We just did a post on Google Alerts, and if you read our blog regularly then you know that keeping track of the current state of your online reputation is one of the most important reputation management skills you’ll ever learn. However, there may be a few situations where Google Alerts won’t work for you, such as:
You need more in-depth information than what Google Alerts can give you.
Your brand or name is often mentioned on social media, which Google Alerts is admittedly not that great at monitoring.
You’re just not a Google user, and infinitely prefer Yahoo or Bing.
What are some of the best alternatives to Google Alerts?
One of the most talked about alternatives to Google Alerts is Talkwalker Alerts. Many laud this service as the closest choice to Google Alerts.
Mention is a popular alternative to Google Alerts that focuses on social media. While they do offer great free services, I will warn you that they have a lot of unnecessary “fremium” offers as well, which you should probably avoid. You can get similar analytic information direct from Google for free. Also, much of what Mention has to offer on this front won’t help anyone who’s not an SEO professional already. Stick to their 100% free services.
There are a few other alternatives to Google Alerts mentioned in this Digital Inspiration article. While Mention and Talkwalker Alerts are far superior to most of the others at this point, I’ve included the article in case of updates. New alternatives to Google Alerts are constantly emerging.
Should I use an alternative service or just stick with Google Alerts?
The answer to this question isn’t often a simple one. The fact is that Google Alerts is a leader in this field for many reasons – the biggest being that Google as a search engine commands the largest market segment and user base. However, some of the alternatives may suit your personal tastes better or allow you to focus on areas of the internet Google Alerts doesn’t reach.
If this is the case, you should probably go with an alternative – but go ahead and set up a Google Alert or two as well. Why? It’s simple: Google Alerts will tell you what the SERPs of the world’s biggest search engine say about you and/or your business. Whether or not this tool matches your style exactly, or whether or not you need to focus on other areas as well (social media being a big one), you need to know what Google says about you.
This is a complex problem, like many in the SEO world. Both Google and its alternatives have a great deal to offer. The best thing you can do for your online reputation is take advantage of every possible resource.
One of the most important things you can do in order to keep your online reputation spotless is to check your reputation on the internet constantly. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a Google Alert (or a few of them, depending on your situation).
What is a Google Alert?
A Google Alert is a service Google provides free of charge to any of its users. It allows you to type in any search terms and save them to your Google profile, and then sends you alerts whenever the SERP content related to those search terms changes. This makes it a great way to check what the internet is saying about you automatically.
How do I set up Google Alerts?
Setting up a Google Alert or two is an easy and painless process. If you go to the Google Alerts setup page, Google will walk you through the entire process. It actually includes results for your name as potential Alerts automatically if you’re signed in to your Google profile when you go to the Alerts page.
Setting up a Google Alert is as simple as typing in Google’s search bar once you’ve reached the setup page. The only thing that ever surprises me about Google Alerts is that more people don’t use them more regularly!
What Google Alerts should I set up?
If you’re worried about your personal online reputation, you should include a Google Alert for your full name.
Are you concerned about the online reputation of your business? Include a Google Alert for your business’ name.
If there are particular potentially reputation damaging factors you’re worried about, you should include those in your Google Alerts. For example, if you’re concerned about litigation facing your company, you should set up Google Alerts for “[your company name]” and “[your company name] lawsuit.”
The great thing about Google Alerts is that there’s no limit to how many you can set up. If there’s something you’re at all concerned about, you should set up a Google Alert for it.
Google never charges for its Alerts services. Also, there’s no way that having Google Alerts set up can negatively impact your online reputation. This is the case because Google Alerts are 100% private. No one else has to know that you have Google Alerts set up for a particular search term or set up search terms.
Why do Google Alerts work so well for online reputation management?
Google Alerts are a great tool for internet reputation management and enhancement because they essentially allow you to see at a glance what the internet at large is saying about you, and because they update you regularly whenever that changes.
They also work particularly well because, right now, Google is the industry leader in the world of search engines. This means that what appears on Google is what most users are most likely to see when running a search – and that what appears on the other major search engines (including Yahoo and Bing) is likely to stick pretty closely to what Google has to offer.
