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The worst misconception of individuals, as well as business owners, is to think that protecting reputation online is only important to those who are struggling with negative PRs. They assume that they have cracked the code of managing e-reputation and successfully built online credibility. So, no one is talking negatively about them.
If you, unfortunately, belong to the above group, then definitely this blog is for you. This will open up your eyes and help you gauze the real scenario. Takeaways?- Well, you’ll manage to have a stronger reputation for your lifetime.
So, getting back to the point, what is online reputation, it’s the congregation of people’s opinion based on what they find online. Around 75% of U.S adults have said that the information about them is not positive when they google themselves.
The reason is quite simple. People have their awkward moments in life, a humiliating picture, a defamatory comment, a controversial post, or whatsoever. And anyone can write anything or misuse your embarrassing moments.
For example, if you’re a business owner, maybe your competitor is writing something on your back out of envy. Or if you’re an ordinary individual, there are very rare chances of you having no enemies. Isn’t it?
If you’re ignoring internet reputation protection management, then possibly people are forming negative opinions based on the accessible negative information. The impact can be threatening to your image be it online or offline.
Are you thinking this post is only for business owners because they have to maintain their reputation to fetch all the achievements?
Hurting, isn’t it?
Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything from protecting your personal to professional reputation. So, the next time someone sees you, he would already have formed a good opinion about you.
Pitfalls of Overlooking The Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation
Your business works harder in order to make your customers happy. You are struggling incessantly to understand customer pain points, customer sentiments, polishing your product quality, improving your services, etc. In this whole process, protecting reputation online is still overlooked.
But, you may not be aware of the possible pitfalls your negligence will cause you. So, let us shed some light on this part,
Increasing Number of Negative Comments
Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, are continuously receiving an innumerable number of comments on businesses. It means people are giving their honest feedback on these sites be it negative or positive.
If you have focused on managing your e-reputation, you have kept track of these number of comments through online reputation management tools. Since you’re neglecting this part, you’ll never come to know what people are talking about you. This picture dictates the scenario pretty well,
Missing Out Customer Sentiment
Customer sentiment is the real-time information of what everyone is talking about your brand. You may be working incessantly to understand the customer’s pain points, their need, their issues, but without having real-time information, you can’t succeed at this.
You know why? It’s because people’s requirements are changing every now and then. For example, in the era of pre-covid19 period customers were mostly shopping for clothes and other luxuries. But, during this COVID-19 their need has taken a drastic shift towards hygienic stuff. See the image below,
Damaging Reputation On Your Back
97% of customers who read online reviews also read business’s responses to those reviews. It means there are higher chances that people will assume you’re overlooking customer’s pain points as you’ve replied to their comments.
They won’t realize that you’ve not yet seen those negative comments and not protecting reputation online. So, without you even knowing, you are slowly damaging your reputation. And who knows, maybe it reaches to a point where repairing your reputation becomes impossible?
Failing to Track Your Online Image
When you see those glorious data or news about your business on the first page of the internet, you tend to be jumping on cloud 9. Isn’t it? You love to see the first page of search results filled with positive news. Or maybe to see the google review section filled with positive reviews.
It gives you confidence, it gives you boost, it motivates you to do more. When you leverage the reputation management tools as a way to protect your online reputation, it gives you a detailed insight into your current online image. But, if you’re neglecting this part, then of course this is fair to say that you’re failing to track your online image.
Now, the above scenario, we have described is the impact on businesses or professions.
You might be thinking what if an individual is overlooking ways to protect your online reputation?
The impact of a tarnished reputation is not only seen in businesses but also in personal life. People have this notion as we discussed above that managing online reputation is only important to those who have a high profile business reputation.
But, it’s equally important to ordinary people. We’ll show you how,
You’re Being Watched Constantly
Well, even if you’re not into entrepreneurship, still people are keeping an eye on you. They are inquisitive to know how you’re responding to other comments, how you’re making friends, how you’re behaving with others, how you’re living your life, etc.
People have this long list of questions about you for which they search you online. So, the moment they notice something negative, they may form a negative opinion on you.
Fewer Chances of Job Opportunity
Having online visibility is a must criterion for qualifying to top-tier multinational companies. They observe a person’s social profiles to analyze if he or she is a good fit or not. So, when you’re ignoring these ways to protect your online reputation, it means you’ll never come to know what your recruiters are thinking about you without even meeting you.
So, the chances of you being invited to a high-profile job interview become vague. We’re sure you don’t want that, right?
Higher Chances of Information Leakage
In this era where people are scouring the internet to hack your acute personal information, protecting your online reputation is a non-negotiable tactic. Else you may end up sharing access to your personal stuff.
Besides, sites like MySpace, Radaris are continuously scouring the web to gather information. So, people may know your past history, criminal record, bank details, family details from these sites.
These are the reasons why everyone should take their online reputation seriously and work on the ways to protect their online reputation.
How Do You Protect Your Reputation Online? Learn Simple Actionable Hacks
Whether you’re an individual or a brand, it’s important to protect your online reputation. And we bet you agree on the same after reading this far. Isn’t it?
So, how will you protect it? How will you make sure that your brand appears clean like water on the top of search results?
Well, move along with us to answer your questions on your own.
Manage Google Ranking
Search engine giant Google is trusted more than any other platform. This means, the information shows on Google, is highly valuable to you and your brand.
When people search for information, they believe most of the content that shows on the first page of SERP. So, you can imagine the amount of loss you may bear if the page is filled with negative PRs, about your brand.
What people perceive about your brand, is entirely based on these results. So, if you want to protect your online reputation, you need to learn to manage your google ranking.
