Most of the time, I agree with the sentiment that less is more. Most times a little bit of a good thing is better than too much. But when it comes to online reputation management, more is more. Why cover just a few principles and tips and leave out everything else that will help you create a better reputation management strategy? That’s why this list was created. Here are 20 tips for creating an effective reputation management campaign.
1) Own your SERPs
Don’t be happy with a handful of links at the top of a search engine results page for your name. Take full advantage of your SERP by owning it from top to bottom. Just make sure it’s a varied set of results that look natural and unbiased and you’ll make a great impression on anyone who is searching for you.
2) Be social
Claim your social media profiles and use them. Social profiles are easy to get ranked in the SERPs—especially for your personal name. So get out there, make your profiles, and use them so that they show up when people are searching for you.
Blogging is one of the best ways to get your name out there on the web. Buy a domain that reflects your name, like yourname.com, and then fill your blog with professional, positive information about what you do, who you are, and your personal or professional insights.
4) Look for opportunities
Opportunities to get noticed on the web abound. You can do the normal stuff, like start a blog or build links to your Google+ profile, but you can go beyond those strategies and think outside the box. For instance, hold a contest to give away a gift card or iPad, and have entrants blog about something you care about in order to enter. As long as you make sure they link to your website or blog with your name as the anchor text, you’ll get some great link juice and you’ll rank well.
5) Don’t forget press releases
Article marketing has a bad reputation in SEO circles, especially since Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates. But as long as you don’t overdo it, putting out a few press releases here and there is a great way to fill your SERP with positive information. This is probably reserved for larger companies with big budgets, but there are free PR posting services out there as well for individuals and small companies.
6) Encourage reviews
If you own a business or provide a service, encourage your best customers to write positive reviews about you on the web. Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, City Search, and more are great places to write reviews and they tend to do well in the SERPs.
7) Own the scam
Just because there’s a “scam report” out there doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. If you’ve generated a controversy and there are a number of “scam” sites out there targeting your name, turn it around by owning the scam. Instead of trying to ignore it, write a blog post about how you are not associated with a scam. Or create a page on your official website, with the word scam in the title, that you can use it to clear up any misconceptions.
8) Don’t argue
Don’t argue with internet trolls or other detractors. If you are baited into arguing with them online, you’ve already lost. In some cases, it’s okay to respond to negative comments about yourself online. But always do so respectfully and take responsibility for your actions. Don’t get into a back and forth with a blogger or review writer, you’ll only end up looking like a fool for arguing.
9) Ask to take it down
If you find negative information about yourself online, your first step should be to respectfully ask that it be taken down or removed. In some cases, that’s all you have to do to remove negative information. So why not give it a try?
10) Fix the problem
If someone has had a bad experience with your company or a service you provide, and they’ve posted negatively about it online, offer to fix the problem. Nothing quells anger like an offer to make up for something that went wrong.
11) Be civilized
In all your online dealings, be civilized. It doesn’t matter if you’re posting on your personal Facebook page or responding to a negative email. The nicer you are to people, the less likely they will be motivated to post negative information about you on the web.
12) Be an author
Embrace being a publisher. The more content—blog posts, pictures, etc.—that you can make and post on the web, the more likely Google is to pick it up and help it rank in the SERPs for your name.
13) Make some news
Many individuals and companies work extremely hard to build blogging networks and a myriad of social accounts so they can create a positive image online, but a great way to get a positive result is to be mentioned in the news for something positive you’ve done. Giving to charity, going for a Guiness world record, or offering your services as an expert in your field to a local reporter can help you get mentioned in local newspapers—and those are some great links.
14) Make friends in high places
It pays to make friends in high places—especially well respected bloggers or online journalists. First of all, they can use you in something they write that is related to your field. And, second, if you find negative information about yourself online, you can ask your friend for help. They may be able to accomplish something you can’t on your own.
15) Be a publisher
You can be a writer on your own blog, but you can also publish other people’s articles on your blog. Ask for quality blog submission from professionals in your field and post them on your website. Not only will you be making friends but you’ll also get traffic to your blog and links. Which will help you rank better in the SERPs.
16) Get listed
There are a number of ways to get yourself listed about the internet. Start with professional organizations, blog lists, and more.
17) Picture it
If you include any of your own photography on your website or if your organization has a large stockpile of corporate photos, make them available to be posted on the internet under a creative commons license that requires a link back to your website. The more links to your site, the better it will do in the SERPs and the more it will help your online reputation.
18) Be everywhere
Whenever there is a chance for you to put your name down on the internet and link to your personal or professional web properties, do it. One of the best ways to do this is to offer yourself as a guest blogger on websites that pertain to your field.
19) Use the group
Another way to create positive buzz for yourself is to join groups and professional organizations. Not only will you make some friends, but you have a chance to raise your online profile and make connections that will help you get your name and web properties to rank well in the SERPs.
20) Don’t forget about offline
Not everything you do to enhance your online reputation online has to take place online. Go to conferences, introduce yourself to colleagues, and go to professional meetups. The more people you meet and can make a good impression on (both online and off) the more you will raise your profile. And when people in the real world respect you, the online community will follow.