For a small company, to what extent does your first page of Google results define your company or your brand?
It’s all relative to each business and the category they’re in, but I think it can be said that a significant amount of the encounters that any potential customer or current customer has with your brand has very little to do with you getting them to think about you, but rather them coming across you through one way or another via search.… Whatever the results are is what they’ll think of you, and whether or not that’s fair is kind of beside the point. It’s just true…
But it turns out that often times complaints are amplified by the Web and by search, [because] people don’t go out of their way to say something nice, but they do like to vent.
Is it even more important for small companies that may not already have a presence in consumers’ minds?
In whatever it is that you represent, if you’re very local, or regional, or if you’ve built a great small business in a particular niche, you need to understand what the ecosystem is around that niche online, and then to be part of that ecosystem, to join it.… Understanding where that specific group of people hangs out—what they do online, how they might encounter you— and then making sure you have a presence there that is robust … will help ensure that when people do find your brand through the serendipity of search, they’ll find it in a context that’s positive, because you‘re engaged. If you’re not engaged, you’re letting other people define who you are.
I’ll get on that next post, post haste!