Why it Matters
Growing your personal brand or small business is more important than ever, as we live increasingly digital and mobile lives. Many of us, in the coming years or have recently, set out on our own to found a Startup, our own business or a side-project with important implications to how we negotiate with regards to our online reputation management (ORM). Standing out online, is as much a question of boosting our searchability, optimizing the conversion of our landing pages, as it is removing negative info from Google and lowering results that could negatively impact our brand.
So in our integrated branding plan, this is as much about quality content of our content marketing (promotion & lead generation) as it is about search engine optimization (SEO) and a relatively new field for damage control, Reverse SEO. How we rank on Google and also how algorithms auto-complete suggestions work, has a direct impact with our personal branding and that of our business. For online, our reputation is our brand, with direct implications in how we are perceived by the hundreds, thousands and if we are lucky, by the millions of visitors every year. When we do a quick audit of our Google Search, by our names, our brand, and other related keywords, we may quickly notice on the first 2 pages of Google, where the majority of search views will occur, low quality, irrelevant or damaging links taint our image.
Who is Searching You
It’s important also to realize who actually might care about your online reputation, so you can manage for real life scenarios where this comes into play. Typically we find that our brand and our own names will be searched by:
- Personal Contacts
- Digital Marketers
- Business Partners
- Industry competitors
- Stake holders
- Public Relations & Journalists
- Prospective Employers
Some of these represent crucial individuals to the success of our business, the talent we can attract, the partners we can grow and of course our direct clients, customers and the people we will be interacting with on a daily and ongoing basis. This is why increasingly, in the attention economy, we are seeing the adoption of professional internet reputation management services. When you contact them, you will want to verify they have advanced SEO experience and knowledge and for whom and for how long they have specialized in online reputation management specifically.
As in social media they say it’s not as important how many followers you have, but rather how targeted those followers are to your business; in ORM the same principle applies. Online search and Google specifically, are currently the first impression we make on everyone we come into contact with, so targeting what they see about us first and placing those entries in the right order while lowering the negative and neutral entries, becomes a high ROI branding priority. This impacts even for the smallest business, consultancy service or growing Startup. For high profile individuals, CEOs and leaders, it’s a more technical issue than any PR agent can likely handle.