Protecting your brand is essential in the digital era. Whether it be personal or your business, it's important to control your public image.
When someone searches for your personal name in Google, what will they find?
Of course, content will rank for your name, but the better question is whether the content is about you, if you have control over it and how it might be giving others a first impression of you in the process.
If you aren't currently ranking at the top of Google for your personal name, brand or business, your reputation could be in harms way. By actually "owning" the main page of the search results for your name, you can build a protective wall and barrier around your name, while also being in control of the first impression people will receive when they look you up online.
Image via Search Engine Land
Here's a perfect example: Let's say you are a local restaurant that has had a ton of success in your city or town, but you've still neglected the fact that you need to adapt with the changing time and have a presence online. This is something many small and local businesses are still struggling to adapt to.
For any local business still sitting on the sidelines that haven't invested their time and resources into local SEO and link building, be sure to have a local marketing strategy.
Related Article: Local Online Marketing Strategies That Your Business Should Be Doing
By not having a following or presence online, you are essentially allowing for any other brand, business or online site to take over your business name and brand. A good example of this would be local review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and PissedConsumer. All three of these sites are extremely huge and rank very well in the search results. They are also havens for negative reviews and hurt many local businesses when they aren't monitored properly.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Todd William from ReputationRhino.com about this and he had the following to say.
"From the Pope to your local pub, no one is immune from negativity online and reputation risk is a reality for every person and every business. Large companies can help manage risk by hiring an expensive PR firm, but the efforts of a small, local business is typically no match for the influence of TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google My Business."
Unfortunately, businesses and brands are finding this out for the first time on a daily basis, as they start to see top reviews sites ranking at the top of the search results for their names.
So what's a brand or business to do? The best answer is to start working on your own protective wall that you can start building in the search results. This is usually done by creating your own sites, a blog, using social profiles and highlighting any positive press you may already have online.
Related Article: Mobile Marketing: Growth Tactics from Google's Latest Announcement
The process for this is a bit thorough and can be fully explained through a blog protection guide, or you can follow along in the summary below.
- Register "Your Name or Brand" as a domain name and setup a web site or blog
- Secure as many social network profiles as possible with the same name
(LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc)
- Create valuable content through your blog about your company and linking out to your social network
- Perform the necessary outreach in your industry to get exposure and media coverage on other sites
By following this four step process, you will start to gain control over the search results for your personal name or brand. Your main site or blog should rank in the number one position, while your social profile pages will follow suite. For all additional spots and anywhere in between, you can help boost other positive press or site content by linking out to them as well.
If it seems like this is "easier said than done", that's because it. Dominating the first page of the search results for your name or business isn't easily, especially if you have a common name. However, it's also one of the most powerful and effective ways to grow and protect your brand over time.
The best approach to take is to simply get started. Don't think about the long road that you may have a head. Instead take baby steps to put everything mentioned into action and see how your site and social profiles continue to steadily climb in the search results over time.