Your digital footprint is not only affected by what you share, but by what others share about you. It’s a good practice to monitor the content and data being shared about you by others online. While you may not always be able to control what is said or shared, you will be less likely to be caught by surprise — and you may have more opportunity to correct misinformation or mitigate potential concerns.
Here are a few simple and free ways you can keep tabs on what’s being said about you online without spending all day scrolling through socials and search results:
If your organization has a brick-and-mortar presence, you likely have a Google Business Profile that displays on Google Maps and in search results. You can “claim” your profile, so you can edit the details of your listing. This also gives you the ability to monitor and respond to reviews left about your organization. While it may not be fun to read critical reviews, a tactful response can positively affect how other people react to a bad review. If Tripadvisor, Yelp, or other similar sites are popular where you are located, make sure to claim and monitor those listings too.
If you have a Wikipedia or Wikidata page (or a listing on another important open directory), create an account and toggle the “watchlist” feature for the pages that are relevant to your organization. This will allow you to keep track of changes made to the page.
Important: It is generally not acceptable to modify your own Wikipedia pages, unless there is defamation or another serious error. Instead, you can leave a comment on the discussion page connected to the entry and wait for someone else to make the correction. See Wikipedia’s conflict of interest policy for more detail on this.
Visit https://www.google.ca/alerts to set up keyword alerts on your name or any other important phrases you want to monitor. When there are new media mentions, blog posts, or other content published about you online, you’ll be notified. You can choose whether to get an email right away, or a roundup of links on a less frequent basis. You can also use this to see what other organizations or competitors are up to, or even just to get ideas for content to share in your email newsletter or socials.
It goes without saying that you can’t have an effective web presence if your website is taken down by hackers or you end up locked out of your social accounts when the person in charge gets sick or leaves your organization. A few basic cyber hygiene tips go a long way: change passwords frequently and don’t reuse them on multiple sites, make sure at least two trusted people have access to all your online profiles, use multi-factor authentication when you can, and back up important files regularly.
View or download the PDF of Building an effective web presence in 2022 – Understanding Search Engine Optimization
Written by Briana Doyle, Troubadours & Vagabonds Productions, and Inga Petri, Strategic Moves