Is your business or brand well-known online? How do people look at and feel about you, and what do they think about when they come across your products or services online? What kind of content appears on search engine results pages, review sites and social networks whenever your business or brand name is being searched? Is the content positive, neutral, or negative?
These are some of the questions that you must ask – and be able to answer – when you wish to successfully manage your online reputation. Ideally, an agency or a team of professionals will guide you throughout the process. And you can expect them to utilize a number of cutting-edge tools and techniques to make sure that your image – your reputation – on the Internet is as good as it gets.
To start with, however, it’s great to have an idea of how exactly one measures online reputation. That’s why we came up with this list of key metrics that you might want to look out for and monitor as you work towards establishing and enhancing your presence on the Web.
PageRank is search engine giant Google’s link analysis algorithm, used to assign a numerical weighting for measuring the “relative importance” of your Web page or website. PageRank has always been an important metric for SEO professionals, but if you’re keen on managing your online reputation, you might want to check out your PageRank, too. (PRChecker.info is one of many free easy-to-use tools.)
That’s because PageRank gives an indication of how many of your inbound links originate from authority sites – which means, basically, that the more respected, popular, trustworthy, and authoritative your business or brand is, the higher your PageRank becomes. Of course, this isn’t the only metric for measuring your online reputation, but it’s important to find out where you are in the PageRank scale of 1 to 10 – and, from there, figure out ways to improve.
Bookmarks and RSS feeds
Like PageRank, bookmarks can serve as a good indicator of how many people trust your brand or business. After all, Internet users do tend to bookmark a page or website if they find it useful, or if they think it has something worthwhile to make them keep visiting.
The same goes with RSS feeds, wherein people choose to subscribe to your updates and your content. Few – if any – will subscribe to a business or brand with a bad rep. So if your RSS feed subscribers are growing, congratulations. It means that people are looking forward to whatever new things you have to offer or say.
In the age of Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor (and other review sites you should know about), user-generated content is perhaps the most obvious way of knowing what your online reputation is like. Are your customers giving you glowing reviews, with five stars, words of praise, and flattering shared photos? Or are they writing bad reviews, with a litany of complaints, accusations, and demands? Of course, the best way to find out is by regularly tracking online reviews, which – ahem! – we here at ReviewTrackers are somewhat pretty good at doing.
Is your business or brand active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? You can see how well you’re doing with these networks by checking out your Klout Score, which measures your influence based on your ability to drive action online. Klout Score takes into account the number of people you influence (True Reach), how much you influence them (Amplification), and how influential your social networks are (Network Impact).
While this metric isn’t necessarily a metric for measuring sentiment, Klout Score can still give a pretty good indication of how people respond whenever you have something to say online.
Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers
Even if you decide not to use Klout, you can still use a couple of metrics that can paint an accurate picture of your online reputation on social networks.
The number of people who “like” your Facebook Page, for example, shows how many users are ready and willing to attach themselves to a brand or business such as yours: they choose to be part of your network or community, which means you must be doing something positive. (No one, after all, would “like” the Facebook Page of a brand with poor online reputation.) The same can be said about your Twitter follower count: if people are following you on Twitter, it means your tweets must have something of a reputation for always having something valuable to offer.
Repeat website visits
Do you have a website or company blog? We highly recommend that you integrate it with some sort of analytics tool, even if you haven’t done so yet. That’s because one of the key metrics for measuring online reputation is the repeat visits your website gets.
After all, a user may visit your website or blog once and then decide never to come back again. But if he or she thinks highly of your content – if you’re able to project a positive reputation and offer a positive experience to those who visit your site – then it’s natural to draw repeat visitors.
The great thing about today’s mobile-driven technology is that your customers can “check in” online whenever they walk in through your door. They can check in via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, even Instagram – and post your geographical information to tell their friends and followers where they’ve been going, which places they’re frequenting, and where their pictures were taken. And it works the same way as repeat website visits: naturally, the more check-ins (especially repeat check-ins) your business location receives, the more positive your online reputation becomes.