For businesses and individuals alike, search results can reveal a lot. Just as you wouldn’t want someone saying negative things about you to the people in the neighborhood, you don’t want negative comments to be posted or ideas to be formed about you (or your company) based on information that is available to internet users worldwide. Protect yourself and ensure your digital exposure is a positive one by understanding what aspects make a difference.
Here are 4 things that can affect your online reputation:
1. Social media posts
Even if you, yourself, are careful with your privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you have little to no control over what is posted about you by others. If you run a company, this can mean Facebook reviews by consumers. If you’re an individual, it means that video of you killing the beer pong competition at a frat party last weekend may have been posted by a party-goer for everyone to see. Look out for these posts so you can take action towards addressing any issues or having the offending items removed.
2. Published content
For companies especially, publishing content such as blog posts or press releases can help stifle any negative search results. Using a software such as SEO Powersuite will help you to build links that positively affect your ranking, as bad links are also a major source of a negative internet presence. For the average Joe, anything that you publish to your blog or submit to other sites is recorded. Make sure the things you post are things that you will still be proud to have representing you years down the line.
3. Public record
Have a felony? Filed for bankruptcy? These details are public information that can be found by anyone with an inkling of solid googling skills. There is no real way to avoid these aside from not doing them in the first place. If they’re already out there for the world to see, you’ll want to work on managing your reputation to hide the results from immediate view.
Search engines don’t only show written results for you or your organization. There’s also an images tab, which shows any photograph even remotely related to your name. Even if you aren’t the one that posted the image, it may still have a tag or keyword associated with it that links back to you or your company. Sometimes, these photos are even linked to spam that can erase data from your computer when you click on it, which is even worse since you are now associated with malware.
The first step in preventing this issue from arising is to make sure your devices are protected by reading reviews for data recovery software and choosing one that’s right for your system. The second step is contacting the domain hosts and getting them to remove the harmful content. If that doesn’t work, your best bet is always to do a little bit of SEO recon to bury the negative images with positive or neutral ones of your own.
Your online reputation has a lot more weight in these times than it ever did before. In fact, it may even be more important than your reputation amongst the small circle of people you know personally. Remember these ideas when you are doing anything online to ensure your search results are ones that you would be proud for your grandmother to see when you teach her all about “The Google.”
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