Online reputation management has become much more challenging in recent years. Since February 2011, the world’s largest search engine Google has made more than 22 major algorithm adjustments, causing radical changes to the online content that people are now finding. A new level of consumer has emerged as we prepare to move into 2013. People that have not historically been concerned about online content are now focused not just on what is currently found, but also on what could be found in the not too distant future.

Now, more than ever, we urge caution when a negative posting appear. For all of the quality information found online there is a growing undertow of attack blogs, complaint sites, rating sites–even legal documents previously only found inside the file rooms of court houses–all appearing front and center for people’s online results. The Internet is unforgiving and a hasty reaction to false information can exacerbate the negative impact experienced. A sober response that is well planned is the only cure that delivers relief.

Today, 3Ci Managing Director Steven Wyer suggests four major mistakes businesses and individuals often make when it comes to online reputation management. Avoiding these pitfalls could save you money and embarrassment.

  1. Don’t respond by posting up a comment in defense of yourself. When someone first notices a negative review or online comment, the first impulse is almost always to defend him or herself. But firing off a reply can be disastrous, appearing overly defensive or even combative. Additionally, the response may encourage the commenter to post even more negative material, compounding the problem. Contacting the poster directly can also be detrimental. Often the best response is no response. While it is not emotionally gratifying, silence is almost always the best initial response.
  2. Be Alert. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo provide free “Alert” services. These tools allow you to set up a free monitoring process that will automatically notify you when content is found for any of the terms/names placed in to the tool. Knowledge is power and free is always a good price!
  3. Set up online real estate. We recommend claiming various social media sites and URLs related to your name and/or your company’s name. This will prevent an interloper from setting up a site and posing as you. Additionally, by owning such widespread real estate, you will have multiple outlets on which to post positive content about your person or your company, making future online reputation management easier and more comprehensive.
  4. Focus on content. While at one time it was possible to post spammy, nonsensical content and still rank well, the Google Panda updates have penalized or banned search results containing this type of material. It’s important not only to post relevant content, but also to ensure that it is not duplicated anywhere else on the web. For the best online reputation management, 3ci recommends using online tools like Copyscape or to insure your content is original.

If your attempts to correct online content prove futile, 3Ci can help. We offer free consultations with no obligation to retain our services. We will review your individual case and determine what improvements might be made. For more information on online reputation management, call us at 888-229-0746.

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