What is the importance of your online reputation? In a 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross Tab Market Research, 70% of U.S. recruiters have rejected candidates based on their online reputation though only 7% of Americans believe their online reputation affects their job search.
So you’ve decided it’s time to get proactive in your Reputation Management. How do you start?
- See where you stand. You will need to monitor what is already being said about you so you know what other people are already able to learn about you and your brand. Do a vanity search for your name, business name, or known as names. See Tools for Monitoring Your Reputation.
- Own your own domain. Buy your name, variations, and business name(s) if you can. You can have them point where you want. I own KerryRego.com and it points to this site. Go to GoDaddy or other domain purchasing service and buy it. They generally run anywhere from $3-$10 per year with a price break if you buy multiple years or domains at a time. If you are planning on using it to create content rather than simply owning it, purchase more than one year at a time. Search engines can see that and know that you are in business for the long haul and it’s a ranking factor that pushes you up higher in search results. TRUE STORY: I have a friend that is a Broadway performer and she didn’t buy her own domain before someone else did. When one does a search for her name a XXX performer comes up before her. OWN YOUR OWN NAME.
- Post original content. Don’t be passive, be proactive! Get yourself a blog (some are free) like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr. Decide on a focus and start writing. Determine how frequently you will write and put it on your calendar. The more frequently you publish to your blog, the better. Each new post is a new page on the web for search engines to catalogue and each is a new search result. Search engines want fresh results and each time you post that exactly what you are providing. Don’t know what to write about? I wrote a blog called 15 Easy Blog Post Topics (sounds silly but it’s a totally normal to not know what to write about and everyone wants to know) that will help you get started and / or plan your approach. Blogs don’t need to be long! Actually, if they are short, they are more likely to be read. Shoot for 500 words or so as you begin
- Use additional social media tools. I know this is surprising but when I started using social media many many years ago, my goal wasn’t to dominate the search results associated with my name. Back then social media wasn’t even a factor in search. The beauty of using tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, About.me, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest, Yelp, Quora, Foursquare etc. (see my Social Media Tools List) is that they provide the fresh and relevant search results search engines salivate over. Your clients or those that are searching for you spend much of their time on social media so it makes sense to be found there as well.
- Set up a schedule for monitoring your name or brand. I do this monthly when I close my books. I set up a simple Excel spreadsheet to track the accounts, log in information, and any results I find or followup I want to do. If you are an individual you can do this on the first of the month, quarterly, or simply when you think of it. I do recommend setting up some kind of a reminder to make sure you do this fairly regularly.
While you can’t make negative search results associated with your name completely disappear, you can displace those results with what you’d like the world to know. Though we’ve never had complete control over what is said about us, we DO have some control over how we are viewed on the web. Stop sitting back in your chair. Sit forward, put your hands on the keyboard, and craft the message you want them to see.
Read more blogs by Kerry Rego Consulting on Reputation Management: http://bit.ly/krcrepmng