This article is part two of a series we’re doing on the quality vs quantity debate – be sure to check out the first post in the series for context before reading this one.
We established in our last article that a middle of the road approach works best as a solid answer to the age old quality vs. quantity debate. However, we didn’t have the time or space to analyze exactly what that approach would look like. Today, we’re back for more on this important topic.
Please consider the Hubspot article analyzing quality vs. quantity we directed you to last time. The whole thing is worth reading, but if you don’t have the time to take it all in, we’ve got the most important bits for you right here.
Check out the graph that the marketing company followed at the beginning of the experiment: although they switch things up throughout the article, this is actually a pretty good model to follow.
Image Credit: Hubpost
You’ll notice that 48% of the content the company creates is “tactical” in nature – which is the distinction they give to their medium quality content. This is not throwaway, instantly produced content, but it is also not the most in-depth content the company offers. The smaller percentages, such as the 13% each shared by “Deep Tactical” and “IG/SS” – “Deep Tactical” being the company’s distinction for 1500+ word feature-like, highly in-depth articles and “IG/SS” meaning infographics and slide shares – which require very little work compared to the tactical and deep tactical work – are for higher and lower quality content, respectively.
So what you need to do for your business or personal reputation online, when you’re creating positive or neutral content to push bad content off of the first pages of Google, is to create a mix of low, high, and medium quality content.
This is because each type of content serves a different function, as follows:
Low quality content is designed to quickly attract readers and draw attention away from negative content, as well as introducing potentially interested parties to your brand. The attraction of low quality content is that you can potentially produce quite a bit very quickly.
High quality content retains readers with in-depth, highly comprehensible, interesting words and rich images – and may also get your website(s) more links and other measures of popularity and legitimacy (which can only help your SEO – meaning it can help you move past the negative content out there).
Medium quality content does a little bit of both. It can be produced more quickly than the highest quality content, but will also retain more readers and more deeply interest them than the low quality content. The majority of content you produce should be in this range, because it has the best combination of speed and staying power.
Like the company in the graph above, aim for close to 50% of your content to fall into the medium quality range, then 25% each in the low and high quality ranges. This will allow you to maximize the benefits and offset the negative effects of every type – meaning that you’ll more quickly and thoroughly be able to put your past behind you.
It’s an age-old debate in the marketing world, especially the SEO marketing segment – should a company or individual create higher-quality content at a slower rate or more low-quality content quickly to make a bigger and more positive impact with potential customers?
When it comes to reputation management, the debate is much the same – should you be creating higher quality positive content related to yourself or your company online, or a high quantity of lower quality positive content, which you can produce much faster?
If you’re an absolute genius and have unlimited time on your hands, it is of course possible to generate a large quantity of very high quality content in a relatively short amount of time – but this hardly applies to anyone in the real world.
So we’re going to consider the issue and give you some advice here like you’re a regular person. This should also give you some insight into how our company works, though our large network and larger amounts of important resources make it easy for us to work much faster than the average individual or company PR department.
When I set out to write this article for you all, I certainly had some ideas about the subject in mind, and those have remained largely unchanged even as I’ve done extensive research. Two of the best articles I read were a Hubspot blog post by Ginny Mineo and a Moz article on quality vs. quantity, and though I had slightly different interpretations than the authors sometimes, I think we would all agree on essentially the same quality vs. quantity philosophy.
And that is that the answer is much more complicated than simply choosing to either produce quality content or a high quantity of content.
If you go wholly one way or the other, you’re likely to fail. The low quality, high quantity approach will probably do great things for you in the short term, but won’t have any lasting effects. The high quality, low quantity approach logically seems like it would play out better in the long term – but in reality it would bring so little traffic to your content to begin with that it would hardly have any impact at all.
Let’s take a closer look at how this would play out, thinking specifically of a reputation enhancement scenario.
We’ll say a staffer at XYZ Marketing sent out a controversial tweet that made the local news media, and that a lot of negative reviews of the company and decreased traffic happened as a result. XYZ tried to weather the storm, but soon found that a Google search of their company’s name revealed a full SERP of nothing but negativity related to them. They have to fix their image, right?
