In today’s digital world, your online reputation is more important than ever. A negative reputation can lead to lost opportunities, damaged relationships, and even legal problems. Fortunately, there are a variety of effective reputation repair strategies that you can use to improve you or your business’s online image.
The top ways to repair your online reputation are different for individuals and businesses. For individuals, the most effective ways to repair your online reputation are:
- Create more constructive personal content,
- Be active online,
- Monitor the web for mentions,
- Eliminate digital threats to your reputation, and
- If you have done something wrong, apologize.
For businesses, the most effective ways to repair your online reputation are:
- Claim your business profiles and respond to reviews,
- Utilize SEO techniques and strategies,
- Encourage positive reviews,
- Create targeted and branded content, and
- Consider investing in paid search ads.
At Minc Law, we help individuals and businesses protect, monitor, and improve their online reputations. We understand that your reputation is one of the most valuable intangible assets and crucial to protect in today’s digital landscape. We also help people restore their reputation with our digital risk protection monitoring services.
In this article, we will explain how individuals and businesses alike can repair, restore, and improve their online reputation.
How to Identify the Source of the Threat to Your Online Reputation
It is no secret that what you say and do online can have a major impact on your reputation. In today’s connected world, it is easier than ever for information – both good and bad – to spread quickly and widely. As a result, it is important to be proactive in managing and monitoring your online reputation.
The first step to any effective online reputation repair strategy is to track and monitor what is being posted online and where it is being posted. By keeping tabs on what is being said about you or your business, you can quickly identify and address any negative information that may be circulating.
What Factors Influence Your Online Reputation?
Your online reputation is the collective opinion of others about you that is based on your online activity. Factors that influence your online reputation include:
- Your reviews and ratings on online review sites and platforms.
- The search results that appear under your name.
- What people are saying about you or your business on social media.
- How you respond to reviews.
- Whether your online presence is active and up-to-date.
Of course, these factors will differ depending on whether you are monitoring your personal reputation or the reputation of a business. Online reviews, for instance, may not matter if you are simply trying to maintain your personal reputation – but search results will. In a nutshell, your online reputation management repair strategies will revolve around your specific circumstances and goals.
In addition to the factors that influence your online reputation, businesses need to take into consideration the elements of a positive corporate reputation. The elements that contribute to a positive corporate reputation include:
- Quality products or services,
- Quality employees who offer stellar customer service,
- Reputable corporate leadership
- Corporate social responsibility, and
- Financial stability.
How Can You Identify Potential Threats to Your Online Reputation?
As our lives move increasingly online, our reputations are more at risk than ever before. Whether it is a malicious hacker, an angry customer, or even just a case of mistaken identity, there are a number of ways that our online reputation can be damaged.
So how can we protect ourselves?
The first step is learning to identify the potential threats.
Monitor Your Reputation on Google
First, start by Googling yourself to see what search results appear (and what they say). You can also set up Google Alerts for your name or business name so that you will be notified anytime you are mentioned online.
Scan Your Social Media
Next, take a close and thorough look at your social media presence. Keep an eye out for inappropriate photos, posts, or comments (and remove them) to maintain a positive online presence.
Claim All Business Profiles & Review Customer Feedback
If you have a business, it is important to claim all of your online business profiles. Then, actively monitor your profiles for reviews. This way, you can respond to customer feedback as needed.
Utilize Digital Risk Protection Services
Digital risk protection services help you monitor, prevent, and respond to digital threats before they negatively impact your reputation.
Work With Online Reputation Management Professionals
Online reputation management (ORM) professionals can provide you with a variety of useful tools to help identify and respond to threats to your online reputation. ORM tools can also be used to bolster and improve your online reputation.
Can You Recover From a Ruined Reputation?
Even the most carefully curated online persona is not immune to negative content. Whether it is an old photo that resurfaces or a scathing review from an unhappy customer, negative content can quickly damage your reputation.
If you find yourself in this situation, do not despair. With a little effort and the right strategy, you can repair a damaged online reputation and get your life back on track.
How to Increase Your Positive Online Presence
Whether you are looking for a job, trying to grow your business, or just wanting to connect with friends and family, what people find when they search for you online can make a big difference. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to increase your positive online presence.
But before we discuss how to improve your online presence, consider why you might want to increase your positive online presence in the first place.
