Google’s New Changes May Reflect Search Philosophy

An article today in New Scientist may be a revolutionary change for Google’s search philosophy.  They are going to incorporate one of their ranking factors based on the facts on your website.  To quote Hal Hodson, they are going to rank websites on truthfulness!

Now this may absolutely throw Search into a tizzy because several websites on the first page for probably millions of searches are not based on facts but on opinions or even total falsehoods.  Hell, Wikipedia has “untruths” on their website and they rank on the first page for most searches one way or another.


Who is the final judge when deciding truthfulness; Google?

If that is to become the “gold standard” for search results, then Google will no longer rank a site on its reputation but on its accuracy.  This will change the way authors write their copy.  can you say that your “any product” is the best without proving it?  Adjectives may go right out the window when writing sales copy. We can write descriptive explanations but how can you use words like; best, perfect, finest or greatest?  Who is the greatest anything?  Do we check stats to decide?  Who is the resource to decide who is telling the truth?

Right now Google uses several factors when ranking a website, but links are a large part of the equation.  If links will now be replaced with truthfulness, then we are going to be writing tens or hundreds of articles trying to substantiate a claim so that those articles prove our copy when we need validity to get us to page one. This may be the best way to rank a website now, but who is the final word?  Google is and we are now back to where we started.  They make the rules and we follow if we don’t want to fund their PPC for the rest of our lives.  Or the alternative that I find myself entertaining every time they make an algorithm change is to just bottom feed with cheap clicks and make the finest converting landing pages possible.  The cost may be cheaper than organic traffic, but natural search results do convert better. (I wonder if Google will think that statement is true!)

A 33 year Reputation Still Protected

Sue and I had the opportunity to go see an old friend yesterday.  She had announced back in August that after 33 years, she was hanging up her spatula and retiring.  As usual she greeted us with the same warmth as we had felt over the past 25 years of dining with her.  She was so special to us that we actually put her in a commercial for a local client of ours and thru some crazy happenstance, we lived in the same building for several years.  She brought light through her smile every day even though she may not have felt the best from a childhood disease.  Our girl suffered in silence because she is that special.  She is simply known as; Ina.

Although nothing is simple about Ina Pinkney, she is an icon of what we all should look to when it comes to building a reputation.  As Sue and I spoke with her about the 39 days left of her reign, we spoke of all the years of serving the community.  Sure, Ina made a profit, but her restaurants were a home for us all as we grew up in Chicago.  She once told me that she ran such a high class breakfast joint because when times were bad, her customers could come in and feel better for ten bucks.  She started as an expensive breakfast restaurant and morphed into a fine dining value restaurant.  Fresh orange juice and those “heavenly hots” that drove me to propose marriage to her on several occasions because she would never reveal that recipe… until now.

Ina has finally published her recipes; “Taste Memories: Recipes For Life And Breakfast.” You can get it here and yes, this is a shameless plug for a lady that got us through lots of troubling times with nothing more than a smile and a great breakfast.  I wonder if she has any idea. Her grace will forever be an example for us all.

So, now why would I write about Ina in a reputation marketing article? This is one of the easiest entries I’ve ever made here.  As she says in her book and we have overheard several times over the years, When a customer asks if she is Ina, her retort should tell you everything you need to know. She says: “Yes…and it’s good to be Ina!” She has never said who is asking.  She has never screened a customer or anyone who wants to speak to her.  Ina is always there and as she has sold the restaurant (with parking) to another famous family in Chicago; Lou Malnati’s, she answered our question as to why.  She said that she didn’t want to sell her brand to come in three months later and see a dirty tablecloth or a sloppy restaurant.  ”Ina” is her brand.  It his hers and hers only and she was not going to trust anyone with her reputation.  Way to go girl!

