How Taking More Photographs Can Help You Improve Your Online Reputation

photoPeople joke about the “Instagram everything” crowd sometimes. And while you might not want to take photos documenting your every moment of every day, a few well placed, carefully chosen photographs of you or your business could be vastly helpful in the fight to protect your online reputation.

Here are some of the biggest reasons why you might want to whip out that camera.

People are visual.

Photos draw the eye and create first impressions in a way that’s more powerful than words. A picture of your smiling face can create the beginnings of trust. You’ll certainly at least need photos of yourself for any social profiles you plan to claim–nothing lowers trust like that blank default “chess piece” avatar does.

But if you’re in business you need more than just your face. Shots of the good work that you do, the fine food that you serve, or the awesome establishment that you run can go a long way towards developing positive relationships with potential customers.

Gain placement in Google Image search results.

When Google finds plenty of image results they place them right on top of the SERPs. This means that you get a bit more SEO dominance for your brand keywords. Google also draws from your images to fill out the “information card” for your brand. It’s best if the images Google draws from are also images that you control.

Control over images is especially important for restaurants. Google Carousel draws photos from wherever it can on the web. Which would you rather see up there: a map snapshot, a photo of lunch that a 19 year old would be food critic took, or your own carefully arranged and lit attractive photo of your signature dish?

Photo content is easy to generate.

Taking a photograph of your latest project or of your establishment is certainly a lot less work than writing up even one blog post. You can get the job done with your smart phone if you have enough light and a steady enough hand to make the photo attractive. This means you can reduce your content creation burden simply by changing things up.

Photos alone certainly won’t save your reputation if you’re struggling with a slew of bad reviews, a mug shot or a dedicated enemy. But they can go a long way towards helping you manage your reputation in a proactive, effective way.

Mugshotsonline.com Stops Accepting Money for Records Removal

mugshots-stop-accepting-paymentsBetween actions taken by the financial industry and actions taken by Google, mug shot websites are struggling. In fact, Mugshotsonline.com is struggling enough that they are no longer accepting payment for mugshot removal.

This isn’t entirely good news. It means that for the time being, nobody will have the direct ability to remove mugshots at all. The pop-up notice on the site reads:

We are in the process of altering our arrest record removal policy and are unable to remove this record at this time. Effective immediately, we will no longer be accepting payment for any record removal. Please check back with us in the next few weeks for further information and removal instructions for expunged, sealed, or deceased cases.

What does this mean for you if you have a mugshot stored online? It means that right now your best option is to work with someone who can suppress those records.

It’s true that Google has pushed the mugshot websites themselves down in the search results. But that doesn’t mean that they’re falling far enough in the search results to prevent a mug shot from showing up if someone searches for your name. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of positive web properties to work with. If that mug shot is virtually your only record online then that’s all that’s going to show up for you, regardless of Google’s decision to penalize Mugshotsonline and similar websites.

Therefore, you need to work with someone who can create those properties for you. That way, Google has some material to work with as it decides what does and does not need to go to the top of the search engine results page.

You also need to be cognizant of what’s happening on other sites. Other mugshot sites may still offer avenues for a removal company to help. There are over 30 mugshot websites and each one of them is a little bit different. (This is, incidentally, also why mugshots seem to migrate from site to site–there’s so many of them and they’re all pulling their mug shots from the same source).

The mugshot industry may seem to be on the run, but they might just adapt, too. And in the meantime, those records are still sitting there, having an impact on your life and future unless you take the steps that will help you manage them.