The importance of guarding ones online reputation today cannot be understated. We live in a time when most employers conduct web searches about candidates prior to interviewing them; many people who are dating do so about prospective mates–there a million reasons why people search for one another online.
Interestingly, though, according to one report, an overwhelming 75% of those who use search engines never click past page one, suggesting that it is exceedingly important to ensure that any negative search results you might have get suppressed past that first page.
Here, well share what the experts have to recommend about how to get those negative links off of page one in search results.
Build social media profiles to suppress negative links. By creating profiles on highly optimized social media sites, you will help to suppress negative links past page one, replacing them with social media links. Search Engine People recommends over 50 sites to help you bury unwanted content on pages beyond the first in search results, citing that If all goes well, merely building a profile on some of these will push the negative piece to the second page.
Create quality content on social media sites directed at the right audience. Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com suggests in a Forbes interview that you need to do more than simply create social media profiles to improve your search engine results. As a business in particular, you need to reach your target demographic in the appropriate social domains and with content relevant to them. If you're trying to reach men, he says, don't go on Pinterest, which is known for its female following, and if you're trying to do something medical, don't do it on Tumblr, which built its reputation among teens and 20-somethings.
Use imagery. Todd Malicoat of the blog stuntdubl.com recommends this simple tip: Put a picture up, and make sure to use proper alt text and a caption. To be safe, hotlink to it from a couple different places.
Use of forums. Sarah Downey of abine.com recommends to comment publicly in news articles, forums, and social media in order to bury negative search results. She goes on to say, Knowing that anything you say online may show up when someone Googles you, use your postings to your advantage: post intelligent, grammatically-correct, spell-checked, well-reasoned content.
Create a business profile on a highly ranked site. Henry Jawhary of Search Respect suggests that for small to mid-sized businesses, these listings are critical. Take for example business directory listings. For many small businesses, these directory listings appear on the first page of Google search results for searches including the exact business name. There are other high-ranking business listings from sites like Manta.com.
Build links to neutral information about your company. The blog Big Blue Robot suggests the creation of neutral information and the building of links to this information. Not all information about your company online is good or bad, some of it is simply informative and neutral. For example, does your company have a Wikipedia article written about it? If not, write one and promote it by building links to it. Also, take the time to seek out other informational articles about your company, like business listings or conference listings and promote them so that you can bury that negative stuff even deeper.
Write and publish a press release. PRNewsChannel.coms founder, Glenn Selig, says his company has successfully been able to bury negative postings by writing and distributing search engine optimized press releases. Savvy public relations professionals and online marketers turn to Selig and his team to write them all the time.
Just wait for the link to go away. Dr Pete, a writer for SEOMoz, writes that links tend to devalue over time. That's not to say that old links have no power, but just that low-value links naturally fall off the link-graph over time. So if you can be a little bit patient, that forum post in which your bitter ex skewered you will likely move past page one of search results in due time if you are willing to wait.
Build a website or blog. Nick Bilton of the New York Times makes a very simple point in suggesting the creation of building ones own website or blog. Once something is online, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to delete. So tweaking ones online reputation usually boils down to gaming the search engines. Image-conscious people with an understanding of the Webs architecture can try doing it themselves, by populating the Web with favorable content. That might involve setting up their own Web site or blog.
Employ someone to bury negative links for you. There are many reputation management specialists available to help you suppress negative links and monitor your online reputation. The blog repfixer recommends to employ Reputation Management Professionals that will guarantee your reputation is in safe hands. Your personal Reputation Management Company will look for all of the adverse records that exist around the listings and will confirm they're either removed or even are smothered deep-down while in the listings by incorporating positive written content.
So whether you are an individual or a business seeking to improve your online reputation, there are numerous proven strategies for doing so. The highest priority should be ensuring that negative links get buried past the first page of search results. Beyond that, the majority of people running web searches on you or your business will never see what lurks on the internet about you.
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