Reputation Still ProtectedI think we can all learn a little from the “Breakfast Queen”.  We are our own brand.  We are in charge of it.  Our reputation relies on our integrity and class and the girl from Bensonhurst has shown the way.  Thanks, Ina.  We’ll miss you but thankful for what you have given us and taught us throughout the years.

Fake Online Reviews

Well, the Attorney General of New York announced the indictments of 19 people for posting or sponsoring fake online reviews.  I would think that the review sites certainly should be screening the phony reviews efficiently enough.  Although I find them screening more good reviews than bad ones most of the time in order to further their revenue goals. Yelp even has a program that “helps” you improve by buying into it. We have had a couple customers get calls from Yelp proposing such a program.

This is what Yelp uses on some sites when they suspect a business is fabricating reviews.

Fake Online Reviews

Yelp’s Fake Online Review Notice

However, this post is not about Yelp, but about what many people evidently think about the value of good reviews.  Some are going to be paying upwards of $100,000 in fines because they thought having good reviews was important.  The New York Times just posted a survey asking how much people read and trusted the reviews online and it was overwhelmingly; yes!\

Dangers of Trusting Reviews

I think the danger to reading and trusting bad reviews will be when we trust those reviews enough to see a doctor, dentist or attorney who is a quack and you become victimized by not only the professional, but by his scummy practice of posting phony reviews. If you get a crappy meal, then so be it.  That can happen at a good restaurant even with great reviews. I know it sucks but it’s not the end of the world.  The crime is being mis-diagnosed with some malady that the professional now charges you for the treatment and scares the hell out of you in the process.

So, what do we do about this?  Do we just trust reviews or distrust them?  I think there is an easy answer to the question. Do what we have done all our lives.  Take all info with a grain of salt and be our own doctor.  Evaluate the reviews.  read several of them.  if the good outweigh the bad, then don’t be afraid to ask the person of the phone to comment about this review or that one.  Ask him or her what happened here.  Did you have a bad day?  If there are bad reviews out there and the professional hasn’t taken the time to comment on them, then maybe you might look elsewhere.

All I’m saying is; buyer beware no matter how many reviews he or she has.  Take your time, ask a few friends what they think and try to evaluate the business you’re thinking about engaging.  Hopefully, you can become pretty good at detecting the spirit of customer service they are engaging.  I find that if I ask the receptionist who answers the phone two or three questions and she gladly answers to my satisfaction, then the Doctor, Lawyer or Indian Chief has spent some time creating a culture of quality customer service and that is a heck of a good sign that they may be just as proficient in their practice.

Evaluating Fake Online Reviews

My last two tricks when trying to evaluate reviews is to read them very carefully.  If all the good reviews are spelled correctly and have proper punctuation and seem to be more lengthy than normal, you might want to keep reading.  I have found that when you get a bad review, the person is really spewing and they tend to run on their sentences and don’t care near as much about punctuation and misspellings.  And finally whenever you see a negative review, if coincidentally every bad review is followed by several good ones that push the negative review off the first page, you may be looking at fake online reviews.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  If the Dr or employee had a bad day, it happens and the patient may have had a bad day and wanted to vent at the messenger instead of the message, then bad reviews can follow.  But if there seems to be a pattern of one bad, five good, then I’d be very curious.

So, when online reviews are all we have to go on, don’t be afraid to evaluate them just like you would any other time.  You will be well served by making informed and skeptical decisions.  if you think something is fishy, then trust your instincts.  More times than not, your instincts are correct.  They have served us for millions of years.  We’re still here, aren’t we?

Google’s Reputation

It seems to me that Google’s reputation was finally tarnished to the point that they had to react.  This may be one of the great reputation stories of the year. Google has long been courted by the various alphabet of government agencies as a partner in the war against terror and they have been willing participants. I think we’d all agree that we have sacrificed a part of our freedoms since 9/11 to have the feeling that we are in fact safer.  Well, that all ended on Google’s part last week even though they had decided to start encrypting data as early as last year.

