According to a recent study, roughly 68% of all user experiences on the internet begin with a search engine. This means that when someone finds out about you or your business for the first time, they’re probably going to do it via an engine like Google.
What they see will absolutely impact what they think about you and how open they are to the idea of interacting with you — before they’ve even had a chance to make direct contact. That’s why the experts at Status Labs believe you should know where your reputation stands at all times. The first step in taking control of this ever-important impression that people have of you involves understanding what shape it takes to begin with.
It Pays To Be Proactive: An Overview
Part of the reason it’s so important to be proactive about building a positive online reputation is that if you allow negativity to catch you off guard, the damage may already be done.
According to one 2021 study, 99.9% of people said that they read online reviews before shopping online. During that period, 96% said that they looked for negative reviews specifically. Not only is that a staggeringly high number, but it’s also an increase from the 85% of people who said the same in 2018.
If someone has a bad experience with your business, they’re likelier to leave a review than a person who’s satisfied. If left unaddressed, that review will be seen by countless people and for many, it could be all they need to look elsewhere. The same is true of your personal reputation. If your name comes up negatively in a news story, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It could hurt your relationships, your future job prospects, and more.
Thankfully, there are a number of steps that you can take to slowly build a rock-solid foundation upon which to construct your positive online reputation moving forward. Consider things like:
- Registering for social media profiles on all popular networks, even if you don’t necessarily have plans on actively using them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — you should have an account registered to your name for all of these and more. At the very least, it will prevent an imposter from registering for an account in your name on one of these sites and potentially harming your reputation in the process.
- Take the same approach to securing all relevant web domains and profiles in business journals. If you don’t already have your name as a URL under your control, you absolutely should do so.
- Create content with relevant keywords. If you’re trying to build a positive reputation for your own name, for example, write as much content as possible regarding the topics you’re passionate about and subjects people find interesting. Not only will this get your name out there positively, but it also gives you a chance to establish yourself as a thought leader.
If you’re a business, utilize local SEO. Address negative reviews and experiences satisfyingly and in a visible manner that others can see. Stay ahead of Google updates that could throw search engine results pages for a loop. Do all of this and more to not just start building your positive online reputation, but to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Proactivity Is the Path to Success
Overall, the most critical thing to understand is that your online reputation is ultimately in your complete control, provided that you take an active interest in it from the outset.
What that means is that right now, there are conversations being had online about either yourself or your brand. There are experiences that people are having — some are positive, some are negative. There’s a narrative being written about who you are and what you do, which deeply informs the impression people have when they think of you. Being reactive means letting others write that narrative. Being proactive means writing it on your own terms.
As the old saying reminds us, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The proactive approach to building an online reputation goes a long way toward helping you accomplish precisely that.