Online Reputation: You Never Get a Second Chance at a First Impression

I was recently reading some popular SEO blogs when I stumbled across a bit of advice that related directly to online reputation management and the impression that people get of your company when they search for you online.

Julie Joyce, of Search Engine Land, writes about one of the simplest ways to gauge a website’s quality:

If you search for the site/brand name, is the first result a negative review? Are there more than 5 negative SERPs on the first page? … do a quick search for the site/brand and just check the first 10 results.

Search Engine Land is probably the most popular SEO blog on the web, with over 57,000 Twitter followers, and more than 23,000 Facebook fans (not to mention over 71,000 RSS subscribers), and they just told all their followers that the first page of a Google search is a good indicator of a company’s reputation. So how does a search for your brand name look?

The Average First Impression

But it’s not just SEO specialists and internet nerds who are searching for your brand online, it’s anyone who wants to know anything about your company. And their first impression of your company is probably not your home page but, rather, the first 10 results in a Google search for your brand name. Is that first page filled with negative reviews, scam alerts, and negative comments? If so, your website visitors already have a bad taste in their mouths before then even see your website.

Why Online Reputation Management?

Now more than ever is the time to start thinking about more than just your home page and your branded online resources. In order to keep a good reputation online, you need to start thinking outside the box about the way people perceive your company before they even visit your website. And online reputation management can help you control what people see when they search for your company name.

What Can it Do?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the term used for the art of manipulating search results to get a favorable result. Most times it’s about making sure a certain website ranks well for a specific set of targeted terms. However, online reputation management is slightly different in that it uses principles of SEO to make sure that only good or neutral information and headlines appear when anyone searches for your company name online. In essence, they are helping you put your best foot forward when anyone searches for your company name online.

Reputation Management in the Internet Age

Today the internet is everyone’s gateway to information, When you want to know more about something, Google it. When you have a question, Google it. When you want to get a feel for a company’s reputation, Google it. If everyone is searching for information online, how does your company appear? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about online reputation management.