Having a clean or even stellar online reputation is crucial today.
Why? More than ever, any negative blog post or reviews will cause a potential employer, client or business lead to move on to someone else, leading to lost income, a ruined business or having the phone stop ringing.
Just recently, I had a lawyer contact me saying his business completely stopped because of an web smear campaign. Unfortunately, this probably took about an hour to take down a twenty year career.
Is it possible?
Here are four tips to help.
Don’t wait. If something bad about you is out there it probably won’t go away on its own anytime soon, so take charge now. Look at the problem logically, have your feelings (since it can feel extremely upsetting or devastating). Don’t panic or get paralyzed and start acting as soon as possible. Start by creating a brief strategy about how to move forward, such as think about what needs to be done now, next week, next month and six months from now.
Try to Remove it
Once something is online, it’s incredibly hard to remove, but it might be possible. Most sites have a posting policy section, so start there and see if the posted comment is in violation. For example, Yahoo Answers has Community Guidelines restricting what someone can post; other sites have similar rules. However, many sites will ignore your request, such as Ripoff Report, or will do nothing to remove it.
Take Charge and Publish Great Things About You
The best approach is to write great things about yourself. Inundating the web with good content will eventually push down the negative item off the first page.
What to write? Well, that depends on many things. The first thing to do is see what good information has already been written about you and make sure it’s published. If it’s not, be sure to add it immediately. Also include your name and links to your site or other pertinent web sites or blogs. Engage in social media as much as possible.
How long will it take? It can depend on how bad the negative post is, how popular it is or becomes, your existing presence and the effort you put into the repair process. Generally, it could easily take months or a year. If necessary, consider working with a professional to help since it is very time consuming.
Continue to do the Above
Making one post won’t do: it must be a constant, consistent attack. Since this could take many months to compete, prepare to spend hours each day sharing on social media and adding good, fresh content. A professional might spend 100 to 200 hours over several months so it might take you twice that time or much longer. Most projects that I work on take about six months.
The Bottom Line
It is possible to repair or fix your online reputation. Take a breath, dive in and try your best. It probably won’t go away anytime soon but it can be fixed.