When a potential client, customer or employer Googles your name or business name, what will they find? Learn how to bury bad online news and reviews and repair a damaged online reputation.
We’re often focused on building an ever-bigger online reputation for ourselves or our business. But what if you want to do the opposite, and make a negative review or news article go away?
Not all online publicity is good publicity, and while you may work hard to grow your profile and reputation, it can all come crashing down with one disgruntled review or unflattering news piece.
So what can you do about negative online content? In an age of free-flowing information we can’t control what people say about us. And unless you own or have control over the site it appears on, you can’t simply delete it.
Make sure you Google yourself regularly
The first step in tackling negative online content about yourself is knowing it exists in the first place. And to do this you need, as vain as it may sound, to Google yourself or your business regularly.
Often the first time people or businesses realise that someone has posted up something unpleasant about them is when someone tells them about it.
But by the time they find out, considerable damage could have been done. They may have missed out on job interviews, new business, or lost customers and potentially useful contacts without knowing.
So make sure you periodically search your own or your business name, and check to see what a potential client, customer or employer will see.
How to repair a damaged online reputation
What if, on your search, you are confronted not with your own website, a couple of social media profiles, the odd news piece or favourable reviews? But instead you you find a review (rightly or wrongly) savaging your professionalism or products? Or a news article slating your performance?
Your entire reputation or business could be damaged by one malicious comment, post or page online.
However, you’re not completely powerless. With some planning and effort, you can bury or turn around bad news, and instead ensure that when someone does search for you online, they’re rewarded by more positive results.
Here are a few ways you can limit damage and even repair your online reputation:
- If you have a website, make sure it’s optimised for search (you can read more about writing SEO copy here) to help increase the likelihood of it appearing further up Google’s search results.
- Create social media profiles in yours or your business name and use them regularly.
- Buy a domain name that is the same (or as similar to as you can get) yours or your business name and start a blog. Make sure it’s interesting, relevant, SEO-friendly and share it across social media.
- Start a YouTube channel and create positive videos with testimonials, case studies, product demonstrations etc or simply share helpful knowledge or expertise.
Take control of your online PR
Another way to fight negative online PR is to start creating more positive PR. You can do this by being proactive, and upping your own PR game.
Learning how to write press releases and sending them out to relevant publications when you have a story is a good start. As is asking happy customers for testimonials and case studies, and sharing them on your website and across social media.
If you have negative reviews on third party review sites, don’t just leave them unaddressed. Politely state your version of events if you believe they are wrong or malicious, and if there may be any truth in them, offer a solution or promise to rectify this in future. If you’re seen to care and be positively proactive, you can rescue a negative review, and even turn it into a positive tick in your favour.
Be proactive and keep your search results positive!
You don’t have to remain a victim to negative online news and reviews, and allow them to damage your career or business.
By being proactive and regularly searching, you can stay on top of your online reputation, and if it is under attack, take steps to bury it or counterbalance it with more positive PR.
How to deal with negative reviews on social media
Want more quick tips? Learn six steps to successfully deal with negative reviews on social media in this infographic by Red Media Design.Hannah Martin