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Google Reputation Management: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Get the latest on Google search reputation management and how the right ORM strategy can help you clean up results and restore your online footprint.

Updated 9/2023

Google Reputation Management: A Complete Beginner’s Guide- Cleaning up your online footprint? The right search engine reputation management strategy can help. 

Do you need something negative removed from Google?

What impression are you making when people search your brand online?

Want to grow your business with search engine optimization?

These are all commonly asked questions about Google search reputation management. A critical part of any online reputation management strategy, Google reputation management is key to building a better, stronger and more profitable online presence. 

Rather than simply removing unwanted Google results, Google reputation management helps businesses and individuals improve visibility and increase traffic to your site. It’s also essential for monitoring and influencing your presence on local search pages. A comprehensive Google reputation strategy allows you to build a more robust footprint across popular local searches, creating even more opportunities to stand out in your local market.

Of course, Google search reputation management still centers on removing and suppressing negative search results. But overall, Google results management a far-reaching practice and broad topic to cover.

Accordingly, here’s everything you need to know about Google search reputation management and how it can help you thrive online.

Search Engine Reputation Management: Getting Started 

As you start on your Google search reputation management journey, it’s important to understand how it differs from general online reputation management (ORM).

Where ORM tackles the influence and control of online content, Google search reputation management is more focused. Google search management specifically targets Google results pages (aka SERPs) above all else. 

Why is Google so important in the digital age? The answer is simple: Google is the world’s most popular search engine, processing billions of user queries each day. The overwhelming majority of people turn to Google first to find answers.

While it often depends on social media activity and other third-party postings, search engine management remains squarely focused on SERPs appearing with key search phrases.

Whether you’re removing unwanted results or promoting positive assets, the approach is largely the same. Search engine management helps position yourself, your brand, or your business in crucial search engine listings on Google’s first page.

It is essential to understand that potential customers turn to Google to learn about businesses before making purchasing decisions. The quality of information — and that information’s rank in Google search results — can have profound impacts on the purchasing journey. Positive information in SERPs can build trust between you and the people who matter most: your customers.

When customers find consistently positive headlines, reviews, and search results for your brand, they’re far more likely to visit your website and take that crucial next step toward the checkout online.

Negative information, by contrast, can erode trust. Negative reviews, bad press, or unflattering news can derail your chances of building your company. When this negative information is at the top of search results, the damage can be even worse. Adding search reputation management to your arsenal of digital marketing tools can help you establish, build, and restore your all-important online reputation.

There are several basic approaches to consider when managing your reputation on the web.

Approach #1: Removing something negative from Google

Removing negative or harmful content from Google is the top reason to have a Google search reputation management strategy.

A core part of Google search reputation management and online reputation management is information removal. Several methods currently exist to achieve this particular goal.

Nearly all that appears in Google search results already appears somewhere else online. There’s one exception to this, which we’ll touch on in a moment.

The good news? In theory, removing an image or harmful piece of information from Google is possible by removing it from the source.

In some cases, this requires little more than reaching out to the website’s owner. If multiple negative results exist, you must repeat this approach for each one.

In an ideal world, this would be the end of the problem. The site owner or admin would simply process your request, remove the harmful item, and your reputation would be headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, many site owners will politely decline or flat-out refuse your request.

Some might even ask for hundreds of dollars to remove your item. This includes those running arrest records and mugshot websites.

Others, like BBB, are in the business of sharing customer feedback on people, places, and companies. Unless you have legal grounds to request removal, they’ll most likely turn you down.

When removal doesn’t work, suppression may be your best option

When removal falls short, the next best option is suppressing negative content in search. This is done by publishing and promoting positive content people find during searches of your brand.

By suppressing top-ranking negative results with positive assets, you can effectively influence what appears on Google.

Once harmful info is pushed to page two or three of Google, its impact slips away. That’s because it’s no longer the first thing people see when searching your name or business. In fact, if negative information is pushed off the first page, most Google users are not likely to discover it. Studies have shown that the top 10 results on any Google search receive the most clicks; results on pages 2 and 3 may receive few, if any, clicks. 

Suppressing an unflattering blog post or news article is often pretty straightforward.  You create a few articles that highlight your achievements and expertise, publish them on popular websites, and watch as they displace those negative articles in search rankings. 

But some results are much harder to push down, including content on .gov websites and larger international news outlets. In these cases, suppression efforts can sometimes take a little longer, and require a more complicated approach to dislodge negatives and push them down the ladder. Still, it doesn’t hurt to try.

A third possibility involves a slightly different approach. That’s because not everything on Google search pages is there because it’s featured somewhere else online.

In fact, some items are added directly to Google’s first page by businesses, individuals and other users.

These include low-cost paid ads, social media, Google My Business profiles, images, videos, featured snippets and more.

When combined with removals and suppression, adding items directly to search can boost your chances of success.

Approach #2: Growing your business with Google search engine reputation management

Search reputation management is great for removing negative items from Google. But it can also be an effective way to grow your business online.

It may begin by removing one or more damaging results from local search. But ultimately, it works to promote and grow your company’s reach and visibility across the web.

By securing the top positions in SERPS, you’re protecting your reputation while and promoting your brand to potential customers.

And when you control results pages with Google search reputation management, you increase your earning potential while reducing the impact of harmful content.

Focus on pushing your website, blog posts, press releases, and more to the top of SERPs. Meanwhile, collaborate with top-ranking websites to remove negative items from the web.

Promote glowing reviews and chase positive press. The stronger search results are for your business or brand, the better.

That said, the most valuable results are those you control. These include your own website(s), social media profiles, blog posts and online business listings.

With access to these assets, you have a golden opportunity to clean up errors and present information that puts your brand in the best light online.

Don’t overlook the importance of protecting your Google search reputation.

Approach #3: Building your personal brand by influencing Google’s SERPs

In addition to removing negative content and growing your business, Google search reputation management can help build your personal brand online.

Whether you’re a private individual or public official, controlling what appears in Google search is invaluable.

People don’t just search for brands and businesses. In fact, employers and universities now Google new recruits and students on a regular basis. And when that happens, you simply cannot afford a negative online image.

Combine the approaches above to secure your personal brand on Google.

And, consider your social media posts and delete anything that may hurt your Google search reputation management efforts. This includes anything that reflects poorly on your brand, or which could be taken out of context or used against you in the future.  Often times this is just a matter of scrolling through your history and deleting anything you’re unsure about. 

Approach #4: Call in the professionals

Like many things, Google search reputation management takes time, effort and dedication.

And when you consider how labor-intensive the process is, you realize that “free” is a stretch. After all, search reputation management takes constant focus and endless hours to achieve.

What’s more: for small business owners, successfully managing your own Google search reputation can be a costly undertaking.

For these and other reasons, many individuals and brands turn to trusted ORM professionals.

Whether you’re short on time or unable to get results on your own, help is available.

At NetReputation, we’re proud to provide world-class, cutting-edge online reputation management services that get results.

Ranked #1 by both Ebiznewswire, Digital Exits and Newsweek.com, we are the top Google search reputation management agency in the industry. We build search engine reputation solutions that get results and put you in the online driver’s seat. 

Defend and Define Your Brand Online with Google Reputation Management

Are you looking to improve Google search results or grow your business with search engine optimization?

Need to fix existing reputation mistakes, defend yourself against defamation or protect your brand from online slander?

If the answer is ‘yes,’ then also ask yourself: “What can a Google search reputation management agency do for me?”

Contact our award-winning Reputation Team at 844-461-3632 today to learn more.

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