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Is online reputation monitoring just for your business?

Online reputation monitoring (ORM) is here. I suspect you knew or recognize that intellectually, but have you paid attention to it practically? Intellectually, it makes perfect sense and we know it exists. Practically, however, there’s not enough time in the day to do all of this. While that might be valid that doesn’t mean that it can’t change. In fact, I would posit that it must change. You might need to shift your priorities. If you don’t, there could be an impact on you and your personal reputation or business that you can ill afford.

Having said that, I hope that your reaction to the title was a resounding “No!” As members of the Internet marketing community at large, we have an overly-developed sensitivity to all things Internet. Leading that area of concern are the SERP’s (search engine results pages). We talk all day about companies’ rankings and traffic and conversions but one thing that is implied in there is how the individual appears to the world when ‘Googled”.
In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal there was a good article regarding the Google results for one reporter and her quest to change the results that the engine produced for her query. She goes over her initial displeasure with her personal Google results. Although the results were positive, she wanted them to reflect more of her body of work rather than the one article that appeared at the top position for a considerable amount of time. What I found most curious was this article appearing on the front page of the Personal Journal section. Now yes, the Journal is the preeminent business publication to many, but there is a fair amount of culture and more covered in the Personal Journal section, so maybe not everyone even gets there. Online, it appears in the personal technology section. The reality is this has bigger implications for companies that don’t even know it.
We should all be tracking our results for our names. Ideally we want results to be about us but if your name is somewhat common, you might run into some competition. Google “Frank Reed” and you will meet my nemesis, Capt. Frank Reed, who made his name in the NYC area as a DJ in the 70s and 80s. (Curses!)
In addition, what if someone got a bug up a particular part of their anatomy about you? What if someone was just mean spirited and wanted to take you out? Face it folks, it’s a rough world out there, and people are going into survival mode more and more. The old adage, “Desperate times call for desperate measures” is playing out right before our eyes. We all need to be more on our toes than ever before, because the Internet can make anything spin out of control in a heartbeat (just ask young Michael Phelps).
Even if we have stellar results for our name search, there is opportunity to “sculpt” these results to make them even better.The article outlines some ideas for you to consider with social media.
Here are two real quick tips for you to feel like you are making progress.

  1. To see if your social media “handle” is available on a wide range of sites just go to and you can see where you are and aren’t, so to speak. Social media is a great way to clutter up the SERP’s with your “image.”
  2. Small business folks that have local concerns (and honestly for any business out there) go to to manage your company profile in Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Windows Live, and the Best of the Web directory. Your local presence is where the rubber meets the road with reviews, etc. You have to be in control of it.

There is a lot to write about in this area of reputation monitoring. Don’t let it become your focus after something terrible has happened. Be proactive and protect yourself. If you don’t, it nobody’s fault but yours.
Note: Kudos to Biznology’s founder Mike Moran. Google him and you’ll get a video result. Well struck, Mike! Of course, if personalization is turned on, you might see something different and if you are getting results from the same data center as me and, and, and…gotta love search.

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