When you Google your name or your company name, do you like what you see? When someone looks for you or your company, they will see (nearly) the same thing you do. Every person and business has something to gain (or lose) with their online reputation. At the very least, you should monitor your online reputation with Google Alerts and occasional search queries. If you want to control and influence your online reputation, you can use SEO and social media to displace results from other websites with results from your website or your social networking profiles.
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Monitor with Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free service that alerts you when your specified keywords appear on newly published web pages. We recommend setting up Google Alerts for your name and company name. You can also enter other keywords if you want to keep track of other companies, competitors, or trends. When using a keyword phrase, make sure to enclose the words in quotes. This ensures that the alert will only trigger for that exact phrase, and it will not trigger if those two words appear separately.
Since keywords can trigger often, we recommend that you set the alert to aggregate the results once a week, or once a day at most – otherwise your mailbox could fill up very quickly.
Monitor by Searching for Your Name or Company Name
Google Alerts are great for informing you when new mentions appear, but they won’t tell you if a page moves up in position. In order to monitor the results pages, you will need to do a manual search once in a while.
For example, suppose you search for your company name, and on the first page you see your website and other reputable websites in the results, all with a positive view of your company. Then you set up Google Alerts to notify yourself of any new mentions. But then, a previously existing negative review moves up from position #11 to position #10, so it’s now on the first page of results.
Control with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is too important to ignore. If you search for your company name but your company website does not come up for all 4 top positions, your website could use some SEO. First, you should make sure your website platform and configuration settings are not hindering the search engines from indexing and crawling your site. At EfficientWP, we use and recommend WordPress because it is SEO-friendly “out of the box.” The StudioPress themes make SEO even easier to manage.
You should also make sure you are using relevant keywords in your website content, your website is properly organized by topic, and you have quality incoming links to your website. SEO can get complex and time-consuming, but for businesses who have a lot to gain from increased web traffic (especially e-commerce or ad-supported websites), it is a great investment.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the “big 3” social media sites. If you aren’t using all 3, you should create profiles, if for no other reason than to have the public profiles in the search results. The profiles are easy to set up, you can control the content, and these sites are so popular that a profile on one of them will vastly outrank a similar profile on a lesser social networking site. Even if you don’t have a lot of Friends/Followers/Connections, you still have a decent chance of getting a good position in the search results. Of course, having more of them would help to improve the position of those profiles. Cross-linking your website with your social media profiles is also a great way to improve traffic on all of the sites.