Strangers on the web want to destroy your business and with the rise of Negative SEO it’s becoming more and more important to monitor you or your brand inside Google Search.
At least that’s what it feels like when your business and personal branding reputation is on the line and being attacked from customers (or sneaky little competitors) that you’ve never even met!
Personal branding and reputation management are critically important today. The odds are very good that your prospects, customers, and potential business partners are going to Google your name or the name of your business before they give you any money at all. This is also going to ring alarm bells if you’re looking for a job.
What they find during that quick search can make or break you. This isn’t something that you can afford to fool around with.
First things first, get a lay of the land
Before you get all worked up about an attack on your online reputation, you’re going to want to first get a lay of the land (a close look at all of these negative attacks firsthand) before you do absolutely anything.
Fire up Google (or any of the other major search engines) and do a quick search for your business name, your products or services, or even your own name and just read the first few pages of results.
Sometimes, you might only have to put out a couple of small flare-ups, if you have to do anything at all. Other times, you’re going to be shocked (and probably appalled) at what people are saying about your business, true or not.
By doing this little bit of reconnaissance, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to get done to improve your online reputation, what you can pretty much leave alone, and how much work you have cut out for you.
Set up Google Alerts to get ahead of brush fires
Secondly, you’re going to want to set up Google Alerts for your business name, your products and services, and your own name (as well as any other keywords you want to track).
This is going to allow you to get daily reports about your online reputation directly from Google. You’ll have it sent directly to your email every single day, and will be able to track your efforts (and the efforts of those deriding your reputation) to see whether or not you’re winning the “reputation war”.
Never try to whitewash negativity
You never want to try to whitewash any negativity that is published about you online – it almost always comes back to bite you way worse than the initial negative comment could have.
This is not to say that you can let any personal branding attacks go by without a response, but that you should pick and choose your battles before you dive headfirst into an argument filled with red-hot emotion.
Take some time to separate yourself from the attack and the negativity, and calculate whether or not it’s justified (and if it is, fix or remedy the situation). Then create a plan of attack to patch up the issues.
Fight negativity with positivity
The best way to improve your reputation is to not forget about the negativity but to ignore most of it, instead working to find an SEO consultant that can improve the rankings and visibility of more positive information – leapfrogging right over that negativity and canceling it out completely!
This is a bit of an advanced tactic, but when you find someone that knows how to pull off personal branding miracles like this they are worth their weight in gold!
Be proactive about your personal branding, not reactive
It’s important that you jump out ahead of any personal branding and reputation management you need to tackle. Try to do things that improve your influence, celebrity status, and expert status in positive ways and publicize that content so that you don’t have to react to all of the smaller brush fires that flare-up around you.
If you are doing business right you’re going to find that some people just aren’t going to like you – and some of them are going to be very vocal about it – and there’s nothing you can do to squash them.
Let it brush right off of you while protecting your reputation and you’ll win this game every time.
Excellent Tools to use
serpwoo.com – SERPwoo is an ORM (Online Reputation Management) tool.
mention.com – Mention is a monitoring tool like Google Alerts, but slightly more sophisticated.