Reputation, while not quite “everything” when it comes to guiding your success as an individual or organisation, is certainly close to being “everything”.

In the old days, it was face-to-face meetings that would typically give you your opportunity to make a strong first impression on a prospective customer, client, business partner, colleague, or employer. Today, however, that person is likely to gain their first impression of you from a quick Google search.

If you care about your online reputation at all, the chances are that you already Google yourself – or your organisation or company name – from time to time.

But if what you see from such a search includes potentially damaging content such as negative reviews, unfavourable news articles, or embarrassing photos, you should consider how you can proactively remedy that situation. Here are a few steps you might take to accomplish that.

Carry out a comprehensive audit of your Google search results

It all starts with something very simple: typing your name or that of your business or organisation into Google, and poring over the search results to pick out any negative, inaccurate, or otherwise undesirable content.

We aren’t just referring to the main search results; be sure to check out the image carousel too, as well as any suggestions that appear under “Related searches” (which you might see near position 10 of the search results).

There may also be a “People also ask” section in the search rankings, with further suggestions which may, or may not, flatter you or your company.

Start reaching out to host admins and editors

Presuming you have found something through the above process that you would like to have removed, the exact approach you take is likely to depend on the specific nature of the unwanted content. A lot of the time, it will involve you getting in touch with the host administrator and/or editor for the website that features the given content.

There might be a “Contact us” page or email address on the site that makes this relatively straightforward, or you may need to do some deeper digging.

Depending on the nature of the content, even if the website owner or admin doesn’t agree to remove it, there might be alternative options open to you – for example, getting Google to take certain personally identifiable information down from its results.

Get to work on suppressing the remaining negative content about you

Even if you have done a thorough job of hunting down negative search entries and sending requests to site admins to remove damaging webpages, articles, or images, there might still be some lingering negative content left over that you struggle to get rid of.

If so, this brings us onto another potentially powerful element of online reputation management: search engine suppression. This entails creating new and positive content about you, which will then appear in search rankings – hopefully above any negative links.

The methods that you employ here could include setting up your own professional website (if you don’t presently have one), as well as creating other online profiles, and maybe even publishing press releases about you and your organisation.

To find out more about the complete range of ways in which we can help you cultivate the best possible reputation in Google and other search engines, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our online reputation management experts at Jumping Spider Media today.