Want to be amazing at online reputation management? Here’s how!

how to protect your reputation online

From now through January 2017, we’re going to focus our blog here at Reputation Enhancer on ways you can protect your online reputation on your own. While it’s important sometimes to hire outside help, there’s a lot you can do by yourself to help your reputation. Since the New Year is right around the corner, you should resolve to help your reputation online throughout 2017. We’ll give you a few of the tips you need to succeed.

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.

The Yasir Khan Way to Improve Your Online Reputation

how to fix your online reputation according to yasir khan our founder at reputation enhancer

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.

3 Secrets to Successfully Managing Your Online Reputation

success secrets of online reputation management

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.

  1. Checking your reputation frequently allows you to see how well your current reputation enhancement techniques are working.
  2. 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.

2 Tips for Managing Your Reputation Online

How to Keep Your Online Reputation

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.

The Problem with Other Reputation Management Services

black-hat-vs-white-hat-seo-a-comparison

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.

Should You Use Alternatives to Google Alerts?

what are the best reputation management services

We just did a post on Google Alerts, and if you read our blog regularly then you know that keeping track of the current state of your online reputation is one of the most important reputation management skills you’ll ever learn. However, there may be a few situations where Google Alerts won’t work for you, such as:

  1. You need more in-depth information than what Google Alerts can give you.
  2. Your brand or name is often mentioned on social media, which Google Alerts is admittedly not that great at monitoring.
  3. You’re just not a Google user, and infinitely prefer Yahoo or Bing.

If any of these situations applies to you, you might be in need of an alternative to Google Alerts. There are plenty of them out there, some trying to replicate the experience of Google Alerts before its big makeover and some simply offering different services (such as a focus on a different search engine, Bing).

What are some of the best alternatives to Google Alerts?
  1. One of the most talked about alternatives to Google Alerts is Talkwalker Alerts. Many laud this service as the closest choice to Google Alerts.
  2. Mention is a popular alternative to Google Alerts that focuses on social media. While they do offer great free services, I will warn you that they have a lot of unnecessary “fremium” offers as well, which you should probably avoid. You can get similar analytic information direct from Google for free. Also, much of what Mention has to offer on this front won’t help anyone who’s not an SEO professional already. Stick to their 100% free services.
  3. There are a few other alternatives to Google Alerts mentioned in this Digital Inspiration article. While Mention and Talkwalker Alerts are far superior to most of the others at this point, I’ve included the article in case of updates. New alternatives to Google Alerts are constantly emerging.
Should I use an alternative service or just stick with Google Alerts?

The answer to this question isn’t often a simple one. The fact is that Google Alerts is a leader in this field for many reasons – the biggest being that Google as a search engine commands the largest market segment and user base. However, some of the alternatives may suit your personal tastes better or allow you to focus on areas of the internet Google Alerts doesn’t reach.

If this is the case, you should probably go with an alternative – but go ahead and set up a Google Alert or two as well. Why? It’s simple: Google Alerts will tell you what the SERPs of the world’s biggest search engine say about you and/or your business. Whether or not this tool matches your style exactly, or whether or not you need to focus on other areas as well (social media being a big one), you need to know what Google says about you.

This is a complex problem, like many in the SEO world. Both Google and its alternatives have a great deal to offer. The best thing you can do for your online reputation is take advantage of every possible resource.

How to Set Up a Google Alert to Help You Check Your Online Reputation

google alerts to save your online reputation

One of the most important things you can do in order to keep your online reputation spotless is to check your reputation on the internet constantly. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a Google Alert (or a few of them, depending on your situation).

What is a Google Alert?

A Google Alert is a service Google provides free of charge to any of its users. It allows you to type in any search terms and save them to your Google profile, and then sends you alerts whenever the SERP content related to those search terms changes. This makes it a great way to check what the internet is saying about you automatically.

How do I set up Google Alerts?

Setting up a Google Alert or two is an easy and painless process. If you go to the Google Alerts setup page, Google will walk you through the entire process. It actually includes results for your name as potential Alerts automatically if you’re signed in to your Google profile when you go to the Alerts page.

Setting up a Google Alert is as simple as typing in Google’s search bar once you’ve reached the setup page. The only thing that ever surprises me about Google Alerts is that more people don’t use them more regularly!

What Google Alerts should I set up?

