How to Assess Your the Damage to Your Online Reputation
What are customers and even competitors saying about you? Now is the time to find out! By completing this short assessment you learn what people are saying about your business and if you need to repair your reputation or just update it.
Start with a Plan
You will want to complete this assessment for your business, you personally and for any members of your company’s leadership team. We recommend taking a minute or two to put together a plan before you get started because it can be easy to get distracted while doing the assessment.
First open up Word, Notepad or your preferred text editor. Next make a list of keywords you will search for, here are a few recommendations.
**Note: replace [your name] with your name or business name
[your name] scam
[your name] review
[your name] images
[your name] case
[your name] mugshot
[your name] bbb
You may also want to search for your industry or other relevant information like your college, high school, clubs/associations, and anything else that may be relevant to you.
If you have a common name you may want to add your city or state to the end of the search queries so you won’t have to sift through as many results. Lastly open something to paste the links into that may not be flattering, we recommend a spreadsheet.
Doing the Assessment
When you are doing searches your results can be skewed based on your previous searches and other data. In order to avoid this you will need to either clear your cookies/cache/history and logout of Google or open an incognito/private window in Chrome/Firefox.
Go to Google and paste in your first search term, look through the results as if you were someone doing research on you. Make sure to look at the first three pages minimum before going on to the next search. Ideally you will look at the first ten pages to find out more.
**Pro Tip: Click the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and click “Search settings”. Under “Google Instant predictions” click “Never show instant results”. Beneath that change the “Results per page” to 100 and then click save. That way you won’t have to keep clicking to go to the next page. You can change it back once you are done with the assessment.
**Pro Tip 2: If you hold the Ctrl key when you click on a result it will open in a new tab. It can be a huge time saver to open ten tabs at once and then quickly look at them.
We recommend that you look at your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. profiles from an outsider’s perspective. What you are looking for is pages that you didn’t create. Click the image, news, and video tabs in Google to get a full picture.
You will see a lot of sites that are just aggregating data about places you’ve lived and other basic info about you. Most of them will attempt to charge you for a police record or something else. Just ignore those items that you have to pay for, most likely they don’t have anything about you or it will show up elsewhere for free.
Remember you are not looking to fix them on the spot, the goal is just to make a list of sites that may be an issue then work on fixing them later.
As you do your searches write down any other ideas that come to mind about other search terms that could be relevant to your life. When you reach the 100th result paste the next search term in to the search bar. Most likely you will see a lot of the same pages, that is normal just keep looking through for new sites.
Hopefully after completing the assement you didn’t have too many negative items. If you do have items, especially those showing on the first page remember that people looking to do business with you are seeing the same thing. The saying “out of sight out of mind” may be true but it can hurt your reputation and it’s vital you face these issues and fix them before they spread like a virus.
In the next chapter we will cover the biggest mistakes that businesses make when they see these negative items online. Before you do anything with what you’ve found make sure to read the next chapter!