Your online reputation can stretch beyond a Google search. Depending on your practice, individuals may find you on other platforms, such as Yelp, Google My Business, or Healthgrades.
If you’re a legally practicing doctor in the United States, for example, you may have upwards of 20 public medical web profiles without your knowledge. Here, patients can write reviews about your practice. This is important to monitor, right?
In some cases, yes, and others no. Let’s get into the idea of reputation monitoring outside of the commonly used Google search.
Where will users find me online?
A Google search is still the most common way individuals perform research today. However, there are applications and websites that people use to search for your brand directly. Individuals today often bypass Google for a service like Yelp, a comprehensive tool to find local searches. If you’re a business with a physical location, you will already have a Yelp listing – where anyone can view and write reviews. This is an example of an alternative platform where your reputation may be affected.
Understanding your brand is essential to nailing down which public platform will discuss your products, services, or your background. A millennial YouTube star should monitor platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as these are the most common places their audience exists. As a cosmetic surgeon, review-based public platforms such as Healthgrades, Webmd, and Vitals are crucial to ensure your rating and industry reputation remains high.
Let’s get into platform categories which may be beneficial to monitor.
The younger generations are apt at this: Using their social media platforms as search tools. Popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat contain search functions. These searches are considered to be an “up-to-the-minute” information resource.
Using Twitter search as an example, searching my first and last name brought up my profile. It also shows tweets that contain the keywords “Hayden” and “Koch.” Say there is a negative article written about you in a local newspaper. If the paper shares the article on their page, it will now be searchable and found here.
A powerful strategy here is preventative maintenance. Create social media profiles with a pleasant looking Profile Image and Cover Photo. Be sure to use your real name – exactly how someone would search for you. Follow users and pages and do your best to stay active on each platform.
In the case of Twitter – you can take control of what your search looks like (for the most part). The best reputation strategy is a preventative one.
I’ll write more detailed articles soon on which profiles to create (with instruction) and how to keep these profiles active.
However, in general, users will utilize websites with large databases. Think YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Those are open platforms where YOU can create your narrative – before anyone else can try to create it for you.
Professional public profiles
Sweet-sounding tongue twister aside, there may be public profiles where you or your business exist online. The example used above, Doctors, find that dozens of different Healthcare Directories create auto-generated “profiles” with their name, practice details, history, reviews and even malpractice. Ouch.
While it may not be a primary reputation strategy, it’s essential to identify these pages if they do exist. To elaborate what this might entail, let’s continue to use the Doctor example.
How do I find these public profiles?
Go to Google.com and search, in quotes, “KEYWORD.” This scans Google for any web pages that contain your EXACT name or brand. Be sure to check different variations of the keyword – i.e. “Dr. Jim Bob” or “Jim Bob MD.” Search the first few pages of Google. If you have no listings of the such, take note. If you do, I’d recommend creating an excel sheet to document all pages found.
Which pages are important?
Each page will be slightly different. Scan each profile briefly and discover which of these options they contain:
- Practice Details
If users can publically write reviews or comment, then the page will be of highest importance. Also, commonly-used profile platforms such as Yelp, WebMD, and Healthgrades should be of top priority as users will often go directly here to write reviews or share complaints.
Once the pages are identified, what should I do?
Identify the pages that are of utmost importance and see if you can find an option to claim the page. The majority of these profiles give you this option if you can prove your credentials. Claim as many pages as you can, correct/add information about yourself or practice, save your access information, and monitor and comments or reviews every-so-often. Learn more about claiming and boosting these profiles in a future blog post.
As the internet expands, niche platforms such as blogs and forums also expand. Sites such as Reddit.com, that contains thousands of “subreddits”, or topic-based forums, are some of the most visited sites worldwide.
Forums and internet communities can sway the perception of someone or something very quickly. If tracked and caught fast enough, you can minimize damage. Very few circumstances will cause this to become an issue, but it’s worth noting the power behind these niche communities.
Say you’re a pioneer in an emerging industry, i.e., cryptocurrency. Niche forums across the internet have their eyes on your actions – and if you don’t meet the standards of few, you could potentially be up against an army who see you unfavorably.
Staying on top of which internet communities discuss your brand is a valuable tool to possess in managing your reputation in the modern age.
Image or Map Search
While still technically a ‘Google search’, it’s worth noting that Google Map search and Google Image search does differ. Negative content can exist on Image or Map search and not on a typical organic search.
For example, the infamous mugshot. We all have a friend or family member with one. Several friends of mine report to me (who I know who have a publically available mugshot) that they cannot find a job! Little do they know, the handy Google Image search is likely pulling up their beauty shot for the employer to see.
You’re a business (or individual practitioner) with a physical location, you are subject to having a public Google My Business listing. This is important to monitor as any Joe-Shmoe can create a Google account and write demeaning public information. Thus, it’s recommended that you claim this listing and monitor any reviews that come in. This listing is often the first thing seen by users searching your brand for the first time.
If you need help navigating your Google Map listing, please contact me.
An image search on Google is often overlooked. Similarly to a standard Google Search, you can control the information with proper reputation management techniques. Be sure to check your Image reputation often to ensure things are squeaky clean.