Online Reputation Management is a Real Estate Game

You’re no doubt familiar with the game Monopoly. You go around the board trying to acquire as many properties as you can so you can start putting up houses and hotels.

If you own a lot of properties, you can collect more rent and get ahead. If the other players have more properties than you, you suffer every time you go around the board, because the rent you pay out is more than the amount you collect.

An ideal situation is where you own nearly an entire side of the board, because it’s less likely that anyone will skip over your properties by a lucky throw of the dice.

Now think about when someone searches for your company name in Google. A page of search results pops up. The question is, who owns this “real estate”?

If there are too many websites with negative reviews on this page, they can discourage people from buying from you. That’s potential revenue you’re not getting, which in Monopoly terms is like rent going to someone else.

Your goal is to own all the top ten spots on a Google search. The only sites that show up here should be either your company’s websites or sites that have good things to say about you. That’s the “monopoly” you want to have, because now no matter which website a prospect clicks on they’ll have a positive impression of your company.

Fortunately, there’s no law against having this particular type of monopoly!

Who is your competition for this space? More often than not it’s the review sites that post customer complaints and consumer warnings, or bloggers posting criticisms about one thing or another. These tend to rank high in the search engines, so elbowing them off the first page is not always easy.

However, with persistence and a sound strategy there’s a good chance you can eventually own the first page of a search. No guarantees of course. But the more properties (i.e., websites) you have in this space, the better for your company’s online reputation, and the more likely you are to prosper and win the game.