% if you need help or not.
Deciding whether or not you need help from a reputation repair service is simple. You need to figure out two things:
What you want people to see about you online
What people actually see about you online.
If the difference between these two things is more than a very slight shift in details, you may need help. Here are a few specific steps to help you realize what you you want out there – and what is out there.
1. Think About the Image You Want and Need
The first thing you need to do is determine what kind of image you want to present to the world.
Obviously, it’s important to be realistic here. Don’t tell yourself you want people who Google you to think you’re a Nobel winner or rockstar.
However, ask yourself who you really are. If you’re a business owner, ask yourself what type of business you run, how you run it, what types of customers you want.
Ideally, you should strive for an honest representation of yourself and/or your business online. However, you also want one that looks good.
You don’t want to lie, and you need to remember to stay realistic, but in addition to thinking about what you are, think about what sells. If you’re a business owner, you know all about that. If you’re an individual, think of it this way: applying for a job is like working as your own salesperson.
Salespeople create an image, an image people want. To be your own salesperson, you need to think about what you can realistically make people perceive and want about you or your business.
This doesn’t mean making things up or being unrealistic. It means highlighting your good qualities and pushing your bad aside. In this way, it’s a lot like other everyday activities, such as dressing well or trying to improve yourself through learning or exercise.
2. Be Honest With Yourself About What Could Be Out There
Now that you’ve thought about your best self, it’s worth it to think about the other half.
This can be one of the most painful and difficult parts of the reputation assessment and reputation repair process. However, it’s also very important.
Be honest with yourself about what could be out there about you that you don’t want others to see. Common examples include:
Negative aspects of employment history
Bad reviews of your business (or your work at another person’s business)
Relationship problems like a messy divorce
Civil or criminal court cases (being sued or arrested)
None of these things make you a bad person. They don’t make you a bad business owner or employee. Some of them shouldn’t be judged negatively at all, and others are simply mistakes many people make.
However, when seen online, especially out of context, they can cause real trouble for you and/or your business.
Write down anything from your past or present that you don’t want the world to know about. These are the things you’ll have to look for in the next step.
3. Google Yourself
This is where you find out everything there is to know about yourself online. Think of this as being a detective – investigating yourself.
Start simple. Just enter your name into Google and see what pops up. Take notes on what you see and think about how it lives up to your expectations.
Don’t just look at the first page. Go through 3-5 pages of Google results and look closely at everything you see. Think about how each item might look to a customer or potential employer.
After that, you can get a bit more advanced. Instead of just searching your name, try Googling your name and some specific search terms that might turn up results important to your reputation.
If you’re a business, search your business name and the word “reviews.” If you’ve had trouble with the law, look for your name and “arrest records” or “court records.” Be specific here. Reference your list from the previous step.
Check other search engines as well, such as Yahoo and Bing. You’d be surprised how different results from different search engines can be for the same terms. Although Google is the most popular, people use all different search engines.
4. Analyze the Differences
Think about the person you want to be seen as again (or about how you want your business to be seen). Write a few characteristics or achievements down that you’d like others to see.
Compare this paper to the notes you made while Googling yourself. Are there major differences? If there are, you may be a candidate for reputation repair services.
A common misconception is that all reputation management companies do involves hiding bad information. This is a big part of our business, but so is creating positive information.
Even if there’s nothing “bad” about you online, you may still need help. Reputation repair services can boost your reputation online by highlighting your achievements and your personality. Remember, having no information about yourself online is almost as bad as having negative information.
5. Consider the Benefits of a Better Online Reputation
Reputation repair services can help you get the things you want and need. This is because reputation matters in our world.
Some benefits of having a better reputation for individuals include these and more:
Better employment options
Less awkwardness and worry in interpersonal relationships
Peace of mind
There are also plenty of benefits for businesses, such as the following:
Extra time to focus on building and growing your business – instead of worrying about its reputation
Increased opportunity to build and spread your brand.
Also, both businesses and individuals that improve their online reputations will earn greater credibility. If you want to be taken seriously, you must present yourself seriously first.
If you think you might be interested in hiring a reputation manager or working to fix your reputation yourself, read on for some important facts. Knowledge is everything in the reputation business.
The 5 Big Things You Need to Know Before Hiring Reputation Repair Services
1. Once the information is out there, it’s not coming down.
Yes, yes, it’s sad but true. Unless you can prove a company has used libel or slander against you – a complicated and expensive legal process – there’s no way to force them to take down something related to you.
In fact, most of the cases in which a company offers to take down a negative listing about you are scams. Many operate in this way:
A fake news site, unscrupulous mug shot site, or something similar posts about you.
A reputation site that secretly owns the other site contacts you or advertises to you.
You pay the reputation site and they take down the post about you.
They’re free to put it up and pressure you for money again any time.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t how most reputation sites work. However, it is a common fly-by-night scam.
A legitimate reputation repair service will never create negative content about you. Furthermore, they’ll never offer to “take down” any negative content. For that, you’ll need a lawyer and a lot of hard evidence you’ve been wronged.
However, there is a legitimate action reputation repair services can take to make bad content harder to find. This brings us to our second important fact of the day.
2. 75% of people won’t go beyond Page 1 of search engine results.
Also, you can think about it personally: when’s the last time you went past the first page of Google?
This is where people and businesses with reputation problems can pin all their hopes. It’s also the space where legitimate reputation repair services do their work.
Negative content on the internet related to you only causes problems if people see it. This means that pushing it off the first page of Google results – and better yet, even further down than the second page – can save your reputation big time.
By creating positive or neutral content that is “optimized” to appear in search engine results for searches related to your name, we and other legitimate reputation management companies can push the bad results down where no one will find them.
3. You need to check your reputation deeply and frequently.
Remember the long process described in the above section “Google Yourself”?
You need to search that deeply that frequently, especially if you know your reputation has been tarnished in the past. Doing so helps you for multiple reasons:
It helps you ensure that reputation repair services are doing their job.
It gives you advance notice of any new or reappearing negative information about you.
