Reading the Tea Leaves: Matt Cutts on Online Reputation Management and What to Do About it
You know by now a positive online reputation is a good thing (or you should).
Knowing where you stand on the web includes everything written about you, including articles, pictures, videos, reviews, and social media. But Google is probably the biggest arbiter of your internet standings and some recent—and ongoing changes—could impact how you rank on a search page. If you are a victim of an online smear campaign or have negative reviews written about you by a disgruntled ex-employee, or just made a mistake along the way, understanding how Google works could help.
Matt Cutts, if you don’t know, is the guru of spam for Google (although now on leave). He frequently puts out public videos on changes to their algorithm, offers helpful technical tips, and provides insights into the company’s approach to search. Often, however, reading between the lines is necessary to ferret out the core information.
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A recent video on unwanted backlinks (remember: backlinks are links to your site; unwanted or poor quality ones can be bad), he mentioned online reputation management, specifically at 3:47.
He discussed the promotion of a newspaper article but brought up the point: what if the article’s author was charged with embezzlement—should that link promoted?
The search algorithm is constantly tweaked to weed out poor quality links, but the mention of ORM means it’s on their radar, and updates will ensue.
Here are three things to be gleaned and that might be helpful in building or boosting a positive internet standing.
1. Don’t be evil: Build better links
In the “old days” (read: two years ago), getting backlinks was easy: just sign up for a local search site and voila, a link back to you appears. But those days are over, as they should be, because it violates The Prime Objective to serve up great search results–not manipulated ones. What to do? Build better links. How do you that? The old fashioned way, by creating good content. Writing something compelling and helpful in an honest voice gets traction and links back to you.
2. Are more changes coming? Don’t worry, be Honest
This is always hard to say but the answer is most definitely “yes.” In what form? Who knows except the Google gods, but they are constantly trying to rid the world of spam and bad links so look for more adjustments. When building content, ask yourself would you trust the source, would you find the information valuable, would you want to read more? If the answers are yes, you should be in good shape; if no, you could be in trouble down the road as Google begins to look more closely and fine-tunes their search algorithm.
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3. SEO has been hit and ORM is not Immune
Big, big changes has rocked the SEO world in the last few years, and again, this might not be a bad thing.
After all, “gaming the system” is not really good for anyone, and it was only a matter of time that these shortcuts would be uncovered and devalued. Could ORM be next? It’s something to think about but if you play by the rules, you should be fine. It does make the “DYI” approach a bit harder, and if you need professional help, finding the right specialist that engages in proper and effective practices can still be a bit challenging.
See Related Article: Each Negative Link or Review Loses Thirty Customers or $30,000