In the business world, the image and e-reputation (online) of your brand may be the most valuable asset that you own. Indeed cleaning up your e-reputation is very important for the lasting success of your business. In the heart of the digital age in which we live and operate every day, it becomes essential for anyone who aspires to lead their company to the “next level” to pay particular attention to their e-reputation and take care to clean up their online image if the need arises.
Truly a birthplace of “living memory”, the web has become a gigantic library that lists everything you have ever written, published and said since your first steps into the huge world that is the “World Wide Web”, a virtual universe that obviously doesn’t escapes the maxim stating that: “Words spoken fly away, while written words remain.”
So, want to take your company to the “next level” and get into the commercial heart of the web-jungle that houses your online business? Here are 5 simple tips for a successful cleaning up of your e-reputation:
E-reputation clean up step one: Reconnaissance mission
First, it is important for you and your team to know the current status of your e-reputation.
Consultation of major search engines
This is truly the first step to the successful clean up of e-reputation. Take inventory of all gears of research that may provide information on your business and make inventory trends driving the discussions that revolve around your online image.
Some essentials to include in your list of sources:
- Google: The most popular search engine of the planet
- YouTube: The second most popular search engine (yes!)
- Twitter: What people think of you, in less than 140 characters!
- Specific forums and discussion boards in your field: Many sites let users share their thoughts on a particular product or service. (Ratemyteacher for example)
In depth review of all your virtual identities
Your e-reputation includes the sum of subscriptions and accounts you have within the virtual socio-ecosystems such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
E-reputation clean up step two: Destruction of elements compromising your online image
Submit negative content removal applications
Without being overly pushy, contact the administrators of the sites where you found incriminating content and start a respectful and cordial discussion on your willingness to withdraw content from the “memory” of their site.
Most webmasters are usually very understanding, but it is possible that some refuse to cooperate, no need to embark on a war of words to eventually taint your e-reputation further.
Once this stage is completed, proceed to step three.
E-reputation clean up step three: Drown bad content by creating positive content that increases your e-reputation
Here are two “payable” options that are available to you: e-reputation protection agencies and the use of the use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) science.
Online image protection agencies
Several companies offer protective services to your e-reputation by promising to follow everything that is written and shared on the web related to your business. These services can be quite expensive and in the end they merely ask with more insistence that negative content afflicting your online image be removed from the web. They can occasionally help you rewrite more positive content to dilute unwanted content.
The use of SEO science
The second alternative for a successful cleaning up of your e-reputation is to directly tackle the problem by pushing the major search engines to recommend pages that display more positive content on your behalf, rather than direct users to pages which paint a less shiny picture of your business or your brand.
Indeed, companies specializing in SEO have extensively studied the behavior of Google and other search engines and are able to “understand” how these sites choose what content to offer Internet users first. As they are not the secret of the gods, the algorithms of the search engines is what makes them so popular and experts in SEO field can estimate how crawlers of these sites analyze your content and are therefore able to offer you some practices that can effectively dilute unwanted content and attract search engines to pages that give a better image of your brand or business.
Examples of services offered by SEO agencies to clean up your online image are:
- Content development strategies
- Optimization of previously created pages so they stand out in search results
- More attractive content writing for Google crawlers and other major search engines
- Acquisition of positive links from credible and reputable sites
Cleaning up your E-reputation: A laborious but important process
We hope these tips will help you to know where to start cleaning up your online image. We wish you the best of luck in redefining your virtual identity and your e-reputation!