Have you ever conducted a Google search for your own name? For most of us, the answer to that question is affirmative. Call it curiosity, or call it a matter of ego, but we all want to know what kind of information is out there about us and what people are saying about us on the Web.
It’s not just our own names, either—it’s also our brands. When you own a business, you pour an awful lot of time and energy into it; it becomes your baby. You care about what people say and don’t want anyone to badmouth it.
This is not a matter of vanity. Actually, it is an extremely important aspect of B2B marketing in the “Age of Google”. What a search engine reveals about your company matters immensely. In fact, it could prove utterly make-or-break.
Why Online Reputation Matters
Why does it matter so much? Simply put, consumers are turning more and more to the Internet as a way of informing and validating their purchasing decisions. They consult online reviews before committing to spend money on any products or services—and they keep their eyes open for any potential online complaints or negative BBB listingsl.
If an online search turns up only positive information about your brand, that is great news. Sadly, not all business owners can say that all of their brand’s related content is positive. Negative reviews and unwanted listings can come from any number of sources—real consumers, business rivals, and frustrated employees—and their veracity matters very little. If your brand name is associated with negative online listings, you can bet that it will lead to decreased sales, lost customers, and overall embarrassment.
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That’s why so many companies are investing in the practice known as online reputation management—an endeavor that essentially entails seeking to control the first ten Google search listings for a given brand.
Why The First Ten?
Why do reputation management campaigns typically center on the first page of Google search results—the first ten listings, and no more? Consider that it would be impossible to prevent people from posting negative reviews about a company; consider also, that it is impossible to have existing listings removed. The best approach is to control the damage by managing your brand’s online reputation as effectively as possible.
Studies have shown that the best way to do this is by focusing on that first page of Google. Most online search engine users—90%, in fact—never click beyond that initial page of results. As such, a negative listing on Google page 1 is a very big deal. However, a negative listing on, say page 3 is a virtual non-issue because so few people will ever see.
If you want to control the way your business is presented on the Internet, then the answer is simple enough: Control the first ten Google listings. Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are a few tried-and-true techniques that any company can use to their advantage.
Controlling Google Page 1
It all begins with monitoring. Regularly Googling your brand is a good way to stay up-to-date on what people are saying about it. Setting up Google alerts can also prove helpful.
From there, work on building up your online assets. Think about it this way: your goal is to control the first page, which means controlling at least ten online assets. The trick is finding ten online assets that you can use to populate the first page.
Start with exact-match domain names. These might include YourBrand.com, .org, and .net. These exact-match listings will yield the best results in terms of search engine rankings. Additionally, seek out social media accounts—again, registering for account names that match your company identity.
Remember that some social networks are better than others, in terms of ranking well on Google. Facebook and Twitter are both beneficial, but the best social media platform for obtaining Google ranking success is, believe it or not, LinkedIn. Another good one is WordPress, a much higher-ranking platform than Tumblr or Blogger.
These assets can ultimately be used to form a sort of defensive wall, insulating you from online attack and negative reviews. For this strategy to work however, content creation is key. It’s important to regularly develop content that will populate these online assets, thus keeping them highly ranked within Google.
To control the first ten Google search listings concerning your brand, is to control your company’s very online reputation—which means that, in the Age of Google, these tactics simply cannot be neglected if you wish for your business to succeed.