I’ll be the first to admit when we have a new applicant, the very first thing I do is Google them – and I’m 1,000% sure I’m not alone. This has become standard practice for most companies so I don’t think I have to tell someone to clean up their online reputation if they are searching for a job. What I DO have to tell you is that if you’re launching a new business, seeking investors, or trying to develop strategic partnerships, please make sure your online reputation is shiny and chrome!
First impressions mean everything. Especially if you’re a business. Negative results in your Google search or inconsistencies with your branding can put a damper on those efforts. Below are some quick tips on how to rise from the ashes of a bad reputation.
Perform a Google* search to see what kind of results and reviews are displayed. View these results through the critical lenses of a prospective client or investor. Note any items that are suspect or even those that push your Google results further down on the first page. It would also be wise to search on industry-related websites such as Vitals, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc. You can also search on Bing and Yahoo to see if anything has slipped through Google’s spidery web.
Once you have the Google results documented, you can start the clean up. A simultaneous sweep seems to work best – attacking simple as well as more complex results all at once.
Clean up social media profiles and assure your branding elements and contact information are consistent across all platforms and industry-related websites. Remove offensive posts, images, and any other unprofessional items. In addition, we recommend claiming your Google My Business listing and confirm your business information is up-to-date.
Negative reviews, news articles, and mugshots usually take more work to drown out. Focus on generating positive blog posts, white papers, case studies, and updated (or new) website content. If these can include the keywords that are generating the negative press, that’s even better! Share your posts and content with friends, family and on social media for more impact.
If you haven’t already, start answering negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, TripAdvisor, Amazon, etc. Regardless of what is said, stay professional and give your customers or clientele a place to be heard and provide peaceful resolutions to the conflict.
Unfortunately, the negative results will continue to pop up unless you perpetually “feed the beast” with positivity. Focus on the sites that matter most to your business: your website, social media, Google My Business Profile, and any industry-related platforms such as LinkedIn. It may seem like an uphill battle, but the rewards of a clean reputation pay off in multitudes.
Are you in a pickle in the worst way? We’re here to help tackle the <$%^#/> so you can continue to focus on your business. Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or fill out a contact form with the details!
*We always recommend Google because it’s widely used and is currently the number one search engine.
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, a website development company in El Paso, TX.