You’re getting Googled. All the time. People are Googling your name, your listings, your company, your competition. In a perfect world, the results would display your website, maybe some links to glowing reviews of you and blogs written by or about you.
But what if someone with the same name as you and a criminal record shows up in the search results? Or your ex-mother-in-law posts some unsavory comments about you in online reviews? Or a confidential commercial listing suddenly appears as “For Sale” on a local blog?
Don’t leave your online reputation in the dark. With a few easy steps, you can receive alerts from Google via email that link to anything new that’s been posted about you on the Web, including videos and blogs. You can’t delete other people’s content, but you can be the first to see what’s published, where it’s published, and have the time you need to react or respond if necessary.
Nothing is more awkward than a client pointing out something negative or inaccurate they found about you online, especially if you haven’t even seen it yet.
Skill Level: Beginners Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
- A computer or mobile device
- Internet access
1. Go to google.com/alerts.
2. In the box, enter your first and last name — for example, “Eli King” — in quotations.
Putting quotes around sets of words links them together for Google, so it knows to send you only alerts for Eli and King together, not for anything with just Eli or anything with just King.
Do you have a common name? Let’s narrow it down even more. Enter your city after your name, separated by the word “and.” Remember to use quotations to link words that need to stay together.
“Eli King” and “Saratoga Springs.”
3. Below the box, click the blue Show options link
4. For How often, choose As-it-happens.
For Sources, choose Automatic.
For Language, make sure your language is chosen.
For Region, leave it on Any Region or choose your country if you like.
For How many, choose All results.
5. Enter your email address (if you’re logged into Google already, you won’t need to) and click
6. Check your email. There should be a message from Google confirming your alert with a link to verify.
Click the link.
7. Repeat steps one through six for any additional alerts you would like to receive. For instance: company name, names of local businesses if you have commercial listings, neighborhoods, etc. Here are some examples of additional alerts I set up for myself:
“new construction” and “upstate new york”
“buy a home” and “new york”
That’s it. There’s nothing more to do until you receive an email alert from Google with links to things that include your custom phrases. If the stories are thought-provoking or very positive, share the links on your website, Facebook page, Twitter or blog. They make great content and will help generate some Web buzz and better serve your growing business.
Eli King is an interactive marketing consultant whose specialty is balancing creative communications with investor-minded business insight — a style she’s used to deliver predictive business solutions to small businesses and global corporations alike. Search engine optimization, teaching baby boomers and guiding transitions from traditional to interactive marketing are her areas of expertise.