[your product name][your company name]“.
If you have a quality word in your domain name, like hatsmaderight.com, search for malicious versions of that, like hatsmadewrong.com. We know of a small business owner who had a very angry ex-employee destroy his reputation and his business by doing this and posting malicious comments all over the internet that still remain after years. Apparently he had a lot of time on his hands after getting fired.
4.Repeat #1 and #2 using the Bing and Yahoo search engines. Record your searches for each search engine to keep track of what you’ve covered.
5.Check domain names. Go to Whois.com or our Whois Lookup page and search for domain names similar to yours that include negative and four-letter words. If the domain name has been purchased, click on the Whois button see who it is registered to. If it is available, it will be available for purchase. Also search for other extensions of your domain name. For example, if you own the name company.com, search for company.net, company.info, company.co and company.org to see if anyone has scooped those up and used them in a way that conflicts with your best interest.
You can also check Namechk to find out quickly what domain names are still available to buy.
6.Search on the major social media sites for your business name. If you don’t have a business page on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter at a minimum, create those now. If there are other social media sites that you are aware of being used in your industry, check those, too. You can also check Namechk to find out quickly if your preferred user name is already taken on multiple social media sites.
7.Search on Yelp for your business name. This can be painful because Yelp is designed for consumers, not necessarily for business owners, and you don’t have much recourse if a vitriolic rant and a one-star rating appears on your Yelp page.
Since your Yelp profile is very prominent, we’ll go a step further to repair here. If you find negative posts, follow Yelp’s instructions for how to respond. Keep your composure and take the high road, no matter what was said, and do your best to make it good for that customer. If it’s within your means to give the person a refund or a second free product to make them happy, do it and patiently ask them to consider editing their review. We wish there were more options.
8.Search on the major social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for your business name. If there are other social media sites that you are aware of being used in your industry, check those, too.
9.Check Google Image Search to find photos of you where you’ve been tagged on social media sites or posted on a website. Simply enter your name and see what results appear. Use the Advanced Image Search for finer detail.
…We promised 9 ways, but here is your bonus! #10:
Search all 3 search engines for your business and personal phone numbers in the 10-digit syntax with dashes, like 123-456-7890.
By now you will know whether there is a problem or not!
Once you’ve done your research, stay informed about new postings about you. You can subscribe to Google Alerts for your personal and business names, and whenever your alert phrases are mentioned online, you should get an email from Google with the URL of the latest mentions.
Whatever you post online can come back to haunt you! So take care when posting reviews of your own.
Online Reputation Damage Control
Now that you’ve assessed the problem and setup monitoring for future mentions of you, what is there to do about negative results? The next step is coming soon!