The guide to personal reputation management

6 minute read

The guide to personal reputation management

Highlights

  • Your personal online reputation is the information people find when they perform a search for your name online.
  • Personal reputation management helps you monitor, influence, and improve your online reputation and personal branding.
  • To improve your reputation, you must find what information about you already exists online, compare that to the information found for highly-regarded colleagues, and create a personal reputation management strategy to upgrade areas where your information is negative or poor. 

When someone searches your name online or using a social media platform, what are they seeing? Is it something you’d be proud of?

Personal reputation management helps you monitor, influence, and improve your online reputation and personal branding.

There are a variety of reasons you might want to consider your online reputation. Some relate to business interactions and others personal interactions, such as roles at work or with your child’s school and activities.

business v personal reputation

What is personal reputation?

Your personal reputation is how others view you. While the most easily accessible information about you is online today, keep in mind that how people view you in your community is also an aspect of your personal reputation. 

Why is personal reputation important?

Your reputation is one of your greatest intangible assets. Whether you’re interviewing for a new job or applying for a mortgage, your reputation will impact the outcome of such activities.

For business owners or business professionals, a good reputation is so important that it can be the difference between success and a mediocre career. 

When you manage your reputation online, you help the best results and information about you rise to the top. In a world where 90 percent of online searchers don't go beyond first-page results, influencing those top results for your name is essential. 

90 percent of clicks on Google

How do I protect my personal reputation?

Protecting your personal reputation online takes three important steps:

  1. Monitoring what others are saying about you online.
  2. Performing a gap analysis between your search results and leaders in your industry whose search results you emulate. 
  3. Building a strategy for closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

We’ll provide detailed steps and information on how to manage and influence your personal reputation.

Monitoring your online reputation 

Before you can build a strategy for influencing your online reputation, you need to set up listening tools and understand the factors impacting your reputation. When something new comes up featuring your name, you’ll get a notification informing you of the new reference so that you’re aware.

Good reputation monitoring systems send alerts when someone else mentions your name on the following channels:

As you review everything that people are saying about you online, look for information that you would like to deemphasize. You will need this information later in the process to build a strategy for improving the information people find when searching for you online.

Performing a reputation gap analysis

Now that you have used listening and monitoring tools to know where your personal online reputation stands, you are ready to move on to executing a gap analysis. 

Look for a professional in your field or area of expertise who is highly regarded. Conduct a search online for that professional and review the top results. 

Look for the following items and content as you review the results. Take note of the content type and length for each item to guide you in building your personal reputation strategy.

Now compare the results you found for that highly-regarded professional to results you find when performing a search on your own name. Look for high-ranking content that you’re missing. Evaluate the websites and platforms where this high-ranking content is housed to better understand how it fits into your online reputation. 

reputation strategy

Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/5/1603/htm

Creating a personal reputation management strategy

Now you're armed with information on where you are and where you need to be for your online reputation. You're ready to build out a strategy to move you from your current state to your desired state. Here are the two main components of any reputation management strategy.

Suppressing negative listings

Start by making a list of negative search results you would like to suppress. To do that, you'll need to look at the site's terms of service. Unfortunately, you can't simply request that all bad reviews or poor mentions of your name be removed from a website. 

You can have some negative content removed by asking the publisher to do so. This is a judgment call you'll have to make though because sometimes requesting that negative information be removed can do more harm than good.

The higher the negative content ranks, the larger impact it will have on your personal reputation. For example, a page that ranks number one on Google generally gets 31.7 percent of the traffic while a page that ranks 10th will get just 3 percent of the traffic.

Create positive listings

Once you’ve created a plan for removing or suppressing negative information, you’re ready to move onto building out helpful content. Go back to your gap analysis to look for the highest-ranking content from the professional you compared your results to. Now, look for ways you can get on those websites as well.

Both creating positive search results and suppressing negative results can be helped by employing search engine optimization reputation management strategies.

gap analysis process

The importance of continuous personal reputation management

Once you’ve built and executed your personal reputation management strategy, your work is not done. In fact, it's never done. Personal reputation management is an ongoing process where you constantly listen for new mentions and look for ways to improve search results related to your name or profession.

Even once you’ve achieved the ranking and positive results you’ve been looking for, you have to stay vigilant in protecting your reputation through careful monitoring and influencing.

Personal reputation management FAQs

What is personal reputation management?

Your personal reputation is how others view you. While the most easily accessible information about you is online today, keep in mind that how people view you in your community is also an aspect of your personal reputation. 

How do I protect my personal reputation? 

You can protect your personal reputation online in three important steps. Monitor what others say about you online. Research your search results and how they compare to leaders in your industry. Build a strategy for closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Why is personal reputation important? 

For business owners or business professionals, a good reputation is so important that it can be the difference between success and a mediocre career.