Online Reputation Management: A Guide for Establishing Online Presence & Self-Branding

Ever wished you could erase your embarrassing pictures from Facebook posted by your friends, or stop them appearing on search results whenever someone searches your name on Google. Whether you own a business or a working professional looking for a new opportunity, the trend of internet search is rapidly increasing among people. For instance, if an employer searches your name on Google and finds your mug shot form a bar fight 5 years ago your entire career could be at risk. Alternatively, if people search your company name on the internet and find negative reviews or complaints from previous clients it will affect your business worse than losing a new contract to your competitor.

This is where Online Reputation Management comes in. ORM is simply a process of promoting positive content about you or your business up in search results and pushing negative content like complaints, defaming article or even irrelevant content further down in search results so if somebody searches you on Google or any other search engine all they see in positive and relevant content about you or your business. In this article I will discuss some important thing you can do to identify, build and improve your online presence.


Analyze your Search Engine Ranking and Online Reputation

The first step in controlling your online reputation is to analyze the current scenario. Start with searching your name on Google, use the exact words or spelling you expect people to search you, and see if you appear in search results or not, and if you’re there where do you stand and what are other sources which display your name.

You can check your current ranking and relevancy of your search results. See if you land on the first page of Google or not and what results appear with your name, are there any negative or irrelevant links. It is also possible that you come across a similar name in search results. So, doing some research is always good to plan ahead what you have to do to establish or strengthen you online presence.


Why is Search Engine Optimization Important for You

Search engines rank you on a number of factors from the richness of your content to your site structure. SEO is a process of improving your content so that search engines rank you on highest search results against the right keywords. One important aspect for Google to rank you are credible external links that link back to your website, like if your name appear on Forbes, for instance, Google give it better weightage in search results.

There are various other factors that affect search result rankings, like on-page optimization that include your website structure, sitemap, domain history, relevancy of your content, search keywords and their density on your on-page. Alternatively off-page factors like social media and external links that link back to you. Also, keyword and link stuffing is penalized by Google, so make sure you play smartly.


Establishing your Online Presence for Search Results

Now that you have a clear picture of your current online presence and some understanding of how Google rank websites. You can start with purchasing your personal domain; just make sure the domain includes your name as it is like or if these name are already taken try different variable rather than going for a completely irrelevant names and build a personal website, where can you showcase you work, share content and build connections. The best way to quickly rank your domain on Google is to create a blog and update it regularly.

The next best thing to establish your social media profiles. Google rank websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and so on for good reason because there is validation and authentication to create, so search engine view these websites as more credible.  Make sure you completely fill out your profile and provide relevant information, post regularly and link your website with these channels.

Images appear right on top of search results, and Google extract images from social media channels. So it’s a good practice to join image sharing networks like Flickr and Pinterest or Instagram for mobile. Start sharing relevant images with proper meta title, tags, descriptions, keywords and captions.




Tactics to Handle Negative Search Results

Negative content is something that can happen to anyone whether you are an individual or a business. It is not something that only your pissed consumers will post to deteriorate the online presence of your business, but on a more personal level it could be your pissed off ex, former employee or client or even a friend who post something online as a prank.

There are a few things you can do to handle negative results like having it removed by contacting the source where the content is published and ask them nicely to remove it, launch a complain to Google if the shared content is defamatory or contains personal information, or having the website removed by formally filing a complaint if it violates Term of Service Agreement. Similarly, if you are encountered with negative content you can bury it down by optimizing your website and other social media channels so much so that the negative content goes down to the second or third page of search results.




Shahrukh Saeed is a design savvy digital enthusiast focused to share latest tools, tricks & techniques of the web, digital marketing UX/UI & SEO with business startups and learn from experts in the field.

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