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A Great Reputation is Business’ Most Vulnerable Asset in a Search-Happy World

A Great Reputation is Business’ Most Vulnerable Asset in a Search-Happy World

One of 2017’s biggest trends: Googling people you know.
Of the 75 percent of U.S. adults who Google themselves, nearly half say the results aren’t positive. The reason is simple. Anyone can write anything about you online, typically without consequence. Here are some actions individuals and businesses can take right now to protect their online reputation in 2017.

OCTOBER 5, 2017 – COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – “We live in a search-happy world,” says Anthony Semadeni, owner of Colorado Springs’ digital marketing agency Business Checkup. “If you’ve spoken to a customer recently, networked, or went in for an interview, you should absolutely assume you’re being Googled. Somewhere, someone is typing your name into that search box and making a judgment based on what they find.” Of the 75 percent of U.S. adults who Google themselves, nearly half say the results aren’t positive and the reason is simple: Anyone can write anything about you online, typically without consequence. A jealous competitor can anonymously write a critical blog post or fill out a damning RipoffReport. An angry client can write a horrible review for your business without recourse.

Your online reputation is the information people find about you online, so ignoring this basic fact now puts you at risk if something negative were to come out about you or your company. “Make no mistake, EVERYONE is at risk of negative content online. Without any positive content out there to defend against digital attacks, you have no chance of keeping your online rep clean. Anything negative goes undefended, immediately rising to the top of your search results for the whole world to see…in in the blink of an eye, your good reputation is gone!” cries Anthony Semadeni.

So what can you do?

As high school football coach Anthony Semadeni says, “The best defense is a good offense!” Here are some actions you can take right now to protect your online reputation in 2017:

Review and Clean-Up your current situation.

Each person’s online presence is unique, and you can’t improve what you don’t know. Google yourself and see what comes up in the first few pages. If there is negative or irrelevant content showing up that you control such as weekend party pictures, old websites, etc., then what are you waiting for? Go ahead and delete those now before they are used against you.

Next, review your entire Facebook and Twitter history and flag any potentially damaging or controversial updates. Once your social media feeds are clean, you can make them public in good conscience. “And stop posting those funny photos of you and your family or co-workers. They just aren’t that funny and other people will be making judgements upon your character based upon what you yourself are posting for the world to see. Think about that before you click the ‘POST’ button,” warns Anthony Semadeni.

Registering your name as a domain.

Registering a website with your name in the domain (like www.tonysemadeni.com) is one of the strongest forms of online insurance. You’ll prevent other people from taking this valuable piece of real estate away from you or using it against you in the future. But don’t stop there! Build out your website as a central hub of information about you, including your experience, blog content, relevant press, awards and honors.

“With a website at the very top of your search results, you’ll ensure that when people search your name, they find exactly what you want them to find. You don’t get a better first impression than that,” says Semadeni.

Secure your name across all social platforms.

A website is great, but it only populates one position in your search results (or 2-3 if your sitelinks are ranking.) You’ll need 10 properties ranking to take control of the PAGE 1 narrative. Lay the groundwork for success by registering your name across the most authoritative social media platforms. Yes, that means classic ones like Twitter and Linkedin, but also lesser-known profiles like Quora, Slideshare, and Crunchbase.

Publish regular content.

“Building and optimizing websites and social media properties is only half the battle. You’ll still need to prove to the search engine gods that those properties are valuable enough to searchers to warrant a high ranking,” comments Anthony Semadeni. One way to do that is to update your website regularly with content that your audience finds helpful. Having trouble getting started? Distill your expertise into digestible content like articles, videos, or slideshows. The goal is to find a “sweet spot” between topics your audience is genuinely interested in, and where your experience and unique leadership can lend credibility and value.

Get active on social media.

Getting active on social media is great for two reasons: (1) the profiles will rank in search results over time and (2) it’s an effective way to drive traffic to your website content. By interacting with people and building yourself an audience, you’ll grow the authority of your social media profiles and the authority of your blog content. A note of caution: authenticity is key. People can tell the difference between a robotic feed and a personable one. You’ll be most effective by starting real conversations with people and giving them a reason to follow you back.

If you’re representing a business, there are a couple of additional actions you’ll want to take:

Claim and verify your Google listing.

An unclaimed Google listing is bad for several reasons. You miss out on an opportunity to provide valuable information to your customers, your contact information may be incorrect, and you risk someone else claiming your listing. Once you claim your listing you’ll have to verify your business before your edits can appear across Google Search and Maps. Most businesses verify via postcard which arrives with a verification code within a week. “I can’t stress enough to business owners this one point, you have to connect with Google, ‘claim’ your business profile, and build out your Google+ information,” says Semadeni.

Manage online reviews.

If you’re a business with no reviews, then you’re in trouble — you’re just one review away from a 1-star rating. Considering that 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, having a large number of positive reviews can be a huge competitive advantage. So start encouraging your customers to get active on online review sites. Consider putting a call to action in your email signature, on your website, or even on a sign in your store’s window.

Companies and clients are searching for you online and making decisions based on what they find. Rather than hiding behind privacy settings and fake usernames, take control of your online presence. Get active and stay consistent, and realize that fixing your online reputation is marathon, not a sprint. If you want help, get someone to do the job for you, like Anthony Semadeni’s company, Business Checkup.

About Business Checkup LLC

Since 2010, Business Checkup founder Anthony Semadeni and his team has been committed to helping small business owners compete with the big companies and rise to the next level by providing outsourced advertising and digital marketing services tailored specifically to meet the needs of local “neighbor” businesses.

For more information on 5-star customer review systems, visit www.businesscheckup.info

Media Contact
Company Name: Sterling-Holtby Public Relations
Contact Person: Glenn Sterling
Email: news@sterlingholtby.com
Phone: 916-246-6494
Country: United States
Website: http://www.businesscheckup.info/damage-control