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.
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.
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:
You need more in-depth information than what Google Alerts can give you.
Your brand or name is often mentioned on social media, which Google Alerts is admittedly not that great at monitoring.
You’re just not a Google user, and infinitely prefer Yahoo or Bing.
What are some of the best alternatives to Google Alerts?
One of the most talked about alternatives to Google Alerts is Talkwalker Alerts. Many laud this service as the closest choice to Google Alerts.
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.
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.
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.
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