Last week I had a client who needed to update his online profile because he and a criminal in a nearby city that shared the same name. Not only that, he was also close to this other man in both age and physical appearance. Needless to say it was ruining his online reputation!
This client is an esteemed entrepreneur and was quite concerned about his personal brand. He consulted with a Search Engine Optimization Company (SEO) who offered him solutions for $12,500. The company claimed it would help him remove web-based articles about the criminal and have his own name and identity featured more prominently and properly online.
My client asked me if I thought it would be worth paying the money to the SEO company. He felt it was a lot to pay but he was sick and tired of people finding the wrong information about himself during online searches. Little did he know how much I could relate to his pain and embarrassment. “Don’t pay the SEO company a cent, they are crooks!”, I said. Then I proceeded to tell him about my story.
Twelve years ago I was being mercilessly cyber-bullied. It lasted for years and was a terrible experience. My peace of mind was under constant assault and it was taking a toll on me physically. Wanting to bring an end to this nightmare, I reached out to a few SEO companies. They all told me they would achieve quick and effective results and get rid of my problem. It was not to be. They produced some meaningless charts and strategies that were useless, wasting my time, a lot of my money and making me feel even worse than I did before.
I resolved not to give up. I forced myself to think positively while learning as much as I could about branding and how doing Search Engine Optimization myself could start to tip the scales in my favour. Eventually, and with some hard work, I was able to reduce the impact of my bully and restore my good name. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and I have never looked back. If you want to clean up your brand online don’t pay an SEO company an outrageous sum of money. No amount of money can match the organic search engine value of reputable news sources, testimonials and excellent online content.
What should you do when you have the same name as a criminal?
If you do happen to share the same name as a criminal or someone with a bad reputation, or if your online presence leaves much to be desired, the following are steps that will help your situation:
1. Social Media
Improve or open social media accounts on the top social media sites. LinkedIn, Facebook, G Suite, Twitter, Tumblr, Quora, about.me, Delicious, Flickr and slideshare are all worth exploring. Take your time, understand each of these channels individually and that may bring your name into the top local search. Make sure to always spell your name, address and date of birth in the same way every time. It may sound obvious but it helps to reinforce your distinct online presence.
None of the previously mentioned social media channels can be effective without an engaging branding portrait. Be sure to ask us or your chosen photographer to add metadata to your profile with your proper name and particulars. Most photographers will do this for free or for a nominal fee but some might be “old school” and not know how to help.
Write a well written bio about yourself on Wikipedia. If your life is interesting and has enough documentation to back up your history, it will stay.
4. Design your snippet
This might be a little more elaborate for some but a snippet is how google will produce your brand and it can be customized on Google.
Produce a YouTube video of yourself! Introducing yourself is a great way to amplify your brand. Add the video to the previously mentioned social media channels and you have a powerful method to enhance your online standing.
While these tips will not guarantee immediate results they will work much better than an SEO company pretending to have a connection with google. The cost could be as little as $200 to $1,000. Restoring or enhancing one’s online presence is a must these days so doing it yourself just makes sense. It worked for me!
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