You Are Who The Internet Says You Are

How important is online reputation management?

Regretting those controversial tweets you made or perhaps those pictures you posted online when you were younger thankfully, now there are web sites and services that promise to clean up your online reputation

In an age when a person’s reputation is increasingly defined by Google, Facebook and Twitter, it’s not just celebrities who need to fear a Wikileaks moment. The web may be good for a lot of things, but a big negative aspect of this online world is that it is a permanent repository of the skeletons from our past; some of which never go away. People innocently post images, make blog entries, update Facebook statuses and tweet; all led by a false sense of privacy on the internet. But unfortunately, as soon as you post something, it gets replicated by algorithms and search engines, and is spread like a virus on the World Wide Web.

What is online reputation?

Your online reputation is made up of what you say and what you do on the internet. And this is what people usually find when they Google you for more information. The web is changing so quickly and with new social networking services sprouting up almost every month, it has become impossible for people to understand what they have shared online in the past, and if it can affect them negatively later. In most instances, it will come back to haunt you. Most people think that staying off social networks might help avoid the negative effects on online reputation. But even trying to stay completely off the radar will not help people maintain a clean persona on the interweb. Most of the harm doesn’t come from things you have done yourself, someone could have taken pictures of you and posted them online, and tagged you and now they are there forever.

How to groom your image online?

The sticky factor of the internet is therefore something that most people should be concerned about. Once something is online, it’s almost impossible to get rid of completely. Because, even if you delete the original content, search engines such as Google and Bing most likely have already archived the original content. So tweaking your online reputation usually boils down to tricking these engines. A lot of tech-savvy people with an understanding of how the internet works can try doing it themselves by populating the web with flattering content and optimizing that information for search engines. For others who don’t have an idea as to what should be done, there are professionals such as Ridivi Consulting who have made a business out of creating pristine online personas for clients.

The simplest way to optimize your online reputations is to stress on the search keywords. We tell our clients to populate their blogs and pages by using their names as often as possible. This way, when someone searches for you, these pages climb on top of the results. Another good idea is to set up your own web site or blog, and signing up for popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The more flattering the content you upload, the greater the chances of the search engine picking up the good stuff.

Go to the pros

But sometimes filling up the internet with self-edited information just doesn’t cut it.This is where experts such as Ridivi Consulting come in. We offer what is essentially an online makeover, improving how someone appears on the internet, usually by spotlighting flattering features and concealing negative ones. To do this, they mostly exploit the workings of search engines such as Google and Bing. Google’s Page Rank is what makes this search engines tick and a page is normally ranked based on how often they are linked from other sites. To trick search engines, online reputation managers employ software developers who create dummy web sites that link to a clients approved list of search results. The greater the number of links connecting to it, the higher the site ranks and this is exactly what online reputations managers’ bump up for their clients. There are, of course, times when just tweaking the search engines won’t clean up the mess. Online reputation managers also try and contact the webmasters or bloggers directly in such cases, and ask that the specific items be removed. They also monitor Wikipedia entries related to their clients. These services, of course, come for a price.