Why Would You Want to Increase Your Positive Online Presence?
A strong digital reputation is important for many reasons. In the business world, more and more customers are researching companies online before making a purchase.
In fact, according to a Bright Local consumer review survey, 93% of customers research online reviews before buying products or services from a company. This means that if a business has poor reviews, it is likely to lose out on potential customers. Additionally, the importance of brand reputation on stakeholder confidence, investment, and attention cannot be overstated.
Furthermore, only 48% of customers would consider engaging with a business that has fewer than four stars. This highlights the importance of maintaining and cultivating a positive reputation in business.
On a personal level, your online presence can also affect your employment prospects. Many employers conduct an online search of job applicants before deciding whether or not to even interview them. Additionally, your digital footprint might also affect your living situation as many landlords look into prospective renters before making a decision. Consequently, it is important to be aware of what is being said about you online and to take steps to ensure that your digital reputation is positive.
Whether you are interested in protecting your personal reputation, or that of your business, a positive online reputation can:
- Build trust and community;
- Reinforce your professional or personal brand and image;
- Attract a younger, internet-savvy generation to your business;
- Increase customer retention;
- Increase profitability by driving business your way;
- Attract strong employees and improve employee retention;
- Improve search engine rankings;
- Differentiate your business from competitors; and
- Provides cost-free advertising.
How Can Individuals Make Their Online Presence More Positive?
Create More Constructive Personal Content
Everything from social media posts to personal blogs can be used to shape how others see you. If you are looking to make a positive impression, it is important to create content that represents the image you want to portray. This might include sharing constructive, positive content that highlights your assets.
Be Active Online
Being active online and having a strong presence on social media are important factors in today’s world. It is not just about creating personal content, it is also about engaging with others and helping to build a positive online community.
And while it is important to have a few solid social media accounts, it is also important not to overwhelm yourself. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your online presence.
Monitor the Web For Mentions
Prospective employers, business partners, and even romantic interests will often do a quick Google search of your name before making any decisions. That is why it is critical to take the time to search for your name on Google and Bing.
Start by creating a Google Alert for your name so you can track any mentions of your (or your business’s) name. By taking a proactive approach, you can be sure that you are aware of everything that is being said about you online and take steps to improve your online reputation.
Eliminate Digital Threats to Your Reputation
Nowadays, it is important to be aware of the content you post online. This is especially true if you are job hunting, as employers often research candidates by looking at their social media accounts.
Even if you have privacy settings enabled, it is possible for potential employers to see anything you have posted publicly. Therefore, it is a good idea to scan your social media accounts for any inappropriate photos, posts, or comments and remove them before beginning your job search.
If You Have Done Something Wrong, Apologize
We all make mistakes. It is part of being human. And when we do, it is important to take responsibility for our actions. That may mean admitting we were wrong or apologizing for the hurt we caused. But owning up to our mistakes is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes strength to admit when we are wrong and to try to make things right.
Of course, there are times when our reputation is damaged through no fault of our own. Maybe someone says something false about us or spreads rumors that are not true. In cases like this, apologizing is not the right thing to do. Instead, you might need to stand up for yourself and set the record straight.
How Can Businesses Make Their Online Presence More Positive?
Claim Your Business’ Profiles and Respond to Reviews
As a business owner, it is important to stay on top of your online presence. One way to do this is to claim any business profiles that exist, like on Google and Yelp. This way, you can manage and reply to reviews. A business Google listing is often the first thing someone sees when they search for your business, so it is important to keep it up-to-date and respond to reviews, even the negative ones.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you are a medical or legal professional bound by ethical or confidentiality obligations, you may not want to respond to online reviews. In these cases, it is best to err on the side of caution and consult with an attorney or other professional before taking any action.
For further reading on the subject, we recommend reading our guide, ‘How to Respond to Bad Reviews‘.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization Techniques & Strategies
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing a website for search engine algorithms. The goal of SEO is to rank higher in search results for certain keywords and phrases related to your business.
For example, if you own a pet grooming salon and someone goes to Google and types in “pet grooming,” you would want your business to rank above all other pet grooming salons in their search results – that way, potential customers see you first. You can also use local terms, like “Cincinnati pet grooming,” to help you rank above your local competitors.
