Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Your online reputation: the better it is, the more successful your blog will be

A good online reputation can take years to build and just moments to destroy. Disgruntled former writers, unreasonable customers, and even your competition can engage in online smears that are difficult for your blog to counter. Before hiring a reputation management firm, look at some of the cases of those who have come before you and the steps they took.

Remove, Reveal, and Defend

In one case study, an entrepreneur suffered online attacks that, after some digging, he was sure was the work of an unscrupulous competitor who wanted the market all to himself. His goals in protecting his reputation were to: remove or suppress the libelous reviews, ratings, and accusations; and find the source and take action to ensure that this activity would cease.

Using the URLs from every bad review, the firm he hired was able to ascertain that many of them were cut-and-paste duplicates. Armed with this information, they were able to get much of the bad press unpublished. Through several similar profiles, they were able to track the person responsible -- it turned out to be a hired smear artist. They found him and convinced him to give up his benefactor. With most of the damage reversed, the entrepreneur is back in business and getting glowing reviews.

Managing your online reputation
Is the problem me?

Make Sure the Problem Isn't You

Another case study urges business owners or bloggers to ask themselves some preemptive questions. Does your business or blog have integrity, good intent, and does it live up to its promises? Does it get results and provide strong customers service? If you answered no to ANY of those questions, the firm recommends starting there before you hire outside help.

Control What You Can

There are two types of Web pages: the ones you can always control and the ones you can't. A third case study points out that the pages you control, like your blog or Web site, should always rank higher and be the pages on which you want people to click. Strong SEO should get the pages under your control to the top of the search rankings, and the study advises using linking with anchor text to move the ones you can't control -- but still want people to see -- right under them.

Many sites offer online reputation management, but it can be pricey and ineffective. Be sure to check their online reputation before you buy.

If You Can't Remove, Suppress

Another reputation management site reveals its simple but effective strategy: Scour constantly for bad reviews, and when one comes up, flood the Internet with positive reviews to push that one down in the search rankings. It doesn't get rid of the libelous statement, but if a bad review can be banished to page three of Google, it may as well have disappeared. Although this fix is effective, it may be temporary -- and expensive. The lowest asking price for this service is in the thousands of pounds.

The better your online reputation is, the better your blog will do. It can come under attack from a lot of different angles, but the good news is, you have a lot weapons to launch a counter strike. Run a good, honest blog that provides a valuable service. That should be enough. If it isn't, fight back -- or you soon won't have anything left for which to fight.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about online business and the blogosphere.

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