Everybody should Google their names every now and then. You don’t necessarily have to own a business to do so, even if you are just a regular internet user, you really need to Google your name and see what result is going to pop up on the search results.
If you think that your own reputation or your business reputation is at risk, then you should do the following before thinking of hiring a specialized company to clean up your reputation, because you might not need one:-
1- Google your name or your business name in two different languages, your own mother tongue language and another one if you are familiar with it. By doing so, you will be able to check different results with different languages search. Trust me, you will notice the difference when you do this search.
2- Always check the first 10 pages on the search results. If the links that talks negatively about you are located behind 1st page, then you don’t need to do big efforts to push them further back on the search results. You need to be aware that you cannot remove or delete the bad content about your name, but you surely can push it further back, where no one will bother to check. On how to push them back, this i will explain below.
Of course you can message the website admin and ask him to remove the bad content about your name, and see what are your chances in taking this initiative. On any case, you need to realize that even if the bad content is removed, a search engine like Google cache their results and enable surfers with the click of the cached link, to view content that has been removed. In addition, if someone is digging for your name, they can find the bad content that has been removed, simply by using the Wayback Machine website that records all websites back from 1990. So, this is to simply explain to you that even if the bad content page or the link is removed, it is actually removed from a certain website, but not from the entire internet network.
3- Trace the main source who has spread the bad word about your name or your business name. In order to reach that source, you really need to dig up the internet. This process will take quite some time from you to find the source, but you will reach it, if you do your homework search well. One of the ways that can lead you to the main source, is that you read social media users comments and the conversations people are having between each others about you, whether on Facebook, Twitter or forums…etc
For many times, I was digging hard for accurate information on some complicated issues, and I found what I needed to know from people’s discussions on social media and on forums. It takes time, but it worth the efforts.
4- If you think that what is being published about you necessitate that you raise a lawsuit, then do so. But if you think that it can be handled by you through the internet or by a specialized company in this filed, it is up to you to make the decision, because it is your own reputation.
You also need to be aware of the fact that when a bad news is published about someone, it spreads like fire and this is what people believe, unfortunately. But when there is a correction or removal of the bad news, no one bother to spread or even believe it, simply because many people in this world if not the majority are just fond of reading and talking about other people’s scandals, and they don’t really bother to search for the truth that relates to any piece of news in general.
If you think that it is necessary to raise a lawsuit, you still need to clean up your online reputation, for the same reasons I have mentioned previously. Furthermore, even if you win the case, maybe a couple of people will talk about it then it will be forgotten in no time. But what will be kept in people’s memory, and what will be repeated when your name pops up, is the first bad news.
5- When you search for your name or your company’s name, make sure to search images, videos as well, you will never know what you can find there, unless you do this search.
6- if you find negative links about your name in search result 1st page, the first thing you need to do, is that you DO NOT PANIC. Because if you do, you won’t be able to think clearly or act smartly. In addition, it might backfire at you if you don’t act wisely and calmly.
7- In order to clean up your reputation, you just need one tool, which is the time to do so. If you have the time, you can do it and you don’t need a specialized company to do it for you. But if you don’t, then make sure to hire a good reputable company to do it for you. My advice is that you pick the right company, and not the expensive company. Because if you don’t, you will end up by paying tons of money for nothing or for backfire. So, be careful when you select the company.
Don’t get deceived by Big companies names in the marketing field, believe me it’s not at all about how expensive they are or how big they are, but it is all about how good they are. It is also not about how much they charge you for or charge you in advance, but it is all about delivering the results you are hoping for, and you get results in return of your money. If there is no results, then YOU PAY NO MONEY. Most important thing is that they don’t lie to you and claim that they will make an Alice of you in their wonders land!
Now, How can you clean up your own reputation?
1- Confront the people who are spreading the bad news about you. Don’t be aggressive towards them, but be wise, calm, polite, objective and talk to them with logic. Put into your mind, that some of those people were directed to do so. So, if someone had the influence in directing those people to believe the bad word about you, you can also have this power on those same people to gain them to your direction and if you have the power and the credibility to do so, they will be your strong shield against the one who ruined your reputation in the first place.
From my own experience and what I believe, is that this internet network, is nothing but directing people to where someone or whoever wants them to go, and you can apply this on everything the internet is offering or containing. Everybody is playing the same game, some they know the rules of this game, and many others don’t, but they all play it anyway.
2- Ask the people that knows you very well, like your followers, fans, friends, clients, family or relatives to help you in this regard by not defending you but by showing the real you from what they have experienced in knowing you from a close distance.
3- Ask your clients through social media to give a feedback about you and about your business, whether on your website or on your social media accounts. But better that your social media accounts and your website to be connected, so the posting is automatically done.
4- If you don’t have a website, create one and preferably with your own name, so when people are searching for your name, they will get all information about you in one place. If you already have one, make sure to write good and unique content pages and posts, and even make videos about yourself and about your business, and get your clients and all people who know you to participate with their testimonials. Because all these pages, posts, images and videos when they appear on the search results, they will replace the bad links about you. If you don’t know how to do this the right way according to SEO and Google rules, contact me and I will tell you how to do this.
5- Build natural links to all the pages you are going to create on your website, so Google will notice you and when you rank on the first page, the negative links about you will be moved automatically behind first page. If you need any guidance on how to build natural links, you can still contact me and I will explain it to you.
6- Don’t block the people who are attacking you or spreading the bad word about you, confront them based on a decent conversation and not based on a fight or arguing. Trust me, if they were recruited to ruin your reputation, they are the ones who are going to block you, when they run out of arguments and proofs.
7- If you discover that the main source who ruined your reputation, did it deliberately to harm you or your business, don’t even think about going into a debate with him. Because if you do this publicly, I can assure you that things will get out of your control, and it will turn to a blind revenge and you are going to lose people’s support or the chance that people might believe your side of the story.
In case you want to nail the guy or whoever deliberately ruined your reputation, you can hire a company in the marketing field to do it for you and better not you. But be careful when you hire that company. If the person who harmed your reputation already has issues to dig up, fine and it can be done based on his own bad doing and not based on invented stories or lies or false accusations. Remember that we are living in the internet era now, where nothing can be hidden anywhere. So, to do this, you need to be 100% sure that the person you are going to nail, indeed has issues and the company can use these real issues to expose him, and not to use their own invented stories against him.
8- You don’t need to dedicate yourself for a self defense, but you need to dedicate your time for clearing and cleaning your name, by just telling the truth about yourself, about what happened and why did it happen. This you will be able to know and tell after you dig up for who did it and why? Truth is always and the only short way to people’s brain and heart, unless they are evil or devils of course.
Believe me, even if you have committed mistakes in the past that led to ruining your reputation or your business, you can still gain people’s support, by being direct and honest, and you are not going to be labelled as a weak or a coward person, if you apologize for any mistake you have done. On the opposite, you are going to gain people’s respect. We are humans after all, no body is perfect and there aren’t any angels on this earth. So, it is really okay to act like a human being.
Eman Nabih is Chief Operating Officer in Devenia. She is a Social Media Expert with special interest and expertise in building traffic through social media’s like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Her personal website is at EmanNabih.com.
Eman can be reached at the contact us page, by mail or phone.