We love our social media right?

We also know that no matter how rigid our privacy settings, once published a post remains forever in cyberspace. Before hitting the publish button we now ask ourselves – could posting that photo of my Tequila fueled friend dancing naked on a late night cocktail bar potentially damage her reputation? Or mine for being so thoughtless? Would my offhand response to that political hot potato negatively reframe me in the eyes of others? Would that angry, revengeful diatribe about the cad/cow I’ve just broken up with call into question my integrity/sobriety/sanity? And how would I feel if my boss, potential employer, Nana or the media saw my post? One, two, five years from now?

‘What goes on the road stays on the road’…and YouTube and Vimeo and Reddit and…

Yes, critical indeed that we carefully manage and protect our online personal brand. But what if someone deliberately set out to damage our brand image?

Recently met an extremely influential high flier who had Google searched herself and found, immediately below the link to her LinkedIn profile, a savagely titled link leading to an unnecessarily vitriolic essay written about her by an individual (read ‘troll’) hell bent on damaging her reputation. She needed a solution STAT!

Here’s what we recommended:

1) Call the offending site’s administrator and ask if they would kindly remove the article (just as professional ‘digital dirt’ cleaning companies would do). At the very least, remove the offending title.

2) Simultaneously (particularly if the administrator is unwilling to act), create a YouTube account, record and upload quality subject matter expertise video presentations and share links widely. As YouTube is the second largest search engine (though not strictly a search engine) to Google, the more viewings the higher the links should rise above that of the offending article.

3) Generate additional ‘positive press’ to push the offending link even further down Google home page by:

– Developing a dedicated personal Webpage using Workfolio or similar, supported by a dedicated URL then share the link on LinkedIn, Google+ and other relevant social media sites

– Creating additional social media profiles including Twitter, Facebook Page, Pinterest and Instagram and consistently posting/sharing quality content

– Establishing a blog on interests and/or subject matter expertise and posting consistently using SEO (search engine optimization) plugins to spread content across all relevant social media forums

– Utilising social media management tools such as HootSuite to schedule regular quality posts for delivery at premium, site specific, viewing times on all platforms, including LinkedIn

– Ensuring all shared articles and images are titled, well structured for SEO, hashtags well placed and headlines sharp and concise for easy searching

4) If links to other social profiles are also in the offending article (as in this case), change the URL’s of those accounts so that the links become void

5) When all else fails, yes there are many companies who specialise in cleaning up such dirt, though despite a fee being involved, success may not be guaranteed.

Given such situations will increase in prevalence over time, keen to hear your thoughts. Any hints to share?

The eye.JPG

Share and Enjoy

    2 Comments on Dealing with Digital Dirt

    1. Ev
      November 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Jane,

      Great post … as usual. I keep dipping in to Indulge Divulge and promising I’ll surprise you with an ambush comment. Finally stuck my toe in the water!

      Had some experience in previous corporate roles trying to stamp out vitriolic and wilfully damaging pages related to some key people. Very challenging process to drive “bad” results off the first 10 results.

      More recently have been trying to follow Google’s constantly changing search algorithms, which assign page ranks. Notwithstanding my complete lack of professional qualifications in this area, distilling the myriad of search guru opinions seems to bring out a few consistent elements, many of which you’ve touched on.

      Fresh and original content remains “king”. Spend more time on content when you can. Everything else can fit in after. Google is attaching more and more importance to content — write lots, post lots (as you do!). Nothing beats this factor.

      Added to this is the view of the many SEO gurus (man, they’re hard to keep up with!) that long posts now work better than short posts. and they mean “more than 1000 words”. Now I think this is madness – normal people can’t write long blog posts every day and remain employed. However something longer than 300 words seems to be the current accepted target.

      Keywords still matter, but it has to be a balancing act: Keep your keyword (the client’s name) in headings and several times in the text, but not to the point of overload. What’s overload? Hmmm. About 1.5%, therefore between 4-5 times in a 300-word post. Some great plug-ins out there can help out if using WordPress etc (such as Yoast).

      And as you say, the social links are crucial, and I’d say Google+ is now more important (due to the internal dynamics of Google itself!).

      Finally, maybe these two minor considerations can help:

      1. Try to include outbound links on pages, and in particular in blog posts. If Google’s “authenticity rank” of the site you’re sending people to is high, a fraction will rub off on your site. It is a fraction, but at this point everything helps. Similarly (though it’s much more difficult!) try to attract inbound links from high-authenticity sites. Any inbound links help, but ones from high-rank sites help most.

      2. Make sure the dedicated personal website has images – preferably several. Similarly, try to include an image in each blog post on the new blog. Doesn’t seem to matter what type, but images add a minor factor to the overall score Google assigns, provided the keyword is in the Alt text.

      Lastly, don’t expect it all to happen immediately. It can take months to get things working in a way you expect, and sometimes all the best efforts, as you rightly point out, are defied.

      That’s when we switch back to the family response: vino, anyone?

      Cheers from your younger (but bigger!) bro,


      • Jane
        November 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm (3 years ago)

        Ev what fantastic feedback and thank you. Shall copy to the consultant helping the candidate with her digital dirt. I don’t she has a blog as yet but can be coached on this accordingly. Also grabbed some great tips for my Blog too and still battling the SEO as I had a fantastic plugin but the owner spat the dummy when FB changed their visual references and I’m now onto another and still having issues with it picking up the wrong visuals when posts are pushed to Google+ and FB. My Blog is a mere hobby at this time but with an aim for more strategic and focused content in line with future aspirations. Hey! Have just developed ‘Social Media – Advanced Branding Strategy’ Webinar slide deck and running sheet content for Right Management and will let you know how this goes when it’s launched! More in my email my beloved little brother, meanwhile…a vino! No wait!It’s 1pm. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Love you.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Comment *