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Managing Your Online Reputation

March 14, 2008
Jay

As I was driving to work and listening to NPR, I once again heard a discussion about Eliot Spitzer and his sex scandal that has taken over the news. It got me thinking about online reputation management, and those that engage in it and those who do not. Currently, if you go on Google and search for Governor of New York, half of the results are about how Spitzer was engaged in the scandal and how he resigned from his position yesterday. All of this made me think, is it possible to really manage a reputation online after a controversy like Spitzer?

There are many SEO marketing strategies that suggest how you can manage your online reputation by filling up the front page of Google with fresh content, moving all the negative content to other pages. Some of these ways are by creating your own website, blogging, press releases, creating a squidoo lens, submitting videos to youtube.com, and creating social network profiles such as facebook.com and linkedin.com that can show up in the search results. Then you must engage in a link building strategy to assure these sites will rank well on Google to move the negative feedback to other result pages. These blogs, social profiles and articles provide a new and different view of a story than the one being reported. This content, along with the SEO marketing strategies discussed, can help shape public opinion through the internet.

When it comes to building positive awareness about your brand, product, personality, or public figure, it can take a long time to build a solid identity. Nowadays, for many people the first place they go to information, whether it be about a product or a news story, is one of the major search engines. They rely on the content they find online to keep them up to date, more specifically; they usually rely on the content they find on the first page of that search engine.

A good example of when this strategy would be ideal is for negative comments about a company. For example, if a medium sized public company was losing money because of bad sales or investments, the people who own the stock would read about the bad sales in their financial news, would sell the stock, and the company could eventually go bankrupt. If that company engaged in ways to manage their online reputation, they could provide fresh content to Google about the reasons for their slump, positive things about the company, and why people shouldn’t sell their stock. Overtime this would assist in helping to bring their reputation back up.

I pose the following question: While these reputation management strategies are commonly practiced, when a story of such magnitude as the Spitzer scandal gets released, are these ideas practical to attempt to help sway the public’s opinion and redeem one’s reputation? Probably not. But the point is, online reputation management is vital and should not be overlooked.