Okay, Googling yourself has a certain reputation for being something that vain and self-obsessed people do, but if you are serious about your business, you really need to know what people are saying about you and your brand. But Googling yourself is just for beginners. There are so many tools out there now for keeping track of where your site is being mentioned online, and you should have at least a few key searches going on at all times.
I get it, you’re just one person. You can’t write your blog, manage social media, AND do searches for yourself on several different sites every day. Don’t worry, there are many automated services that do the work for you and deliver the results to your email box, feed reader, or somewhere else just as convenient.
I’m pretty sure this one isn’t #1 on most other lists about monitoring yourself, but if you have an RSS feed, you should subscribe to your own feed. You can find a lot of info out about your site just from subscribing, such as the number of people who subscribe to your feed, who is reading, and which posts are more successful than others.
- I name my feed with my blog name and the number of subscribers (so I can see at a glance how many subscribers I have)
- I check how many subscribers I have (there are also lots of other services that do this for you, and post it on your site. I should do that.)
- I look to see who likes my posts and which posts they like
In the near future, I will post a tutorial about how to do the things I just mentioned.
This is one of the simplest ways to monitor yourself. Go to Google Alerts and set up several alerts with search terms that are pertinent to you. You might want to search for your name, your blog’s name, misspellings of your blog’s name, and similar terms. You can set the alert to send you an email daily, weekly, or less often. Or you can have it deliver the results to an RSS feed instead of email.
Amy wrote a post about Setting Up a Google Alert:
TIP: Get savvy with your search terms. Not only do I search for “Mod Podge” but I search for “Modge Podge” since so many people say it differently. If there are standard variations, remember to capture those in a different search. You can also subtract out words. “Mod Podge -books” will give you every Mod Podge search result except for those with the word “books” included.
Your Google Alert will look something like this:
- Some of the results won’t be relevant, so you can just ignore those.
In the example above, I can ignore the first article that says “99 Cent Sale!” because it’s just industry information about dollar stores and doesn’t have anything to do with my site (although… I admit, I did read the article because I was kind of interested in hearing what it had to say!).
- See who is talking about you and/or linking to you.
One cool thing about a Google Alert is that it searches for the WORDS, not for a link, so if someone mentions your site but forgot to link to you (or decided not to), you will be able to find out about those articles.
- Comment on the sites that are mentioning you.
You might want to go say thanks to the person for mentioning you, or if it’s something negative (that never happens, right??), you can either defend yourself or at least find out what is being said. Not that I’m encouraging you to use these tools to increase drama for yourself!
- Find stories to share.
You might not have the kind of blog that lends itself to linking to others (if not, why not? Link love will help your site grow), but if you can fit it in, sometimes it is nice to acknowledge those who are linking to you. You can either link right back to the same article where they mentioned you, which is fine. Even better (in my opinion), is to find another project or post on their site that you love and share about it on your site. Help those who help you! You won’t always be able to do this, but it is nice to do it when you can.
If you aren’t the linking out type (again, WHY NOT?), then show a little Twitter or Facebook love to the blog by saying something like “Hey! Dollar Store Crafts was linked on Mod Podge Rocks! Sweeeet! http://ow.ly/4daDc.” Or, if it’s a great post that you think others would like, Stumble it.
- Find out who is scraping your content.
This is sort of a less-fun application of monitoring yourself, but when you get these alerts, you will come across sites who are scraping your content, which means they are taking part or all of your words and images and using them on their sites without giving your credit or asking permission. Oftentimes, these sites have bots that do the scraping. Anyway, I can’t go into detail about that right now, but it’s definitely a frustrating discovery to make.
On to the other ways you can monitor yourself:
HootSuite: Monitor a Keyword on Twitter
With a Twitter/Social Media tool like HootSuite, you can easily monitor specific keywords on Twitter, and those words will come up in your search even if you don’t follow the people who are Tweeting them. I monitor my site’s name in my keyword feeds and I can see the feed on my main dashboard on HootSuite.
I’m sure a similar feature is available with other Twitter apps such as TweetDeck, but I use HootSuite, so I don’t know what’s going on with any of the other apps!
I haven’t used this one, but it’s another way you can monitor your blog’s name. Appstorm said:
Once you enter the keyword, the web app searches almost every popular social media website such as Google blog search, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg etc. Search results are up to the minute and the app also weighs the sentiment & mood of the results and ranks them positive, negative and neutral.
Note: I did do a search for my blog, and the “negative” sentiments were funny. They were mostly posts from my site that had words like “crazy” or “no more” in them. I didn’t see any actual negative opinions (but then again, EVERYONE loves me! Am I right?)
That’s It for Now
There are tons of ways to monitor yourself these days. These few options are just that… few. There are so many more ways to go beyond Googling yourself and find out just about everything that is being said about your blog. Like I said somewhere in the middle there, though, don’t get obsessed. Just use these as tools, not as the final word on the success of your blog.