What shows up in the search results when someone searches for your personal or business name?
If it’s not your own web sites, social profiles and blogs, then your online reputation is potentially up for grabs!
Not ranking on the first page of Google for your personal or business name is not the only thing you need to look out for. Just look at the recent celebrity photos that were leaked and all the drama around Google and how they blocking content in the search results. Online reputation management isn’t just about what can be said or done, but also about what’s already out there. It’s much easier to plan ahead and secure your reputation now, then to try and remove something from the internet later on.
Who Needs Online Reputation Management?
When you think of the phrase “online reputation management“, you probably only think about big corporate businesses with high end customers and contracts that are always in the news. However, ORM has become so much more now that everything is accessible to anyone on the internet.
Here are some new ways to look at ORM and who is using it:
- Doctors, Lawyers & Professionals – Bad user reviews, slander, false complaints
- Local Businesses – Restaurants and local businesses in your area rely heavily on reviews
- Celebrities & Personalities – Everything a celebrity or well known person is on the web
- Politicians – When it comes time for the next election, everything is put out there
- The Average Person – If your employer searches for your name online, what will they see?
As you can see, reputation management and monitoring how you look online really applies to everyone — especially with all of the personal and financial data being stolen lately! In 2012 alone, there were over 12 million victims of identity fraud!
InternetReputation.com offers a wide range of monitoring services include finding new mentions of names and addresses, negative listings in search results, removal of data from top sharing sites and reducing the risk of private information spreading online — all of which are very important.
To improve upon their list of recommended services, I’ve also compiled seven ways for any individual or brand to better monitor and manage their online reputation vs. leaving it all wide open for anyone to jeopardize.
7 Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation
Secure Your Exact Match Domain Name
One of the most simple and cost effective ways to protect your online brand and name, is simply by registering your domain name. When possible, try to secure all variation of your name such as Name.com, Name.net and Name.org. It would be in your best interest to not only register your personal name, but also any business related names as well. Another good rule of thumb is to register any domain names that could be used against your brand as well, such as NameSucks.com.
Create a Blog on Your Site
Improving how your site, brand and company looks in the search results has a lot to do with the type of content you release through your site. In most cases, the most detailed and often you post quality content, the better chances you have for ranking higher and more often in the search rankings. Be sure to create content that people find value in, but also target your content and keywords to phrases people might be looking for when researching your name (ie: name customer reviews, name complaints)
Register Your Name on All Social Networks
With over 2 billion users spread across all of the major social networks, it’s a no brainer for you to keep your name and business active on there as well. Each social network allows you to setup a unique URL and username for your accounts. Register accounts for both your personal and business name. If the username you want is already taken, try to secure a closure alternate or possibly try contacting the person who already owns it. Social profiles are very easy to rank on the main page of the search results for personal and business names, so this simple and effective process is a must for every business and brand.
Establish Yourself as an Authority
It’s easy for anyone to create a web site, blog and a few social profiles online, but establishing yourself as a credible authority takes a lot of time and works. Some of the best ways to do is by creating high quality and valuable content on your site that other people would want to reference and share. One of the best ways to establish yourself as a trusted authority is to get quotes on news sites and also do guest blogging on top blogs within your niche. This process takes time, but it’s well worth the exposure and credibility associated with it.
Don’t Make Google Angry – Bad SEO Practices
A great way to lose control of your online reputation is make Google angry and have them penalize your site. Not only would this lead to your site being penalized by Google, but it would push your own site rankings down and make it easier for your competition to rank above you. To stay in good standards with Google, always be sure to look at their most recent algorithm updates and staying in line with Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird best practices.
Build Your Online and Offline Presence
Even if you are an online based business, you probably still have a local based operation or headquarters somewhere. This means you can take advantage of local advertising and site directories. If you are a local based business, this should be at the top of your list as local advertising is not only very effective, it’s also quite easy to rank for and control since your range competition is much smaller.
Monitor Online Reviews and Customer Feedback
The final and most important way to monitor your online reputation is to always keep an eye on what people are saying about your business. This can be quite easy to setup through the use of Google Alerts and plugging in the name of your company or brand. If you are a local business or restaurant, your main focus should also be towards sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, SuperPages, UrbanSpoon and others.
Check Your Reputation Score
If you aren’t currently trained in how to properly monitor and manage your online reputation, then looking to an outside agency may be your best option. Many solutions such as InternetReputation.com have created easy to use backend tracking platforms for anyone to plug in their keywords of choice, set up alerts and track the progress of their data and name mentions.
You can request a free reputation analysis report through their site to see where you could better improve your rankings, reputation and security.