To start off, Googling yourself and your firm, may give you a very important heads up on some bad publicity that people are seeing when trying to find you on the internet. But there are many other great reasons why this regular practice will benefit you.
Make sure you do this self-searching using your web browser in the “Incognito” mode, so that your history and browsing profile do not affect your results.
Also, make sure you do not click too many times on negative results, as this is going to promote the results further up on the search listing and that is the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
For example, in Google Chrome, use the top menu, File, New Incognito Window and you are ready to search in a private incognito mode. This browsing is not tracked by your browser history.
Back to the matter at hand…what should you keep tabs on, how often and how does it help you?
- Search for your name
To narrow it down, you could use Search Tools and select only your own country – how a look through your images as well.
- Search for your law firm name
Your law firm should come up at the very top of the Google results, if not you have a very serious problem with how your website is promoted. Make sure you use the full company name, not a part thereof – obviously. If there are similar names in other parts of the world, narrow the results down again by using the Search Tools.
- Search your keywords
Online presence is all about your firm or yourself being found when people search for a service you offer. If you don’t have set keywords you are using for your marketing, I strongly suggest you work with your marketing team and finalise there urgently.
Use your keywords in the search and narrow it down to your country. You should obviously aim at getting to the front page of the search results, but to me the gold on the keyword searches is not seeing where you end up, but more to see who your competitors are in this space, and if they are above you in the results, finding out what they seem to be doing/talking about/blogging about/tweeting/facebooking that is giving them more momentum that your firm is getting.
Initially, these searches may shock you and may cause a flurry of activity, but it is recommended to keep a monthly eye on what and where your name/firm name is popping up, and for your marketing efforts, it will tell you if your hard work is paying dividends.
It is not that easy to fix bad results that feature prominently in the search result, but here are a few tips on fixing that negative publicity.
Obviously, any negative media, that you control or that is part of your online profiles you can remove and that should be that.
For sites that are external to your control, the best prize would be to contact the owners and ask them politely to remove the content. If the polite angle does not work, then start looking at privacy laws in the hosted country to find ways to legally force them to remove the content.
Google may help with offending media, but it must fall in line with their Removal Policies (https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2744324).
If none of the direct or easier ways work, your next option is to increase your online presence, so that the bad publicity drops off the first page of the search results. They say that 75% of people do not browse further than the first page when doing online searches, so moving the offending post/article to subsequent pages may be a great way to squash the negativity.
Here are a few ways you can increase your online exposure and push the existing results further down:
- Create more online social media accounts in your or the firm name (whichever one is in the dwang)
- Be active in these social media accounts
- Create a domain name with your/your law firm name
- Create a blog
- Post comments on other high profile websites
- Create videos, linked to your video profile – like YouTube channels.
The big take home here is to search for your keywords to see what your competitors are doing, and to do the same but better to leapfrog them in the search results.
May the Search be with You!