Google's ReputationA Washington Post headline last week read: “Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying”. Evidently something has happened behind the scenes to propel Google to begin encrypting their data in order to prevent “governments” from spying on our behavior and searches.  Now when Google says “governments”, I think we can all read between the lines that it means “our government”. I like to think the day had come that Google had to finally realize that they were duped by the NSA and other government organizations into handing over another bit of our privacy in the cause of our safety and freedom.  I think it may be one of the great debates of our time and probably the time and place is here and now to have it.

We can all go on about trying to define the slender line between our safety and security and when we give up our liberties to be so.  I’m of the belief that they can have anything they want of my information because I’m at an age that what the hell do I do wrong anymore?  However, the time has already come when “Big Brother” will bust a common thief by means of a street corner camera.  Drones are now patrolling our skies over this country and we cannot write or utter a word anymore that cannot be read or heard if the government wants to listen in. We cannot text or sext or send an email of Skype or Instant Message without the government reading it. If we want true privacy, what can we do?

My suggestion is start writing letters again.  Although, we send them by U.S Mail.  How ironic! I guess I really don’t know what side I am on in this debate.  Hell, I can argue either position.  The men and women who spy on the “bad guys” are certainly dedicated and care about keeping us all safe and I’m glad they are there.  But on the other hand, it sounds like some have gone too far.  The great question is what is too far.  Maybe Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said it best when describing obscenity.  He said that he didn’t know how to define it but he’d know it when he saw it. (I’m paraphrasing).

Google’s Reputation Will Be Tested

I am certain that they will be tested. I think of things like “anti-trust” and “impeding an investigation” and all sorts of things that an aggressive government can do, might come their way.  And let’s face it; Google has had a pretty stress free run to the top when it comes to the federal government. However, I like to think that Google had a Justice Potter moment.  They finally saw it and knew it.  They realized that they were being coerced in sharing information and when they did, the NSA’a Prism Program had an appetite that knew no bounds.  Google had finally had enough.  Well, hurray for Google and their reputation and hurray for the NSA. Now go and figure that line out.  I told you it was time for the debate.  Let’s have it.

Crisis Management

Crisis ManagementIn this business we do a lot of Crisis Management along with a partner in the public relations business.  In most cases if the crap really hits the fan, you need a PR Firm that specializes in crisis management and a reputation company like ours who can handle the heavy lifting online.  There are several firms out there that specialize in crisis management, but not too many package what we do.  This is not a pitch, but a suggestion that if you have gotten a lot of bad press with the crisis, you will be best served by making sure that the firm you hire has both skill sets within their resources.

The Public Relations Side

The Public Relations side begins immediately putting together an action plan of trying to bury the garbage with good news about the firm or you if it’s personal.  Our side begins buying EMDs (exact match domains) to start throwing up some WordPress blogs with the search terms in them that are being searched for your name or company.  it’s really an art form if it’s done right and it’s a constant communication between the PR firm and the reputation marketing or management firm.  In many cases, we try to give the clients several scenarios and we often let them listen to our “sausage making” as we hold some lively debates as to what the next steps should be.  heretofore, all of our clients have loved to sit back and witness these discussions.

I think when we get really opinionated and heated on our conference calls, our clients seem to love it because it’s the first time they have had a little levity since their crisis, but it’s really not designed for that reason. We just like to let the client make the final decision because they are the ones that may be looking at jail time or getting fired or being destroyed online. We run the gambit from Tech Companies, to National Associations to Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurs who have made a mistake while trying to survive in a competitive marketplace.

The nice thing about our crisis management team is that Scott Sobel of Mac Strategies has over forty years experience and degrees in media communication and public relations. He was a reporter for a major television station in Denver for years and really has a lovely temperament for this kind of work.  I think to be good at this, you need a mix of experience, empathy and courage.  If you don’t have empathy for your client, you shouldn’t be in this business.  I remember a line from my grandmother when I was young when she would see someone less fortunate than we were.  They may have been handicapped, or sick or living on the street.  I always remember her saying: “There but for the grace of God, go I”.  If you don’t think you are one Scotch, one employees misstep or one mistake away from the client you are serving, then you are destined to someday being on the other end of the phone call.

