We all want to maintain a good reputation, whether it relates to our business or personal life. However, mistakes happen, and sometimes those mistakes can have tremendous effects upon our career and family.
Take, for instance, an individual who as a young man had one too many drinks at a company Christmas party.
He had no business getting behind the wheel that night.
Nonetheless, he made a poor choice and slippery road conditions combined with dulled reflexes led him to crash into a city monument.
Now, even eight years later, when he types his name into search engines, the only thing that appears is numerous accounts of that fateful night.
What is this individual to do? Should this act when he was 25 still haunt him as a husband and father of two children at 33? Is this man doomed to wear a scarlet letter for the rest of his life because of a mistake?
When something like this happens, public relations firms call it ‘damage control’ or ‘crisis management’ — SEO companies refer to it as ‘reputation management’ or even ‘negative SEO’.
On the other hand, some may argue that there are times when negative news is warranted for the good of society. For instance, NGOs and human rights agencies like Amnesty International have played a major role in exposing corruption and anti-humanitarian activities around the world. This has helped make our world a safer, more humane, and transparent place. The rise of social media helped to reveal government-sponsored violence against citizens during the Arab Spring in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Libya. Likewise, environmental groups have called attention to poaching, pollution, deforestation, and irresponsible disposal of toxic chemicals in order to provoke change.
While the internet is a magnificent tool for communication and freedom of speech, it also has a perfect memory, which sometimes puts it at odds with larger aspects of what many of us think of as belonging to a healthy society. Namely, forgiveness, absolution, mercy, grace, and compassion.
One mistake does not and should not characterize a person or a company’s life for time immemorial. At least, not as far as we’re concerned.
Online review sites, forums, and social media have become the first place people go to complain about a business. Companies have responded by hiring teams of reputation management consultants and SEO companies to help offset the negative information with positive news. Upholding freedom of speech and believing in curated search results are not necessarily mutually exclusive values. People have the freedom to say what they like, as long as it is true, but it doesn’t have to be on the first page of Google.
Pushing down negative results about you or your company is almost never a position one wants to be in, but apart from changing one’s name or dissolving an entire business, working to develop and curate positive search information about you or your company is something we do every day.
To discuss your situation and the scope of your problem, please use the contact form on this page to get in touch with us.