Reputation management has become an important issue in the online community and sites like Facebook, Myspace and more recently, Twitter, make the issue more important. A negative comment on Twitter can bounce around to millions of readers in a couple of hours and the potential to destroy a business is very real.
Google have now started including ‘profiles’ in search results and Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land has a pretty comprehensive post on the subject so I want bore you by repeating his post. However, can having a verified profile help with your reputation management?
Many look for quick fixes on this subject, however the reality is, there is no such thing. If you provide a reasonably good service (as a bare minimum) and use some form of alert mechanism, either through Twitter itself, through Google Alerts or through a third party program, then you have the basics covered.
You can add to this by being social activity in a positive way on several of the social sites, particularly those that may have some relevance to your niche. The more you can be of assistance to others, the more positive your reputation will be. If negatives do arise, the first thoughts on most peoples minds will then most likely be along the lines of “that’s odd” or “that surprises me”.
A verified profile may help a little since searchers will know that you are a real person, but that is about as far as it goes when it comes to reputation management. What may be of interest to many users is that, in creating a profile, you can give your link building and general SEO a tiny little push along. At present, Google Profiles allow users to include do-follow links in their bio – as Danny Sullivan suggests:
For those wondering, so far, these appear to be straight links that do pass PageRank. The nofollow attribute is not used, nor do I see other blocking, so potentially anyone can use their Google profile for link building efforts. I suspect that nofollow will come down the line.
He may be right, or perhaps Google is starting to open up a little. Let’s face it, links are supposed to point to information that helps the user. Doesn’t a link to your content help the user? With that in mind, it should carry link juice as a valid link.
Returning to the point of reputation management, if users can see that your a real person, it will help in the early stages of any business relationship. However, I always come back to two or three components – your products and/or services need to be spot on, you need to be socially active in a positive way, and you need to be monitoring your presence ready to catch any negatives that appear. Profiles may take on some importance into the future, but not for reputation management.
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