The Internet has spawned a whole new profession. It’s called online reputation management. Even if you don’t do business online, have a website, or have an e-mail account, you still need to think about your online reputation.
Anyone can go online at any time and post a negative comment about you on a blog or message forum and if you have no other information about you online that’s what people will find when they look for you. One non-profit manager found an anonymous blogger posting about an alleged scam the manager was in. It turns out there was no evidence of the allegations and the anonymous blog was written under the nickname of the person they were accusing. The idea was to rank highly for the nickname, a black hat SEO trick.
Your Online Reputation Management Tool Chest
This strategy worked for about a week until the non-profit manager decided to do something about. A simple SEO strategy to increase the number of positive mentions for his nickname quickly buried all the negative comments being made by the blogger. This is the perfect illustration of how online reputation management can save your business. Here’s what you need to successfully manage your reputation online:
- Domain name with your name or business name in the URL
- A highly optimized website
- At least one blog to which you post every single day
- Online press releases
- Article marketing strategy
- A presence on at least one social networking website
- Listings in several general and/or industry online directories
- Membership on two or three social bookmarking websites
- Subscription to Google Alerts for your name, business name, and important keywords
Some websites, like Digg and Netscape, allow users to vote for or against content submitted by other users. If someone accuses you of a crime or some other impropriety in an online message board, a blog, or on their website, then you need a strategy to effectively deal with the negative comments. You cannot simply let them sit or they could destroy your reputation for good and what you lose could take years to make up even if you don’t do business online at all.
The Old Man