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Google is Concerned About Your Reputation. Are you?

Recently, we perused a document that was purportedly leaked from Google and was making its rounds around internet marketing and SEO firms online. The 160-page document is a set of guidelines that Google apparently gives to people they hire to review their search engine results.

Yes, apparently Google hires people to do various searches and then have them look over and rate the results to see if the webpages and websites that come up in those searches are the best result for the search query. This is not the first time a version of this document was leaked and there have even been interviews posted online in the past with such reviewers.

What is unique about this document is that it gives a definitive outline of what constitutes “high quality” and “low quality” webpages and websites for Google. And whether it is truly from Google or not, it makes good sense.

What This Means For You

The document is wide ranging but we just want to focus on one item – because if you don’t have this, you haven’t got a chance of first page results in the long term.

It is a good reputation!

Here is what Google had to say on this topic because their reviewers are supposed to do reputation checks on websites.

  • Reputation research is important when giving Highest ratings. Very positive reputation is often based on prestigious awards or recommendations from known experts or professional societies on the topic of the website.
  • Wikipedia and other informational sources can be a good starting point for reputation research.
  • For some topics, such as humor or recipes, less formal expertise is OK. For these topics, popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation. For topics which need less formal expertise, websites can be considered to have a positive reputation if they are highly popular and well-loved for their topic or content type, and are focused on helping users.
  • Reputation research is required for all page quality rating tasks unless you have previously researched the reputation of the website. Extremely negative, malicious, or financially fraudulent reputation information should result in a Lowest rating. Credible negative (though not malicious or financially fraudulent) reputation is a reason for a Low rating, especially for a YMYL page.[YMYL – Your Money or Your Life pages – information about health, finances, ecommerce that one would rely on for high quality, trustworthy information]
  • Please exercise care when researching the reputation of businesses. Most businesses have some negative reviews, especially for customer service. Try to find as many reviews and ratings as possible and read the details of negative reviews and low ratings before inferring that the business has a negative reputation.
  • Important: Negative reputation is sufficient reason to give a page a Low quality rating. Evidence of truly malicious or fraudulent behavior warrants the Lowest rating.

So How Is Your Reputation?

Bet you haven’t checked recently. Bet you haven’t taken thoughtful action to improve it. Maybe you just haven’t thought about it.

While this article so far has been about Google, enhancing reputation goes far beyond the Internet. It is an excellent basic business practice.

Many business people take their reputation for granted and usually don’t see a need for doing anything about it until something bad happens – a worker gets hurt, the house falls down on a client, a bad batch of ketchup hits the market. But when things like that happen, if nothing has been done previously to create a business that is very well thought of, the job to fix that reputation can be hard.

A proactive approach is best and the solution is simple. It has to do with implementing an honest but effective public relations campaign for your business or yourself. Public relations is ultimately about reputation and trust. So you need to know if people think well of you or they don’t.

External viewpoint is best

Remember it’s not what you think about yourself or think your reputation is. But what OTHERS think about you that counts. And maybe they haven’t told you or don’t want to.

That’s why an external, experienced public relations person is an asset. They bring an external viewpoint which can look clearly at the situation and not be prone to a skewed view of things that might occur if only done inhouse.

The first thing an expert would do is to find out from a wide variety of people what they think about you. These would represent the key groups you deal with – customers, employees, suppliers, industry partners, regulators, the media, etc.

Tailor-made PR program

Once that is known, a tailor-made public relations program can be developed . That program will be based on one of the key definitions of public relations which is “good works well publicized.” Any program developed for you will help you define what good works you are doing or should be doing and then getting the good word out about those things. This enhances reputation.

Keeping a good reputation and bettering it is easier when it is good. Then when you need it, it is there for you.

If you would like to talk to someone at Target Public about enhancing your reputation and having a tailored public relations program to do so, please email me or fill out the form above.

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