In the last installment we learned of my husband’s satellite television hobby and my 15 year long hatred of the dishes affixed to the side of my house. Through the observation of a passing dogwalker, my perspective was changed and my husband’s dishes were validated. The whole experience brought to light just how important it is to know the genuine perception of anyone outside your narrow field of vision, i.e. the consumer. One might even call it a key to survival in business.
We know consumer perception is how the public sees your business, but reputation management is how you want the consumer to see your business. Two very different, but related things. In the simplest of terms and in the context of SEO/SEM etc, reputation management occurs through the creation of a feedback loop and constant monitoring of search results. Data components are determined, tracked, reported and analyzed. Toss in the algo-antics of the almighty Google and, well, let’s just say thank goodness for pale-faced techies whose idea of fun is watching other people’s breadcrumbs at ten o’clock at night.
What if my husband were the client and the dishes were his website? I would have spent 15 years quietly ranting about the ugliness of his site. I would still have taken his money of course, but as just an SEO it would not have been part of my repertoire to change the site. I would have relied upon spam. Then the dogwalker came by and forced every SEO to become a marketer. In this post-Panda period let’s call it what it is: online reputation management. Those days of quietly spamming every blog and forum in existence are as dead as disco (and thank goodness).
We know consumer perception and reputation management are related through one factor: control. And we now know online reputation management is really about manipulating search results and public opinion, in essence controlling what information users will be given when they do a search (beit on Google, Facebook, Yelp or otherwise). Now those factors we control have to be attractive to search engines. We have to decorate the dishes. We have to make them more authoritative and unique. In some cases it only takes a bit of paint and a modern day Rembrandt. In other more challenging situations, a completely new house is needed before the dishes can even be seen. Once again, and for the good of organic search results, we are left with no other choice than to listen to the dogwalker.