Crisis Management Work

You must have the courage to tell your client the truth about what you see happening because it is never more important to managing a client’s expectation than in crisis management work.  The next thing you need to prepare for is to be their confidant and very shortly; their psychiatrist.  We have to ask these folks the tough questions and you have to do it in the worse times, but if you don’t have the fortitude to care enough to ask, then this business isn’t for you.  The nice thing for us with this kind of work is that in many cases, you become long time friends.  After the smoke has cleared, if you did your job, you will remain friendly for years to come and that isn’t bad for meeting someone in the worst circumstances of their lives.

Protect Your Online Reputation

Protect Your Online ReputationI read an interesting article about how you should forego buying a summer house or new boat until you protect your online reputation.  It was written by Chris Abraham; a competitor of mine but I had to give him credit because I had never heard anyone before that really communicated the dangers that lie out there on the web.  He writes a compelling case for spending thousands of dollars to protect your online reputation because after the litany of anecdotes he wrote of, he made a great case for “None of us will ever get out of here unscathed”.

He wrote about the damage on the web by the hand of an unscrupulous competitor, (which I’ve written about previously) a personal breakup where your mate goes nuts online about your shortcomings.  He wrote about a psychotic former employee, an unconsolable patient, a really upset client and my favorite was the person who decides that you will be their personal jihad. I loved that one, but it did scare the hell out of me and I’m in the business!

Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later

There’s no need to go on and paraphrase his article of over 1350 words, but it was nice to read someone in my industry that is of the same mind when it comes to deciding whether to protect your online reputation or not to protect it. There used to be an old Fram Oil Filter commercial that became part of the nomenclature; “Pay me now or pay me later”.  It was a great commercial but this industry is very similar.  You can start protecting your online reputation now or spend a fortune after the proverbial you know what hits the fan.

Chris did say one thing that rang true and should ring true for any of us: “Reputation hates a vacuum”. That is so true.  If you have built the web assets to occupy page one of Google with the type of information about you through blogs, websites and social media, then you get to fill that vacuum before the naysayer beats you to it.  I’ve been preaching for over a year now that the new breakout industry on the web will be all about how to protect your online reputation and how to manage that in the future.  The horror stories are endless and the carcasses of good companies are strewn from coast to coast.  We have had two clients change their names in order to get a clean start because of a competitor and an ex wife.  I’ve said it before and will reiterate it until I’m blue in the face: “The first liar wins on the web”.  It’s a terrible expression but it aptly captures the dilemma.  Should I protect my online reputation with a concerted effort or should I keep my head in the sand and never know how much damage that negative content on page one is doing to me, my company, my career and my family?

Should Protect Your Online Reputation Be The Same As Insurance?

It may be similar to buying insurance.  Answering the question of should you protect your online reputation may be the same kind of question when it comes to buying insurance. You hope you don’t need it, but the odds are that you will someday.  That’s why we pay premiums every month.  The thing to keep in mind is that to attack you is free for the enemy.  They don’t have to spend a dime and it’s therapeutic for them.  They get to rid themselves of some venom and you spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to repair the damage of one tirade.

Great Reviews; How to Get Them

I was looking at some reviews written about one of our clients and realized that if you want to know how to get great reviews, it may be simpler than you think. This client has been with us for just short of ten years now.  They are a law firm and a class operation.  They have grown from two people to a very substantial law firm. The important thing Great-Reviews; How to Get Themto understand is that there are lots of “tricks” to get clients to write great reviews, but there is no trick to getting great reviews.  It’s cultural.  If you are sincere with your customers and staff, you can build a culture that will get reviews that are so good, that I have actually blushed reading a couple of them. I was in awe of some of the things that their consumers wrote without a request or prod from them of any kind.

