Recovering Your Internet Brand is Not a “Do It Yourself” Project
“Why can’t I just click on the good links?” said a financial executive incredulously while working together to repair his damaged online reputation last week. This is usually one of the first questions I get, and it might seem logical—after all, the more you click on something, the more it rises to the top of Google searches, right?
One little problem: it doesn’t work.
Google knows your temptation to sit at your desk while reading a book or eating a sandwich and hitting the return button every ten seconds. After about the second click they are on to you.
While it may be tempting to try the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach first, you probably will end up spinning your wheels which could cost you valuable time. Remember: the more a damaged brand is visible, the more likely it will get worse.
Here are some other ORM myths busted.
1. Click Like Mad on Good Links
See above: it does not work, or if it does, it works only for about two or three clicks. The idea is laudable but search engines know where the clicks are coming from (via your computer’s IP address), and will not count them.
2. Enlist Friends to a “Click-fest” Party
This is a variation on the first DIY no-no, and on paper, this might seem like a creative alternative. But the same issue crops up quickly: anything after the first few clicks are a useless waste of time. Also, it’s not really a sustainable response to a very serious issue.
3. Put Up a One Page Site and Cross Your Fingers
Creating a bare-bones WordPress site won’t cut it. To push the negative down off the first page, you must create a valid, well-made website with good, visually appealing content. For example, a client I worked with tried to put all his good reviews on a site made up of just one long, long page. However, nothing happened and he might have been penalized for creating sites that look like spam.
4. Go On a Domain Buying Spree: Why Not Get a Dozen?
Again, a slight variation on the above but with a “more the merrier” approach. It might work if you created full-blown sites for each domain, complete with blogs, but the upkeep on them would be back breaking and impossible. Think about writing a good, unique post each week for a dozen sites for six months—that’s almost 300 blogs, or about 1200 hours worth of work!
5. Create a Twitter Account and Don’t Tweet
Setting up a Twitter or other social media account is good; doing nothing with it is bad. More than ever, you must engage with users or they won’t connect with you. Most people are very savvy today and smell flimflam or fake accounts and will stay clear of you.
6. Sign Up for Local Search Sites
Gone are the days of just creating an account on a local search site such as Manta or posting something on Craig’s List leading to a positive impact. Where and what you post online makes a difference.
The Bottom Line
Online reputation management is complex with many moving parts. The DIY path might be tempting but it is rarely successful.