As the age-old saying goes, first impressions are everything. And while this means that you have to put your best foot forward when you get talked into that blind date with Susie’s second cousin, the internet and the effectiveness of search engines have taken this to a whole new level. Unless your company or personal name is extremely generic (john smith, acme company), when someone writes something about you online, the chances of that blog, comment, or webpage being displayed on the first couple of pages in your favorite search engines increases within a matter of a couple of days. Now, if this happens to be a good comment or Susie’s second cousin was the former Miss America, then great for you. If, however, it is bad, it could have considerably negative social and economic consequences.
Think about the last time you made a decision to hire a consultant or buy a product. Most likely you went to Google (15% of you went to Yahoo) and typed in that product or company name to get a feel for the reliability of that product or service. If all you saw were good comments and reviews, it may have tipped you into making a favorable decision. But if all you saw were a lot of bad remarks, then most likely you did not buy that product or service. As much as we don’t want to admit it, reputation goes a long way.
What is an effective way to manage your reputation online?
Build a proper defense – Unless you are the Phoenix Suns, you should have entrenched into your mind that good offense is a good defense. It doesn’t matter if you are Shaquille O’Neal, most likely there is someone out there that does not like you and would prefer you not become successful. It is only a matter of time before they write something about you that quickly finds itself onto the first page of search engines. But if you have already built and created everything you could before you are attacked online, you will likely maintain the better reputation. The best thing to do is to build enough authority on these pages in order to weed out and control the first 3 pages. In order to do this, you need to find and create 50 pieces of information on different websites about you; profiles tend to hold more authority on search engines. At first this might seem like a lot, but it should not take that long to do. The following are 10 items/sites to get you started building profiles and get things optimized!