How To: Google Yourself (and Boost Your Results)

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you’re like the majority of Internet users, you’ve probably done this a time or two to see what shows up in organic search results for your own your name, just out of curiosity. Chances are, if you have a fairly unique name and have published content on the Web, like a public Facebook profile, Twitter page, or personal blog, some of it will show up when you search. If you Google yourself fairly regularly, you may notice that what shows up changes over time (thanks to your content aging, Google modifying its algorithms, and other content being added to the potential mix of what could show up in search results pages).

When’s the last time you Googled your business name and local search terms you want to show up for? Does your website show up when you search? Is the content that does show up about you accurate, consistent, and positive? It’s important to get a good understanding for what consumers see when they search for your business name. So, here are three reasons you should Google yourself (along with a few tips for improving what shows up in the organic search results).

But, first things first.

Before you get started, make sure you are using a private browsing window before you search. In Google Chrome, this is called an “incognito window,” and can easily open one by just clicking “File,” and then “New Incognito Window.” It’s important to use a private browsing window when you Google yourself because this allows you to see a more neutral search result that isn’t affected by your browsing history, logged in services, or other factors that search engines can use to show you personalized search results. Personal search results are a great way to see more relevant content when you’re searching for products and services you want online, but when you’re Googling yourself, you want to have a more neutral view that isn’t biased by the fact that you’re affiliated with the business you are searching for.

However, do keep in mind that most search engines will automatically use the location of your IP address to provide local search results regardless of browser mode, so your results for local keyword searches will look like those in a similar geographic area to you. Now, let’s get started!

1. See How Much Real Estate You Actually Own in Search Results

When it comes to online marketing, the results you really care about are getting leads and customers. Simply ranking high in search results doesn’t necessarily correlate to getting results.  But seeing how frequently your business name appears in organic search results is a good indicator of what you need to work on when it comes to optimizing for your branded terms. If you are executing a well-rounded search engine optimization strategy for your business, when you Google yourself, you should ideally find your business’ website and any claimed social media or review pages like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. Plus, your Google+ page, if claimed and optimized, will appear prominently in the main search result, along with your photos and business information. And, because of the way it’s featured on the SERP, it’s crucial that it’s complete and accurate. In the example, you’ll see this business’ name populates key destinations like their website, Facebook page, Yelp page, and Google+ listing in the organic results.

If any of these key components aren’t ranking well in search results for your business name, this can help you identify areas for improvement. For example, if your website doesn’t show up locally for your business name, you may need to engage an SEO service that can help make sure your business name keywords and geographic data is present on your website’s content and code to help boost your presence in local search results. If local listings, especially your Google+ page, aren’t showing up for your business name, make sure you claim and optimize these listings for your business name. If they are claimed and still not appearing in search results, you may need to take a deeper look at how to optimize key elements in your listings like your website URL, business description, and about copy featuring your business name as a keyword.

2. Audit the Business Details that Show up Online

Now that you’ve seen what shows up for your business on the SERPs, how accurate is it? Is all of your business information, like your address and phone number, consistent across all your pages? What about photos? Are they professional and an accurate representation of your business? Or are they missing altogether? Cleaning up your social pages and local listings with up-to-date business information and eye-catching photos of your business can improve your chances of getting discovered and impact whether consumers will do business with you.

But, if your listings aren’t showing up in the search results, or the information is inaccurate, you need to audit all the “citations” for your local business are across the Web. What this means is that every place your business name is listed online—from your own website to your listings and native content on social sites – needs to include accurate and consistent information, down to the details like spelling and punctuation of your business name, address, and other details.

3. Keep a Pulse on Your Online Reputation

Not only is regularly searching for your business name an important way to know how well your website, social media pages, and local directories fare on the search engines, but it’s also a useful tactic to help you keep a pulse on your online reputation. Googling your business name will not only show you the content you’ve created, but also content others have created about your business, like reviews, complaints, comments, blog posts, images, and more. It’s a good idea to search separately for reputation terms about your business name to see what consumers are saying about you online. For example: someone at Sunshine Daycare Center would search “Sunshine Daycare Center reviews” and “Sunshine Daycare Center complaints.”

Why is this important? Your online reputation gives you a good idea of the overall sentiment being shared publicly about your business online, which consumers may come across when searching for your business. Plus, it can be a good way to gauge areas for improvement in your business. For example, people are often quick to post negative content about a business online when they have a bad experience, in order to vent or seek a resolution. So by addressing negative reviews or feedback you may run across online both with your customers and within your business, you can boost customer satisfaction, improve your business (and, bonus, help improve your reputation online). So, respond to negative reviews when you can, and address customer service issues promptly. Also, make sure to be proactive every time you have a great customer interaction and let them also know you appreciate their review.

Ready to Get Started?

Regularly searching for, or Googling, your business name is a quick and easy way to monitor your online presence and see where you might need to make some adjustments. And, by taking steps to improve your website, social media pages, and local listings, you’ll start to see more positive content about your business show up when you search online — and that means your prospects will, too!

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Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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