I recently met a vendor at a networking event who was selling online business identity protection and management. While that phrase sounds very official, confusing and a little bit scary, it basically boils down to what the web says about your business. Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) and search for your business name, your name, or any other variation that people may use to find you.
First your website should show up, but below that you’ll see a whole host of business directory, review and social networking results. Here are some tips to managing these results:
Make sure the big boys are well fed with updated information. These include Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
Beware of business directory sites that want you to pay to update, fix or enhance your listings. Most of these are scams that aren’t worth the time, cost or effort to correct.
Review local websites as well as national brands. Local chamber of commerce’s, business networking groups, charities and other organizations may have information listed about your business.
Take note of where you don’t appear. Don’t see any results from Twitter or Facebook that mention your business? Do you see a lack of local business directories that link to you? These are areas where you can not only improve your overall viability, but links from these sites to your website are valuable rank boosters in Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Lastly, bookmark or note these specific searches/websites, and make yourself a task to check this once a month/quarter to make sure there are no new nasty reviews or inaccuracies that may pop up.