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Many of our clients approach us having already experienced other Reputation Management companies who’ve charged them thousands for carrying out methods which ‘bury’ unpleasant search results on Google, Bing and other web portals.
The problem is, these methods never actually delete the results and comments – they simply appear much lower down the listings. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with ‘burying’ results – but since 99% of clients want nasty stuff on searches deleted, burying isn’t really what they signed up to – let alone wanted to spend vast amounts of money on.
Our business is based on deleting defamation and harassment from search results, Facebook comments, Twitter posting, Wikipedia pages, etc – so for that reason we’re going to give away all the secrets to effective burying, for free.
The principles behind burying information
Put simply, to bury unwanted material in search results, you need to create a mass of high page rank, valid, real and linked data which is guaranteed to appear above the material you don’t want to be seen. Creating the material is easy – making it appear above precisely the material you don’t want to be seen is a little more tricky.
SEO (Seach Engine Optimisation) gurus have been using ‘link wheel’ techniques for a few years now. Used responsibly they are still an effective way to boost a particular site’s or page’s ranking in search results. This technique also works very well when applied to Reputation Management.
Social Media Platforms and Profiles
Start by picking a website or social media profile of yours which you: 1) Use regularly 2) Update regularly and 3) preferably involves a ‘free’ platform.
For example, you might pick your company website, which has a WordPress.com blog (free platform) and which you update regularly. Or, you might decide to use your personal blog (on Blogger.com) or your Flickr.com photo account, both of which you update regularly. The reason for using a free platform is since updates such platforms are often indexed by Google within hours. WordPress.com and Flickr.com are prime examples.
Link social media profiles to one ‘website’
Once you’ve decided on your ‘website’, you are going to use this site as the hub of a huge wheel. The next step is to create a large number of social media profiles which will all list the ‘website’ you’ve chosen as your ‘homepage’ or ‘website’. Also, on your website, let’s say your WordPress.com blog, create links to all of your social media profiles – preferably using the ’embed’ tools provided by those social media websites. For example, you can put a Twitter ‘widget’ onto the sidebar of your WordPress.com blog. You might insert the code for a Facebook ‘Like’ box or a Facebook profile ‘widget’ onto your blog. Nearly every social media platform has some sort of facility to add a ‘rich’ embedded link to your blog. If there isn’t a jazzed up widget available, then just cut and paste the links (the web address URL of each social media profile) into the sidebar ‘links’ box, or the ‘about’ section of your blog.
Some social media platforms work better than others. In our experience, and at the moment (things change with every Google update), we recommended these:
1 – http://twitter.com | Twitter
2 – http://www.linkedin.com | Linkedin
3 – http://www.facebook.com | Facebook (A Page Timeline works best)
4 – http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/ | Google Plus (Personal or business depending on the issue)
5 – http://pinterest.com | Pinterest
6 – http://www.quora.com | Quora
7 – A profile for any site on the http://ning.com network | Ning
8 – http://www.blurb.com/ | Blurb books (you don’t have to create a book, just create a profile and write a couple of reviews)
9 – http://snapguide.com | Snapguide (Slipping a little – October 2012)
10 – http://digg.com | Digg
11 – http://www.tumblr.com | Tumbler (Currently doing very well – October 2012)
12 – http://www.youtube.com | Youtube
13 – http://www.goodreads.com | Goodreads (Not as good as it was – October 2012)
14 – http://www.flickr.com | Flickr
15 – http://vimeo.com | Vimeo
16 – http://500px.com | 500px
17 – http://wikipedia.org | Wikipedia (But beware is can be very difficult to delete a profile or content if you change your mind)
Honorable mentions – profile sites which rank well, but are either new or fluctuate in the rankings: Instagram, Myspace, Badoo and Orkut (if you are not USA or UK – but be careful not to include private information in a profile), WordPress.com (Excellent but you need a reasonable about of text or a blog. Make sure you turn off comments. Use plenty of tags.), Huffington Post (as long as you comment on some articles.)
Analyse the harassment, defamation or cyberbullying
Before creating your profile, really take some time to analyse the cyberbullying or defamation that is appearing online and how you will counter it. In particular, look at the exact words used – how your name is phrased, spelled and formatted (ie initials, full name, just surname, nickname etc) and what you have to type in to make the unwanted material appear in search results.
