A simple and easy-to-understand beginner’s guide to online reputation management.
In the past, a person’s reputation was based on their actions. Today’s generation is judged largely by how they are represented online. This is especially true for professionals who rely on the Internet – and specifically social media – to run their business and generate an income for their families. A poor image online can equal disaster in real life.
The following are a few simple and easy ways to jumpstart an online reputation management campaign.
Like the bathhouses of ancient Rome, virtual gathering grounds like Facebook and Twitter are today’s portals for news, information, and gossip. Social media sites are an absolute priority for those seeking to establish their brand online. Pages should be updated regularly and offer information that fans/followers can really use. Posts should always be positive, interesting, and include keywords relevant to the business.
Content is the undeniable crown jewel of online reputation management. Content, in the form of blog posts, articles, press releases, etc., is what search engines look for when determining the strength of a query result. Essentially, the content is what makes a site interesting to the search algorithm. Internet content should be well written and truly appeal to the reader. However, to increase its visibility to the web crawlers that direct it to the Search Engine Results Pages, it should be keyword rich without sounding like spam. Site owners should confirm their content is unique and check periodically for plagiarism though a service such as CopyScape, which is user-friendly and inexpensive.
Maintaining an online reputation management campaign is a labor-intensive process. Fortunately, for the less-than-tech-savvy entrepreneurs, there are many tools available online to help simplify the process. Those with a limited budget can benefit from free applications such as Google Alerts, which allows the user to monitor the web for specific keyword terms. Business owners can also find a number of free and paid services that provide the opportunity to update all social media at once.
Many business owners rack their brains trying to decide between a.com or.net domain name. The best choice is to simply buy them all. Domains are inexpensive, often costing less than $13 for one a year registration. Many domain providers, such as GoDaddy, offer a discount for bulk orders and domain registration that extends beyond one year. It’s important to “own your name” when planning an online reputation management campaign. Without having legal rights to all sites bearing a similar business name, it would be very simple for a disgruntled customer or rival business to wreak havoc on one’s online reputation.
In order for a webpage to maintain maximum visibility it should not only be written properly and with an adequate saturation of keywords but must be anchored online correctly as well. Meta-tags – invisible page descriptors – should be a proper length and relevant to the posted content. All incoming and outgoing links should redirect properly. This includes images as well as text.
An online reputation management campaign can either be either proactive or reactive. The latter is the least desirable and those businesses that maintain their online presence from the beginning are likely to suffer less damage during a reputation crisis.
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