Personal Reputation Management: The Reactive Approach

Jun 28, 2006 • 7:34 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Search Topics

Now, search conferences have sessions named "Reputation Management," in fact I have covered not one but two of these sessions at SES. When we first talked about it, I named a post Out-Ranking Negative Reputation Sites, then I don't think it had a name. Now there is a whole business to ensuring your company's online reputation is secure and positive.

A Search Engine Watch Forum thread named Negative Info/Personal Harm discusses a personal brush with online reputation harm. Basically, a local newspaper published negative information about the person, which he says is wrong and if anyone searches on his name, up comes the article. It is harming him both personally and professionally.

Search Engine Watch Forums members offer some great advice on how to try to ease the issue. Basically, rank other pages on top of that bad result. How does one do this?

- Create Personal Web Site - Put up a blog - Send out press releases - Boost other positive pages on the Web by linking to them - Write articles and have other sites syndicate them - Join forums and post

Anything to get more pages, targeting your name, and ranking above the negative result is a step towards personal reputation management.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

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Chris Beasley

06/28/2006 12:35 pm

If the information is truly wrong then its libel and you could of course sue the newspaper, or at the very least threaten it enough to remove the content and print a retraction.

Michael Martinez

06/28/2006 12:52 pm

Most attorneys won't touch a libel case without being paid a retainer up front. When I was libeled by a very prominent Web figure several years ago, plenty of attorneys told me they would be glad to sue him: for anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 up front. No one who is feeling the pain of a public attack should give in to the temptation to handle the reputation management by themselves. Addressing something like a news article in the search engine results is more complex than the glib replies in that thread make it sound like. That article can probably be found for many searches. It would be better if the person involved hires a publicist to counter the false information through a media campaign. Attack the newspaper on their own ground, discredit them. That's how you get newspapers to retract bad information. Once you have that victory under your belt, you can post all sorts of stuff to the Web, further discrediting the archived data. But simply trying to bury the results is not as easy it first appears. Too many SEOs think in a monolinear fashion when it comes to analyzing search results. Life should be so simple.

Barry Schwartz

06/28/2006 02:12 pm

Nice comments guys.

Michael Martinez

06/28/2006 03:12 pm

Also, the First Amendment does not protect newspapers against reprinting false statements. Internet service providers have far more protection thanks to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 than do newspapers in matters of libel.

Debra Mastaler

06/29/2006 05:58 pm

Didn't the Supreme Court strike down the Communications Decency Act act as unconstitutional in 1997?

Louis Halpern

10/09/2009 06:15 pm

The trick is to be pro-active. Do everything mentioned in this blog and more as a matter of course. What-ever your profession or interests you should have a personal website or blog, participate online and you can be ahead of the curve.

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