Removing Online Information
The internet is arguably the most important and useful invention of the 21st century, possibly of all time.
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With the introduction of search engines, it’s never been easier to find out detailed information on people, products, and businesses instantaneously. Are you thinking about purchasing a specific item? You can check reviews to find out other people’s experiences. Wondering if you can trust a company? You’ll find troves of information about them online. Debating whether to hire a particular job candidate? Look them up on social media and make sure they’re the right fit.
While the internet can be a handy tool, having this much information available online isn’t always a good thing. Unfortunately, not everything we read online is right; sometimes information may be out of date, other times it may be intentionally misleading. In some cases, this can be mildly irritating. Still, it can also have a lasting, negative impact on innocent people and businesses as their reputation – and therefore, their livelihood – is at stake. Removing and deleting harmful information about your business from the internet can seem like a nearly impossible task; however, while it may be daunting, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is now taken extremely seriously, and there are solutions.
Review The Information You DO Want Online
Most people are happy with having some of their information online. People use social media to connect with friends and family, share their passions, and make useful professional connections, and it can be an excellent marketing tool for businesses. The person who has the most control over this information is YOU. It may take a while, but it’s easy to trawl through your social media history and remove data, posts, and pictures you feel are out-of-date, inappropriate, or no longer match your desired image. It’s also important to make sure you review your privacy settings regularly, so that people can only see what you want them to see, and that you won’t be associated with other people’s content without giving express permission.
Delete The Information You DON’T Want Online
You may not always have control over the information others share about you online, but you can always remove it. There are many “people search” websites around that compile all available online information about an individual and make it easy for others to view in one place. While this isn’t illegal, as all of the data is public record, it can be a little unnerving to know how easy it is for someone to learn so much about you, and, understandably, some people don’t want their details so accessible. Additionally, some information could be inaccurate, negative, or intentionally harmful to you or your business. Privacy Policies mean that in most cases, a company must comply with your request to delete your information; however, there are hundreds of these sites online, and finding them all, then navigating each of their convoluted removal processes can be a time-consuming and challenging task. Luckily, by hiring a dedicated ORM company, you can save the headache of attempting the work on your own and have a guarantee that the information you need to be removed has been successfully deleted.
Removing Harmful Reviews
Another area that can cause unwanted problems is customer reviews. Businesses rely heavily on customer reviews, and, when reliable, they are an excellent selling tool. Unfortunately, it’s far too familiar to see inaccurate reviews left by disgruntled ex-staff members, mistaken customers, and even internet trolls. Google does have a Review Policy, and you can flag the review to explain how it contradicts its policy; sometimes, this will result in the review being deleted, but there’s no guarantee. Furthermore, this process only covers Google reviews, and dozens of third-party review websites could be hosting malicious content about you. If flagging a review doesn’t work, you must be extremely careful about your next move, as the wrong approach may only cause further damage to your reputation. That’s why a dedicated ORM company will have tried and tested methods – including successful negotiation, social engineering, and applied psychology – that result in unwanted reviews being taken down efficiently and effectively.
Deindexing – Friend or Foe?
A search engine knows what to look for by “crawling” websites and storing – or “indexing” – content that it can reference provide results. When a website’s pages are “deindexed,” it means they won’t show up in a search engine results page; this can be harmful if the hidden pages contain positive content, or benefits if they include information that could negatively impact your reputation; however, the person who controls this is the webmaster of the site hosting the pages. The best solution is having an expert ORM company working for you that has all of the tools to make sure harmful content stays hidden, and the best content appears where it should: at the top of the search results!
Proactive Online Reputation Management
A recent survey in the United States showed that 97% of business operators believe Online Reputation Management is crucial to their company’s success. Buyers in every industry are using online content and searches to influence their purchasing decisions, and there are many reputational pitfalls for businesses. A negative article on the first page of a search engine’s results can affect profits by 22%; three negative items can have an impact of almost 60%. Maybe a social media account has some old jokes that could be taken out of context? Has your old web content been updated to meet your current brand image, or has it been left looking outdated and unprofessional? The good news is that by hiring an ORM specialist, you can ensure all negative information about you has been removed from the internet, allowing you to maintain the ideal image and continue to grow your business.
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