There are many different Internet search engines available, but Google is clearly the dominant force. A recent survey of search engine market shares from Statistica shows that nearly 70% of web users in the U.S. turn to Google first. Across the global scene, that number jumps to 90%. With almost 3 billion Internet users in the world, that’s quite an edge.
Being seen on Google is important, but the online environment is more complicated than that. A top-spot ranking is impressive – but it could also hurt you. As you’re building your online reputation, it’s crucial that you protect it, too. Your Google results matter!
Even if a business website offers all the information a client might need about the goods and services provided, viewers also want to know what other customers have to say, so next they search for the company name. When people mention you on their own pages or post reviews about your services, those results will show up. That’s a double-edged sword: high rankings won’t do you any good if the content that others are posting about you is negative.
A 2014 survey conducted by BrightLocal shows that 88% of Internet users read plenty of online reviews when they’re evaluating businesses. Searching on an individual’s name is common practice when an employer receives a resume, as well. The survey found that viewers tend to place a great deal of value on this online information, even if they don’t take the trouble to verify it.
This gives unscrupulous people the opportunity to attack your personal and professional reputation. Some will create hundreds of fake accounts to leave bad reviews. A few well-worded blog posts can ensure that a smear campaign shows up right on the same Google page as your business. Social media sites are dangerous territory, too. Many reputations have been ruined simply because a prankster created a fake account with someone else’s personal or business name.
Building and maintaining a good online reputation is a full-time job in itself. If you don’t have time to become an SEO expert, conduct exhaustive searches, and scrub your name out of the negative searches, you should hire a professional to do it for you.