Twenty years ago, if something bad happened to you—the loss of a job, a personal legal issue, or a DUI—it was entirely possible that those bad things would remain hidden from public view. But now, thanks to the Internet, all of these bad things can be found with just a few keystrokes.
Just one small negative item can harm your online reputation for years. Even if the news is irrelevant now, people can still access it with a quick Google search. And with the aid of social media, anyone can have access to information about your personal life without your permission. To prevent search engines from displaying incriminating or negative personal information about you or your company, you need an online reputation management (ORM) campaign.
What is ORM?
Online reputation management is the process of replacing negative or unwanted content in search engine results with positive or neutral content. ORM campaigns can be useful for many different circumstances, including bad business reviews, embarrassing photos, negative links about you or your company, and unfair media coverage.
ORM specialists promote content that a client wants the public to see. Items such as their professional history, positive reviews or news articles about their business, or a personal or business blog. Clients often come to an ORM specialist with specific links or content they do not want to be seen. Then the specialist will develop a plan to replace those high-ranking links with other materials.
Why Do You Need It?
You may think, “It’s just one bad review. How much damage can it do?” But you should never underestimate how easily someone’s reputation can deteriorate when something bad about them is posted online. One negative review or article can be more powerful than a hundred positive pages. People gain authority simply by providing a “third-party perspective.” You don’t know what their motives or intentions are.
Below are four main reasons you should actively manage your online reputation:
- People are researching you right now. Whether a customer is looking at reviews of your company, or an employer is searching your social profiles, eyes are on you. You want to make sure that whatever they find is truthful.
- First impressions are hard to change. Once someone reads a poor article or review about you, it will be very difficult to replace that impression with a positive one. It’s better to have their first impression be one that is positive.
- A positive reputation can increase sales, clients, or employer prospects. If a negative reputation ruins job prospects and potential sales, a positive reputation can make it easier for you to succeed.
- It’s easier (and less expensive) to build a good reputation rather than to repair a bad one. If you start producing positive content on your own and monitor your online reputation for threats, it will be easier to manage than trying to fix it in a crisis. Talk to a professional early, and you’ll be able to save time and money for your business.
You can jumpstart an ORM campaign by setting up Google Alert for your name or your company name, and by updating your social media profiles and website. If you’re concerned about a specific piece of content that is already published, it may help to talk to an ORM specialist at Tucker/Hall.