Let’s imagine two possible approaches they might take. In one, a few staffers at the company create blogs related to the company or optimized to show up in searches for the company, and a few more write press releases. They update all the blogs four or five times a day, but can’t really create high quality content.
If their SEO is good, they might win out in the short term, but they’ll likely lose the SERP to negative news again because their low quality content will not inviterepeat viewership or generate links.
And if they go the other route and only produce the highest quality content possible, their output will be so low and traffic so sparse that they’ll likely never take the SERP back from negative news at all.
A middle of the road approach would obviously be best for this scenario – and this scenario is analogous to many faced by small companies and their marketers or reputation managers.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a detailed analysis of exactly what a middle of the road approach in the quality vs. quantity debate would actually look like for most companies, so be sure to drop by!
Since what matters most to your online reputation is what internet users can see in SERPs, search engine results management is a huge part of managing and protecting your online reputation. Because search is always changing, we’ve done some research on what to expect the search world to look like in 2017.
Many SEO gurus don’t believe the changes coming in 2017 will be huge ones, but it’s still always best to prepare ahead – and there will of course be some changes to search in 2017.
One of the biggest is that 2017 will be a year in which the big search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and their smaller counterparts alike focus more than ever on mobile and mobile-friendly content, and this can have a couple big implications for your online reputation.
The first and most important thing is that if positive content out there about you and/or your business, it’ll surge ahead in the SERPs if it’s mobile-friendly and fall into obscurity if it isn’t. That means you need to be sure that everything good about you on the internet is mobile friendly.
One of the easiest ways to do this is making sure that your internet properties are optimized for mobile use – these include things like business and personal websites and blogs. Make sure these are ready for more mobile users than ever when the new year starts, even if you still anticipate most of your traffic will come from computer users!
If you’re using guest blog posting or a similar method to boost your online reputation, make sure that you are creating guest blogs for sites that are themselves mobile-friendly. Don’t worry about other external properties like Facebook and Yelp, though – they’ve been mobile-friendly for years, which is one of the many reasons they’re so hugely successful and important.
Unfortunately, this new focus on mobile means that if there’s negative content related to you in the news media, it might get a little boost in the SERPs, because there’s a good chance that news articles and similar posts are very friendly to mobile users, as they primarily consist of text (which loads more quickly and is easier to arrange for mobile than things like large images). That means you’ll likely have to work extra hard in 2017 to suppress that negative content, and also try to produce some positive content from the news media related to you.
Besides a trend towards greater emphasis on mobile-friendly sites than ever, there’s another big change coming in the SEO world in 2017 that will likely have an impact on your online reputation – and that’s that keyword research is changing.
Although most people and businesses looking to improve their online reputation are concerned with Google searches for their personal or company names, sit down at the beginning of the year and consider whether or not any common search keywords related to your industry or activities are producing content related to your business – if they are, you’ll want to work to ensure that that content is positive.
We here at Reputation Enhancer really value blogging as a way of improving your online reputation, and since we recently did a post educating readers about how it can boost a positive online reputation and save a negative one, we thought we’d add another about a less-discussed facet of blogging that can also help to push negative results for Google searches of your name aside and put positive or neutral ones in their place.
Whenever you write a guest post for another blog, your name, and possibly the name of your business or organization, is attached to that post forever – which means that it can potentially show up on Google or other search engine searches for your name or your company’s name. This is especially true if the blog you’re writing a guest post for is already a popular or respected one, or if you write guest posts for multiple blogs.
The only hard thing about guest posting is breaking in.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is establish yourself as an expert in a particular field or at a particular type of blogging, so that your guest posts look attractive to potential clients.
Then you’ll need to find blogs to write guest content for. There are a couple ways you can go about this:
Contacting blogs you already read regularly and are very familiar with. This is one of the best ways to find clients for guest posting, as you’ll already know what type of subjects and style of writing the blog in question likes.
