In our society, it pays to be on top. As you build your brand and expand, you’re more likely to be thrown to the sharks. In the digital world, this is equated to Defamation––and it sucks.
Besides making someone look bad, it weighs on them personally and professionally. It can paint a false picture for employees, customers, and potential investors. It soaks up attention units and leaves a person feeling generally angry or hopeless.
Typically, there are two responses. A person gets really angry about it, or they sort of go into an “it’s hopeless” attitude. Where most people fail is aggressively resolving these (hunt), or just ignore it, therefore letting it get worse (hunted).
The motive is fear
People attack your online reputation for any multitude of reasons. An angry employee, pissed off customer, trolls, etc. But the only actual motive that exists here is to make you afraid. They want you to answer back, post about it, or attempt to reconcile with them.
Unfortunately, you can’t reason with these people 90% of the time. So, should you ignore it? No. Just don’t make it worse. Negative reviews on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor tend to rank well on Google. Truthfully, you don’t want to give Google a reason to let it stick. However, you can take control of the situation and your reputation. That’s why you should hire a firm to address cases of defamation, that’s their bread and butter (ours too).
Websites on websites
Every once in a while, you may even run into instances where someone will go as far as creating a website filled with hate content. Occasionally, this can even rank higher than your company’s website, at which point there should really be no question in addressing it.
The most common hate website will be structured with a domain such as companynamescam.com or stopcompanyname.com. These websites can pickup traction as they start ranking for keyword variations like:
Company name reviews
Company name complaints
These can vary from individualized websites to website forums where people can come and comment, etc. Point being, it can turn into a real digital slaughter fest, if left festering. These can be removed and addressed for companies, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Top of the food chain
Online reputation management is actually very strategic. In some ways, it’s kind of like hunting. It’s always better to be the lion instead of the antelope, wouldn’t you agree? The point––it all comes down to an exact methodology mixed with some trusting of instincts. For example, there are generally 2 different approaches you can take, depending on the circumstances:
Deindex or deletion––This is where a site, review, profile or forum is either deleted or deindexed (meaning it won’t yield any search results on Google, etc.)
Suppression––You can work with a PR firm to address these defamatory results. By creating content and online media campaigns to push down the negative links, it also serves to build your reputation at the same time.
If you are going to go the deletion/deindex route, you would be best advised to wait until the right moment to strike. Meaning, it’s not exactly workable to delete links where people are actively posting or have posted in the last few months. This can generate further problems.
Leave it to the professionals
Here’s what you need to do if you are going to beef up or repair your online reputation.
- Get a brand analysis done
- Get a list of all places where negative content may exist
- Isolate how recent the reviews/negative content is
- Determine with professionals whether you should delete or suppress
- And most importantly, do not engage with people attacking you online. They are going out of their way to attack you, so what makes you think they’re going to have a rational conversation with you?
Online Reputation defines your brand, take control of it, control your company.