A legitimate reputation repair service will provide you progress reports regularly. However, there’s never any harm in checking on those reports.
Also, it’s good to continue monitoring your reputation after you’ve finished working with a reputation manager. Since the bad content is still out there, it can resurface. Being forewarned is being forearmed – if you know bad content is moving up, you can take care of it before others see it.
On top of all these advantages, searching yourself deeply and frequently online will bring you peace of mind.
Also, searching regularly can actually be easier than your first search. Thanks to useful tools like Google Alerts, you can automate your reputation monitoring process.
4. There are people out there who want to capitalize on your misery.
Basically, there are two types of bad reputation management companies: scams and big profit-hungry companies. Here’s a bit about why each of these is bad – and some advice on how to avoid them.
Reputation Repair Scams
I mentioned scams earlier, and linked to a Forbes article about problems in this industry. No one likes to admit it about the field they work in, but there are as many crooks in reputation management as in any other service field.
That doesn’t say something bad about reputation repair services as a whole – but it does mean you should watch your back.
Assuming you’re a fairly internet savvy person, you know you can’t trust everyone out there. From fake news to massive fraud and dangerous predators, there are plenty of things online to look out for.
Because most reputation repair services operate online, there are plenty of these services to watch out for too.
Some of these scam sites look very professional. Some even are professional! In the Forbes article I linked to earlier, two major reputation management companies were mentioned (with names redacted).
In addition to scams, there are plenty of companies that won’t do a great job.
While these companies may not be doing anything illegal or unethical, false reputation repair services can still give you trouble.
Furthermore, in some cases, reputation managers’ prices are so high, their services may either be not worth it or totally unattainable for regular, everyday people – especially business owners or folks looking for a job.
With all these scams and profit-hungry corporations out there, it can feel very difficult to get the help you need. However, there are ways to tell the bad from the legitimate when it comes to reputation repair services. This brings us to our fifth and final tip.
5. Not all reputation repair services are created equal. You can ferret out the bad ones.
Whether you’re afraid of scams or just of not getting your money’s worth, you can beat bad reputation repair services with a few simple questions.
Once you’ve chosen a reputation repair service or two you might be interested in hiring, call or email them. Ask questions like the following:
What’s your usual success rate with your customers?
Do you offer any guarantees? Will I get my money back if you can’t fix my reputation?
What’s your specific plan for fixing my reputation?
A scam artist likely won’t be able to answer these questions at all. Subpar reputation repair services will offer unsatisfactory answers. It’s amazing how far simply asking the right questions can get you.
Why Money-Back Guarantees Are So Important
The question about guarantees may even knock out a few established, legitimate reputation repair services. However, a money-back guarantee is important.
Reputation management is always an inexact science. Even experts can’t claim a 100% success rate forever.
A money-back guarantee puts you in charge and keeps you safe. Even if a company tries its hardest and fails you, at least you won’t lose cash over it.
Something else a money-back guarantee does is give you control. The company you’re working with will have to agree to deliver specific results. Specificity is key when it comes to reputation repair – make sure you get what you’re paying for.
If you’re interested in talking to a team member here at Reputation Enhancer about how our business works, please give us a call or fill out the form below.
Even if you’re not sure about hiring a reputation manager yet, we will be happy to answer any questions. We offer free no-commitment, no-hassle consultations to anyone interested in learning about our reputation repair services.
Getting to know you and the problems you are facing will allow us to give you a detailed plan and price quote. Also, we can answer any questions you might have about the process. Learning is the first and most important step to success – in reputation repair and in the rest of life.
Every tech-savvy small business owner, it seems, wants to know one thing: how to remove Yelp reviews. Although Yelp and other review sites – such as Google Reviews and Facebook’s review component – can help small businesses, they also have the potential to harm those businesses with negative or false reviews.
Sadly, there are a lot of negative Yelp reviews out there. There are also plenty of bad reviews on Google, Facebook, YellowPages, and plenty of other popular review platforms.
Worse even than this, there are a lot of fake reviews out there. Although review site companies have algorithms designed to catch fake reviews, many of them slip through the cracks. To remove Yelp reviews is to undertake a great challenge – even if those reviews are obviously fake.
It’s true more often than you’d think.
Luckily, the rest of the Reputation Enhancer team and I have spent years helping businesses combat these kinds of reviews. Now we’ve created this handy guide just for you.
Before I can teach you how to fix the problem, though, I’ll need to give you some background on it. In addition to removing Yelp reviews, let’s talk about how bad reviews occur and how negative and false reviews on Yelp and similar platforms hurt your business.
A Question on Many Business Owners’ Minds: “Why Do I Have Bad Reviews?”
Many owners of stores, restaurants, bars, and other small businesses simply don’t know why they have negative reviews on Yelp. After all, if you work hard every day and contribute to the local economy, you deserve praise, right?
Legitimate Reasons Bad Reviews Occur:
Honest mistakes happen. In many cases, these can lead to bad reviews.
A customer has constructive feedback she or he would like to offer you.
An employee was rude to a customer.
An item, dish, drink, or other product was made or advertised incorrectly.
In these cases, the reviews are often easy to remove by directly addressing whatever problem caused the review in the first place, and then letting the customer know in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
Don’t worry – we’ll talk about how to talk to customers about these situations later. There are also a number of great video resources out there to help you with this process, such as this one:
However, many negative reviews are not legitimate. This makes them much more difficult to address. Also, because there are many such reviews out there, they can greatly affect your overall rating or otherwise hurt your business.
Illegitimate Reasons Bad Reviews Occur:
A disgruntled former employee has a grudge.
A customer overreacts to a small problem.
A customer takes out his or her personal problems on your business.
A personal enemy of yours or an employee’s seeks to take your business down.
A competitor posts a fake review to get an edge over you.
There are other reasons as well, but this simple list of five possibilities gives you the idea.
Yelp and other review platforms were designed to help customers make informed decisions about where to spend their money. In an ideal world, this would help the best businesses succeed and the worst to clean up their acts.
