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Cleaning up your online footprint? The right Google search reputation management strategy can help.
Do you need something negative removed from Google? What impression are you making when people research you or your brand? Want to grow your business with search engine optimization?
These are all commonly asked questions surrounding Google search reputation management. A niche within the broader online reputation management arena, tactics tied specifically to Google are, at the same time, often also used to wider effect.
Rather than seeking solely to remove unwanted results, Google search reputation management is used by businesses and individuals alike to drive online visibility and traffic, too. It’s also used to great effect to monitor and influence new and existing search engine results page positions.
Of course, a leading call for Google search reputation management still hangs on removing or suppressing negative commentary. As a whole, though, it’s a far-reaching practice and a broad topic to cover. This means that it can be tricky to get your head around.
Accordingly, here’s everything you need to know in the shape of a complete beginner’s guide to Google search reputation management.
Google Search Reputation Management: Getting Started
Before getting started on your Google search reputation management journey, it’s important to understand the distinction between this and general online reputation management or ORM.
While ORM tackles the influencing and controlling or concealing of online content at large, Google search reputation management is more focused. Google search reputation management looks specifically at the multinational technology behemoth’s search engine results pages—or SERPs—above all else.
While this often relies to some degree on what’s happening on, for example, social media and other third-party websites, the focus remains squarely on the all-important SERPs accessed via Google’s homepage, app, or from elsewhere.
Whether you’re trying to remove unwanted results or promote more positive ones, the approach is largely the same. It’s about establishing yourself, your brand, or your business in the search engine listings of Google’s first page of results.
Approach #1: Removing something negative from Google
Removing something negative or otherwise harmful from Google is a leading reason for turning to Google search reputation management.
A fundamental part not only of Google search reputation management but of online reputation management more generally, too, several methods exist focused on achieving this particular goal.
Almost all of what appears on Google’s search engine results pages does so on the basis that it already appears somewhere else online in the first place. There’s one exception to this, which we’ll touch on in a moment.
The good news here, in theory at least, is that all you need to do to remove a negative, damaging, or otherwise harmful piece of information from Google’s SERPs is to have it removed from the website that’s displaying it.
Sometimes all it takes is reaching out to the owner of a given website. If there are multiple negative results, the approach must be repeated for each.
In an ideal world, this would be the end of it; problem solved. Unfortunately, many websites will politely decline or flat-out refuse your request.
Some may even attempt to charge you hundreds of dollars for removal, such as those dedicated to posting individuals’ arrest records and mugshots.
Others, such as Yelp, are actively in the business of spreading information about people, places, and companies, whether good or bad. Unless you have legal grounds to ask for something to be removed, they’ll almost always decline as well.
Still always worth a try, your best bet, however, is to attempt to suppress any negative content or information. This is done by publishing or promoting new and existing positive content that can be found when searching for yourself or your business.
By suppressing top-ranking negative results with more positive pieces of information—such as press releases or blog posts—that you have control of, you’re able to effectively influence what appears on Google.
Once any harmful information is relegated to page two or three of Google’s SERPs, it’s much less of a problem. That’s because it’s no longer the first thing that people see when they search for your name or the name of your business.
Suppressing an unflattering blog post or an article from a local news outlet can be reasonably straightforward.
However, some results are much harder to suppress, such as those hailing from secure .gov websites or larger national or international news outlets. Still, you won’t know until you try.
A third possibility centers upon a slightly different approach. That’s because, as mentioned already, not quite all of what appears on Google’s search engine results pages does so purely on the basis that it already appears somewhere else online.
Some information, in fact, can be added directly to the first page of Google’s results by businesses, individuals, and even other users of the platform alike.
Take advantage of low-cost paid ads, social media and Google My Business profiles, images, videos, featured snippets, and more in this regard.
Use this method to bolster your chances of success with either removal requests or suppression attempts in order to have something negative removed from Google.
Approach #2: Growing your business with Google search reputation management
Entirely separate from having something negative removed from Google is using the platform to grow your business via search reputation management.
This may involve seeking to remove one or more damaging results in the first instance, but it’s ultimately about using the practice to promote and grow your business via a number of similar approaches.
By securing the top 1-10 SERP positions for your company name, brand, or other important keywords or phrases, you’re simultaneously protecting your reputation while promoting and growing your business.
By aiming to control the top results using Google search reputation management, you’re increasing your earning potential while also reducing the risk of harmful content appearing down the line.
Aim to promote your own website, blog posts, press releases, and more to the top of Google’s SERPs. At the same time, reach out to top-ranking websites with a view to collaborating and continue always to seek the removal of anything bordering on negative.
Promote glowing reviews and chase any positive press. The stronger results 1-10 are for the name of your business or brand, the better.
That said, arguably the most valuable results are those which you control. So, pages on your own website or websites, social media profiles, and blog posts. All pages and information that you can later edit or add to. Don’t overlook the value of this in safeguarding your Google search reputation in favor solely of third-party results, however positive or prestigious.
Approach #3: Building your personal brand by influencing Google’s SERPs
Next, and blurring the lines between removing something negative from Google and growing your business with Google search reputation management, is building your personal brand by influencing Google’s SERPs.
Whether you’re a private individual or someone in the public eye, having control over what appears when Googling your name or the name of your brand can be invaluable.
People don’t only search for brands and businesses. Employers and universities, for example, now routinely look up potential new recruits and students. In this sense, you simply cannot afford for negative content to appear.
Utilize a combination of the approaches outlined above to secure your personal brand on Google.
As an individual, consider any social media posts indexed by Google and look at deleting anything that may be detrimental to your Google search reputation management efforts.
Approach #4: Call in the professionals
Like many things in life, if you’re prepared to put in the work, you can absolutely take care of your own Google search reputation management needs for free.
However, when you consider the labor-intensive nature of the process, this can rarely be considered as doing it truly ‘for free’ in reality. You could be tied up with it for hours at a time and weeks on end.
In many cases, particularly for businesses and business owners, the time cost of successfully managing their own Google search reputation is prohibitively high.
For this and many other reasons, then, people often look to turn to the professionals for help.
Whether you’re short on time, unable to achieve the desired results by yourself, or would simply rather have someone else do the work for you, help is at hand.
At NetReputation, we’re immensely proud to utilize the latest technology and processes to provide world-class online reputation management services that get results.
Recently rated #1 by both Ebiznewswire and Digital Exits, take back control of your name or brand with the top Google search reputation management agency.
Also ranked best global reputation management firm of 2020 by Newsweek.com, work with the most trusted team in the industry on your Google search reputation management needs.
Ask yourself, are you looking to change Google search results for your name, or do you want to grow your business with search engine optimization?
Do you need to fix existing reputation mistakes, defend yourself or your company against defamation, or ensure future protection from online slander?
If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding ‘yes,’ then also ask yourself this: What can a Google search reputation management agency do for me?