If you treat your staff and your clients with respect, they will usually treat you the same way.  I realized that the people who wrote these reviews were incredibly sincere and took the time to write some pretty lengthy accolades.  The other thing that surprised me was that they called the attorneys by their first name yet referencing them with such a standard of regard, that you’d swear a professional writer spent hours to write these reviews.  This firm gets great reviews even when they lose a case.  Think of that.  They lose the case and the clients are trying to comfort the attorneys by telling them that it’s okay but more importantly, a common thread is the clients saying that they got their self-respect back. Can there be a finer compliment than to say thank you for getting my self respect back when writing a great review?

Create A Culture of Great Reviews

These kinds of reviews can only be sincere and knowing this firm for the past ten years, they are well deserved.  Do you know why?  Culture, people.  They have created a culture of self respect and caring that can only produce the kinds of testimonials that are exceptional because the firm is exceptional and so is their leader.  So, next time you’re trying to figure out how to get great reviews about you and your company, why don’t you work to create the environment within your company that can only get you great reviews? Be exceptional in how you treat your staff, your clients and they will beat a path to your door.

Reputation Marketing Services

I’ve spent the better part of the last year writing, speaking and researching the merits of providing reputation marketing services to our clients. I have done SEO, provided content and basically walked everyone through the processes that entail reputation marketing services, but to date I have never really defined them.  I have a website that explains some of them, but I thought it high time to lay out exactly what I mean and maybe even more important, I need to put down in writing an outline for me of what it is we exactly do.  We do several different things depending on the situation, but I have not ever had a “step 1, 2, 3″ for all of us to check off when we go to work dealing with a new crisis.

Reputation Marketing ServicesLet me start by clarifying that we have found that the needs are usually different for every crisis, but there are some services that are always needed.  Let me start with the basic reputation marketing services and move on from there. You all need to own your brand on page 1 of Google. You need to own 1 thru 10 on page one for your brand name! That is a given and when my phone rings, it is the first time anyone realizes the necessity of this advice. Own your reputation!  I cannot prevent bad things from happening, but if you have created enough web posts and optimized them on several blogs, websites and 2.0 sites, you can prevent the bad press from hanging around very long on page 1 as it will not have the SEO strength to last.  So, step one is always to “own your brand”.

Collecting Reviews

Step two is also the same with every client (unfortunately we don’t always stress this enough because we are too busy putting out the flames) and that is to make sure they are collecting reviews from the their customers or patients.  Now attorneys and professionals usually are uncomfortable with this process, but we have designed a simple way to encourage their patients or clients to volunteer a review whether it is good or bad and we have also devised a way to make sure the venomous ones don’t hit web; more about that in another post but I probably will never explain it all as I don’t want our competitors to copy the process.

Reputation Marketing Services Next Steps

Now the next steps for Reputation Marketing Services vary by circumstance and I will try to list all of our experiences here and what we have had to do in each case.  I will have to be general to avoid compromising any of our clients, but I can be specific enough to form a basic list of needs.

If you have been arrested or indicted, we have to clean up the first page of Google, but also need to start publishing press releases to drown out the sabre rattling by your competitors and clients who now find fault with your previous services.  And it always happens, especially if they think they can get out of a contract or get some money refunded!  We’ve had clients sued for money back after the job was completed and they had received glowing endorsements from the client for the services provided.  Look out for school boards and city councils.  They are notorious for this cute move to grab some more dough and votes.

The next one is to change public opinion. Most times the newspaper articles online have a place to post comments and the vultures inevitably circle and start picking at the bones. When that happens, we begin organizing supporters to drown out the negativity.  There are several ways to do it that we won’t share as it is one of our trade secrets, but the result is lovely.  If the loudest and most prevalent remarks are positive, the newspaper removes the comments field because if it isn’t poisonous, it doesn’t sell. This usually takes about 24 hours and the posts are removed.

