How to Effectively Keep an Eye on Your Online Reputation

By Heather Legg

Whether you are concerned about your personal online reputation or your professional/business one—or both—it’s worth paying attention to. A bad online reputation can be detrimental to your personal or professional life, so it’s becoming more and more important to keep an eye on your online rep.

Here are some tips on how to stay aware of what’s out there about you—and how to react to negativity:

Know what is out there about you…and fix it

Who doesn’t love a glowing compliment or positive business or practice review online? But along with these comes the review from the unhappy customer or the patient who had to wait too long at your medical practice. However, when you keep track of what’s out there about you, you can fix it.

The best thing is to set up Google alerts and/or conduct a basic Internet search on yourself or your business every so often to see what’s being said. For instance, many patients write about their doctors, and responding to unhappy patients can be a great way to get new patients. However, if you’re a physician and you come across a negative review about your practice, take the time to fix those doctor reviews. At the very least, give your side of the story, so it won’t be a deterrent to your ability to bring in new patients. Often the reviews include comment tools, so it’s a fairly easy process.

Many people don’t know that there could not only be negative information about themselves online, but also erroneous information. This can be simply because something came up that belongs to someone with the same name. If you are aware of this, you can remedy it before it’s too late. For instance, a job interviewer may have seen something about a person who shares your name; if you know about it, you can explain the situation instead of being caught off-guard.

Employ an online reputation service

There are businesses out there that will take care of all of this for you. Whether it is for your personal or business life, their job is to make sure nothing negative comes up in a search done on you or your business—and upon detecting negative reviews or information, they can do something to counteract the bad press. By pushing negative or false comments, posts, or reviews further down the search spectrum, they make sure that people won’t come across them as quickly or as frequently. Nobody wants a prospective date to see something nasty someone wrote long ago!

Check social media

Though your name or business name may not pop up on an Internet search, you may be out there on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A lot of people love this as long as the posts and tweets are positive. But what happens when they’re not? As long as you know about it, you can begin to remedy the problem. You may not be able to erase it completely, but at least you can step up and defend yourself if there’s something ugly out there and you’re aware of it.

Often it takes a combination of these methods to effectively keep an eye on your online reputation. As our culture moves quickly toward “everything online,” a clean, solid online reputation will pay in a myriad of ways.

Heather Legg is a blogger who writes about Internet safety and management, parenting tips, and healthy lifestyles.