When you create a social media profile pick a username that replicates the number one search term you want to be buried. This is normally your surname or the name of your business. If this is more than one word, pick out the ONE word which has people are more likely to identify with (again normally your surname or the actual name of the business). If your name is unique and/or has a high name recognition value, again focus on the one word which has the higher recognition value.
There are some exceptions. If your surname has a very low name recognition value or is very common, for example, Smith, Jones, Brown or Lee, then add your first name to the username – ‘wendysmith’ . If this still results in a very common username, add a location which fits with the cyberbullying/harassment content – for example, ‘johnsmithbakersfield’
Then with the rest of the profile – fill in with accurate information. Don’t give away personal details unless you want to. Your name on the profile does not have to match the name on the username. It can do if you want to. Search engines normally place more value on usernames than profile names. If your cyberbully/harasser has used more than one name to describe you or your business, put the most used name (or part of) as the username, and the less-used name as the profile name.
When creating profiles for the first five social media platforms in the list, just be accurate. Regardless of what you put, these profiles after about 3-4 months should appear above anything else with your name on.
Use profile bios to bury bad results
The rest of the profiles are the ones you need to use to “bury” nasty search results.
The profile bio is crucial. Firstly, for each social media account, try to make the profile bio text slightly different. Avoid cutting and pasting the same text. Google doesn’t like that. Also, try to make it at least slightly relevant to the platform. For example on a Flickr account, mention what you like to photograph; on Myspace say what sort of music you like. The profile bio is where you need to look closely at the cyberbully’s/harassers material which you want to be removed. Use these words to your advantage. For example, if the nasty search result item 1 claims you are a ‘liar‘ who has ‘stolen‘ someone else’s ‘wife‘, then focus on the words ‘liar‘, ‘stolen‘ and ‘wife‘. Ignore words such as ‘the’, ‘a’, ‘but’, ‘and’ etc and ignore any adjectives, adverbs and most verbs. Google likes nouns – ie a person, place or thing. In particular, it likes ‘proper nouns’ ie the names of people and places with capital letters. So, in the little defamation which pops up on google saying “John Smith of Bakersfield is a liar who has stolen my wife…” you need to pick out ‘John Smith‘, ‘Bakersfield‘, ‘liar‘, ‘stolen‘ (which we’ll change to ‘steal‘ since nouns are better) and ‘wife‘.
You then use these ‘keywords’ in your own bio. For example. “I’m John Smith. I’ve lived in Bakserfield for 20 years. I like to spend time with my wife and family. I hope you enjoy my photos on Flickr, but please don’t steal them without permission. My motto: I’m a lover not a liar.
Of course, there might be quite a few unpleasant search results to bury. With the keywording technique above, try to create two or three profiles for every unique unpleasant search result. IE – for John’s Smith wife stealing result we’d need to create perhaps Flickr, Myspace and Goodreads account with slightly different profiles but all based on those keywords to counter that one result. For a different set of keywords, repeat the process, but create another set of 3 different social media accounts in your name, but focusing on the new set of keywords.
Link it all together
With every profile – remember to put a link in somewhere to your “website”, preferably a WordPress.com or Blogger.com blog. If there is additional space for more than one link, then add links to your Top Five profiles (as listed in the ranking above). Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are the best additional ones to add if possible.
Once you have created your profiles try to actively use these accounts for at least a week. Tweet, add friend, recommend books, comment on photos, ‘like’ articles, etc, just to make sure each account develops some ‘activity’.
If you want to get creative, use services such as http://twitterfeed.com/, http://dlvr.it/ or http://ping.fm/ to send updates from one profile to another to another in your ‘link wheel’.
Be realistic with your expectations
Don’t expect immediate results. A realistic result is to look after three months. ‘Burying’ is better viewed as a prevention tactic rather than a reactive tactic. Once in place your profile develops ‘age ranking’ – put simply the older the profile, the better in terms of ranking. Remember to log in to each account every couple of months to make sure they stay ‘active’. However, there at normally only 10-15 search results on the first page of Google or Bing and using these strategies, all of those first page results should end up being under your control.
Remember – burying won’t delete anything, it will just make it less immediately visible. To delete stuff – have a look at our eBooks or hire us to remove it for you.
- Video package explaining how to delete profiles, comments and pictures from Facebook
- Video package explaining how to delete profiles, comments and pictures from Facebook
- Personal Reputation Management Report | Let us show you how to delete your specific problem
- Complete Reputation Management deletion and removal service | Hire us to work for you | Affordable and bespoke reputation repair.