Have you ever tried Googling your own name? If not, give it a try—it can be pretty eye-opening. The first thing you might notice is how many other people share your name, especially if it’s a fairly common one like Mike Jones or Mary Smith. The second thing you might discover is that there might be negative posts about you and your work that simply are not true, or perhaps less-than-stellar comments about another person who shares your name.
Online Reputation and Business
Your online reputation is more important than ever. Whether you are looking for a new job, are a public figure or are considering running for office, or if you are a company owner who wants to get as many new customers as possible, it is vital to know what people are finding when they Google you.
The most troubling issues for people’s online reputations are those false negatives about someone else who shares your name, or perhaps left by an angry customer or client who said some things about your business that is not correct. This can be especially problematic for doctors who are widely respected and adored by their patients and peers—one negative review posted can cause potential new patients to steer clear of the physician.
There are several things you can do to improve your personal SERP, or search engine results page information. Services like Reputation.com offer a reputation monitoring tool that can help people keep tabs on what is appearing online about them or their business. According to Reputation.com, gone are the days when people ask friends for character references; they usually just go to Google for help. Since search engines are unable to do their own fact checking, they will simply display whatever relevant information is associated with a particular name. If this information is inaccurate, it can be incredibly damaging; for example, a recent survey found that 74 percent of people who were polled said they would not do business or interact with anybody who had negative information posted about them on the internet.
Create Your Presence
As the saying goes, you want to take the bull by the horns and start creating your own positive online presence. In other words, don’t wait for other people, like clients or patients, to do it for you. If you are not already on social media websites like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, consider starting accounts and use them to optimize your bio. There are a grand total of nine ideal social-networking sites for business owners who want to improve their SERP. Use Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare and SM2.
Focus on Fewer Outlets
Some might argue that it is better to put all of your proverbial SERP eggs into just two or three social media baskets. You have options to get the word out about yourself or your business. By taking the time to join social-media sites, post blogs and monitor their reputation online, you can make sure when other people run a search of your name, accurate and positive information will appear.