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Assessing your online reputation is easy, really. Just search for your company online and see what you find. Make sure that when you’re looking, you check with different search engines. The different engines have different requirements for keywords and work slightly differently than the others. Because of that, you need to make sure that you’re searching not only general search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN; but also the metasearch engines such as Info.com, Dogpile, and WebCrawler.
So what should you be searching for? Well your name is an obvious one, especially if you’re the CEO or the President of a company; and you’ve probably already guessed that you should search for your company name as well. But along with those, also search for your brand, your product, your employees (especially those that deal with the public a lot,) as well as your brand and any usernames that you may use in association with your business.
Also remember while you’re searching your company that search engines are very often personalized right now, meaning that the results you see will probably be based on at least your location, as well as you or your company if you’re signed into that particular search engine. For example, if you’re signed into Google and search for your own company name while you’re signed in, you may only get to see results of material you’ve written, or material that you already know is out there. What you want to find of course, is the material you don’t already know about and that could be negatively affecting your business.
Once you’ve done some searching and found some results, what are you supposed to do with them? You need to track them! Create a spreadsheet that you can reference at any time, and put the following information on it, in this order: position in the search engines (was it the first, second, fourth, etc. result); the URL that has the publicity; the type of publicity (whether it’s good, bad, indifferent, or not about you); and the general sentiment behind the posting. Perform a search on each keyword (your name, your company’s name, etc.) As you search, record the first 30 results that you found on your spreadsheet, regardless of the sentiment behind them.
After that, it’s just a matter of finding the positive results and utilizing them to their full advantage; and finding negative results and fixing them as quickly as possible.