If you’re worried about your personal online reputation, you should include a Google Alert for your full name.

Are you concerned about the online reputation of your business? Include a Google Alert for your business’ name.

If there are particular potentially reputation damaging factors you’re worried about, you should include those in your Google Alerts. For example, if you’re concerned about litigation facing your company, you should set up Google Alerts for “[your company name]” and “[your company name] lawsuit.”

The great thing about Google Alerts is that there’s no limit to how many you can set up. If there’s something you’re at all concerned about, you should set up a Google Alert for it.

Google never charges for its Alerts services. Also, there’s no way that having Google Alerts set up can negatively impact your online reputation. This is the case because Google Alerts are 100% private. No one else has to know that you have Google Alerts set up for a particular search term or set up search terms.

Why do Google Alerts work so well for online reputation management?

Google Alerts are a great tool for internet reputation management and enhancement because they essentially allow you to see at a glance what the internet at large is saying about you, and because they update you regularly whenever that changes.

They also work particularly well because, right now, Google is the industry leader in the world of search engines. This means that what appears on Google is what most users are most likely to see when running a search – and that what appears on the other major search engines (including Yahoo and Bing) is likely to stick pretty closely to what Google has to offer.

Quality vs Quantity in Reputation Management, Part Two: How to Save Your Reputation with a Middle of the Road Approach

this approach will save your online reputation quickly

This article is part two of a series we’re doing on the quality vs quantity debate – be sure to check out the first post in the series for context before reading this one.

We established in our last article that a middle of the road approach works best as a solid answer to the age old quality vs. quantity debate. However, we didn’t have the time or space to analyze exactly what that approach would look like. Today, we’re back for more on this important topic.

Please consider the Hubspot article analyzing quality vs. quantity we directed you to last time. The whole thing is worth reading, but if you don’t have the time to take it all in, we’ve got the most important bits for you right here.

Check out the graph that the marketing company followed at the beginning of the experiment: although they switch things up throughout the article, this is actually a pretty good model to follow.

this method will save your online reputation quick

Image Credit: Hubpost

You’ll notice that 48% of the content the company creates is “tactical” in nature – which is the distinction they give to their medium quality content. This is not throwaway, instantly produced content, but it is also not the most in-depth content the company offers. The smaller percentages, such as the 13% each shared by “Deep Tactical” and “IG/SS” – “Deep Tactical” being the company’s distinction for 1500+ word feature-like, highly in-depth articles and “IG/SS” meaning infographics and slide shares – which require very little work compared to the tactical and deep tactical work – are for higher and lower quality content, respectively.

So what you need to do for your business or personal reputation online, when you’re creating positive or neutral content to push bad content off of the first pages of Google, is to create a mix of low, high, and medium quality content.

This is because each type of content serves a different function, as follows:

  • Low quality content is designed to quickly attract readers and draw attention away from negative content, as well as introducing potentially interested parties to your brand. The attraction of low quality content is that you can potentially produce quite a bit very quickly.
  • High quality content retains readers with in-depth, highly comprehensible, interesting words and rich images – and may also get your website(s) more links and other measures of popularity and legitimacy (which can only help your SEO – meaning it can help you move past the negative content out there).
  • Medium quality content does a little bit of both. It can be produced more quickly than the highest quality content, but will also retain more readers and more deeply interest them than the low quality content. The majority of content you produce should be in this range, because it has the best combination of speed and staying power.

Like the company in the graph above, aim for close to 50% of your content to fall into the medium quality range, then 25% each in the low and high quality ranges. This will allow you to maximize the benefits and offset the negative effects of every type – meaning that you’ll more quickly and thoroughly be able to put your past behind you.

Positive Content: Should You Shoot for Quantity or Quality?

what helps you more with reputation management seo quality or quantity

It’s an age-old debate in the marketing world, especially the SEO marketing segment – should a company or individual create higher-quality content at a slower rate or more low-quality content quickly to make a bigger and more positive impact with potential customers?

When it comes to reputation management, the debate is much the same – should you be creating higher quality positive content related to yourself or your company online, or a high quantity of lower quality positive content, which you can produce much faster?

If you’re an absolute genius and have unlimited time on your hands, it is of course possible to generate a large quantity of very high quality content in a relatively short amount of time – but this hardly applies to anyone in the real world.

