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Before the technological age of online forums, social media, and mobile texting, maintaining one’s reputation involved keeping that nose clean and being a decent person in society. Today, however, no matter how kindhearted or generous you may be in real life, your reputation can be ruined online from the smallest, thoughtless action.
According to the CEO of Reputation.com Michael Fertik, search engines can highlight a variety of misleading or inaccurate information about you, your family, or a colleague. Indecent photos could crop up in a Google of your name, or a prank video you were once involved in could go viral, soliciting negative comments or even attacks from complete strangers.
The best thing you can do in order to maintain a good reputation online is to actively establish a positive presence. Search results show all kinds of material related to the search terms, even if the negative material brought up is about someone else who merely shares the same name. When Google practically serves as a character reference in modern society, it’s important to ensure your online presence is impressive.
You will likely never know that you have a poor online reputation if you never Google yourself. If you have a business, search the business name on major search engines and social networks to see what people are saying about it, since customers are more likely to give honest reviews, especially negative ones, online. If necessary, enlist the help of a free monitoring service like Reputation.com that sends out alerts when your name appears in new content.
Fight Negative Search Results
Reputation.com was established, in part, to help clients combat search results that take a hit at their character. Since most people will Google a term and only review the top two results, it’s important to push down those negative results, preferably on a second or third result page, so they become practically invisible to the average user.
Establish Your Image
This step involves developing a positive reputation on major websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can even create a professional blog using your name or business name in the URL or blog title. This makes it more difficult for someone to impersonate you. Establishing your own positive image is the best way to counteract any negative misinformation, but be sure to avoid online confrontations or arguments, since this will only add to a damaged reputation.
Creating and maintaining a good online reputation takes a little legwork, but is worth the extra steps to ensure you and your business are being represented honestly in the virtual world.