The last thing that is always needed when providing reputation marketing services is building websites.  I love to take the heart out of the detractors.  Sometimes this is harder than others because if you have a very aggressive competitor that has been eating your dust for a few years, they usually try to take advantage of your misfortune and bury you with all kinds of lies and 99% of the crap they publish is just that. This is where we buy a bunch of domains with your negative remarks on page one in the URL and then post the side of the story we want you to read and optimize those sites in order to beat back the competitor.  I don’t think there has been one client in the last 18 months where we didn’t have to create a few blogs in order pushdown some vocal detractor.

Now here are some of the other Reputation Marketing Services that are what I call “one offs”. They aren’t always needed but can be useful in some cases.  The first is adding chat to the websites so that you can answer questions and deal with the detractors.  We usually just kill them with kindness until they just can’t spout anymore.  It always works and our 24 hour a day Netreps do a wonderful job at diffusing the anger.  You just agree with them and tell them that we will pass on a copy of this conversation to the person who deals with this.  Sometimes, if they won’t give their name ( and they usually don’t) we just mention that we have their IP address and we’ll attach it to the chat and someone will be back to them within a few hours.  Most times that sends them running to the hills, but our client makes that call.  However, our chat software always records the IP address and in many cases we can track it back to the person on the other end of the chat.

The last thing we do is empathize. We have all been through bad times and we have all made mistakes.  The problem is that when it happens, many times we think it’s the end of the world and we are in shock.  We’re scared, embarrassed and angry.  Most times, we’re angry at ourselves and are trying to find something to anesthetize the pain. Now is when we step in with walking a client through what is going to happen next so that every time this seems to get worse, they are prepared for it and not thinking about suicide which we have been told more times than we care to say.  I can say that to date, nobody has ever taken that drastic a measure but we have had clients that have gone to jail.

I guess that about lays out for the first time what I see as the basic Reputation Marketing Services. There are several very fine points that I will talk about in the future.  I can write a lengthy post just about press release marketing that is an art form on its own. Don’t be afraid to post your comments.  I read them all.

Peter Yarrow’s Reputation

I know this may be a stretch to write about in this blog, but what can it hurt if I interject a little of my “personal” life experiences from time to time?  If that diminishes the number of followers I get, then so be it.  Last night we saw Peter Yarrow of “Peter, Paul and Mary” fame and really had an emotional uplifting experience.  Who would have thought that a 75 year old man could still connect with an audience like that?  Heck, maybe it’s me that doesn’t realize that after reaching 75 (three weeks ago) and entertaining since the mid sixties, you should be better than an Adele or Michael Buble’.

I had forgotten that he was such a pacifist and how much he is still involved with preventing violence. He spoke of Sandy Hook with a connection that was very personal.  He also shared with us his feelings about bullying and the fabric of our country. Whether you were in tune with his politics or not, you must admire his conviction and verve when speaking so passionately about love and nonviolence.  Well, I got swept up in his positions and when he brought up a bunch of young children to sing “Puff” with him, it was all I could do not to cry.

Peter Yarrow's ReputationAt intermission we went down to the lobby where some folks were peddling his books and CDs and Peter signed a “popup book” for our four year old granddaughter’s birthday just two days ago.  Just great fun as he not only signed it for us but he actually paged through the whole book and sang Puff The Magic Dragon to us as we marveled at the book being a piece of art in the hands of such a lovely artist.

Okay, so now where can I go from here to justify adding this entry into my blog?  I have an idea.  I am going to search Peter Yarrow in Google to find all the garbage out there that may have damaged his reputation and then write my comments on his missteps. (Back in an hour)

I found this on the first page:

A Message from Peter Yarrow
& Operation Respect
to the Community of Newtown, CT

Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine,
Out of the falling rain.
Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow,
And fill my cup again.

