Online Reputation Management: 25 Free Tips
Updated for 2018
See Related Article: Calculating the Value of Online Reputation Management
Here are some of the top 25 free online reputation management tips from Recover Reputation available to help build, boost or repair a web presence for CEOs, businesses and professionals such as lawyers, financial advisors, or those in the art world.
The tips range from content creation, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), monitoring, and off-site suggestions, and are listed roughly in order of importance.
Most can be accomplished by dedicating time and a varying degree of effort; others require research such as defining effective key search terms and adding them to Title meta data of your web site; some require help from an online reputation management expert.
Remember, however, that online reputation management is a long term process, and could take about six months or more to complete, requiring about two or four hundred hours of consistent work, two to three hours per day.
1. Create A Website
Making a website or updating a site with quality content and using your name or business as the domain name is one of the top tips. Be sure to add legitimate information your readers or clients will truly find valuable. Also, the site should be updated frequently. I highly recommend WordPress and it’s thousands of free or low-cost templates.
2. Write a Blog
Writing a blog is probably one of the best solutions. Posting instructive and engaging articles weekly or very frequently is crucial. It is best to use a catchy title, have good images (don’t swipe it: purchase it or use a Creative Commons image), use headings to break the piece down into easy-to-read sections, and insert one or two links back to your site.
3. Be Active On LinkedIn
For business connections, nothing beats LinkedIn. As with any social media site, completely fill out the profile and make sure you include web site links in your contact information. An additional online reputation management tip: customize your URL with your name or business.
4. Attempt to Remove Negative Links
Removing a negative post, link, image or blog post is sometimes possible but frankly, however, it’s usually extremely difficult once something has been published. Politely contact the author or webmaster and professionally state your case and request the item to be removed. Be sensitive that you don’t want to open a “hornet’s nest” by reaching out to the author, however. There might be options that an online reputation management specialist might have, such as reaching out to Google.
5. Create a Wikipedia Entry
A Wikipedia article is extremely useful and since it is highly valued by search engines, it will usually rank on the top of the first page of Google, making it a powerful online reputation management tip.
Creating one can be problematic, however. The entry must be truly noteworthy, backed-up with verifiable sources and legitimate links. One approach is to focus on major recognizable accomplishments that can be documented, such as lectures given, awards won and articles published. Also note that your article could be taken down by administrators or other editors/readers if your achievements are not substantiated. Be aware that if negative articles just came out, you could be “adding fuel to the fire” by creating additional unwanted attention on Wikipedia.
6. Create a YouTube Video
YouTube and videos are extremely powerful ways to repair an online reputation. Create one that focuses on you and the positive things you do. Keep it brief and as professional as possible, offering useful information. Using your smartphone could be fine so long as your are authentic or provide great content.
7. Stay Clear of Negative Comments
Don’t comment on negative content such as a review on RipoffReports.com because it will only push its ranking higher. Tempting as it might be to tell your side of the story, this will only make things worse so avoid it.
8. Build Links to Your Site
Links to your web site help drive traffic and shows search engines such as Google that you are a noteworthy, good site, thus helping your ranking. Developing a good linking strategy can be extremely time consuming but is worth it. Never buy links: as Google continues to weed out bad links, you’ll quickly get blacklisted and ruin your reputation further.
9. Make a Presence on Industry Platforms
Identify good, interesting and useful platforms specific for your industry, and add your online presence there. Be sure fill out all the profile information, including links to your site and blog, your photo, and links for key articles.
10. Write a Whitepaper
You are an expert in your field—whether it be mortgage backed securities, rental properties in the Hamptons, or contemporary emerging art galleries in Chelsea. Create a detailed whitepaper or thoroughly written informative document on a topic of your choosing, and then post it to a well regarded site.
11. Join Alumni Groups
Add yourself to high school, undergraduate or graduate schools alumni sites. Usually, sites with “.edu” domain extensions are ranked extremely high by Google.
12. Update Your Web Site with Meta Tags Title and Descriptions
Be sure your web site is optimized, ideally for the negative term. This could be complicated and might involve an SEO or reputation expert but make sure your name or your company is included in the title metatags of some of your pages. The page’s Title is the link that Google displays when searching for you, and without it set up properly, good information is less likely to be found.
13. Tweet Daily
Google is using cues from social media engagement more and more so Twitter is an excellent online reputation management tip. Gain good followers, put out helpful information, and link back to your site. Tweet consistently several times a day.
14. Add Images to Pinterest
Adding visual information to Pinterest can also be very powerful. Comment on others, “like” and “Pin” compelling images. The best times to post images are after 8pm or the weekends. Look to gain Followers too and develop Boards that are clear, colorful and have a specific niche.
15. Post Images to Instagram
Although depending on your industry, activity on Instagram can vary, but minimally make an account and add your website in the Profile section. Comment on others, “like” and add your own images you take ranging from cityscapes, vacation photos, meetings locations, etc.
16. Be Active On Facebook
Be very active on social media sites such as Facebook by posting good content. These should not be purely promotional but should be geared to engage with your friends. Add images, ask questions, and comment on other’s post at least once a day.
17. Get on Relevant Blogs
Follow useful blogs and online sites in your field, and be an active voice there. This includes writing comments on others’ posts, adding newsworthy links, and writing original articles tailored for the site.
18. Complete Image Information
As mentioned above, images are more important than ever to Google, and having a properly named image file is crucial. Be sure when adding images to blogs to make sure all additional fields are completed.
19. Write a Guest Blog
Writing an article or blog post as a guest can be a very helpful but not as much as in the past—be sure to work only with blogs focused on your industry. Start by following blogs and topics that are appealing or relate to your business, and eventually pitch them an idea for a blog topic. This is a great way to get links pointing back to your site.
20. Create a Reddit Account and be Active
Reddit is an extremely popular site that aggregates news and comments on various topics. It can sometimes be hard to add a comment or link because it is geared to block spam or frequent additions.
21. Make Comments on Online Communities, Forums
Follow and good, interesting and online sites, forums and communities specific for your industry. Check them frequently and commit to making one comment daily to show that you are a “thought leader.” Also be engaging. Don’t just say, “Good article,” which sounds “spamy,” but put some thought into the comment.
22. Monitor Google Alerts
Monitor your online reputation by signing up for free Google Alerts. Note that you need a Google account, but you should have one already—if you don’t, get one immediately. Enter the word or phrase you want to monitor and when it shows up online, you’ll get an email notification. Usually, enter your name or your business name. If it’s a common name, you can include an attribute about your name, such as, “Jane Smith Finance”. You can also select how often you want alerts (select immediately) as well as other options.
23. Give a Talk or Speak at Conferences
Being visible in public is a way to generate positive news about you and build an excellent reputation, so pick some topics that you are an expert in and contact a local library, club or business organization and offer to give a talk.
Although Google Plus is on it’s way out, it still can be helpful since it’s a Google property and post and comment daily. Follow influencers in your field and engage with them. Since it’s a Google platform, it will be indexed very quickly making it a great online reputation management tip.
25. Create Yelp Reviews for Others
Yelp is a very popular review site, and having a presence there is a way to boost your online reputation. Create some legitimate reviews for places you genuinely like, and avoid the temptation to write a glowing review for yourself posing as someone else—it’s illegal and if you get caught, this could damage things further.
Bonus: Create Infographics
An Infographic is a clear, graphic representation of an idea, and is a very popular way to share information. Generate an infographic based on a blog post using a tool such as Piktochart.
Again, some of these tips can be time consuming and can require special help.
Feel free to reach out to me, Steven W. Giovinco, with any questions.