When someone recommends a new contractor to you what is the first thing you do? I know, Google them! We all do it, and you can bet that when someone refers you to another person, or they find your website (usually through Google), the smart consumer will do another Google search about you to see if they find anything negative or off-putting about you. The problem here is that negative can truly at times be in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, it is imperative that you become aware of what Google Search and other search results show about you and then deal with the situation at hand.
Try doing a Google Search on your own business without the personalized results that come up for each individual so you can see what others possibly see. Google bases its search results on your past behavior, so it’s important to remove this criteria from your search before you begin. Here are the instructions. Once you’ve removed this history, now you can get a mostly clear view of what other people might see. Remember though, that their search results are also colored by their own search history.
Now, do a search on your business name. Take a look at the different results on the first through fifth pages to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. What descriptions are showing up for Google? Can you make these search results better using SEO? Google now shows a few links, in addition to the main page, in their search results. Are you using the right anchor text and descriptions to maximize your results?
Using a piece of paper or an online method make notes of each item that you can change and make better. Then once you have a list of these items go make them better. If you do not know how to change the anchor text or the descriptions showing up for your Google Search Results then ask your webmaster or an SEO professional for help. If you know what to do then go do it as soon as possible because it will take time for the updates to actually show up in search results so the sooner you do it the better.
Once you’ve handled the SEO keep up this by making sure to always consider what the titles of new WebPages and blog posts will be, as well as the description that might show up. Sometimes Google takes from your code but lately they are taking the first few words in your blog post or article as the description. It’s important to consider this and make both reflective of what you want to be seen at first glance.
Note: Don’t forget to also search images! The reason for this, is that if others have tagged you in photos, you want to know about it. If you don’t like the photos you’re tagged in remember that you can set up your social networks using the privacy settings to your advantage so that others cannot tag you inappropriately. Don’t be scared to ask friends and relatives and others to remove photographs that you find unflattering or a poor depiction of the brand you’re trying to project. No one has a right to post pictures of you that you do not approve.
Dealing with Google Search results and making them as flattering as possible will do wonders for your online reputation. If you’ve discovered your business name doesn’t even come up in search results then you have some work to do. Start blogging, article marketing, sending out press releases and have an all out re-launch of your products, services and website so that you can start showing up!