Your reputation is your most valuable asset in any type of business, whether offline or online. After the struggle of building up a good name for yourself, you need to take action to protect your reputation when people are slandering you or misusing your brand name – as well as to recognize and highlight positive mentions of you online.
The best way to do this is by using a tool that runs through the world’s most popular search engine: Google Alerts. It is a free application, automatic, and completely online, so you don’t need to download or check back manually. The initial research and setup time is worth it when you factor in the benefits.
1. Decide on your keywords
You should pick out the phrases and words that are most important to your business, including your business name if it is unique. Consider setting one up for the name under which you do business, as people may post your name as the owner of the business. Any unique brand names or product names should also go on the list.
If your business name is common – for example, Boston Air Conditioning – you’ll want to try to make the phrase you choose more specific or you will be alerted whenever anyone online talks about “Boston air conditioning” and the number of results will be overwhelming. Try setting up an alert for your business name, phone number, street address, or some other unique identifier.
2. Set up the alerts
Visit the Google Alerts tool online, then enter the first keyword or phrase you want to track, the type of results you want (probably “everything”), how often you want to receive notifications, and whether you want the best results or all results. Enter the email address you want to use to receive the alerts, then click Create Alert. If you are signed into a Google account, just choose the email attached to the account that you want to use.
If you are entering a phrase, make sure you use quotation marks. For example, instead of entering simply Boston Air Conditioning Company, you would need to enter “Boston Air Conditioning Company” with quotation marks on either side. Otherwise, you will receive results for phrases such as “air conditioning Boston” or even “Boston company” and will be quickly overwhelmed.
3. Continue setting them up
You will need to repeat this process for each alert you want to set up. You can scroll to the bottom of your Manage Alerts page to quickly create a new alert. You may want to change the settings slightly for each alert, and the tool allows you to do so. You can choose to be emailed instantly for some alerts (like ones about your name) and only once a day for other, less important alerts. If your company is small and you don’t expect to be flooded with results, choose “all results” for most queries so you don’t miss out on mentions of your brand name by small blogs and other websites that wouldn’t be forwarded to you with the “Only the best results” option selected.
The work you put in now will pay off, because you won’t have to repeat this process until you’re ready to delete them or add more. The alerts will run automatically until you delete them.
Make sure you protect your business reputation by setting up Google Alerts. Using this tool will give you a head start on monitoring your brand’s name and highlighting positive achievements while doing damage control when negative situations arise.