In today's internet-centric world, online reputation is everything. For businesses, it's how potential customers will decide whether or not to buy a product. For bloggers, it's what determines how fast and how big a site will grow. And for everyone, brand or blogger, shopper or seller, it's too important an issue to overlook. But how do you know when your name is in trouble?
Below, consider these top-warning signs that your online reputation is in danger.
Unwanted information in first-page search results
If you care at all about your online reputation, you should be monitoring your name and/or brand in search results. What comes up will reveal at least a part of your online reputation. If unwanted information appears -- whether irrelevant, overly personal, or compromising -- your online reputation is in danger. So here's how to know if that's the case.
Go to Google or Bing or another search engine, enter your name (and all variations of your name), and see what comes up. Ideally, you want the first few pages of these results to be positive information, the kind that benefits your reputation. If unwanted links come up instead, it's a big warning sign.
Set up alerts
Not many people have time to be searching themselves on search engines all day, and that's where alerts come in handy. With tools like Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts, you can set up automatic alerts that will notify you anytime your keywords (i.e., your name and/or brand) come up in search results. This way, when something undesirable about you lands in search results, you know right away.