7 Ways to Better Protect Your Online Reputation in 2016

2016-02-11-1455208570-4753029-ZacJohnson.pngZac Johnson has 20 years of experience in the online marketing and business space. You can learn more about Zac at http://zacjohnson.com and through his latest online learning course and community at http://blogging.org.

When was the last time you Googled yourself? If it wasn't recently, you might be surprised with the result.

With over a billion active websites on the Internet today, it's more important to rank at the top of the search results than ever before. I've learned as CEO of Start a Blog (and while making money online for over 20 years) that that has everything to do with protecting your personal name, the business you've created and most importantly, your reputation.

The first ranking in Google is basically your first impression to anyone who searched for you. According to Chitika, 33 percent of traffic from Google's organic search results go to the first item listed. More importantly, the majority of people trust search results, reviews and online ratings nearly as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend or family.

This leads you to think, "Is what's currently ranking in Google for my name, brand and products giving my audience the right impression?" While it's best to have your own site properties ranking at the top of the search results, it's also not just the search results that you need to worry about. With billions of active users on the Internet, there are numerous ways your audience can find information, reviews, complaints and conversations about your brand.

To protect your online reputation and serve the best first impression possible, I recommend you make sure to do the following:

  1. Rank first for your name in Google. Once you've secured the number one location in search for your personal name, brand or business, you've established yourself as the authority. At the same time, you've also blocked out the competition or anyone who might be trying to benefit from your name.
  2. Register your name as a domain. Thousands of domains are registered daily. If you don't already own your personal and brand name as a domain, you should do so immediately. If it's already taken, see what you can do about acquiring it, while also registering the .net and .org versions of your name as well.
  3. Claim your business through Google. Google is now more focused on local search results than every before. There are many benefits to registering your business with Google, and if you miss out on this opportunity, your competition will quickly take advantage of it.
  4. Monitor online mentions for your name. While the search results are the main focus for most individuals and brands, your name could also be mentioned on social media, blogs, news sites, forums and much more. Setup online alerts to let you know every time your personal and brand name is mentioned online. This way you know when and where your name is being mention, and also why.
  5. Secure your name across all social platforms. Facebook is the largest social network out there, but if you are only focusing in on one platform, you are missing out on the rest of the world. Create personal profiles and brand fan pages on as many of the main social networks as possible so your audience can find you no matter where they are. You can also use these profile page to send users back to your main website.
  6. Setup a blog and focus on content creation to reach a new audience. The Internet is all about content creation, and if you want to rank higher and more often in the search results, you are going to need more of it. A great way to accomplish this while also adding more value in the process is to add a blog to your existing website.
  7. Establish yourself as the authority. No matter what your expertise, brand or profession is about, you want to be seen as an expert. Take advantage of news and media outlets, guest blogging, press releases and interviewing other experts within your industry to expand your reach and grow your following.
By implementing each of these methods into your business, it will be that much easier for you to not only rank higher in the search results but to also have better control over what people find when they search for your name online. Remember, it's not just about being found when someone searches for you online, it's about providing them with the best information and first impression possible. At the end of the day, you want to be in control of the sites ranking at the top of Google, and not at the mercy of others.