A wide array of paid and free tools make it both cheap and easy to track your online reputation. The first point of contact is typically via customer emails, comments on your own site, or web analytics data. But not everyone who complains about you brings the complaints directly to you or links to your site, instead choosing to post comments on blogs, forums, or elsewhere on the web. How do you track the rest of the conversation going on online? Here’s a set of tools and services that are easy to use, and best of all, many are free. Tracking the wild west web
Andy Beal recently launched Trackur, which starts at $88 a month, and aggregates data from a variety of sources.
If you wanted to go the el cheapo route, you can gather data from a variety of sources via RSS feeds. Services like Bloglines, Technorati, Google News, Google Blog Search, BlogPulse, and Icerocket all allow you to save custom RSS feeds aligned with your name, your brand name, or your URL.
You can subscribe to any/all of these RSS feeds in any feed reader like Google Reader, Bloglines, My Yahoo!, My MSN, NewsGator, or Netvibes.
Google also owns a service called iGoogle, which allows you to display many RSS feeds on the same page at the same time. If you want to share a set of feeds with others in your company you can email that tab to a friend, or use Google Apps and can create a company page for your marketing department. I created one here and made it publicly available.
Stay alert to changes
Two other handy tricks for keeping up with your reputation are Google date-based search filters and Google Alerts. Google’s date-based filters are available from their advanced search page, and allow you to search for things like mentions of “Aaron Wall” OR “seobook” indexed by Google during the last 7 days.
Google Alerts allow you to track brand mentions in a specific vertical or the web as a whole, and get free email notifications as it happens or once a day. Some examples of how you can use Google Alerts:
- be the first person to get bad news and fix the issue before it spirals out of control
- ask people who mention you if they would be willing to link to you
- find people who are linking to competitors that should be linking to you (as mentioned by Eric Ward here)
By setting up alerts, tracking new search results, and monitoring discussions across blogs every day via RSS feeds, you can easily monitor what others are saying about your company, find brand evangelists, build links, and address any potential brand damage sooner rather than later.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.