Each year millions of businesses, lawyers, doctors and service providers lose business due to negative online posts about them found on forums, social media sites and blogs.
Reputation management companies can work wonders in this regard, but they tend to charge an arm and a leg for their services and rarely guarantee their work.
There are however a few very cost effective “tricks” which almost anyone can do to both minimize the damage of first page negative posts and the cost of pushing them down.
For the most part Reputation management companies cannot really make the negative positions “go away” completely, but they can fill up the first few pages with a number of mini-sites or “assets” as they call it, replacing the negative content for any given search.
How to create Mini-site Assets:
Total cost: $100 – $150
Time: 1 week
Skill level: basic – intermediate
*Note: The below post was written on the assumption that the person reading possess some basic online skills such as being able to launch a wordpress blog. lf that is beyond your current skill level, or if you have a serious problem (ie: more than one negative post on Google, in a high position) you may need to hire an outsourcer or good reputation management company.
EMD stands for ‘exact match domain’, which simply means that the targeted keyphrase (in this case your name) matches or is closely associated to the domain name of the website. Owning ten or more EMD’s for your name is a nice place to start when trying to get a handle on your online reputation.
Step 1: Head over to your favorite low cost host provider host and buy ‘www.yourname.com’. (If your name is ‘john doe’, you would buy ‘www.johndoe.com’ but I think you get my meaning):)
Next, buy up a few different extensions such as:
- and a few variations such as:
Buy a few which relate personally to you like:
Once you have about 10 highly keyword friendly domains, use a blog software like WordPress for each domain. WordPress is widely used and most hosting accounts have a quick plug in feature which allows you to launch a site within minutes. If you cannot figure out how use WordPress, you should be able to outsource the job for about $5 to $10. Sites like Fiverr.com have a hundreds of people happy to do this type work.
Once WordPress is plugged in, now begins the creative process of thinking up ways to add content to each blog.
Adding content to the sites is an art. What we are trying to do is to “build a case” to Google that each of these sites are highly relevant to your keyword (again your name) and deserves to be on the first page when searching for your name.
It doesn’t work to simply write a paragraph about your hobbies and post the same article on all sites, in the SEO world this is called ‘dup content’ and is frowned upon by Google. What happens under that scenario is that Google will simple choose one site that it “thinks” is the original, and will penalize the other “copies” (pushing them right back to the last page!)
1) WordPress has a number of free themes some of which are image related. You can use such a theme and post your vacation pictures to create an online photo book. Remember to use a keyword rich (your name) titles with each of the pictures.
2) Have a low cost outsourcer from Fiverr.com manually write a few articles relating to your profession. Add a few keyword-friendly images and make sure your keyword is mentioned both in the title, in the opening paragraph and a few times throughout the article.
3) Upload a few family vacation video’s (again wordpress offers free templates to make a video site) and be sure to title the video’s with your keywords. ie: ‘Johnson Family Greek Holiday’ and add a little description to each video with your keywords included.
The list idea’s would not be complete without the use of social media and there are two big reasons why I think it’s good to use social media for Reputation Management:
1) We know that social media sites tend to have high authority in the search engines, so by creating accounts on major social media sites you will increase the chance that your content with be pushed to the first page, and in so doing push the negative content down and few positions or even off the first page altogether.
2) When you create a profile on many social media sites, you are given a unique URL with your name in it. This becomes a valuable EMD (exact match domain) as we covered earlier.
Here is a list of 8 essential sites that I have seen to make the biggest impact. The key is to be thorough and fill in as many fields as possible.
Fill in your personal account as completely as possible and create a page. If you don’t have a company to justify a page create one for your hobby, family, or personal interests. Fill in all the fields for the page and add as many images, video’s and other types of content as possible.
Tag ALL of your photos and add a caption with your keywords. Add keyword titled video’s.
Fill in the description area as thoroughly as possible and use twitter to tweet info about your other websites Pintrest and Facebook account.
Google+ Linkedin and StumbleUpon
Same as Facebook, Fill in your personal account as completely as possible and try to connect to as man people in your field.
Upload video’s from your video content site and be sure to tag and title the video’s with the keyphrases
The aforementioned idea’s have either completely solved or drastically reduced the cost for reputation management in a number of cases. However if your problem persists you may need to hire a professional reputation management company.
Reputation Management – The Good The Bad & The Ugly
Consumer advocacy websites: I love them and I hate them. These are PissedConsumer.com, RipOffReport.com ConsumerAffairs.com and the BBB to name a few. These wonderful little instruments of destructions are intended to be a soap box for the cheated “little guy” to vent his frustrations against the many evils of the world: like the faceless cruel corporations, naughty individuals, faceless cruel naughty individuals who own corporations etc..
Posts on these sites are very very effective, in fact, a carefully written negative post has wreaked serious havoc on many small to mid-sized businesses, practices and individuals. Companies lose serious money because of these websites.
Articles from these sites generally end up on the first page of Google Here’s why:
Google adores websites that have the following:
- Fresh original content
The top consumer websites have all of the above and some to spare.
Most of the time no one is competing online for the ‘top position’ for your name or your company’s name. So there’s usually plenty of “room at the top” for particular snippet of new content, whether negative or positive. Since all the top paid SEO’s are busy flexing their SEO muscles for terms like ‘rugs’, ‘women’s shoes’, ‘porn’ and ‘real estate’ no one is crowding the first page for “Bubbu’s fishing and tackle”, except Bubbu if he knows SEO.
So a specific phrase like your name (especially if it’s an uncommon one), or your name combined with your company’s name, (evil!) posted on an aged, authoritative site, with original content (which is the angry customer complaint) will naturally bubble right to the top of the search engines.
What’s a guy to do!
The Good News: Reputation Management
There are good companies that are run by genuine, experienced SEO’s. They will create about 100 or so web 2.0 sites, Press Releases and Social Media sites for their clients. They will include wonderful things about their clients on these sites and then promote them with back links. The new sites will be pushed to the first page, pushing back the negative posts.
This actually works. I’ve seen done it done with newspaper articles, RipOffReport articles, yahoo Answers, you name it. A skilled SEO who is following good practice ethical SEO, can really work magic in this area.
Bad News: Bad Reputation Management
RipOffReport.com recently posted this article on their website.
Now RipOffReport.com is know to be a pretty slimy organization and this article to me is pretty stupid scare tactic designed to get people to sign up for their VIP Arbitration Program to remove a negative articles from their site at a cost of $2,500.
But they bring up a few interesting points. It is a fact that some unscrupulous individuals will make the bad links go away, and once you stop paying them, they will bring all the badness back, with new badness to boot!
These vultures give the industry a bad name, like the newby SEO’s give the SEO industry a bad name.
So it is a good idea to shop around …and:
- Check them out: Do a search for their name and look beyond the first 10 pages of Google (they of course will perform reputation management in themselves wouldn’t you?)
- Ask if they guarantee their work, and for exactly what the guarantee and how long.
- If they require a deposit, don’t offer any money until you get something in writing, detailing what they intend to accomplish and when they intend to get it done.
Lastly, don’t allow them to intimidate you and railroad the conversation with technical sounding jargon. The technical language of SEO’s is a bunch of made up non-sense by SEO’s themselves, so you can insist that they take the time answer your questions in a way that you understand. What they do is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE and if they truly are experts at it, it should be relatively easy for them to explain it to you. Doncha think?
This is a new industry and there is no “set way” of doing anything, there’s even a company that’ll give you cute dashboard and a free account for you to run your own campaign (not that simple, but a neat idea). The important thing is to find company that will stand by their word, be clear on what they promise and follow through on their guarantee.