However, personal motivations and feelings often get in the way of reviewers’ objectivity. That means that reviewers can develop a bias against you for any number of reasons and take that out on your business.
It’s a shame that so many people are willing to abuse public platforms that many people trust every day. However, that’s the world we live in. Instead of crying about it, it’s best to be proactive.
You might be thinking that Yelp, Facebook, Google, and other companies such as YellowPages have the time and resources to find and remove these fake reviews. That is not the case. Keep reading for more on how fake and badly motivated reviews stick on these sites.
How Fake Reviews Slip Through the Cracks
Even though Yelp and many of its competitors in the online review industry have designed algorithms to detect fake reviews, many still slip through the cracks. Also, Yelp and other review sites have staff members dedicated to investigating fake reviews – but even that isn’t enough to stop all of them.
There are several reasons fake and poorly motivated negative reviews can get past the system and make an impact. Let’s look at a few of these in detail.
How Bad Yelp Reviews Hurt Your Business
You might think you can afford to just ignore Yelp. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works anymore.
According to Hook SEO, Yelp gets 89 million monthly mobile visitors and 79 million desktop visitors. Those are unique visitors, and though we can assume some of the mobile and desktop users are the same people, that still means between 100 million and 168 million people probably visit Yelp at least once a month.
Think about those odds for a second. How many of those users do you think might be interested in visiting your business?
The verdict is in: YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE YELP REVIEWS! Although other review sites are a bit smaller, the same is true for them – millions of people use these sites daily.
Oh, and here’s yet another reason you can’t afford to ignore Yelp.
How to Remove Yelp Reviews Harming Your Business
There are two ways to remove a negative, fake, or otherwise harmful review from Yelp. Both are difficult, but they’re definitely worth the time.
Remove Yelp Reviews: Method # 1 – Asking Yelp to Take the Review Down
This one can be a difficult task, but it’s definitely worth trying in certain circumstances. It works best if there are obviously fake or incorrect reviews about your business.
Asking Yelp to take down a negative review can also work if the review in question has a threatening tone or uses profanity, or if it names certain employees or calls them out by race, religion, body type, or other distinguishing or sensitive characteristic.
Don’t bother asking Yelp or a similar review company to remove reviews that don’t fit these criteria.
To be honest, their response even to fake or threatening reviews leaves much to be desired. They have no interest in removing reviews they see as legitimate. Although I understand this from their point of view, it makes things difficult for many of the businesses I work with.
Yelp’s Terms of Service (TOS)
Before approaching Yelp about a review you suspect is fake or constitutes harassment, you should look over their Terms of Service. It’s a dry read with plenty of legal jargon that seems designed to confuse business owners, but it can also help you learn your specific rights.
Because the Terms of Service are essentially a contract you imply your signature on every time you use Yelp’s services, reading and understanding them thoroughly is an important part of navigating the online review landscape.
It’s wise to take a similar course of action with any other review site you’re having problems with.
Also, please note that the Terms of Service linked to above are for the United States only. If you live in another country, go directly to Yelp’s site, scroll to the bottom, and look for their link to Terms of Service.
Although the Terms of Service are fairly similar from region to region, small distinctions in documents like this can be very important.
How to Address an Issue with Yelp
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with Yelp’s Terms of Service, it’s time to get your message to them. Please note that any specific instructions I give here won’t apply to other review sites, but the general principles are the same.
There are specific instructions on Yelp’s site (although they’re admittedly hard to find from within the site itself) that will tell you exactly how to report a review to Yelp.
Essentially, the process boils down to this:
Find the review in question.
Click on the flag button below the review, and then on “Report This Review.”
Yelp is very upfront about the fact that its review process takes several days, and that they do not often remove reviews. The company also graciously offers business owners and private individuals a second chance to report reviews.
If you report something you genuinely believe is either false or otherwise against Yelp’s guidelines, you may contact the company’s support team directly after hearing back on your initial complaint.
This is definitely not the sort of action you want to take all the time. If you do, it might lose its potency, or Yelp might specifically take support calls from you less seriously.
However, if you have a real case, contacting support directly may be one of the most direct, fast, and effective ways to solve the problem.
Remove Yelp Reviews: Method # 2 – Asking the Customer to Take the Review Down
Believe it or not, this is the more successful of the two methods.
Why? There are a couple reasons. For starters, Yelp is more customer focused than it is business focused. Perhaps more importantly, Yelp is a huge corporation that requires you to cut through miles of red tape before it does anything.
Yelp’s bureaucratic structure could make you feel a lot like this poor guy.
There are a lot of important guidelines to remember when it comes to responding to negative reviews, though. You’ll never remove a review through anger – you’ll only make yourself look worse.
Steps to Cleanly Convincing a Customer to Remove Yelp Reviews:
Respond publicly to the review on Yelp.
Be extremely respectful in your response. Thank the reviewer for his or her feedback.
NEVER try to defend yourself or your business. Instead, apologize.
Ask the reviewer to contact you if there’s anything you can do.
If you made an honest mistake, you may consider offering a discount or other apology gift.
If the customer contacts you, do your best to show him or her that any real or perceived problems are fixed.
Once you’ve talked with the customer, ask if he or she will consider taking the negative review down.
Responding publicly and respectfully is important. Even if the unhappy customer never contacts you, other Yelp visitors will see that you care about your customers.
Being honest about any actual mistakes on your end is important, too. Don’t feel you have to directly admit to anything that isn’t true, but don’t directly contradict the customer either.
Before responding to a negative review directly, watch this video. Although it’s a bit dated – it was made in 2014 – it’s still highly relevant in 2017 and beyond. The tips here are great reminders of how to conduct yourself in this situation.
Can’t Remove a Review? Here’s What to Do
Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where Yelp and/or the customer who wrote you a bad or fake review won’t back down.
Short of very unethical or illegal action, there’s not much you can do to remove the review in this case. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to drown it out.
Specific, Actionable Tips for Drowning Out Bad or Fake Yelp Reviews
The best thing you can do to offset the effects of negative reviews is to get a lot of positive reviews.