Encourage Positive Reviews
If you are looking to improve your online presence, one of the best things you can do is encourage customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews can do wonders for your business, increasing both visibility and sales. They can also help to offset any negative reviews that might be floating around.
The best way to encourage customers to leave a review is to make it as easy as possible. You can include a link in follow-up emails or simply ask them to leave a review the next time they are interacting with your business. Regardless of how you go about it, encouraging customer reviews is a great way to improve your online presence.
Create Targeted & Branded Content
There are a variety of social media platforms available to businesses today, each with its own distinct advantages. In addition to the more well-known sites, like Facebook and Yelp, creating profiles on platforms like YouTube and Linkedin can help to increase your visibility and reach potential new customers.
Maintaining active profiles on these sites is important, as is producing engaging content that will put your business in a favorable light. Posts about your business, articles discussing your industry, and videos are all great ways to generate interest and encourage people to do business with you.
Consider Investing in Paid Search Ads
Pay per click (PPC) is an advertising model in which businesses pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. PPC is a popular and effective way to get your business seen by potential customers on search engines like Google.
When you invest in paid search ads, you can land your business at the top of search results, which can increase your presence and get more clicks and traffic. In addition to increasing your visibility, PPC can also improve your company’s reputation by promoting your positive content. This will help improve your brand exposure and credibility.
How Can SEO Help to Improve Your Online Presence?
If you are looking to attract more customers to your website, employing a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is a great place to start. By using keywords in your web content, you can make sure that your business appears at the top of search engine results pages. This is especially important if you are in a popular industry where there is a lot of competition. In these cases, long-tail keywords can be very helpful. These are keywords that are more specific and targeted than general terms.
For example, let’s say you are a freelance web developer. While the keyword “web design” by itself is not likely to result in many customers finding your business, creating blog posts with titles like “current trends in web design” will be much more successful. Local SEO is also worth considering if your business has a specific geographic location that it serves. By optimizing your website for local searches, you can make sure that customers in your area are able to find you easily online.
How to Remove Online Content That Could Damage Your Reputation
If you are not getting the results you want from simply monitoring your results, you may want to explore content removal or suppression options.
Why Might You Want to Remove Online Content Regarding Your Reputation?
Online content can have a significant impact on your reputation. If you are job hunting, employers may search for your name online and base their opinion of you on what they find. Similarly, schools may look up applicants online and prefer those with a positive online presence.
For these reasons, it can be beneficial to remove any online content that could negatively impact your reputation. Personal reasons may also motivate you to clean up your online presence. Perhaps you are concerned about cyberbullying or invasion of privacy. Or maybe you simply want to create a positive image for yourself.
In any case, taking control of your online reputation is an empowering way to protect yourself from negative consequences. Content you may want to consider removing from the internet includes:
- Defamatory material,
- Allegations of criminal conduct or professional malpractice,
- Online reviews that are causing significant harm to your business,
- Profiles impersonating you,
- Newspaper articles or publications with inaccuracies which are preventing employment, renting an apartment/home, etc.,
- Other unlawful content about you or your business on the internet,
- Personal information, health information, intimate photos, revenge pornography.
What Are the Different Processes For Removing Content From the Internet?
When it comes to removing content from the internet, there are a few different processes that can be followed. Perhaps the most common is to simply contact the website owner or individual who posted the content and request that it be taken down. In many cases, they are willing to remove the content.
However, if the site in question is unresponsive or unwilling to remove the content, there are a few other options, including:
- Obtaining a court order to remove the unlawful content;
- Sending a cease and desist letter to harassers;
- Making an editorial request to news publications;
- Sending a DMCA takedown notice for copyrighted content;
- Submitting a de-indexing request to search engines;
- Requesting its removal from data broker websites;
- Asking the website to add a no-index tag to the URL;
- Asking the website to change or update the content;
- Suppressing the negative content with online reputation management techniques;
- Flagging the content to the platform for terms of service violations; or
- Submitting a revenge porn removal request to Google.
Why Can Removing Online Content Sometimes Be Difficult?
Sometimes removing online content can be challenging. This is because Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act immunizes internet service providers, like Facebook, from lawsuits for content published on their platform by third parties. And because the internet allows users to publish content anonymously, it can be difficult to determine who, exactly, published negative content.
