Google never forgets.

This can be a benefit or detriment to you, depending on what you’ve put online (or what others have put online about you) thus far.

Negative content can range from news stories, blog posts or comments, and lawsuits that appear in search results all the way to compromising pictures or content on a Facebook profile.  Whatever the outlet, this is your online reputation we’re talking about – which is often the only representation of you that potential employers and clients may have – it’s critical to know what’s out there and to take control.

Believe it or not, there is something you can do about negative online information.

Content is key

The key to reputation management is content.  Good content – and a lot of it – on Google friendly sites will help drive bad search results from the number 1-10 spots down to the teens or twenty’s, which is sometimes enough to sway a potential influential person from marking you with a big red letter.

Unless negative items are consistently published and updated online, the more positive content you add, the farther the negative results will go. Improving your online reputation takes dedication and time.

Now, you’re probably not going to be able to affect your Facebook or LinkedIn search results, so if you have some compromising material on there, it’s best to remove it entirely from your profile.

Articles published on Google-friendly article directories, press releases, and guest posts on blogs (choose blogs with some history and therefore higher ranking) will help to fill in the first 1-2 pages with positive results.  If you can get an article in the local paper, which will most likely have a good online presence that will help the cause.

Content topics should be relevant to what you do, what you know about, or what you’ve done. For example,

  1. Press Release:  You’ve gained a new client!
  2. Article:  “Top 10 Ways to…”
  3. Article:   “What I’ve Learned From…”
  4. Article:   “What Your Current Service Provider Doesn’t Want You to Know…”
  5. Success Story:  How you applied an innovative solution to solve a problem.

Repurpose for positioning

If these five pieces are not enough to drive down your negative results,  take a look at what worked best.  You can repurpose the best content or create new content for that same venue.

There are reputation management systems out there, however, they are merely reporting systems that provide you with the current state of your online reputation and the reporting sources’ trustworthiness.  Reputation management companies must still roll up their sleeves and create a barrage of positive content to drown out the rest.

For tips on writing good, fast content and publishing it on Google-friendly sites, read my previous post, “A Cup of Coffee to Personal Article Marketing.”