- xyz widgets
- "xyz widgets"
- xyz widgets inc
- "xyz widgets inc"
- xyz widgets dubuque
- xyz widgets sucks
- xyz widgets review
- xyz dubuque
Remember, Web users are much less concerned about proper spelling--or even the official name of your company--than you are. If you operate a business called, say, Chabo Sandwich Shop, you might also need to keep tabs on searches for "Chabo's Subs," if that's how people know it colloquially.
Be sure to log out of Google while checking your online reputation. Google defaults to delivering personalized results when you're logged in, which will naturally favor the effusive content you've written about yourself. Everyone else will see a different picture of your business, and those results are infinitely more important to monitor.
Google should be your primary search tool, but don't neglect Bing in your analysis. Its search results will differ--sometimes significantly. Combined, Bing.com and Yahoo (which is powered by Bing) have nearly a 30% share of the search market, and that's worth paying attention to.
Next Page: Using Google Alerts
With a baseline in place, step two is to make sure that you're aware when new content about your business hits the Web. The easiest way to do this is to use Google's free Alerts service. The system is fairly self-explanatory: It emails you when new blog posts or other Web pages are created using terms you want to follow. Type in a query (you'll know from the first exercise which ones are most important), and select how often you want results to come to you (from weekly to "as it happens"). You can filter results--just blog posts, just videos, and so on--and you can allow Google to choose whether to send everything or just "the best" results.
Alerts are invaluable for clueing you in to happenings you might otherwise miss completely. My Google Alert for "chris null" told me about an up-and-coming band whose bassist shares my name. For a business, a timely Google Alert can help you head off another company attempting to launch using your name, or it can warn you about someone who is maliciously using your brand to hijack search results.