Google Profiles & Online Reputation Management

A few weeks ago Google launched “Google Profiles“. Looking at how Google Profiles works, its reminiscent of an online dating site ad minus the creepy old guy that could be my grandfather sending me winks. With that said, Google Profiles can be a powerful tool in online marketing, especially when it comes to online reputation management. Already, Google profiles are showing up in the search engine results. They may not be showing up number 1 for all vanity searches, but they definitely have the power to rank in the top 20 and the potential to rank even higher. Why? Well, Google I guess must really trust itself.

I created a Google profile early last week. This morning I decided to test and see how it was affecting searches for “Liana Evans”. While not in the top spot for my name, the Google profile is now ranking in the top ten, along with several other profiles and videos from social media sites. So keep that in mind, its not just your profile on Google that has the potential to rank and usurp static websites, its profiles on just about any social site. Take a look at the screen shot below:

The social media profiles and videos I’ve got highlighted in red boxes are all ranking for “Liana Evans” near the bottom of the rankings on the first page of the search engine results for my name. Accept for the power of Google, the other profiles don’t rank “just because”. They rank because they are my more “social” profiles. What that means, is that it’s not just because it’s “Twitter” or it’s “FriendFeed”, I’m actually social in those platforms – I hold conversations, I have “friends”, I comment, I share, I watch other videos than my own, etc., that’s what gives these profiles their ability to rank. They also rank because I make sure they are properly optimized, for “Liana Li Evans”, incorporating both my real and my nick name. While being social is the primary key, you also need to remember how you want people to relate to you in these social settings, and make sure your profiles reflect that.

Now before anyone screams “Google Conspiracy” about Google having all your information from your profile, there’s one thing to remember. You do not have to fill it out completely. In other words, you choose what you want to provide to share in your profile. I don’t share all my contact information, just general information about myself and what I do, and my Flickr photos which are already visible through my public Flickr stream.

If you or your company is actively pursuing reputation management, establishing a Google profile might be a wise step in that campaign effort. If you are monitoring your CEO, CMO or any other prominent names that matter to your company, you should be encouraging them to fill out a Google profile with the information related to your business. There are some sacrifices, you are giving Google a little bit more information about yourself, however, again you choose what information to give. The individual is the primary owner of that Google profile, and can choose what information to share, but as an online marketer you can guide the person how to make sure they are presenting the information in a manner that positively affects the reputation management efforts you are undertaking.

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