Canadian Entrepreneur David Sidoo’s online reputation damaged by College Scandal.

Canadian Entrepreneur David Sidoo’s online reputation damaged by College Scandal.

The nation wide scandal saw prosecutors charge 50 participants, including 33 parents, among them CEOs, lawyers, well-known actors and a high-profile Vancouver businessman, David Sidoo, who pleaded not guilty.

Regardless of any plea deal or verdict, David Sidoo’s previously impeccable online presence, which includes his own manicured website, which describes him as a prominent businessman, a philanthropist, a proud family Man and a former pro athlete, has been tarnished.

Search Engine Result Page (SERP)

In the post press conferences crisis, Mr. Sidoo and/or his team made a critical mistake in online reputation management. Namely his social media profiles were deactivated.  This cardinal mistake has made room for negative search results to flood the first page of the Google SERP, which in fact, is viewed by 99% of the time among all search result pages across all searches. 

So let us break down the SERP (search engine result page) for the query David Sidoo. First let’s analyze the top block, those are the results that have the greatest chance of being viewed (on a large iMac or PC) and clicked.

As you can see, 3 out of the 4 search results are negative. The only one staying at the top is Mr. Sidoo’s promotional website. We always advise our clients to make sure they have either a promotional page or a blog, sometimes both. In cases where the client does not want the attention personally (yes some people still are private) we would find a workaround. As you can see, this site was able to protect the number one spot in SERP. But what about the others. We do know that David Sidoo does have social media profiles from his promotional website:

In optimal online reputation management, those other results (also very visible) could have been occupied by Mr. Sidoo’s blogs and social media profiles. But why have they not? Have they drifted lower? Let’s have a look at the second portion of the first search results page:

The result clearly shows that other than a wikipedia website and a profile on UBC, his other profiles are no longer there. Upon inspecting the links we uncover, sadly, that a critical mistake has been made in reponse to the crisis. This, unfortunately, is a typical response to a PR crisis. If you look at Mr. Sidoo’s profiles, a recognizable pattern emerges. His social media profiles have been cancelled.

Often this is the first response. Let’s STOP EVERYTHING! Let’s LEAVE THE WEB. This is advice given by old school (offline) public relations firms and lawyers. But you cannot leave the Internet. Your reputation is controlled by others now. The social media profiles are you channels. They belong to you, they give you the opportunity to tell your part of the story. Most importantly, they are able to let you own (over time) your portion of the Google SERP.

Online Reputation Expert’s Advice

Our Co-founder, Herman Tumurcuoglu, is the leading online reputation expert: Our team spoke to him and his advice is: You must own the digital real estate on the web. On social media and on Google. Part of our strategy for our clients is to maximize the social media presence and leverage the numerous web 2.0 platforms that help in overtaking the negative search results occupying the top of the SERP. You can choose any setting you want on those profiles; for example you can turn comments off, you can reduce visibility, even limit the ability to communicate with you in case of severe public relations fall back.

But never ever delete those sites. Make them available to Google, especially if they are well aged and have been a source of engagement. Google considers engagement as an important part of what has been known as user signals.