You’re an upstanding citizen, a successful business owner, and/or a respected member of your geographical community. But your reputation in the online community is not as highly regarded.
Maybe there have been one or two complaints posted about your business. Or a public rival has disparaged you in forums and chat rooms. Or perhaps you simply have a cyberstalker who as taken it upon himself/herself to make your life as uncomfortable as possible.
In other words, your online reputation is in need of some repair. You can turn to one of the many online reputation maintenance services out there. But if your budget is tight and you have some solid writing skills, a blog can help you improve your standing in the cyber-community.
How to Establish a Blog
If you don’t have a blog, establishing one can potentially be quite beneficial. You can tailor the blog to your business, or you can simply write about a topic that interests you or inflames your passions – from cars to clothes to community service.
Whatever your subject matter, two things are important for a blog to be effective. First, your content should be original; cutting and pasting text from other sources is plagiarism, and will be identified as such by search engines and lower your page rankings.
Secondly, you should commit to providing new content on a regular basis in order for the search engines to notice you; posting at least three times a week for a long period of time should accomplish this (although daily is better).
There are several do-it-yourself blog services available (like WordPress, Tumblr, and TypePad), so you can choose the one that’s easiest for you to use.
Whichever one you select, be sure to build your blog completely using all of the tools at your disposal. This means using Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics, filling in a meta description and keywords, and providing as much information about the blog as possible. The more pieces of data that a search engine can use to connect Web surfers with your blog, the better off you will be.
How to Create a Blog that Search Engines Will Love
It’s also wise to set up a Google+ account. Not only does this give you another source of data that the search engines can see, but it also allows you to claim authorship of all of your content.
When you link your blog to your Google+ account, it even puts your photo next to the blog entries you have penned on Google when a blog post comes up in search results. It even lets people “vote” for your blog post by clicking on a “+1” button, giving your blog more credence among search engines and placing it higher up in search engine rankings.
In addition to Google+, your blog should also be linked to your other social media accounts. If you promote your blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and similar sites, it serves to multiply the connections and raise your cyber-profile. If you can get your other online acquaintances interested in reading your blog, that’s an increase in readership, which will benefit your online reputation.
But ultimately, the most important aspect of a blog is its content. If you can write engaging, humorous, and/or thought-provoking blog posts, people will become loyal readers and will tend to share your content with others. When your readership expands organically, search engines will notice.
If possible, write using the same keywords and phrases that are found in any negative online content so search engines will associate those with your blog posts instead of postings from others elsewhere.
The Big Payoff
When your blog is successful and popular, its search engine ranking increases. When that happens, the blog starts to appear on the first page of Google and other search engines when certain words or phrases are searched. But most importantly, your online reputation improves because all of the positive blog content “drowns out” any negative entries that may have been created by others in the past.
That’s why creating and maintaining a well-liked and well-read blog can resurrect an online reputation that was once less-than-stellar.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer about topics ranging from auto insurance to consumer finance to online reputation management.