We live in fascinating times where technology is becoming more and more integrated in our daily lives. With smartphones, we all have very powerful computers in our pocket that can access information instantly and easily with just a couple of finger taps. While this does make our lives easier, anyone armed with an iPhone can say whatever they want about you or your business regardless of whether or not it is true. This is unfortunate reality of the digital age that we live in.

Like most situations, it is much easier to be proactive with your online reputation than reactive. As the saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”

In order for you to have a good offense, there is actually a lot that you can do before a crisis hits rather than reacting to a problem. Reacting and trying to instantly fix an online reputation management problem is the same as eating fast food for a whole year and then eating healthy only after having a heart attack. If you take the proper steps to lay a positive foundation, it will help you manage any issues in the future and save you lots of stress and headaches.

Here are 9 tips to proactive reputation management:

  1. Reserve your social media accounts: Most of us have Facebook or Twitter accounts. But what about other sites like Pinterest or Google Plus?  Google loves to rank these types of sites and they can be quickly setup. Even if you don’t want to use them, it is a good idea to have them so that down the road you can utilize them if you want to and the accounts have had time to age. At a bare minimum, fill out as much information as you can such as the bio or uploading a picture. This increases the chances of them being ranked for your name.
  2. Buy domain names with your name in them: Buy different variations of your name and host a small website. You can even use this as an opportunity to create an online resume that you can post. Google still likes to rank websites that have the keywords in the domain name, so this helps your chances of ranking your site for your name. Intimidated by building a website? No problem, there are lots of options out there where you can use a website builder like Weebly or Wix and have them put the site on your domain name.
  3. Optimize your existing online profiles: If you have social profiles such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, you can optimize these to increase their chances of ranking. If you have a Pinterest profile, make sure that your username and the URL have your name in them.  If there are areas that allow content, be sure to include your name in a biography or headline.
  4. Interlink your online assets: After you setup your profiles or websites, interlink them! Most of these sites will often give you an option to link to other social profiles. Fill these in and give your profiles a link boost!
  5. Leverage company websites: Work for a company that has a website? Ask to see if you can write a white paper or contribute to the website and list your name on that page.  Include your name in the title tag of the page as well as in the content and you can get some exposure in the search results.
  6. Try blogging on other sites– Got a hobby you love? Something that you are experienced in? Write about it! There are blogs and communities for everything on the web. Pick a topic that you are into such as running or crafting and find blogs on these topics. Most of these blogs will allow other authors to write for them.
  7. Start a blog: Create a blog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com. You can keep it fun and entertaining by posting pictures or the things you love. Keep in mind to keep it professional and know that the overall goal is to have this represent your image or brand.
  8. Start a YouTube channel: You can also make this one fun as well as a great way to stay in touch with friends. Post videos from your vacation or your kid’s soccer game to share with people. If you want to take a professional approach, create videos on a topic that you are an expert in and get your name out there.
  9. Monitor your name: Monitoring your name or brand is crucial. You need to know what is being said about you and if there is an issue, deal with it immediately. Google Alerts is a great way to automatically alert you for a given search term. Use this to your benefit so that you can focus on other things that are more important.

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