What are people learning about you online? You have some control over it.
Are you startled when you search for your company’s name on Google? If you’re active on the internet, you’re probably more popular than you know. Which can be a double-edged sword.
Start With Google, Naturally
You can learn in a few seconds what everyone sees on that critical first results page when you enter your company name.
Google offers tools to assist with reputation management. They’re accessible through the Google Dashboard, which you can open through any of the company’s online products, like Gmail, Google Calendar or Google Docs (soon to be Google Drive). To sign in, click here and enter your Google username and password.
Your Google Dashboard provides links to data for all of your Google services. You’re automatically subscribed to Me on the Web, a page that links to your Google profile pages and to suggestions for guarding your online presence. You can set up a Google Alert for your name and/or any identifying information. You can also read instructions on managing your online identity and removing any undesirable content (if possible).
Reputation Management Never Ends
If reputation management seems like a never-ending battle to you, you’re right. It’s something you should do frequently. The bigger the business and the greater online interaction, the more time. Here are some tips:
- Don’t stuff the ballot box. Companies sometimes hire people to post positive comments and reviews on social networks – it doesn’t work. Either the writer gets so overly enthusiastic that the praise doesn’t ring true, or you’ll be found out.
- Create a Facebook username. Use your exact company name if it’s available. Click Edit Page | Update Info | Create a username for this page? Follow the instructions.
- Respond to public criticism. Don’t let negative comments just lie there and hope that few people see them. Unless it’s clearly libelous and you try to get it removed, address it kindly and follow up. Legitimate complaints are an opportunity to improve your business.
- Work on getting positive content on that first Google page. If no one on your staff is an SEO expert, read up on it. Optimization may take some time, but it’s worth the effort.
- Buy some new domain names. Do you own YourCompanyName.net? .biz? YourCompanyNameContactUs? Google favors words in URLs.
- Create a blog with your company name in the title. Blogger might be best, since Google owns it (YourCompanyName.blogspot.com)
- Ask someone to create a Wikipedia page for you. Don’t do it yourself. Wikipedia usually gets high placement. Monitor it carefully, since others can edit it.
If an unpleasant situation has run wild and you can’t manage it, hire a reputation manager. You might investigate Trackur, Reputation.com or Network Solutions’ new ReputationAlert. It’s unfair, but in the online world, you appear to be who Google says you are. Guard your company’s name and reputation carefully.