Seven Online Reputation Management Tips for Cheapskates

Written: 3-May-2008 | | Filed under: Online Marketing

Okay, so maybe you prefer “budget conscious” to “cheapskate.” Whatever — ComputerWorld magazine offers seven ways to monitor and manage your online reputation that won’t cost you anything but a bit of your time.

The first three will help you monitor what’s being said so you can respond appropriately when and if necessary. The next three help you establish a strong, positive online presence that could effectively offset negative information that might turn up. And the last one is just plain old common sense.

  1. Keep track of what the blogosphere is saying about you and your competitors using free online tools such as BlogPatrol and Technorati. Don’t just track company names, but also product names and other search terms related to your industry or market.
  2. Run a Google search on your company and product names every now and then, and see what comes up at / near the top of the results. Are there any unflattering or negative pages there?
  3. Set up Google Alerts to be automatically notified whenever Google indexes a mention of your company, your company’s products or other important search terms.
  4. Create entries that help establish your position as an authority in your industry. Create an industry-related “lens” in Squidoo. Write appropriate reviews of products in Amazon. Maintain a corporate or personal blog. Contribute to online forums. Write articles.
  5. Make appropriate use of opportunities presented by social networking such as FaceBook, MySpace and YouTube. These can be valuable for posting positive content about your business.
  6. Conduct a link building campaign for your positive company information, to build strong search engine rankings for this content. The article recommends buying paid links, but given recent developments at Google to devalue the impact of paid links, I’d approach this tactic with caution. Rather, I suggest building natural links if at all possible. It may take longer and require more work, but in the long run, those links will likely help more than paid links. If you need some hints or ideas for building strong natural links, Debra Matstaler’s blog The Link Spiel is a great place to start.
  7. And finally, a bit of common sense. Be careful about what you yourself post online. You don’t want to undermine your own reputation management efforts by posting angry off-topic diatribes on professional forums, rude responses to customer complaints or pictures of drunken antics at your last office party. If you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, or if you wouldn’t want it plastered 30 feet high on a billboard on the busiest highway near your office, then it shouldn’t be posted online, either.

For more information about online reputation management, check out Andy Beal’s free Online Reputation Management Beginner’s Guide, with links to a plethora of additional resources and tools you can use.

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