By George Mentz, JD, MBA – International Lawyer and Management Consultant
Whether you are looking for a new job, have a job, own your own company, or the leader of an organization, you will need to make sure your SEO REP is in good shape. It does not matter if you are in insurance, banking, brokerage, law, medicine, or accounting. Nobody is excluded and the web does not discriminate.
What is SEO REP? It is called Search Engine Optimized Reputation. This means that the first pages of the search results for your company name or even your personal name search should produce results that are to your advantage and factual. In 2003, I published the first peer reviewed journal articles on Search Engine Recruiting for Colleges and Universities. (See Referrences Below) In those 3 different journal articles, it stressed owning web property that is critical to your brand and mission. Many of the truths still hold today. The newest challenge is social networking for business and the ownership of such web property that can be used for your best interests or even against you. Examples are: Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter and others. However, the challenge of web real estate is much bigger than it was ten years ago and most of us will eventually be forced to open accounts with all of the major social and business networks.
These days, a CEO will even purchase the domain name that represents their personal name. Example Jane Z. Doe will buy (the dot com, the dot org, and the dot net) or other key variations of their name spelling to claim and protect it for factual promotion and save it from vandalism. People who desire to have excellent SEO REP will also create accounts on all of the major social networks. Those who want to brand their own career information will keep updated biographies and accounts with the major job search engines. All of these actions are to keep key web property from being taken hostage. Here are some other web properties that professionals would want to claim an account using their actual name, their company name brand, or keywords and terms related to their top selling trademarks or products. Here is a short list of the biggest networks: viadeo.com, about.me * ziggs.com * businesscard2.com * myspace.com * multiply.com * emurse.com * bigsight.org * visualcv.com * visible.me * wordpress.com * gather.com * ryze.com * posterous.com * peoplepond.com * ziki.com * flavors.me * professionalontheweb.com * publr.com * .mp * twitter.com * bigsight.org
Some other notable networking sites are: Tagged, Qzone (Chinese), Orkut, MyLife, Last.fm, Hi5, Friendster, Flickr, classmates.com, BlackPlanet, Bebo (India), Badoo (Latin American), Douban (China). The list is dynamic and will continue to change. Should you log into each of these sites and create an account? You can, and you might want to? What if somebody else does it? What if your competitor claims your name? What if somebody claims a product name? Legally, there are very few effective protections against name squatting unless it is done in “legal bad faith” or they are using your copyrights and trademarks. Even then, it can be a hassle to try and get a domain turned over to you for a legal violation and difficult to have fraudulent content removed from any search engine results. Generally, personal names are not protected from being owned by others. Anybody can buy a domain name related to a “real name” and put up information on that domain name. Much like domain squatting, SNS social network squatting is also a growing problem.
What can you do? There are “web credibility” services that can help establish web property related to your name and syndicate the information that you provide, but there is a price. Remember, you can do it yourself, but if there is little time and lots of money involved related to keeping a good reputation, then you may need professional help. With professional help, you make sure your sites with factual information are ranking well in the big search engines such as: MSN/BING, Google, and Yahoo.
Taking action to control your BRAND NAME may be necessary in the world of anonymous postings by competitors, crazy customers, old relationships gone bad, former employees, or coworkers. In the end, a healthy paranoia and a positive marketing strategy may be a good idea. As a reference, companies such as Reputation.com can also be consulted to begin a strategy to establish a larger web presence for you and your brand. . If you are concerned about keeping a good name or worried about your SEO REP, open an account with Google or Yahoo and create some alerts. These alerts should send you an email whenever somebody puts up a new site about you that includes the keywords that you have input.
If you need help, talk to an SEO Internet Marketing Consultant and Expert who has been in the business for a few years and decide if you should begin an active strategy to protect your name and your career.
Whiteside, R. & Mentz, George (2003). Online college recruiting and marketing: Web promotion, strategy, and ethics. College & University, 78(3), 31-36.
Mentz, G., & Whiteside, R. (2003). Internet College Recruiting and Marketing. Journal of College Admission, 12, 10-17.
Whiteside, R., Mentz George (2003), Online Admissions and Internet Recruiting: An Anatomy of Search Engine Placement, EDUCAUSE QUARTELY, Nr. 4, 63-66.