Even if you know who published unwanted content, they may refuse to remove the unwanted content in question. Fortunately, you may have options – like sending a cease and desist letter – to still get the unwanted content removed. But, cease and desist letters can be problematic as well if they are not well-drafted. This is because cease and desist letters have been known to trigger the Streisand Effect – a phenomenon where an attempt to suppress information backfires and makes the unwanted content even more popular and visible to others.
Finally, it can be challenging to remove content that was posted by others located outside of the U.S. As you might imagine, users who post content that is unlawful in the U.S. might bypass liability by being located in a foreign country that does not adhere to the same laws and rules.
In a nutshell, it is best to work with a professional when attempting to remove unwanted content from the internet because the process can be both challenging and risky.
When to Consider Utilizing Online Reputation Services
In an age where the internet is increasingly the go-to source for information, your online reputation is more important than ever. What prospective employers, clients, or even romantic partners find when they search for your name can make or break your chances of success. That is why more and more people are turning to online reputation management services to ensure that their online presence is positive and polished.
While it may seem like a simple task to keep track of your own social media accounts and Google search results, it can be surprisingly difficult to stay on top of everything. And if you do have a negative review or article pop up, trying to remove it yourself can often do more harm than good.
That is where reputation management professionals come in. They have the tools and expertise needed to monitor your online presence and quickly take care of any negative content.
For further reading, please see our comprehensive guide explaining the benefits of online reputation management.
Why Do You Need Online Reputation Management Services?
While ORM is vital for businesses and individuals alike, there are some tasks that are better suited for DIY than others. For example, asking customers for reviews is something that most business owners can handle on their own.
However, other tasks, such as creating brand-centric content, require more time and effort than the average person is likely to have available. In these cases, it is better to enlist the help of an ORM firm. While DIY ORM might seem like the cheaper option, it is important to remember that the time needed to achieve results could be better spent growing your business in other ways.
As such, deciding whether to DIY or not should be based on a careful assessment of your available resources.
How Can Online Reputation Services Help Repair Your Reputation?
Online reputation management services can help you repair your reputation by suppressing negative search results, improving your social media presence, and monitoring your online activity. By taking proactive steps to manage your online reputation, you can ensure that potential clients, customers, and employers see the best version of you. Online reputation services can provide you with the tools and resources you need to restore your good name.
Online reputation management service providers often provide a variety of tools and services, including:
- Online review management – to monitor and respond to online reviews.
- Suppression services – to push negative results off of the first page of search results by creating positive, curated content.
- Content removal – if you are dealing with unlawful content, you might need content removal services.
- Wikipedia page creation and management – to bolster your online presence with content that represents the image you wish to convey.
- Reputation monitoring – to alert you to online content that mentions your name so you can respond as needed.
- Public Relations services – like press releases, social media content, speech writing, and media relations.
- Website design and creation – so that your top search results point to your personal or business website rather than external content.
- SEO and content marketing – to make your content rank higher in search results so that people can find you for the right reasons.
How Much Can It Cost to Hire Online Reputation Services?
The cost of online reputation management services will differ depending on your needs. For instance, we charge flat fees starting at $2,500 to remove damaging posts from cheater or shaming websites. However, clients may pay more depending on the number of websites involved, the difficulty involved removing the content, and other factors.
On the other end of the spectrum, some subscription ORM services can cost anywhere from $500 to $50,000 per month, depending on the scope of the work and your business’s needs.
Generally speaking, it is more affordable to maintain a positive online image than it is to repair an online reputation that has already been damaged.
We Can Help Repair You or Your Business’s Online Reputation
At Minc Law, we know what it takes to bolster, maintain, and repair a damaged online reputation. We have extensive experience working with individuals and businesses to clean up damaging and defamatory online content, monitor the internet for digital threats, and implement comprehensive online reputation strategies to clean up your digital footprint.
“Fast. Legit. Can’t thank Melanie enough for this service. Feel like I have my life back again. Do not hesitate if your thinking of using them.”
Aug 17, 2021
If your online reputation is damaged or under attack and you want to explore effective reputation repair strategies, reach out to schedule your initial no-obligation consultation by calling us at (216) 373-7706 speaking with a Chat representative, or filling out our online contact form for an initial, no-obligation consultation.