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Protecting Your Internet Reputation on Online Social Media Networks

Jul 31, 2008
When you discover your internet reputation has been attacked, either maliciously or passively, use these tips to guide you:

Online Reputation Tip #1: Research the Attack

Online reputation management starts with ascertaining who is doing the attacking. Is it a competitor, a jilted lover, a crazy person, or all three at once (did someone boil your pet rabbit)? Often times you'll find that the offending online posting is that of a journalist writing without full knowledge of the facts. But no matter from where the online reputation management issue sprung it's almost always a hassle to reduce, and once posted the negative publicity is difficult to remove.

Online reputation attacks can be broken into two broad categories, one-time postings, and malicious postings. The latter are often the most difficult to deal with because the offender may have a 'beef' against you or your company which results in multiple attacks. In the latter case, the first step is to get the offender to stop. This may be accomplished with the help of Tip 2 below. If it's a passive attack, for example your name was included in an online news article in a less than positive light, or blogged about once or twice, an online reputation management firm may be the answer.

Online Reputation Tip #2: Attorney or No Attorney?

Let's face it - lawyers are expensive. But your problem may benefit from the use of an attorney nonetheless. While we are not dispensing legal advice here, it has often been found that if the perpetrator is defaming your reputation, and you can prove it, you may have a case against them. The benefits and cost must be weighed and often online reputation management is the most cost-effective option available. If you feel you have a case, speak with an attorney that specializes in defamation cases. If not, call an online reputation management firm.

Online Reputation Tip #3: Generate Positive Attention

Are there positive things already associated with your, or your companies name on the internet? Google yourself and see. Online reputation management also includes updating positive links that include your name, not just reacting against the negatives. One key to helping a positive search result rise, if you have the ability to edit the positive content such as a Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn page, include the problem search term in the body of the content a number of times. A good rule of thumb is ten times (but not always).

You can create new content as well. From speaking at Rotary Clubs and getting the talk mentioned in the local online newspaper, to building Facebook and other social networking pages, there are myriad ways of introducing new, positive content and thereby helping to manage your online reputation. Positive press releases are very helpful as well and can be distributed via PR Newswire and other sources for a relatively small fee.

Online Reputation Tip #4: Monitor Your Reputation

Monitoring your online reputation is an ongoing task, but there are tools that can help automate it. For example, Google offers a free service called Google Alerts (just google it). Google alerts can assist you in your internet reputation management endeavors by alerting you via email when their 'robots' find your name or company name mentioned somewhere on the internet. The best way to take immediate action is to know as soon as possible when your internet reputation has been compromised and take action. Why? Because oftentimes a search engine considers older web pages to be more relevant; and more relevant web pages float to the top of search results.

Online reputation management can seem like a difficult task, and lets be frank - it often is. The average online reputation project takes months to get results. Serious attacks need professional assistance can help. Even when you're careful and keep track of your reputation, attacks - whether active or passive still happen. But if you catch it quickly enough, and follow the steps above, you may be able to lessen the effect it has on your online reputation.
About the Author
Kent Campbell is the founder of the search engine optimization company specializing in online reputation management. Campbell helps clients achieve better search engine placement through SEO copywriting, SERM tactics and other unique strategies.
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