Reputation Repair Services: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Using Them

reputation repair services can affect many areas of the internet

In a world in which 80% of companies Google job applicants before inviting them for interviews and 72% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from friends, your online reputation is important. That’s why so many people and businesses use reputation repair services.

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:

  1. What you want people to see about you online
  2. 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.

see yourself differently with reputation repair services

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.

avoid bad publicity with reputation enhancer

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

analyze before making a decision

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:

  • More customers
  • 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.

before and after professional reputation help

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:

  1. A fake news site, unscrupulous mug shot site, or something similar posts about you.
  2. A reputation site that secretly owns the other site contacts you or advertises to you.
  3. You pay the reputation site and they take down the post about you.
  4. 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.

beat scams with legit reputation repair services

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.

Does that sound crazy? Before you write me off, here’s a source confirming this fact. And here’s one more.

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.

reputation repair services can hide bad publicity

Image Credit: Huffington Post

This is what legitimate reputation repair services do. They practice a science called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.

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.

google alerts and reputation repair services

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.

the bad guys of reputation repair services

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).

Even the Better Business Bureau, a hugely well-respected consumer protection group, was recently embroiled in a huge scam scandal in which they gave an “A” rating to a nonexistent company named Hamas (after a group the United States government considers a terror organization).

Subpar Reputation Management Companies

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.

subpar reputation repair services

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.

asking questions of reputation management companies

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.

asking questions about your reputation online

How to Remove Negative Yelp Reviews – The Ultimate Guide for Small Business

remove yelp reviews tips for fixing bad reviews google facebook yellowpages

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.

remove yelp reviews - fake and negative

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:
  1. Honest mistakes happen. In many cases, these can lead to bad reviews.
  2. A customer has constructive feedback she or he would like to offer you.
  3. An employee was rude to a customer.
  4. 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:
  1. A disgruntled former employee has a grudge.
  2. A customer overreacts to a small problem.
  3. A customer takes out his or her personal problems on your business.
  4. A personal enemy of yours or an employee’s seeks to take your business down.
  5. 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

remove yelp reviews fake and negative google reviews facebook reviews

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.

remove yelp reviews understand important review statistics local business

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:

  1. Find the review in question.
  2. 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.

remove yelp reviews - cut through the red tape

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:
  1. Respond publicly to the review on Yelp.
  2. Be extremely respectful in your response. Thank the reviewer for his or her feedback.
  3. NEVER try to defend yourself or your business. Instead, apologize.
  4. Ask the reviewer to contact you if there’s anything you can do.
  5. If you made an honest mistake, you may consider offering a discount or other apology gift.
  6. If the customer contacts you, do your best to show him or her that any real or perceived problems are fixed.
  7. 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:

  1. Positive reviews can boost your overall star rating. Many customers only look at the overall star rating and one or two reviews.
  2. 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!
  3. 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:

remove yelp reviews the right way

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.

Reputation Management for Doctors – What You Should Do To Get Rid Of Negative Listings Online

bad reviews for doctors reputation management online

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
  • Court cases
  • 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.

reputation management for doctors - just the facts

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.

How to Check Your Reputation as a Doctor Online

Plenty of consumers know how to do research on you – it’s practically public knowledge. You need to know how to do so too.

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
  • Don’t just search for yourself on Google, but on Yahoo and Bing as well.

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:

  1. How often you should check up on your online reputation.
  2. The amount of positive information about you online.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Do it all on your own.
  2. Hire professionals right away.
  3. Ignore the problem.
  4. 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.

 

Why Good Writing Matters to Your Online Reputation

why good writing matters to your online reputation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.