If you’re struggling to take control of your internet presence or concerned about what recruiters find when they search for you online, BrandYourself can aid you in gaining control of your online reputation.
BrandYourself’s aim is to put the power of SEO and online reputation in everybody’s hands, regardless of how tech savvy might be or how much money they make. While the service was originally geared towards job seekers, anyone can utilize their tools and tips to manage their identity online.
Where other reputation management service may do the leg work for you and keep you in the dark, BrandYourself differentiates themselves by giving you the tools and information to manage your presence in search engines yourself—helping to cut the cost of the tools they provide while providing users insights and tips to better manage their online reputation moving forward—an attractive and refreshing offering for job seekers who want to take a hands-on approach to their search results.[tab:Features]
BrandYourself is a fairly simple, easy to use tool that includes the following features:
- Google Results Analysis: Allows users to rate and claim top ranking Google results to aid in scoring online reputation and focus on next steps
- Personal Profile Page: Users can create a BrandYourself profile page that is optimized to show well in search engine results
- Link Submittal: Users can submit links to (up to 3 in the free version) that will connect with their brand page to increase ranking in search results and be made available for Link Boosting
- Link Boosting: For each submitted link, BrandYourself offers customized tips and tools for improving the links ability to show higher in search results
- Visitor Profiles: BrandYourself provides detailed information on visitors to your personal profile page (up to 3 visitors shown in free version)
- Progress Tracking: Simple and easy to understand tracking from progress meters to foursquare like achievement badges for completing various tasks to individual alerts
We hear sometime around the end of March they’ll be releasing an update with additional features and an updated user experience, so be sure to check out their site in the coming weeks.[tab:User Experience]
We navigated through the free version of BrandYourself’s tool and found it very easy to use. The user interface is clear, concise, with a minimal amount of text to explain each step making it easy to understand and focus—much appreciated as when it comes to SEO, some people can get overwhelmed very quickly.
The process is started by selecting the name/term you want to control in search results with the tool verifying your selection and starting the scoring process. (We always appreciate a double-check for those of us who like to work quickly, so we were glad when the tool asked us to make sure it was the right term after we input it.)
Next, the tool pulls the Google results for the selected term and allows the user to go through the top 10 results and claim the relevant ones as well as rate them positive or negative to help determine the current ranking score. While Google is the top search engine, we were a little disappointed that it was the only search engine results were pulled from. The team at BrandYourself assures us that their insights and tips will work for all major search engines, but we like to see it in practice.
After you receive your search score, you are then able to navigate through the remaining steps such as building your BrandYourself profile, submitting links, and boosting links. Next steps were easily laid out with clear markings and instructions, but you could easily skip around with ease if you choose to do so.
When it came to submitting links, we liked that the product already has many of the major social media, blogging, and page builder links built-in as easy selections (for those of us who may forget that we already have several pages to choose from in our online reputation arsenal.)
We opted to submit an About.me page as one of our links. The tools gave great customized suggestions for the About.me page, however, we found them slightly outdated since About.me’s last update. It was still easy to understand what we were being asked to do, so it didn’t distract us too much.
One thing to note is that the boosting guidelines provided in the tool are just that: general guidelines. When we went through the first set of suggestions for the About.me page, we second guessed ourselves as it was asking us to do things we had already done or already existed within the page.
Once we went through a few more steps we saw that the tool can’t analyze what’s already there, nor does it know if you made the suggested updates or now, so it’s making general suggestions for each different scenario and forcing you to be honest and diligent about taking control of your identity. Don’t get discouraged—just remember the tips for future use for any pages you might be putting online.
After reaching your maximum limit of links in the free version, it does prompt you to check out upgrading to the premium version. Since we’re not in a hurry, we would probably use the tools for a few weeks to see if our rankings improved before upgrading (2-3 weeks is typical to see results as suggested by the website.)
However, for a job seeker keen on maximizing time, it could be well worth the money to upgrade right away and have the site help walk you through next steps. Sometimes, its worth the money for the time saved having to think through each step and do something yourself—especially when it comes to something as important as your career.[tab:Service/Support]
BrandYourself’s team is available for support by phone, email, and online chat during normal business hours (9am-7pm EST.) On the off-chance you need help outside of those hours, you’ll be directed to voicemail, unless someone happens to still be in the office in which case, they will answer your call or respond to your inquiry.
Their focus is making sure their service works for the end user and they want you to contact them if you have issues. Their phone number is easy to find on almost every page of their website. We like that they’re not hiding and make it easy to contact their support team.
They also have a great Q&A section that answered most of our questions prior to speaking with them, if you’re not the type of person who likes to reach out.
For a young company, they have a robust team dedicated to improving the user experience and push out updates on an as-needed basis. For their next major update, be on the look-out around the end of March.
They also work closely with major search engines to keep their product as relevant as possible to the ever changing algorithms and while their main focus is google, they claim that their tips and insights will work for all the major search engines.[tab:Price/Value]
What we love about BrandYourself is that they offer a free version of their tool. Anyone can go through the basic setup process, put up an BrandYourself profile page, and submit up to three links that can also be boosted using their tips and insights. You can also track how your results are doing and see the last three visitors to your profile page.
It’s very useful for anyone who just wants to gain a better understanding of how their online reputation can be managed and how to gain better control of their search results.
Their premium pricing remains very affordable at the following price points:
- 3-month plan at $24.99 (less than $9/month or about two cups of coffee from a big chain)
- 6-month at $44.99 (save 10%)
- 1-year at $79.99 (save 20%)
What do you get with premium? Well, first, you get the ability to submit unlimited links. Which also gives you access to the booster steps for each link. You also have ads removed from your BrandYourself profile page and you have the ability to see unlimited visitors to your profile page. These are the main perks, but there are a few other highlights tucked into the service as well.
If you like having a guide to work from and keep track of your progress for you, it can be well worth the few extra dollars spent each month. For others, doing it yourself once you understand the basic principles may be the way to go, but you’ll have to track your own progress and create your own pages to connect, resulting in a lot of extra work.[tab:User Reviews]
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