That almost goes without saying, but many business owners truly do not understand how big of a difference positive reviews can make on a platform like Yelp. Here are a few reasons positive reviews can help you almost as much as having negative reviews removed:
Positive reviews can boost your overall star rating. Many customers only look at the overall star rating and one or two reviews.
As a negative review gets older, or more people find it unhelpful (more on this in a minute), it will move farther down the line of reviews. Eventually, it will be so far back no one will bother to look at it!
Getting more positive or even neutral reviews can speed up the process of pushing a negative review to the back of the line.
There are also a few other things you can do to lessen the effect of a negative review, such as responding to it respectfully (which I detailed for you already) or “finding it unhelpful.”
First, let’s look at how to get more positive reviews on Yelp and similar platforms.
Positive Review Regulations on Yelp
Getting positive reviews on help can really save the day for your business when everything else has failed. It’s also important for you to be careful to go about getting them the right way, though.
Yelp has just as big a problem with fake positive reviews as with fake negative reviews. Although this may be my bias from constantly working on the business side of things, it also seems that they’re better at sniffing out fake positive reviews than fake negative ones.
Removing Yelp reviews’ negative effects through the use of positive reviews is a great course of action, but you must go through the proper channels when doing so. If not, you could end up getting an unhelpful warning like this:
Unfortunately, a warning isn’t where Yelp stops. They can also delete positive reviews, including ones you’ve earned honestly.
There are even a few reports of Yelp dealing unethically with businesses and not posting all their positive reviews. I’m a bit skeptical of these, but they’re out there. That means it’s important to be careful with Yelp, one way or another.
Unfortunately, that means you can’t get your parents, spouse, and children to write you a ton of positive reviews. Instead, try to get customers to give you reviews on Yelp – and make sure you blow them away with great service and great products.
How to Get Positive Yelp Reviews without Breaking All the Rules
Featuring a Yelp sticker on a prominent door or window of your business location is one way to get reviews. Having servers, cashiers, or other employees remind customers to review on Yelp can be helpful too.
Do not, however, try to bribe customers into giving good reviews with discounted goods and services. This is firmly against Yelp’s policies, and could easily backfire.
That being said, a friend or family member who has visited your business can certainly write a positive review. However, keep in mind that the review must be very detailed and thoughtful. Also, don’t rely on friends and family to prop you up on Yelp.
How to Find Negative Reviews Unhelpful – And Why It Can Be Very Helpful to Your Business
There’s a clickable option beneath every single review on Yelp called “find this review unhelpful.” Simply clicking on this option can make a review disappear near the back of the pile.
However, it’s important to be organized and to have a lot of people mark the review as unhelpful. Doing it alone, especially as the business owner, isn’t likely to solve anything.
Also, it’s important to be honest and careful with this tactic as well. Don’t mark an honest, levelheaded negative review as unhelpful. Try contacting the customer instead.
That being said, marking an obviously false review unhelpful is very much within your rights. You can also encourage friends and family to do the same in order to increase your chances of success, although this is a gray area when it comes to Yelp’s policies.
If you do enlist others’ help, be careful to ensure that they are people who have actually visited your business. Don’t get your cousin in Oregon to mark a review of your bar in Kansas – that’s sure to send Yelp’s algorithm a red flag.
Also, don’t try to create multiple accounts from a single computer or mobile device to mark reviews unhelpful. Yelp will notice this as well, and your business could be severely penalized.
Think of marking reviews unhelpful enough times to push them to the back as a gradual process. It won’t help you overnight by any means, but it can get your business back on track. You simply have to put in the time, organization, and effort to do it right.
When It May Be Time to Hire a Professional
Even if you can’t remove or drown out a negative review or a Yelp-based smear campaign on your own, there is hope. Professional reputation management companies like ours exist to help people like you with problems like this.
Professionals in the field of reputation management have a few advantages that business owners do not. Mainly, this is because of their deep knowledge of how to influence online reputations.
At Reputation Enhancer, we offer review removal services along with other great reputation enhancing content. If your Yelp page isn’t salvageable, we can even get it moved down to the second or third page of Google where customers aren’t as likely to find it. This can give us or you more time to fix deep problems on Yelp.
If you’d like to get in contact with us, please give us a call or fill out the form below. We offer free consultations, and also have a money back guarantee if we can’t get you results in the first three months.
Furthermore, because of our low overhead, we can afford to charge a lot less than other reputation management companies at our level of quality. Even if you don’t want a consultation right away, contact us anytime with any questions you may have.
Running any kind of business involves a certain amount of public relations work – and most doctors, lawyers, and small business owners don’t have PR teams on staff. When it comes to the medical profession, the importance of a good image is doubled. Reputation management for doctors isn’t an easy task, but it’s an important one for physicians to understand.
How the Internet Affects Doctors’ Reputations
We live in an age in which everything is public. Unfortunately, that “everything” includes negative information as well.
There are a lot of things that can happen to medical professionals that can negatively impact their reputation. Many of these things are very easy for competitors, disgruntled patients, or others to make public. Here are some examples:
Negative patient reviews
Medical licensing issues.
Even if none of these has happened to you, one of them very easily could. Also, you’d likely be surprised if you sought out your online reviews.
Even the best physicians occasionally have negative reviews. These reviews can damage the business side of your practice before you’re even aware of them. Many of your patients and potential patients probably read reviews regularly.
Do you know what your patients are saying about you?
That’s why one of the most important aspects of reputation management for doctors is knowing how to check on your own medical reputation online. Forearming yourself with knowledge is the surest way to fix any reputation problems. This includes both problems that you have now and those that may develop in the future.
There’s the simple way, of course: simply running a Google search on your own name. That may actually get you pretty far. However, there’s a lot more you need to do to get a true sense of your online reputation.
How to Deepen and Widen Your Online Reputation Search
Google is the most popular search engine, but your patients and potential patients probably use all three to a certain extent.
Use a wider variety of specific search terms.