Using a service like myblogguest.com, which sets up blog owners looking for guest posts and great writers who can provide those posts for them. This works best if you’re a great writer and you’re comfortable writing about a variety of subjects.
Cold-calling blogs you don’t know much about already to ask to write guest posts for them. This is the most difficult method, but can be a success if you approach it in one of two ways:
Researching the blogs in question extensively before contacting them, and/or
Contacting a lot of blogs.
If you have the time and expertise for it, any and all of these methods can be a great way of improving your online brand and getting positive material about yourself or your business out there. Just remember what matters most to your online reputation: what customers can see about you or your business on Google’s (or similar companies’) SERPs for searches related to you.
Guest posting can also lead to other opportunities for networking, employment, and business partnerships. It’s also a great way for you to supplement the kinds of behind-the-scenes work that our company does to get you positive results even faster!
Something as simple as starting a blog for yourself – particularly a blog related to an industry you work, have worked, or want to work in – can help you create positive content for yourself that fixes your online reputation by pushing negative content off of SERPs for major search engines like Google.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting a blog to repair a damaged online reputation:
Consider using a blogging platform like WordPress.
Platforms like WordPress or Tumblr allow you to put all of your content in one place and present it professionally without paying for expensive design services.
Because of these sites’ social-media like features, you can also promote your blog for free on-site and connect with other bloggers who may be interested in your content.
We recommend WordPress because it’s easy to use, easy to optimize for SEO, and functional enough to create an entire website with – not just a blog. We also use WordPress for our site!
Register a relevant domain name for the blog.
If you’re worried about searches for your name turning up negative results, register the blog to a domain name that matches your name (or business name).
If you already have a business site, start the blog on that – in addition to giving you opportunities to improve your reputation, it will likely improve the SERP standings of your business.
Create new content regularly.
Starting the blog is the easy part – filling it up is the time-consuming and challenging part.
Try to update your blog at least once a week. Make sure all the content is relevant to you/your business, positive, well-written, and optimized for search engines.
Share your blog posts on your social media accounts.
This is a great way to get your blog some initial traffic, and can also help boost both your blog and your social media presence in search engine rankings – which can push negative content back to pages 2 and 3 where it belongs!
As your blog grows, consider writing guest posts for other blogs.
If you have the clout to do this, it can be another way of getting your name attached to some positive content, and pushing that negative content even farther into obscurity.
In conjunction with press releases, a major social media presence, transparency, positive change, and other actions and internet properties you or your reputation enhancement professionals may take or create, a blog can be a huge part of a successful plan for fixing your online reputation.
If I called you right now and asked you what matters most to your online reputation, you’d probably say something like this:
Someone else with a name similar to mine
No matter which one of these you’d say – or if you’d say anything else like one of these things – you’d be wrong.
When it comes to long-term professional and personal relationships, things like the quality of your work or your trustworthiness might be the single biggest factor – and in this face-to-face setting, a single mistake or stroke of bad luck might doom your reputation. But on the internet, that just isn’t the case.
Although Google’s algorithm is always changing and there’s always new content on the internet, what individuals (such as potential customers and employers) can see when they type in your name doesn’t change too often – and it’s what they see that determines what they think of you.
The bad news is that, if you’re here, there’s probably already something out there you don’t want people to see. The good news is that it’s very easy to push that content out of the way and replace it with something of your choosing – and all thanks to the same search engines that dredged up the bad content in the first place!
One of the first things you should do as a step toward fixing and better managing your online reputation is set up a Google alert for your name or any other searches that are currently bringing up negative results related to you.
Being able to see what the search engines and their algorithms see means being able to see what others can see when they look for you – and knowing what’s out there is the first step to changing it.
Fixing the content that appears on that first page is a hard job – and it’s one that many individuals and businesses choose to hire outside helpers, such as our own company, for. However, whether you take our help or go it alone, the first step is knowing what really matters – and what really matters to your reputation is what the world can see.
If you’ve ever Googled yourself to check on your online reputation, or even searched with another engine like Yahoo! or Bing, you may have noticed something – those pesky negatives articles from news sources (even tiny unreliable sources like a badly managed small town newspaper) seem to stick in the same place on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) no matter what.
