When you Google your business name, information on the first search engine report page (SERP) can tell you a lot about your online reputation. But keep going.

According to experts, 3 out of 4 users click on results within the first three SERPs. From indifferent or negative online reviews to blogs that don’t sing your brand’s praises, there really is such thing as bad publicity. Know where you stand by assessing your online reputation.

Before we get started, it’s important to understand the two most significant online reputation influences:

  • Organic search is how people who don’t know exactly what they might be looking for find you. Factors such as keywords, visitor traffic and social sharing determine organic search rankings. This can be a boon to brands that have great content; it also means unflattering content can outrank it.
  • Social media affects your online reputation even more than the number of followers you have. This is because Google treats Facebook and Twitter like normal web pages. Every tweet, status update, and share mentioning your brand that shows up in search can be just as impactful as the pages on your website. If you’re unsure how to do this, you could always check out these shopify design tips that’ll show you what you can do with your online e-commerce website.

Given how fluid the web is, organic search and social media can build up your brand’s reputation or unravel it in just a matter of hours. Your best defense is to regularly assess your online reputation. Here’s how:

5 Simple Steps for Assessing Your Online Reputation

  1. Become anonymous: Given advancements in personalized search, search engines keep detailed records of your preferences, including location, industry and company. To get the most accurate results when you’re assessing your online reputation, be sure to log out of search engine accounts and disable personalized search.
  2. Start searching: Use organic search to find out what people are saying and what content is being associated with your brand. Conduct multiple searches using keywords including:
    • Your company name, brand name(s), product names and names of key personnel
    • Common misspellings of your company name or brand name(s)
    • Your brand in a positive light, “best brownies, Bloom Organic Bakery”
    • Your brand in a negative light, “worst brownies, Bloom Organic Bakery”
  1. More ways to search: Don’t limit yourself to web pages on Google. Your online reputation includes any content on any search engine.
    • Conduct the searches mentioned above in Google Images and Google Video.
    • Try multiple search engines. The major ones are Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.
    • Try searching metasearch engines, such as Dogpile, Clutsy and ZapMeta.
  1. Monitor social media mentions: Use these tools to streamline monitoring across more than 400 social media channels:
    • HootSuite: Offers a robust dashboard allowing you to check every social media site
    • Reviewpush: Monitors online review activity and compiles statistics allowing you to compare positive, negative and neutral reviews
    • Social Mention: Monitors multiple social media channels and tells you which keywords people use when talking about your brand
  1. Evaluate your findings: There’s no golden rule in determining whether you have a “good” or “bad” online reputation. Generally speaking, if the top 10 search results for your brand include listings that are either negative or have nothing to do with your brand, there’s room for improvement.

For an online reputation that dazzles, follow our 9 Tips for Online Reputation Management.


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