Instead of searching for your name or the name of your practice, try searching for things like “[Your Name] Medical License,” “[Your Practice Name] Reviews,” or “Should I go to [Your Name]?”
The more specific your search terms, the more specific your results. You can bet your patients are asking Google and the other search engines these types of questions. Why aren’t you?
Search for yourself or your practice on consumer review sites such as Yelp!
Try searching for reviews by patients you know may be creating negative content associated with your name or your practice.
Look online for information on court cases you’ve been involved in, or other specifics that could drastically affect your online reputation.
It’s important to be very honest with yourself here about anything that could result in your medical reputation getting dented.
Search for anything you can think of that could negatively impact your public image. Even personal problems not related to your practice can sometimes spill over into your professional life.
Proactive Reputation Management for Doctors
Congratulations! By completing a fairly wide and deep search for information on your public reputation, you’ve already taken a big step towards better reputation management.
However, reputation management for doctors involves a good deal more than simply knowing what’s out there. To keep your reputation spotless and your patients coming in, you also need to consider some of the following:
How often you should check up on your online reputation.
The amount of positive information about you online.
How to run deeper online reputation searches.
Let’s look at these in order.
How Often to Check Your Online Reputation
The first step to maintaining a positive reputation is frequently checking on that reputation. You can’t fix problems you haven’t seen. Also, reputation problems tend to fester and grow the longer they’re left alone. Seeing a bad review can make another patient more likely to post one, for example.
As such, it’s important to consistently check all properties related to your practice online. Is there a Yelp page for your practice? Have patients written Google reviews regarding your care? Be sure to check these frequently.
You should also look yourself up on Google, Yahoo, and Bing fairly frequently to make sure there aren’t any negative news articles, blog posts, or other types of online content being circulated that regard you.
Luckily, it’s easy to check the status of your reputation on Google constantly with the search engine’s helpful service Google Alerts.
How Much Positive Information You Should Hope For
Even if there isn’t any negative information about you or your practice available on the internet, is the web doing all the work it could be doing for your practice? If there isn’t a large amount of positive information out there, the answer is no.
Why do you need to worry about how much positive information on your practice exists? There are several good reasons:
Negative information is going to crop up eventually. No one lasts long in the medical industry – or any other field, for that matter – without getting at least one negative review. Being proactive about generating positive content can offset the effects of future negative content.
Good information on you or your practice existing online can work like free advertising. All those same people that you worry about being scared off by bad information could be brought in by good information.
There are several ways to create more positive content for your practice detailed in the next section, “How to Fix Your Online Medical Reputation.” It may be worth looking over even if your reputation is already spotless!
Is There a Way to Run Deeper Online Searches?
The answer to this question is complicated. For now, I’ll say yes and no.
There is no secret “deep search” feature hidden somewhere on the internet. A lot of less ethical online firms, including some in our own industry, like to say something like this exists in their advertising. It’s nothing more than a sales tactic.
However, there is a way to search more deeply than you already have. The way to go deeper on the internet is to go wider.
In addition to Google, the other major search engines, and Yelp, you should be checking less obvious places. These include social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and the like), as well as consumer reporting sites. Look through legal documents posted online, through licensing board records, and at minor review sites that haven’t achieved the status of Yelp.
Google and the other major search engines are the main factors determining your online reputation. However, things go much deeper than that. Different internet users trust and find different sources.
Some may almost exclusively use Facebook for news and reviews. Others don’t trust Yelp for whatever reason, and use alternatives. The most savvy internet users will look at more complex documents like public records to determine whether or not to get treatment at your practice.
Because all of these internet users are potential patients, you want to be sure you have all your bases covered. That does involve putting some work in now, but it could make a huge difference to your practice later on.
How to Fix Your Online Medical Reputation
There’s a lot of work involved with creating and keeping a spotless reputation in the internet age. However, with the right amounts of time, knowledge, and hard work, anyone can do this for themselves. Although Google and the other search engines have created this unique 21st-century problem for doctors and other professionals, the search engines also offer the best means to solve it.
The key principles of reputation management for doctors are very simple, even if the practice itself is complex. Here they are:
Negative information affects your practice because it appears on the first page of Google. According to Search Engine Journal, a whopping 75% of search engine users never get past the first page.
Pushing the negative information off of the first page of Google, then, would provide an instant boost for your business.
The only way to push negative content down is to create positive or neutral content that ranks higher in Google and other search engine results.
The art and science of making web content more attractive to search engine algorithms is called SEO, an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.
All of the top companies in the world use SEO to a certain extent. Some have internal SEO departments, or rely on marketing and PR employees to do SEO. Others hire out. In fact, there is a huge SEO industry serving both small businesses and the corporate world. One subset of that industry is professional reputation management.
Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 1 – Creating Positive Information
The first and most important thing you can do to start better managing your medical reputation, then, is creating positive information.
Negative content about you won’t simply disappear on its own. Something has to take its place. Furthermore, having more positive content related to you and your practice available on the internet can only be good for your business.
However, many doctors don’t know how to create positive, professional web content at all. On top of that, there’s an additional step: making sure that the positive content you create ranks higher than the negative content on Google. If the positive content ranks higher, it pushes the negative content down. If the positive content doesn’t rank as highly, no one will ever see it.
Here are a few quick guidelines for creating relevant, useful positive content that will rank highly on Google (and the other search engines). There is also some great information in the video at the end of the last section.
Creating Positive Content for Physicians, Step by Step
1. Use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to create positive content about your practice. These platforms, while they may not seem important, can be extremely useful. They have high “authority” with the search engines, meaning they almost always automatically rank highly in searches.
2. Create other free, high-authority profiles such as those available from LinkedIn.
3. If you don’t already have a website, create one. If you do have one, consider expanding it. Do you have a blog? A blog can be an amazing way to create positive content about your practice.
4. Consider writing press releases and submitting them to news media, or guest posting on other medical blogs. Although you don’t directly own these other sites, filling them with information you’ve created and tying it to your name can work wonders for your online reputation.
Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 2 – Hiding Negative Information
The good news on this front is that you’ve already put a lot of the work in by creating positive content. However, there’s a little bit more involved with getting rid of negative information. This is one of the most important components in the puzzle of reputation management for physicians.
To make your positive content rank higher on SERPs (that’s an abbreviation we SEOs and reputation management professionals use for Search Engine Results Pages), you’ll need to do some SEO work.
More good news: for public profiles like Facebook and LinkedIn, the SEO work is essentially already done for you. However, if you’re creating positive content on your own website or another less ubiquitous web platform, you’re going to need to optimize it for search engines.
Unfortunately, there is a lot more involved with search engine optimization than I could ever get into here. However, there are a lot of great sources out there that can help you learn SEO, such as the Moz Blog, which covers a wide variety of important SEO topics in depth regularly. It’s a great place to familiarize yourself with the basics. Also, it can help you understand the latest developments in the field once you’ve become an advanced SEO yourself.
You may also be interested in this video. It’s very long, but it is one of the most concise and complete introductions to SEO I’ve ever come across.
Getting Rid of Negative Content – Beyond SEO
In addition to SEO, you need to think about how to get rid of negative content on platforms such as Yelp. Because Yelp is such a large and frequently-used platform, you’ll never beat it on SEO alone. Other review sites, such as Facebook and Google Reviews, work in much the same way.
However, there are two ways to minimize the effects of negative reviews on these sites:
Try to get as many patients as possible to write positive reviews – the law of averages will be on your side when customers look at your Yelp or other review site profile.
If a patient you have a good relationship with writes a bad review, consider contacting her or him directly. Ask if there’s anything you can do to make things right, and the patient may end up taking down the review.
However, never be pushy or defensive when you’re doing this – that will only end up making your reputation that much worse.
Don’t rely on Yelp or any other review site to take down a negative review, though. Unless you can prove a review is fraudulent or overly malicious, it’s here to stay. Even if you do have a case, the review companies move slowly on this issue.
Furthermore, if you have a lot of negative reviews on sites like Yelp, ask yourself if there’s anything you’re actually doing wrong.
Even the best doctors make mistakes, and patients are sometimes malicious in reviews without thinking of the consequences. However, have an honest conversation with yourself and your staff about ways to combat negative reviews. Honesty and a good reputation and outlook in the real world will not solve all your problems online, but they might help a great deal.
Reputation Management for Doctors Tip No. 3 – Hiring a Professional Reputation Management Service
For some doctors, all of this reputation management work can simply be too much. You have a practice to run, after all.
Many doctors, as well as lawyers and other professionals and business owners, hire outside help for this. There are pros and cons to hiring outside reputation management help, as with any business decision.
Hiring Outside Reputation Management Help for Doctors: Pros
1. Hiring professionals to carry out reputation enhancement and management tasks leaves you with more time to focus on your main work: taking care of patients.
2. Utilizing a professional service can also bring about positive results faster than managing your reputation on your own.
3. Professional reputation managers do this for a living, and know a great deal about reputation management for doctors and other professionals.
4. Perhaps the biggest benefit associated with hiring professionals to do this sort of work, besides the time it will save you, is how long-lasting the changes will be. Because professional reputation management firms have a deep expertise in the field, they know how to get you longer-term results than you’re likely to get on your own.
5. Many firms also offer affordable recurring contracts, checking up on your reputation and offering help in the future should you need it.
Hiring Outside Reputation Management Help for Doctors: Cons
1. The major drawback to hiring professionals is the expense. Reputation management services aren’t cheap. However, some firms in this industry are much more reasonably priced than others, and the positive changes professionals bring about can get you more patients.
2. While there are many upstanding, legitimate reputation management and SEO firms out there, there are also a few illegitimate business to watch out for. Signs to look out for on this front include overly aggressive sales tactics and too-good-to-be-true offers or pricing.
3. It’s also important that you talk with any SEO professional or reputation manager you’re considering hiring about their stance on white hat and black hat SEO tactics. Black hat tactics can hurt your practice in the long run.
Online Reputation Management for Doctors: Your Options
If you suspect you need to start a reputation management program for your practice, you have a few options:
Do it all on your own.
Hire professionals right away.
Ignore the problem.
Do what you can on your own, and learn a bit more about the science of reputation management and enhancement, before hiring professionals.
The fourth option is the one we most highly recommend. Although there’s a lot to be said for hiring professionals, there’s also a good amount of work you can do on your own. Furthermore, managing your own online reputation can be a hugely positive learning experience.
The worst option, of course, is number 3. Ignoring this problem will at best be very problematic for your medical practice, and at worst could be entirely fatal for it. With a compromised reputation, the prognosis is not good.
Here at Reputation Enhancer, we help individuals and businesses get rid of negative listings on Google and other search engines. We do so using a highly personalized approach. Because of our low overhead, we can offer these services at lower prices than almost any of our competitors.
If you’re interested in talking to us about our services, please fill out the form below or give us a call.
There are many factors that go into your online reputation. These range from customer reviews to the information you present about yourself and to many, many others. However, there is one very important factor that’s totally under your control. It’s one that a lot of reputation managers don’t consider, but it can make or break your online reputation.
What is this factor? The quality of your writing. Believe it or not, it can make the difference between becoming a huge success and stopping just short of failure.
Why Good Writing Matters to Your Online Reputation
Because many consumers consciously or unconsciously think that the quality and clarity of your writing reflect your intelligence and level of professionalism, it is extremely important to write well whenever creating content about yourself or your business online. If your writing is not strong, it may drive customers away or create a negative impression of you.
The first impression is often the most important one – sometimes the only one – you’ll get the opportunity to make. Good writing is a huge part of making a good first impression. Bad writing will make you appear unintelligent or careless. On the other hand, good writing will make you appear extremely intelligent, careful, and professional.
Think of some of the historical figures we most value, such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both of these figures and many others like them were able to change the nation and the world the way they did based in large part on their writing, speaking, and rhetorical skills.
If you want to have an impact on the business world, you too must be an excellent writer and speaker.