Follow these simple steps to gauze some positive changes on the search result page,
- Stay Up on Top
Ideally, most brands want their company’s website page to show up in the first. So, whenever someone searches the keywords for which you rank, your website page comes up on the top. Most of the results that people click stand between 1-10.
So, you can check where your brand site appears on the search result by turning on the incognito window. By checking this information, you can bid on your keywords or reshape your marketing tactics to retain the first place. For example, when you Google Trello, the result appears like this,
- Leverage Social Platforms
Social media presence is one of the most important factors when it comes to protecting your online reputation. Even it helps to get yourself established on Google. But, it’s often underutilized.
So, make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake. Leverage all the high authority domain sites like Facebook, YouTube, Google Business, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Establish a strong presence on these sites so that when people search for relevant information, they find you.
A majority of brands leverage social media in order to keep their audience updated. Also, on the other side, when people perceive you as a decent human being, it becomes quite a tough task for your competitor to tarnish your image.
- Stay Active Within Your Community
Online reputation management is not a sprint, it’s a continuous process. If you hustle for one month and rest for the next month, the result will always be stagnant. Even your search ranking will drop over time. Because there is nothing as fickle beasts as search engines.
If you’re not active within your community, then protecting your online reputation will be quite a tough job to do. Staying active means, posting regular content, communicating with people within your industry, attending webinars, conducting social events, managing a healthy bond with competitors, etc.
- Claim Google Listing
An unclaimed Google listing can be no worse than a terrible nightmare. It means you won’t be able to yield its ultimate benefits. Considering the fact that google reviews appear right on the top right side corner, the information there should be accurate and updated.
For example, if you have a restaurant or any shop and the opening hours, closing hours are wrong there, then people will be misguided. And this can be frustrating as some of your customers may have traveled far to reach your place.
So, claim your listing and provide precise information there to protect your online reputation.
Manage Your Online Reviews
It’s not possible to manage customer satisfaction every time. There are slipup moments that happen every now and then. While you make sure to reduce the number of slip-up moments, it’s also important to manage the existing reviews.
Reading those undesirable reviews is stressful. And business owners often fear that what if the review unravels the companies’ reputation completely. Right?
So, here are some tips to manage your online reviews and protect your online reputation.
- Answer Promptly
When it comes to answering your online reviews, a prompt answer is often preferable than delayed responses. As we said before, the number of people reading the reviews also ready the owner’s response to it.
A gentle, empathetic response containing the solution for the reviewer is the best way to reply to your fellow customers.
It shows that you genuinely care for your audience and understand their pain points. We have mentioned PROMPT because customers expect a quick solution when they face a problem. If you don’t respond quickly they feel that you have turned a deaf ear to them. So, it can turn into a negative public statement. See the image below,
- Don’t Offer Bribe in Exchange for Positive Reviews
When someone faces a genuine problem, and you’re offering him a bribe in exchange for a positive statement is the worst step taken ever towards protecting your online reputation. Because people when seeking genuine solutions, you’re trying to save your image rather than solving their issues.
So, address their issues with the determination to solve it rather than thinking about saving your reputation. When people feel satisfied with your solutions, they may remove the negative content or even it will show the positive side of yours.
- Don’t Deny Genuine Mistakes
If you have done genuine mistakes, then it’s best to apologize. A genuine apology is far better than an intention to cover it up with an excuse. When the situation is trivial, then it’s best to apologize over a personalized message.
But, if the situation has gone out of control and you’ve been hit by a bulk of negative responses, then it’s best to release a public apology over any of the strongest social media platforms. Let’s take a look at the example,
Remove Negative Content
Although managing reviews may not look quite a hectic task, but managing negative content in the form of PRs, is a tough job. Especially when it’s posted on a high authority site, the process becomes ever-challenging.
But, it’s important to remove those negative content from the site as it may appear on the top results and create a misguided opinion on yourself.
So, let’s gauze a quick guide on removing negative content in order to protect your reputation online,
- Contact the Author
It’s the best way to contact the author directly and get your content removed. But, you should be tactical with your approach, like offering something on behalf of removing the content.
For example, you can provide them a one month free trial of your tool, to convince them to remove the content. Along with this, make sure you point out the number of losses you’re bearing due to the response and trigger their emotions.
Who knows, he may end up removing the content, isn’t it?
- Contact the Publisher
If the author has not yet agreed to remove the content, don’t give up. After all, you’re in a process of protecting your online identity and it’s not something that happens instantly.
So, contact the publisher or webmaster to remove the page after describing your situation. This may not happen if the blog is personal, because in this case, the blogger, webmaster all are the same. But, if it’s published on small to the midsized news websites, then there are chances to get your negative information removed.
You can use the Whois.net tools to find the webmaster’s contact info.
- De-Index the Page
If the site is not that reputed, then you can de-index the page. You have to ask the publisher in this case to add the NOINDEX tag to de-index the page.
De-indexing means that Google will no longer be able to crawl the site, so eventually, it will be buried down far back on the SERP over time.
A NOINDEX tag is like this,
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
- Google Removal Request
Google has a set of guidelines that protect your personal identity. If someone violates that while posting content about you then you can request Google to remove the content.
But, the content must fall under their guideline which doesn’t promote sexually explicit information, bank details, credit card number, signature images, etc.
- Run the Oppression Method
Oppression method is the process of suppressing bad content and pushing up positive content. So, you have to leverage the help of SEO in order to suppress those negative information far down the search result page and rank up positive information.
It’s the best way to remove your negative information to protect your online reputation.
In this era of digitization, ignoring to protect your online reputation is the worst step taken ever by any brand or individual. The processes we explained above are also applicable on an individual level too. So, you can benefit from these hacks and improve your online image over time.
Don’t forget to comment below if you are going to take these tips into action.