Remember back in the day when search results were just ten blue text links on a page?
Back then, the search results were so simple that reputation management was pretty straightforward. You could clearly see if those blue links connected to positive content — if so, your reputation was great.
Unfortunately, things aren’t so easy now. Universal search, complaint websites, social media, wikis, forums and other platforms have increased those ORM touch points from 1 to an increasingly large number. Ultimately, monitoring all of these different sites for the purpose of protecting your image can get tricky.
There are many tools you can use to check and monitor your reputation, and what I don’t want to do is rehash the ones you’ve already read about ad nauseam (Google Alerts, the social media monitoring soup du jour, etc.). The list I’ve compiled below contains five tools to check your reputation in ways you might not have considered. Let’s get started.
I write a lot about Google Autocomplete (for example, on Search Engine Land for businesses and for individuals). I’m passionate about Autocomplete because it is the first impression you or your company makes online. Before the search results even show up, those Autocomplete results are displayed in the drop-down from the search bar. If you care about your online reputation, these Autocomplete keywords are incredibly important to be aware of and manage.
UberSuggest.org is a tool that shows you many different variations of your Autocomplete values. For example, if you are Xerox, UberSuggest will show you what displays in Autocomplete for “Xerox A,” “Xerox B,” etc. Here is a screenshot:
Google Autocomplete generally shows four results to most users, but tools like UberSuggest show 10, giving you deeper insight into any problems that may be lurking when someone types a letter after your brand name. Bookmark it! (Bonus: It is also an amazing keyword research tool to use for your SEO campaigns.)
I love handy little tools like IFTTT.com, which stands for “IF This, Then That,” an old programming staple. On the site, you create “recipes,” which are made just like their namesake implies:
- You create a rule
- IF that rule occurs
- THEN your desired action occurs
For example, here are two of the most popular IFTTT recipes:
Make sense? Pretty awesome, right?
So, why is this a great tool for your ORM Toolbox? It allows you to monitor websites pretty easily. For example, I use IFTTT to monitor Wikipedia pages. I grab the RSS feed of the Wikipedia page, add that as the first part of the recipe, and set the rule so that anytime the RSS feed is updated, I get an email in my inbox with a notification.
You can monitor any site with an RSS feed with this same type of recipe; and, as an individual looking to protect your image, you can keep tabs on when your name or face appears on the Web. Of course, there many other useful things you can do with this tool – the sky is the limit!
3. Complaint Site Search
You’re probably familiar with the usual suspects when it comes to complaint websites, and I’m not the biggest fan, so I don’t want to give them the citations or links. They contain words like “ripoff,” “complaints,” or “pissed,” and they can make life for both good and bad companies really challenging, as they often show up prominently in the search results.
We are currently tracking over 50 complaint websites. These include the well-known properties as well as smaller sites that focus on niches like cheating/infidelity, multi-level marketing, cease and desist letters, etc.
Something that was born out of necessity was a search engine that could go through all of these complaint sites and identify brand and name mentions on them. We couldn’t find a tool that easily did that, so we built a simple one using Google’s Custom Search tool, and it is pretty effective. Just plug your name or brand into the complaint search box and you’re off!
If Google’s reverse image search were automatic and continual, it would be ImageRaider.com. You simply upload your unique images to the site, and it will routinely crawl the Web looking for any websites that are using them. This can be a powerful link-building tool (hat tip to Ross Hudgens and this incredible slide deck), and it can also be helpful for ORM.
Just upload your logo variations, executive headshots, and any controversial images, and you can keep an eye on who is using them across the Web and respond appropriately. Sometimes, people will include images and not include the name or brand name, and in those cases, you’ll still be able to locate the content about the brand because of the automated reverse image search from Image Raider.
We’ve found that a lot of small businesses haven’t claimed their social media name of choice across more than just Facebook and Twitter. And, even if they have, it rarely extends beyond the 4-5 big social media sites. It is a big problem if someone is representing your brand on any website, big or small, and you should know about it.
KnowEm.com has a free checker to see if your desired name has been taken on more than 550 different types of social sites. KnowEm also has some great rates on registering the names for you and setting up profiles with your information populated in the main fields.
Monitoring your reputation is an ongoing effort, and there will always be new places that you will need to be concerned about. Six years ago, you didn’t have to worry about Twitter, and two years ago you didn’t need to worry about Pinterest. As the landscape of the Web evolves, so too will the properties you need to monitor and the tools necessary to do so.
What are some of your favorite reputation management tools and tips? I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.