How to Write Well
It’s impossible to teach how to write well in such a small space and time as we have here, but there are a few tips you should always keep in mind. These will help make your writing more effective, clear, and engaging no matter the circumstances.
Know your audience. You need to keep your audience in mind whenever you’re writing. Are the people you expect to visit your site professionals or everyday people? Ask yourself questions like this to figure out whether you should use a more casual or formal tone.
Be clear and concise. Some of the best writers in the world are sometimes guilty of saying a lot where a little will do. In the world of the internet, where information is readily available elsewhere and attention spans are short, this is unacceptable. Always edit your pieces to make sure they’re not taking up more space than they need to.
Read aloud to become a better writer. When you’ve finished a blog post or a new page, read it out loud to yourself, a coworker, or a friend to get a feel of where the most awkward, poorly written sections are. This is a great way to catch mistakes. Plenty of professional writers use this method.
What to Do If You Just Can’t Write Well
Having trouble maintaining clarity or keeping your tone consistent? It’s nothing to be ashamed of – there are plenty of intelligent, hardworking people who don’t write well. However, your writing affects the way you’re perceived.
That means that if you just can’t write well, you may need to hire a professional writer or copyeditor to even things out a bit. This is easy to do, and can often make a big difference to your bottom line at minimal expense.
We’re pulling from our own files and from reputable sources all over the internet, so we’re sure to find something that will help you personally.
Reputation Management Tip No. 1 – Present Yourself Well
Just as you wouldn’t wear a ragged t-shirt and your older brother’s cargo shorts to the office, you should only present yourself at your best online. However, creating first impressions online is a bit more complicated than dressing well.
You’ve probably had to remove some embarrassing photographs on social media before, right? If you’ve had that experience, you get the gist of presenting yourself well online. However, creating a strong overall presentation involves a lot more than removing a few photos.
To present yourself well, you need to put the best information about yourself out there constantly, but naturally. All of your online profiles, from a personal Facebook account to the About section of your business website, should mention your personal achievements (such as education, business positions held, publications, and awards won). Use these profiles as opportunities to show your best side to whoever is looking.
Also, be sure not to display or link to any negative information about you. This goes for anything from bad photos to customer complaints. It’s bad enough that this information exists anyway – don’t make it worse by attaching it to yourself publicly.
Reputation Management Tip No. 2 – Be Personable, But Not Personal
This goes hand in hand with presenting yourself well online. It’s important to give customers, employers, and others an opportunity to get to know you. However, that doesn’t mean they need to know everything about you.
When you’re putting information about yourself online, remember that you and only you control this flow of information. That means that you need to dole it out on a need-to-know basis. You should always be honest, but occasionally omitting things isn’t necessarily a crime. For example, unless a prospective employer asks, you don’t need to mention being laid off or fired. You should also keep personal details like your marital status, medical problems, and political views offline entirely, or at least restricted to a single and very personal account.
Reputation Management Tip No. 3 – Keep the Public & Private Separate
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are tons of fun. However, they can make you look unprofessional if linked too closely with your public, business-focused persona.
Don’t post political rants or photos of you drinking with your friends online at all if you can, and if you must, keep them totally separate from your public persona. Many businesspeople who use Facebook keep two accounts – one for public use and one for private. While this can get confusing, it can also help a great deal. There are things you can share with friends and family that simply don’t have a place in the professional sphere.
Yasir Khan, our founder, is a popular blogger and Internet marketer specializing in reputation management and enhancement services for both individuals and businesses. Although there are plenty of reputation enhancement and management services out there on the internet, there are a few things Yasir does that make our service more successful than most others.
Why Reputation Management?
Most customers who find our site and purchase our services know why one needs reputation management online. However, we also do a great deal of outreach work (such as this reputation management blog) to educate people and businesses about how much online reputations matter.
If you own a business or even work for one, your personal reputation will affect how well you do. No one wants to do business with an unethical or morally compromised person. However, keeping your reputation spotless isn’t as easy as simply keeping your nose clean and avoiding bad situations.
Sometimes, situations or actions that aren’t so bad can look worse when portrayed by internet or other media. Other times, problems like customer complaints can make your business look worse than it really is. That’s why even the most ethical, straightforward businesses and businesspeople need reputation management services.
Managing Your Own Online Reputation
There are plenty of things you can do to protect your own online reputation. That means that there’s a lot of good you can do without spending any money! For most of January 2017, our blog will focus on ways you can protect your own online reputation.
However, there are some situations in which you will need outside help to truly protect your reputation. You can manage customer complaints on your own, for example, but if a very angry customer starts a campaign against your business that includes attacks across multiple platforms, this may add too much to your reputation management workload. Furthermore, it may require specialized knowledge that only professional reputation managers possess.
Hiring an Online Reputation Management Service
When it comes to hiring outside help, doing your research and being careful is important. In fact, it can often be just as important as putting in the initial work to protect your online reputation yourself.
There are a lot of other reputation management services out there that essentially operate like scams. There are still others that use unethical methods to suppress negative information about your company. While this can get you quick results, it can end up negatively impacting your reputation even further. It’s important to think long term here.
What Yasir Khan Does Differently
Most reputation management services work the same way. They seek to suppress negative information about you or your business online by creating generic content to take its place.
While this method works and is white hat, it can also take a very long time to generate results and can end up giving you or your business an odd, impersonal presence online.
Our method here at Reputation Enhancer works in much the same way, but we do not create generic content. Instead, we seek to get to know each of our clients personally in order to create highly effective, personalized positive content that doesn’t just reset your reputation – it actually enhances it.
Since you’re reading this, I know you already know how much your business’ online reputation matters to your success. However, do you know how easy it is in many cases to improve your reputation online? You don’t necessarily need to be a masterful SEO guru to fix a few smudges on your company’s reputation. It does help, though, to have mastered a few simple SEO tricks.
Secret to Successful Online Reputation Management No. 1 – Optimize Your Site for Your Business Name
You, a marketer you’ve hired, or someone working at your business likely knows a bit about the importance of keywords to search engine optimization. In case you don’t understand or remember, here’s a quick rundown.
