Your guide to a successful online business!

Google yourself

Googling yourself regularly may sound a bit self-centred but it’s all part of building your brand, and you need to know what customers are saying about you. This will help make sure people get a positive impression when they search for your name or that of your business.

By Googling yourself, you can see if your online presence is an accurate representation of your brand and what it stands for. . If you choose not to keep track of what customers and competitors are saying about you and your products or services, you risk turning a blind eye to negative reviews or concerns that could put a big dent in the reputation of your online business.

So here are a few simple ways you can use Google to find out what’s being said about you and your business.

Run a search on Google

First, you need to make sure you’re getting the same results other people will see. When you’re logged in to your Google account, the search engine provides results that are partially based on your location and search history.

In order to get results that aren’t influenced in this manner, you need to logout of your Google account.

Next, run a search for your brand name. But don’t stop there – go even further by using different search terms like:

  • “Brand name” (with and without quotation marks)
  • Brand name + city/county
  • Brand name + industry

… and any other combinations you can think of.

Ideally, the results page will include your site as the first result, then your social profiles and then some mentions on review sites, or blogs. That’s what you want to see.

Set up Google Alerts

Of course no one has the time to run a Google search every day, and you don’t need to when there’s this awesome tool called Google Alerts. No matter what business you’re in, you need to set up Google Alerts for your brand name – it only takes a few seconds.

Google alerts

So, go to Google Alerts, create a search query for your company name and decide how you want results delivered. You can filter results to include only certain forms of media, such as blogs, news or video, and you can have results sent to your email address or feed reader. You can also choose how often you’d like to receive alerts – as-it-happens, once a day or once a week.

Use Google’s “Me on the Web”

Another fantastic free tool from Google is “Me on the Web”. Log in to your Google account and your dashboard, and then click on “Me on the Web”.

Me on the Web

As you can see, this tool has three main features:

  1. Search for yourself (which is what we just did when you ran a search for your brand name)
  2. Stay current with web alerts (which we also did with Google Alerts)
  3. Review your Google Plus profile which should be completely filled out, with all the important information about your company – name, location, photos etc.

Google Suggest

Google Suggest is another useful tool that allows you to see how people search for your brand online. So, when you search for your company name, Google will show you suggestions based on how people search for you in Google.

Google Suggest

As you can see, people are searching for the 123-reg webmail, email settings and login. What you don’t want to see is “your company name scam” or anything like that.

All these tools ultimately help you to:

  1. See what your customers get when they look for you online.
  2. Find out if there’s any information that is incomplete, outdated or inaccurate that needs to be fixed
  3. Find out what former or current customers, partners, competitors and everyone else are saying about your brand.

Things you can do to improve your online reputation on Google

You’ve seen how you can get this information, now here is what you can do with it:

1. Claim your Google Business Page (formerly called Google Places)

Make sure you have a Google Business Page that includes all the important information about your business like its address, phone number, hours of operation, photos and anything else that is representative of your business.

Also, if after you’ve performed a search on Google you found local directories listing your business, make sure the information they show is correct. If it isn’t, then contact the webmasters and ask them to update it.

2. Correct or remove inaccurate information

If you happen to find any information that’s inaccurate or plain wrong, for example a review of one of your products that mentions it doesn’t have a certain feature although it does or an illegal copy of your tool available for anyone to download for free, you can first try contacting the site’s webmaster and asking him to correct or remove the content. If there aren’t any contact details or if the webmaster doesn’t reply or isn’t willing to update or completely remove the information for some reason, you can try asking Google to remove it.

3. Get your own domain

Having your own website allows you to better control the content that appears when people search for your business online. Whether it’s a .com, a short and sweet new .uk that we’ve just launched on 123-reg or a catchy and relevant new gTLD, make sure your own content shows up in the top results, and then everyone else’s.

4. Don’t ignore negative feedback but use it to improve your products and services

If you happen to get a Google alert notification where a customer mentions your company name, complaining about your products, services or customer support, don’t ignore it.

Go to the source, reply to that customer and then use the feedback to improve your products and services. Feedback from customers is always valuable, whether it’s positive or negative as it shows you what you’re doing right and what needs a little more work. So, listen to everything your customers have to say about your business and fix any issues you may have. This not only shows that you listen and value their feedback but also that you’re willing to do everything in your power to provide a product or a service that matches their needs.

In conclusion, it’s just plain irresponsible to be passive when it comes to your brand. You put in so much time into building your reputation and growing your business online that it would be a pity to not have some control over what your audience sees when they’re looking you up on Google.

How about you? Got any great tips on improving a brand’s online reputation on Google?

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