Burying your dirt

Sooner or later everyone - and every company - will have some dirt, some embarrassing information, somewhere online. Eventually it will be less of a social problem for individuals, because everyone will have some, but for companies it could still be an embarrassment.

Sally Adee, writing for NewScientist.com, has an intriguing suggestion on how to manage this dirt: bury it.
While you might think that reducing your internet presence is the way to go, you'd be wrong. The key to managing your reputation is to spend more time online, not less. The advocates of this approach argue that polishing your online persona could soon join healthy eating and exercise in your arsenal of everyday life-maintenance chores.
 She relates this to the Law of Surfing - the idea that web surfers rarely look past the first page of results. Which means you don't need to eliminate your dirt, just make sure there are 15-20 more interesting (in a SEO way) links above it.

How do you achieve this? Promote yourself. Tell the story you want to tell about your company; tell it loudly, tell it often, tell it in many locations. Social media is a good route for this because the Big Four (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube) tend to pop up high in search results. So does Wikipedia, if you have a presence there.

What else can you do? Write a few articles for respectable online publications, send out press releases on the news wire, blog, and participate in a lot of forums. The more the better. If there is a bad news story, respond to it so your reply becomes a bigger news item than the actual story.

In other words, a standard, if aggressive, SEO plan.

Ideally, this is a game you will play on offense, not defense. Don't wait until someone posts something nasty about your company, or the wrong person gets copied on what should have been an intra-office memo; start now so you already hold those top spots. Then most of your dirt will automatically go straight where it belongs.