Imagine you’re the head of a successful Fortune 100 firm, or even the owner of a sole proprietorship that’s doing gangbusters in sales and gaining lots of buzz. Sooner or later, however, you might Google your own name and end up being less than pleased with the results that surface. Perhaps it’s a blog post rant against you and your company from a former disgruntled employee or business partner. Maybe it’s something worse, such as a highly personal legal document or an inaccurate news article that places you and your organization in a seriously bad light.
During these Information Age days, horrible Yelp reviews, a poorly managed reputation, or scathing reports don’t simply bring embarrassment to a company leader. Top search engine results have the power to make or break deals and reduce or increase sales, because the first place many people begin their research of a person or corporation is online. That means a venture capitalist willing to shell out $7 million in a new round of funding could be swayed towards or away from filling your coffers afresh merely because of what he or she reads on the front page of Google about you and your company.
Thankfully, there are technology experts out there that have developed their own set of expert skills in conjunction with public relations expertise that can bring a powerful antidote - reputation management - to any problems that executives may encounter when it comes to their Internet presence.
For example, Benjamin Weir and Mehtab Bhogal are the owners of Vancouver reputation management firm, Always Branding; their service specializes reputation management and branding for CEOs and executives at publicly listed companies.
“Executives of companies with publicly traded stocks need to control their online image because over 95% of investors carefully scrutinize a CEO’s reputation before they make a decision to invest their money in a company – you also don’t want to give unscrupulous short-sellers the ability to spread rumors that get seen by those who matter,” said Vancouver’s Mehtab Bhogal, co-founder at Always Branding.
A few select firms like this Vancouver firm provide the kind of double-whammy services that executive personnel seek these days – including not only the removal or suppression of negative search engine results, but also the inclusion of accurate and favorable articles in high-profile publications.
As a corporate head, managing your reputation along with your firm’s profile helps mitigate damage and provides a sort of 21st century web-based PR person at your disposal.
Fighting fire with fire in an SEO-driven world
When the Internet was still new and largely unknown, we couldn’t have imagined that there would one day exist a term called “negative SEO,” whereby competitors of a business would attack its valuable and top rankings in Google by throwing tons of worthless links at the website until Google suppressed their enemy.
In 2014 and beyond, these are the underhanded tactics that those prominently in the public eye need to be aware of – and know how to quickly combat. No longer is it a safe bet for a firm to toss several thousand dollars at an online advertising campaign and hope all goes well. It helps to have a handle on all aspects of your online presence – from the hottest social media hashtags to the most effective and up-to-date strategies that still work and thrive after Google’s latest Panda, Penguin or other animal-named algorithm change.
The companies that prove they understand just how vital their web presence is are the self-same ones that will no doubt thrive during the social networking revolution.