How do you Google?Posted on
How do you define the reputation of a company or an individual?
The world’s most powerful search engine has now become the very definition of your reputation – the so-called Google Reputational Footprint.
Encouraging narcissism in the modern age is perhaps not difficult and anyone who cares about their reputation, or the reputation of their business, should self-Google regularly.
And what if you are not happy with the results? There are things that can be done …
(1) Invest time in the important websites
The press continue to be the most profound influence on reputations. If you or your company are in the news then Google News results will appear at the top of Google searches for your name.
Even after the news has passed historic articles will continue to come up on Google searches if they are on popular websites. For example, the Daily Mail’s website (www.mailonline.co.uk) is the most read English language newspaper in the world. If a story about you appears on their website then it will feature high on your Google searches for years to come. If an article in a newspaper is wrong – then do something about it immediately.
Other popular websites will dominate results. Wikipedia, for instance, though it is not for profit, has become possibly the most powerful website for reputational purposes. Not even the Prime Minister can beat Wikipedia with his party’s own website …
Wikipedia is not a website which you can abuse for your own agenda, however, it is a website on which you can seek fair treatment (as explained in this blog).
(2) Tidy up your house
Positive promotion of your brand or reputation by effective management of your own website and social media pages, using the correct terms to appeal to Google’s algorithms and (if necessary) search engine optimisation, are all sensible steps.
Investing time in making damaging information hard to come by is an additional step which all businesses and well-known individuals should take. A reverse due diligence spotcheck is a good starting point.
Do you know what information can be obtained by someone with a grudge or an agenda?
A review of social media activity of employees, executives, stars and even family members is a crucial starting point. Do they understand the technology and the risks? And, if not, how do you start to change the culture of the way they share information?
Are home addresses and personal details freely available? Have all public databases been checked?
Have you protected domain names that could be set up to hurt your business to prevent cyber squatters? Including Twitter handles?
(3) Don’t let others hijack your brand or reputation
Where others impersonate you, trade off your goodwill or make false allegations taking swift appropriate action is key.
Examples from our own clients’ businesses and lives have included:
– an online fraudster impersonating a director of our client’s business in countries such as Pakistan, China, Kenya and the United States. All of these websites, in all of these diverse jurisdictions, have terms and conditions which ban such conduct. Contacting the websites and having the entries removed was crucial
– an impersonator stealing personal photographs and using them to set up social media aliases across a number of platforms. Not only were the profiles taken down but the impersonator left far too many “muddy footprints” and her identity was tracked down
– an individual block booking URLs and social media pages in the names of a company – in an attempt to extort exorbitant fees from the company in question. Working with the social media companies and issuing cyber squatting complaints means that companies and individuals do not need to be held to ransom