You know how important it is to properly manage your online reputation. That’s Internet Marketing 101. But what if someone targets you? What if something negative gains traction before you have a chance to squash or fix it? What do you do? How do you repair the damage that has been done?

Start with the URLS

Michael Fertik, one of the pioneers in reputation management recently told Entrepreneur.com that someone who wants to protect or repair his or her own reputation needs to get his or her hands on as much real estate as possible. As an Internet Marketer you already know that you need to make sure you grab as many name-centric social profiles as possible (even if you can’t fill them yet). You know that you need to buy not just the .com and .net URL extensions but the .org, .info, etc.

Did you think about buying the pejorative versions of your name as well? Grabbing profile names like “[BUSINESS NAME] sucks” or “we hate [BUSINESS NAME]”  or even “Anti-[BUSINESS NAME]” profiles and domains yourself prevents other would be attackers from doing it themselves.

Re-Enhance Your SEO

ID-100109817Start with the keywords. You want to use the same basic but simultaneously antithetical approach as you did with your profiles and domain names. So target your own name and your same keywords but this time, add positive qualifiers to them. “the best [type of product]” or “great [type of product]” or whatever. This helps hone your keywords, ensuring that you’ll show up in results when people search specifically for highly rated products or services in your niche.

Make sure you plug these keywords in everywhere—in your site and blog tags, in the content itself, in your social media profiles and even in the links you build organically. The more things that talk about what you offer alongside words like “great,” “awesome,” “good,” “the best,” etc. the better for you.

You could also use the pejoratives to your advantage here. For example: “A lot of people have been saying that [product name] sucks, but according to our studies and reviews, [product name] is the best in its niche.” This way when people try to write about how much they hate you, they’ll be drowned out by your own positive SEO.

Go Straight to the Source

One of the areas in which many Internet marketers fail is dealing with someone one-on-one. We all understand how to hold someone’s hand as they decide whether or not to buy what we’re selling. But it’s hard not to respond to an attack with an attack or to write off an attacker as a hater or a troll.

First, it will take some time (the IM field is incredibly competitive), but learn how to tell the difference between genuine constructive criticism and negative feedback and someone who is trolling you in the hopes of impacting your customer base. Trolls should be ignored. Genuine criticism requires attention and a delicate touch.

Finally, resist the urge to oversell your product. Follow the example of companies like 29Prime.com, who embody the 80/20 rule: 80% of what you put out into the world needs to be genuinely helpful to your readers; 20% of what you put into the world can be sales related.

As Internet marketers, you’re trained via gurus, experts, people in popular forums, that quantity is better than quality when it comes to selling your stuff. Flooding the market will only further damage your reputation. Use the tips we’ve taught you here, emulate some of the “big kids” and you’ll weather your reputation storm just fine.

 This is a guest post by Sara Stringer

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