I have been doing online reputation management (ORM) for clients since 2003. There’s one thing that everyone who comes to my door has in common, whether it was for NMS, Abraham Harrison, Reputation, Gerris, or now for Status Labs: too little content online! Generally-speaking, the richer the mogul, the more élite the individual, the more likely they’ve tried to keep off Google’s radar, keep out of the index. Moreover, moguls, oligarchs, and high-net-worth individuals tend to be both too busy and private to invest the time and energy registering, building out, and keeping fed a small army of social media profiles, including more than just LinkedIn.
When you’re already in the millionaires and billionaires club, privacy and discretion do work — until it doesn’t. The typical global oligarch, autocrat, tycoon, and magnate generally doesn’t need to personally shill, promote, or brand-build in order to maintain and expand their power and influence.
Even if they’re not yet in the $100 million club, successful and experienced doctors, lawyers, businessmen, consultants, lobbyists, and all the happy members of the professional class, generally don’t need to spend that much time online doing content marketing and endlessly planting, feeding, watering, and pruning their social networks, their corporate website is generally the only top-ranking search result that they actually control.
Actually control. There’s the rub. Millionaires, billionaires, and professional class do show up on Google search, but most of these results are from the news, third-party mention, Wikipedia, and generally anything and everything that Google can find. And a lot of those results, lacking new, fresh, directly-relevant, textual content, can be pretty extreme and, if there’s just not a lot of relevant content, Google will go deep into the past, will combine near-names and sound-alikes.
At the end of the day, Google is pretty literal and lazy when there’s plenty of content in its index; however, when there’s nothing out there save maybe a cursory brochureware website with the requisite bio page, the Google algorithm can suddenly become mighty resourceful and creative — a lot less dumb than you may be used to.
Google abhors a vacuum.
What all these super-successful titans have in common is that while their strategy of content and personal profile minimalism is successful and probably preferable in the best of times, the lack of ownership and control of both positive and neutral content profiles, pages, and sites can also make them impossibly vulnerable to Internet attacks.
Because wealthy and busy people can thrive without aggressive online brand promotion and marketing content strategy, the Google index tends to grasp at straws, desperate looking for as relevant as possible textual, graphical, photographic, image, and video content content; therefore, just about anyone can jump into a vacuum and populate that old and irrelevant content with whatever content they like — at least for a while.
And if and when you draw that kind of attention, it’s usually negative. It can be devastating even for the millionaire and billionaire, who often rely very heavily on their reputations and the value of their investment holdings. For the professional class, it’s even more essential: accusations of fraud and malfeasance and malpractice can gut a business’ cash flow, from a 10% decimation to complete annihilation.
What you need to do is armor-up, soldier!
It’s simple. Just start working today, right now, on creating as much content as possible, across as many social networks and free sites such as Medium, Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, etc, as possible.
I am assuming you’re either rich or smart right now so I recommend you secure $649 for KnowEm’s Corporate Complete package, which gets someone else to work with you to register and populate 300 social media profiles with all profile info including photos, bio, URL and description. It’s pretty cheap for what you get and the folks at KnowEm will be happy to make any updates or changes you need. They do superb work. I would probably pony up for their $59.95 Brand Protection service which automatically reserves your name on new sites as they are launched.
The entire process is as easy as putting together one good bio page or LinkedIn profile.
KnowEm does have lower-price solutions, from $84.95 for 25 profiles, $249 for 100 profiles, $349 for 150 profiles, and the big guns, $649 for 300 profiles. They do end up giving you the logins and passwords for all of your accounts, so you’re not locked out, but you can work with them like they’re a consultancy and I am sure they’re happy to listen to your personal needs, strategy, and campaign requirements.
And if you’re cheap or suspicious, you can start today basically for free plus whatever sweat equity you’re willing to put in. Like normal people do. By registering for lots and lots of social media and publishing platforms and then carefully and personally fully-populating each one of these profiles with your name.
The goal, of course, is to own as many search results as you can — own, not just news about you — across the first two pages of Google search. What of Bing and Yahoo!? Well, if you can make Google dance then Bing and Yahoo! will be eating out of your hands.
There a lot more information I could go into. Just be sure to explicitly write out your name, using the name that someone who hates you might use instead of your formal full name. Chris Abraham instead of Christopher James Abraham. Billy Bob Thornton instead of William Robert Thornton. But don’t limit yourself to just that version of your name, just start from there and make it the basis for your profiles. In your bio, even if it reads poorly, be sure to avoid pronouns and keep your name in there. Google only indexes proper strings of text. If you include images or videos, be sure to take the time to label them completely, making sure you include your name in the titles, in the descriptions, and in any ALT or meta tags you have access to.
Good luck! While this is exceedingly laborious and time-consuming, it’ll be so worth it in the eventuality that you’re ever under attack, even if this never happens. Either way, there’s a certain amount of prestige associated with controlling your reputation online, so it’s not remotely a waste of your time.