There’s no doubt that Google (and the other major search engines) have made it extremely fast and easy to get accurate (and sometimes less accurate) information. Do you remember those arguments about important issues like why we need to call it tomato ketchup? Are there other types of ketchup? (there are actually…) With Google and nearly any cell phone you can know the answer instantly.
This ability to get immediate information that answers our questions has been largely positive, although it means that we often scratch the surface (get the right answer) without getting much depth.
We are now even more impatient than we once were. We want the answer instantly and if we don’t find it, we move on – immediately. The most popular button on the internet is the ‘Back’ button (or the ‘Next’ button). Nothing to see here… Keep moving!
Once people figured out they could search anything online and get an answer instantly – “people searches” became fair game as well. Almost no one enters into a business agreement without first Googling (or Binging…) their prospective partner. Let’s make sure they have a good track record, that they are not a scam artist, and that they are who they say they are.
Incredible! Now all of us can be saved from scams, bad doctors, and substandard hotels! But the ease with which information is retrieved is reflective of how quickly it can be created. That means it’s not terribly difficult to bad-mouth your competitor online.
In steps online reputation management – with the goal of giving a balanced or accurate picture of the best side of the client’s reputation. So a restaurant that has mostly good reviews may want those to rank higher in Google or Yahoo than the few negative ones. The hedge fund that was investigated by the SEC a few years ago has put that in their past; they’ve moved on – but you wouldn’t know it if you googled them.
The ability to get a quick answer (should I do business with this person?) instantly on almost any person created the need for online reputation management. It also means that owning the top 10 Google results – fashioning them by creating accurate, relevant, positive content and promoting those results – secures your online reputation.
At the moment, attention spans don’t seem to be getting longer. So what people see in that quick search of your name, your brand or your product name is critically important to your success.