We at Operation Respect are in a state of grief and shock over the horrifying killings of children, their teachers and their principal in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. At Operation Respect, our whole lives are bound up in efforts to prevent violence, ridicule, humiliation and bullying in schools throughout the United States, and beyond.

We are holding the families and friends of the children who were lost in Newton, CT, in fact the whole of Newtown, CT, especially deep in our hearts and prayers and we have committed ourselves to joining with others to help heal the wounds that have been visited on those close to the children whose lives were lost and to prevent the occurrence of such heartbreaking tragedies in the future.

And yes, I did find something back in his past.  Forty-three years ago he made a mistake, took responsibility and moved on with his life.  He never lied about it nor did he make excuses. I even found an interviewer who actually brought it up in 2006. Thirty six years later, some guy was trying to create a story asking a man about his past.  It’s a good lesson for us all. How about maybe being a little more tolerant of each other before we decide to make a judgment based on an event.  Why wouldn’t we look at a man’s life’s work, and judge him that way?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make a mistake, take responsibility and move on?  Let’s give that a shot.  None of us is getting out of here with our reputations intact.  We have all harmed someone.  There are people everywhere all too anxious to point out our frailties as it probably makes them feel better about themselves.

As I grow older I find that reputations are transient.  Reputations are minute to minute, but integrity can last. Integrity is how you conduct yourself as a person and your reputation is its by-product. Peter Yarrow’s reputation is not only intact, but a lovely tribute to his life’s work and it’s one we should all emulate.

Reputation Management Consultants

Reputation Management ConsultantsDon’t you love that term?  What does it mean?  Who do you think are the most important reputation management consultants in your life?  Go ahead.  Spit it out.  That’s right; it’s you and your employees! Now when guys like me talk about that vague term, we’re usually trying to scare you into buying something or hiring us to manage your online reputation.  Sure, we can help and some of us do some pretty productive work for our clients, but in the long run, you’re your best consultant.

When you begin searching the internet for; reputation management consultants, you usually already have a problem or know it’s comin’.  You’ve already searched for negative search results and found some nasty remarks or rude reviews about you or your service and I can tell you from experience that there are only three people who will go more than a couple pages deep to look for your results; a reporter, your competitor and you. Once we have pushed the adverse press off the first page for our clients, they invariably will start calling and telling me that they found some remote never searched term has shown up on page 3 and they want to know what we’re going to do about that one.  If anyone searches past the first two pages, they already know what they are looking for and they’re going to do their damndest to hurt you anyway.

Who wakes up and says to themselves: “Boy, I think I’m going to run out and buy a timeshare today”?  The same amount of people are likely to get up and look for someone to manage their reputation unless they know what has already hit the fan.  Now the interesting thing about our profession is that most of us are or were in the SEO or Marketing field. We use our skills to reverse what we have been doing for years.  We work to create websites and content and then optimize them to occupy the space that is damaging your reputation at the moment.  The bad thing about it is that in most cases, it’s an ongoing endeavor because when we stop working, the negative posts usually rear their ugly heads again and again.

That’s the reason that I wrote this blog post: To try to help you avoid the need for someone like me.  Be your own consultant.  it’s a heck of a lot cheaper when you do it than if I do it. If you really want to avoid reputation management consultants, then start conducting yourself online especially as well as you can.  Try not to over react to a customer or a competitor.  Have meetings with your employees and explain to them that your success is tied to the customers’ reaction to their service and if they fail, the business can fail and their jobs disappear.  I know I’m asking alot, but unfortunately we see it every week.  We have clients who come to us on the verge of bankruptcy because they just figured out what has been happening to them and in some cases, it’s too late.

We have a client right now that we suggested they buy another company or merge with another firm because the damage was so great.  In other words, change your name/brand.  Let’s stop by saying:  You are management.  It’s your company.  Be aware of the damage that can come from one misstep and save yourself from having to call consultants like me!