Continuing on with our discussion from Part 1 of How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Google…
Google will also change it results based on what it learns about the web. That is changing second by second as its ‘bots (computer programs running day and night reading and analyzing website pages) return each second with new information. Those ‘bots are busy looking at:
- What sites are out there,
- what sites do they link to,
- what sites are most popular
- how the pages are optimized?
Search Engine Reputation Management
So what to do? Here is a starter list of steps for improving your search engine reputation:
- Get your story out there – create a website and promote it on the search engines. Like any website, you need to follow the basics –
- Buy the domain name for at least 2 years – get your full name as the domain name or whatever keyword phrase is causing you the most grief. The reason for buying your name as a domain name is that if someone is writing a negative story about Ebenezer Pumpkin, (which is your name), then when someone else puts in a Google search for Ebenezer Pumpkin, they are directed first to your website, not the negative press story. The reasoning for buying a domain name for keyword phrases is the same. Consider getting a few domains based on your top keyword phrases. Ideally, you want to have the websites active, and not just by the domain name and lock it up. The more active a website is, the better it is for search returns. When you buy and lock up the names for the websites, you do actually have to do something with them, not just let them sit there unused.
- Fill out your meta tags especially the ‘description’ – make sure your name and top keyword phrase is in the description. If you can not edit the code directly (such as if you are using a site template that generates your site, look for a place to create a description.
- Put effort into the 1st 70 characters of the ‘Title’ tag – again include your name and primary keyword phrase.
- Use header tags in your content (H1, H2, H3) to alert Google what is really important about your content.
- Put your photos and images on the site with ALT tags. The reason this is important is that Google searches for things in different ways. Google searches by video and picture in a different program, so its important to cover that base as well. The more you can get your name out there referenced in a positive way, the better off you are. These ALT tags need to have your name in them. Google has a separate search engine just for images. This is your opportunity to directly ‘feed’ it what it is looking for. These should also have your name in them as part of the file name. In other words not picture1.jpg but barackobamastanding.jpg or johnmccainmad.jpg If your site creation or your abilities allow, create captions that match the images and the ALT tags.
This lets you more easily dominate one whole search engine aspect (images) which is often one of the key links on ‘normal’ text links. But it also lets you ‘prove’ your content on another part of Google’s search.
- Visit your content from the search terms in Google. Google looks at what you (and everyone else) visits when you put searches into the search. If you visit your results, then it feels that those results were relevant to the search terms you entered. If your friends do the same, all the better. Do an intentional search on your website to see what it pulls up. Google does keep track of the number of times you do this, so you can’t use it forever to drive up your search engine results.
- Create a WordPress blog about something you are passionate about. Plan on creating at least 10 entries – they don’t have to be long treatises; plan on 400-800 words each. Make sure you put your name, and post some more photos. Make sure it is good content. Don’t just put up garbage, or things you’re not interested in, just to have content up on a blog.
- Make a list of all the search keyword phrases that you are trying to shift your image. This list may be as short as 5-10, but probably should be as long as 50-100. Do a search on the terms You can use Google keyword phrase generator and many other tools as discussed in other posts. This is where you can keep an eye out for the hidden spots that you are gaining a reputation that you do not desire.
- You can also considering having free cartoon versions of your image made for free at befunky.com – the key is to create different images of you that are well indexed by Google. Rather than just having one photo of yourself on your site copied across all the pages, have different photos of yourself, with ALT tags on them, so that Google will pick up your name more often, and in a good sense. You can repurpose a photo and have it made into a cartoon version of you, rather than just having different regular photos of yourself. Google will think its a different photo of you, even if you see it as the same photo of you, just in cartoon form. Also post these on your other sites –
- Create accounts on the social networking sites – you may want to be conservative in how much others are allowed to post content related to you, but you can use this to put your version of the story. If you limit the responses that others can make, you can control to some degree your image. Most of these are not create and forget types of efforts. You will need to keep adding content to the accounts to show they are active. Again you can use your images here as well links to positive stories.
- Post content on a regular basis on sites with links to your site.
- Post content on Craigslist with your keyword terms. Even though Craigslist is primarily a classified ad market, you can also post a message about yourself, your services and jobs. This is shorter term, and will probably need to be reposted every couple of weeks as Craigslist takes down the ads after a couple of weeks.
- You can use tools to make reposting easier such as Craigslist Bot Pro – I have not personally used this yet, but have read many good things about it.
- Ask your network to social bookmark your preferred sites and stories. This includes sites like digg.com, Mixx, delicious, reddit, metafilter. This lets others see your ‘good’ content over the ‘bad’ content, as well as letting Google know your ‘good’ content is better then the ‘bad’ content.
- Write press releases and submit to PRNEWSWIRE and other newswire services. These are great sites as far as reputation with Google and other search engines. Of course these need to be properly written to include your keyword phrases and related phrases frequently throughout the release. Include links back to yourself at least 2 times.
- Review your content for your keyword phrases and related terms. If you are not being explicit in your descriptions, don’t expect Google to know what you are thinking and where you want to be ranked as well.
- Consider tools for managing your efforts – WebPosition is one that I have used over 12 years. Many of its best strengths are no longer relevant but, it can still be helpful for a variety of tasks.
- Optimize your website including creating a page specific for the keyword phrase.
- Link to good articles ranked rather than bad articles. You want to make sure that when you do a Google search, the number of good articles and references about you comes up higher in the results list than the number of bad items.
- Create a personal link for your Facebook page
- Create a Wikipedia page – Be careful with this. Be ready to manage this page. It is open to anyone to edit, and there are people who put many hours towards making sure all discussions are complete, as well as balanced. You may need manage the updates on an ongoing basis. Ignoring this option of course does not prevent someone else creating a negative page about you. So at least start thinking what you would want on your Wikipedia page. In the meantime look to see if you are listed anywhere on the site as well. Also look how other biography pages are formatted and what is listed.
- Create a (at least one) blog. You can create multiple blogs on each site about different topics.
- Create on
- Use tags on your different postings
- Use categories in your postings
- Link to individual pages from posts or comments on other sites. These links improve the reputation of your content, by linking to your site.
- Link to other pages that you like from posts on other sites.
- Link to ‘good’ articles that are ranking well on Google about your reputation.
- Link to other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace especially your personalized URL.
- Keep updating your content. Google assumes newer content is ‘better’ and more relevant then older content. Sites that are updated regularly are more relevant to ‘stale’ sites. This becomes key when going against news sites that continue to update on other pages, even though your ‘bad’ pages may never change.
- Consider using RSS feeds to auto update your blog or website.
- Create on
To be continued in Part 3 of How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Google…