SEO keywords are words you think potential customers or site users might search for on Google or the other major search engines (like Yahoo and Bing).
In order to make your site more likely to appear in search engine results pages for those terms, you use those keywords a lot in the text on your site.
However, with reputation management you might need to optimize your site for a keyword you’ve never thought about before: your business name.
Why? It’s simple. When there’s negative content related to your business floating out there on the web, it’s likely tied to you by your business name. That means customers that type your business name into a search bar are likely to see that negative content.
If you optimize your site for your own business name, you can push those negative entries off the first page of search engine results. This is important to controlling the flow of information about your company.
Secret to Successful Online Reputation Management No. 2 – Proactively Monitor Your Online Presence
This is one of the most often overlooked secrets to successful online reputation management. Even some of the best online reputation managers and online reputation management services forget how important this is.
Checking your business’ presence on Google and the other search engines monthly at the least is fundamental to your reputation success.
Why? Because checking frequently allows you to do two important things.
Checking your reputation frequently allows you to see how well your current reputation enhancement techniques are working.
Knowing what’s happening with your online reputation often will give you time to respond to any new challenges to that reputation.
If you’re not checking for results for your business name on Google and the other search engines frequently, you’re shooting in the dark. That’s not how you want to manage your online reputation.
Secret to Successful Online Reputation Management No. 3 – Monitor Your Offline Reputation as Well
Many business owners and marketers forget how important terrestrial concerns are. What happens in the real world can cause things to happen online. It can also reflect the general sentiment of the internet at large.
Hearing complaints in store or dealing with problems from employees? You should be sure to nip these things in the bud before they start to affect your online reputation. Remember, it’s pretty rare for negative content to appear online for no reason. Be proactive.
There are many good resources out there to give you tips on managing your online reputation. I’ve spent the day crawling the web looking for the most actionable tips for you to start using today, and I’ve come up with two of the best reputation management tips ever – for business reputation or individual reputation management online.
Best Online Reputation Management Tip No. 1 – Own the Sources of Information
Does “owning the sources of information” sound a bit difficult or a bit unethical? Read on for a moment so you can understand exactly what I mean.
You shouldn’t allow all the information – positive and negative – about your personal or business products or conduct to develop solely in public online forums. As great as platforms like Facebook and Yelp can be for your online reputation, they can also be bad because on these platforms you do not personally control the information.
To rectify this, you should have a clearly marked area of your site where customers can contact you directly or post publicly about your products or any other aspects of your personality or business.
Having this will allow you to respond promptly, to see at any time how your brand is doing, and to control how public postings appear. This amount of control will be beneficial for your brand.
However, when you do this, you should be sure to manage the flow of information ethically. It would be easy to totally suppress negative information on your own forums. This would ultimately have a negative effect though, because it would drive commenters to go to other, more public forums – whose information flow you do not control.
Do not suppress information; instead, simply manage it effectively so that the good side of your reputation is presented as well. Also, quickly respond to any negative content on your site or in your inbox.
Best Online Reputation Management Tip No. 2 – Invite Customers to Send Follow Ups
When you’ve fixed a customer’s problem, invite him or her to send a follow up.
For example, if you address a negative Yelp review and fix a problem, invite the writer to post another review. This new review would better reflect positive aspects of your company.
Follow up comments can greatly boost your online reputation for two reasons.
First, a positive review following a negative review will show that you have made a positive change on behalf of the customer. Other consumers will appreciate this positive change.
Second, a vocal customer can be the best type of customer for your business to court. While vocal customers complain more often and loudly, they can also be your greatest assets. Why? Because these customers will also give you the most effective and nuanced praise.
Remember, a reputation that takes decades to build can be threatened by a single event. You need to take proactive steps to managing your online reputation. This is true even before crises hit.
A lot of reputation management services out there on the internet engage in some sketchy, black hat practices. Others simply do not devote the necessary time and resources to every customer. Engaging in either of these practices means that these companies can not get their clients consistent, good results.
This has given the online reputation management industry as a whole a bad name. This is one reason Yasir Khan decided to found Reputation Enhancer in the first place – because a lot of people legitimately need good reputation management services, and shouldn’t have to worry about scams or about reputation management firms that engage in unfair practices.
There are a lot of problems with other reputation management firms that our business has sworn never to have.
They Often Engage in Black Hat SEO Practices
In case you don’t know, professionals in the tech world (including search engine optimizers, reputation managers, and even hackers) use the terms white hat and black hat to refer to different kinds of business practices.
White hat firms use techniques to improve your reputation or SEO that are acceptable. In the reputation management industry, this includes using legitimate, well-written good information about your company to overwhelm bad news, as well as helping you respond ethically and responsibly to reputation crises both on and offline.
Black hat firms engage in unethical and sometimes illegal practices including at worst scamming their “customers” and at best using devious methods to trick Google or the other search engines into repressing negative information about your company. These methods include using spam and creating false information.
Reputation Enhancer is a 100% white hat company, and we stand by white hat reputation management and SEO principles. Beyond our moral and legal obligation to conduct ourselves in a white hat manner, we also recognize that white hat techniques are better for our clients in the long term. While black hat SEO and reputation management techniques can often get results faster, results gotten through legal, ethical, and transparent methods usually stick around much longer.
They Don’t Take the Time to Get to Know Their Customers
Even our competitors that exclusively use white hat SEO and reputation management techniques often make another fatal error: they don’t take the time to get to know their customers. This is a big mistake in our industry.
One of the things we are most proud of ourselves about here at Reputation Enhancer is that we get to know every customer individually. Keeping our client base small and exclusive and keeping a large enough team on staff are a big part of this. Many of the larger reputation management agencies rely too much on automation to get the job done.
We examine each client’s reputation online in depth before getting to work, and try to talk to each of our clients on the phone every once in a while. This helps us get a sense of what might be out there already to help us improve their reputations. It also allows us to get to know the people and businesses we help with our services.