This post has been modified to reflect new information since its original publication.
While the work involved in repairing your negative online reputation might seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. There is a simple yet powerful way to change the online conversation surrounding your name: start blogging!
Google places a high value on content that you create. Therefore, your own positive content will eventually rank higher and push down the unflattering items in your search results. Because most people don’t look past the first page of search results, this technique is an effective method of suppressing negative content. In fact, it is a key component of our ReputationDefender product suite.
The following are a few things to keep in mind when blogging to repair your online reputation:
Create quality content
ReputationDefender has been creating blog posts that rank highly on our clients’ search engine results pages (SERPs) since 2006. This experience has taught us that the blog posts that do best are well researched and grammatically correct.
Because search engines place significant emphasis on how trustworthy a website is, Google is likely to view your blog post as untrustworthy if it’s riddled with poor spelling, typos, or bad grammar.
“Poorly written content will usually lead to a reader leaving the page and going back into SERP, which provides a negative signal to search engines.”—Tony Velasquez, director of production and privacy fulfillment at ReputationDefender
Another element of quality content is to what extent it provides the information that readers are looking for—also known as “user intent.” This is an especially important factor because it aligns with the core purpose of all search engines—answering people’s questions.
If your blog post isn’t useful in some way to your visitors, then they won’t bother reading much of it or linking to it from their own sites. Google will then take these signals into account when determining the quality of your page and will rank it lower in the search results. Consequently, if your blog posts don’t offer value to readers, then they won’t be able to help push down your negative content.
Other factors that improve the quality of your content are:
- High-quality images: Having zero images or only low-resolution photographs and graphics makes your site look amateurish and diminishes your authority as a blogger.
- Shareable headlines: You should put as much effort into crafting a clickable headline as you do into writing your article. Because only 20 percent of those who read headlines go on to read the article, you need to make your headline as magnetic possible. For details on how to construct a shareable headline, see How to Write Catchy Headlines and Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist.
- Originality: Use your own words and ideas. Readers won’t take much pleasure in reading the same-old rehashed topics that everyone else is writing about, and Google will punish you for duplicating content if you are “borrowing” too liberally from your own posts or other writers’ content.
- Easily digestible bites of information: The amount of time people spend on your page is part of Google’s ranking algorithm, therefore you want them to stay on your page as long as possible. If your blog post is just one long paragraph or a series of paragraphs without any lists or section headings to break it up and provide structure, then viewers will quickly become overwhelmed and click away.
Have a publishing strategy
Don’t just sign up with a bunch of hosting sites and start posting articles without putting any thought into what you are trying to accomplish. Some platforms are better suited to certain purposes, so you’ll need to strategize how you will use each site.
For example, we optimize LinkedIn to showcase a client’s professional background, Twitter to comment on current topics or promote our content, and WordPress to blog about topics related to our client. Giving each site an identity enables Google to better find the site that matches the person or business someone is searching for.
“At ReputationDefender, we build a portfolio of sites that show who an individual or company is, making each site serve a specific purpose.”—Tony Velasquez, director of production and privacy fulfillment at ReputationDefender
Posting to a website only once or publishing sporadically won’t cut it when it comes to boosting your online reputation. If Google doesn’t see enough changes, additions, or updates to your blog, then your website will drop in the search results. Therefore, you need to add new content on a somewhat regular basis.
Research from Hubspot shows that website traffic increases the more you post, and more traffic will get your blog to rank higher.
However, you can make significant progress without making blogging your full-time job. We find that uploading new content at least twice a month keeps our clients’ sites active and ranking highly for the individual or business we are targeting.
Promote your content
Blogs aren’t billboards. You can’t just hit “publish” and sit back and watch all the traffic arrive. If you want your blog post to stand out among the millions that are posted every day, then you need to go out and promote your content.
Some easy ways to draw more viewers—and thereby increase your blog’s Google ranking—are:
- Sharing links to your blog on social media: By leveraging the incredible reach of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networks, you can quickly grow your blog post audience. In addition to promoting your new content, you can reshare evergreen blog posts to keep driving new readers to your site.
- Contributing to discussions on forums: Responding to questions on sites like Reddit and Quora can increase your name recognition and help you establish yourself as an authority in your field. While you can’t do any overt self-promotion on these platforms, you can use your blog posts here if they provide a good answer to someone’s question. One good method is to include part of your blog post in your answer and add a link to your site so people can read more if they want.
- Writing guest posts: Take advantage of the built-in audiences on other websites by writing guest posts. While you probably won’t be allowed to include links to your blog in the actual piece, you can include a link to your site in your bio—usually at the beginning or the end of your article. The more guest posts you write, the more sites there will be that link back to your site. And, because the number of sites that link back to you is a key factor in determining your site’s worth, guest posting can be a great way to boost your Google ranking.
Make your blog posts search engine friendly
Blogging can be a powerful reputation tool—but only if you structure your websites and blog posts so that Google correctly understands the nature and purpose of your content. You can attract a lot of visitors, but if these people are clicking on your site because Google thinks you sell Apple computers when you’re really a farmer who sells apples, then Google will quickly downgrade you in its rankings because nobody stays on your site for very long.
The process of making a website more visible to Google is called search engine optimization (SEO). While some of the advice we give in this article falls under the umbrella of SEO, it doesn’t begin to cover all the ways to improve your website’s SEO. For a comprehensive overview, see Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.
Other ways to improve your online reputation
Now that you’ve learned about how to use blogging to improve your online reputation, you might wonder if there is anything else you can do. In fact, there are several other strategies you can use to keep unflattering and inaccurate content from the top of your search results, including:
- When it makes sense, trying to remove negative content: Although this step is hard to do, it can often be worth the effort involved.
- Responding to reviews: Replying to all reviews, both good and bad, is vital if you hope to take control of the conversation surrounding your name.
- Monitoring the web for mentions of your name: This enables you to react quickly, and thus more effectively, to any damaging content. To automate this task, there are a number of free tools you can use.
If you’d like more information about how you can strengthen and repair your online reputation, give us a call. We are happy to provide a free consultation.