So we’re going to consider the issue and give you some advice here like you’re a regular person. This should also give you some insight into how our company works, though our large network and larger amounts of important resources make it easy for us to work much faster than the average individual or company PR department.

When I set out to write this article for you all, I certainly had some ideas about the subject in mind, and those have remained largely unchanged even as I’ve done extensive research. Two of the best articles I read were a Hubspot blog post by Ginny Mineo and a Moz article on quality vs. quantity, and though I had slightly different interpretations than the authors sometimes, I think we would all agree on essentially the same quality vs. quantity philosophy.

And that is that the answer is much more complicated than simply choosing to either produce quality content or a high quantity of content.

If you go wholly one way or the other, you’re likely to fail. The low quality, high quantity approach will probably do great things for you in the short term, but won’t have any lasting effects. The high quality, low quantity approach logically seems like it would play out better in the long term – but in reality it would bring so little traffic to your content to begin with that it would hardly have any impact at all.

Let’s take a closer look at how this would play out, thinking specifically of a reputation enhancement scenario.

We’ll say a staffer at XYZ Marketing sent out a controversial tweet that made the local news media, and that a lot of negative reviews of the company and decreased traffic happened as a result. XYZ tried to weather the storm, but soon found that a Google search of their company’s name revealed a full SERP of nothing but negativity related to them. They have to fix their image, right?

Let’s imagine two possible approaches they might take. In one, a few staffers at the company create blogs related to the company or optimized to show up in searches for the company, and a few more write press releases. They update all the blogs four or five times a day, but can’t really create high quality content.

If their SEO is good, they might win out in the short term, but they’ll likely lose the SERP to negative news again because their low quality content will not invite repeat viewership or generate links.

And if they go the other route and only produce the highest quality content possible, their output will be so low and traffic so sparse that they’ll likely never take the SERP back from negative news at all.

A middle of the road approach would obviously be best for this scenario – and this scenario is analogous to many faced by small companies and their marketers or reputation managers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a detailed analysis of exactly what a middle of the road approach in the quality vs. quantity debate would actually look like for most companies, so be sure to drop by!

How to Keep Your Reputation Protected in 2017

reputation management 2017 changes

Since what matters most to your online reputation is what internet users can see in SERPs, search engine results management is a huge part of managing and protecting your online reputation. Because search is always changing, we’ve done some research on what to expect the search world to look like in 2017.

Many SEO gurus don’t believe the changes coming in 2017 will be huge ones, but it’s still always best to prepare ahead – and there will of course be some changes to search in 2017.

One of the biggest is that 2017 will be a year in which the big search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and their smaller counterparts alike focus more than ever on mobile and mobile-friendly content, and this can have a couple big implications for your online reputation.

The first and most important thing is that if positive content out there about you and/or your business, it’ll surge ahead in the SERPs if it’s mobile-friendly and fall into obscurity if it isn’t. That means you need to be sure that everything good about you on the internet is mobile friendly.

One of the easiest ways to do this is making sure that your internet properties are optimized for mobile use – these include things like business and personal websites and blogs. Make sure these are ready for more mobile users than ever when the new year starts, even if you still anticipate most of your traffic will come from computer users!

If you’re using guest blog posting or a similar method to boost your online reputation, make sure that you are creating guest blogs for sites that are themselves mobile-friendly. Don’t worry about other external properties like Facebook and Yelp, though – they’ve been mobile-friendly for years, which is one of the many reasons they’re so hugely successful and important.

Unfortunately, this new focus on mobile means that if there’s negative content related to you in the news media, it might get a little boost in the SERPs, because there’s a good chance that news articles and similar posts are very friendly to mobile users, as they primarily consist of text (which loads more quickly and is easier to arrange for mobile than things like large images). That means you’ll likely have to work extra hard in 2017 to suppress that negative content, and also try to produce some positive content from the news media related to you.

Besides a trend towards greater emphasis on mobile-friendly sites than ever, there’s another big change coming in the SEO world in 2017 that will likely have an impact on your online reputation – and that’s that keyword research is changing.

Although most people and businesses looking to improve their online reputation are concerned with Google searches for their personal or company names, sit down at the beginning of the year and consider whether or not any common search keywords related to your industry or activities are producing content related to your business – if they are, you’ll want to work to ensure that that content is positive.