Why? The answer is simple, and once you understand the problem you’ll have a better idea what you can do about it.
Google and the other major search engines exist for one reason: to bring their users the content they want as fast as possible. I’m sure you know by now that each of these search engines has a complex algorithm to determine what pieces of web content are relevant to a user’s search, but there may be some things about those algorithms you don’t yet know.
To get so many results to users so quickly, each major search engine’s algorithm has a couple shortcuts built in. These shortcuts are designed to put the content Google and other search engine users want the most at the front of the pile, faster than a speeding bullet.
What kinds of information and other content does Google prioritize? Often things such as Wikipedia, major social media sites, and news take up the top half of a Google SERP for a person or business name. But why is this?
First it’s important to note that the traffic on all of those sites is extremely high. Even small, local news sites get huge amounts of traffic compared to businesses or blogs based in the same areas.
In addition to high traffic, they boast a high volume of relatively meaningful and relevant content, and also usually have a ton of internal and external links boosting their page ranking.
All of this taken together could explain why some bad news regarding you or your business is still haunting you, sometimes even years later. But what’s more important than understanding why this problem exists is understanding how to beat it.
Remember this: news is time-sensitive. However, because Google may not have any new news articles on you or your business in its index, those old articles will keep showing up. The solution to this problem is simple, though it’s often hard to implement: you have to create new news that shows you and your business in a more positive or at least neutral light to push those old negative articles to the back pages where they belong.
This is actually one of the main techniques our staff uses to improve our clients’ reputations so quickly: by crafting professional, well-written press releases that we send to our various contacts in the news industry.
Getting yourself in the news for a good thing is never easy – especially considering how much people love to read bad news – but it can be one of the best investments you make in terms of your internet reputation.
When it comes to fixing a damaged online reputation, private individuals and business owners alike have a lot of questions. Foremost among these is often something like this: “Should I focus on repressing negative information or putting more positive information out there?”
It’s a tough one to answer, but we have all the facts right here. To figure it out, let’s look at the benefits of each in turn.
Benefits of Hiding Negative Information and Reviews
The other thing to keep in mind here is that most potential customers do not go through every single review and read every word – they pay attention to your aggregate score and common themes in reviews. This is good news if you have only one or two bad reviews – they shouldn’t matter much anyway if you have a much greater number of positive reviews.
But also keep in mind that if you have a few five-star reviews compared to a lot of average or negative ones, the few great ones won’t help you much at all. That’s just how customers’ minds work.
Negative news articles and other types of non-review online content can affect your business even more.
Although many potential customers don’t trust news sources or advertisers as much as reviews by other regular people like them, negative articles usually rank very high on Google and can sway opinion a great deal because in a negative article there’s no one sticking up for you – unlike on a review page, where there is bound to be a mix of opinions. Also, a negative news article often seems much more serious than a bad review, because whatever happened was considered by the writer to be “newsworthy.”
What does all this mean? Negative content related to your business online is one of the biggest things that could drive customers to never even give you a chance. That means that the benefit of hiding this information in the back pages of Google can give your business a huge boost.
What about Creating Positive Content?
Creating positive content can help negative reviews and articles seem less significant to potential customers. This is especially true on review sites.
Although review writers often focus on creating negative content, review readers are widely believed to focus more on positive content. This means that having positive reviews is much more beneficial to your business than simply not having negative reviews.
Having no information on your business available and easily accessible online will worry potential customers a great deal. Although they may not assume that they’ll have a bad experience with you, they’re more likely to go to a competitor than to try something they know nothing about. A little bit of positive content can go a long way toward allaying their concerns.
So… Both Are Important?
That’s exactly right. If your reputation is damaged online, the creation of positive content and suppression of negative content are both equally and highly important to bringing your business back.
It’s also important to note that creating positive content is one way of helping suppress negative content. If a positive news article ranks higher on Google, it pushes a negative review down a spot. If reviews are sorted by date, new positive reviews will appear before old bad reviews.