Jessica Longarini

SEO Girl Blog

How Google Changed The Meaning Of Reputation

In this generation, we tend to think of Google as an affectionate extra limb. When we seek answers to absolutely anything, all it takes is entering a few words into a search bar and ta-da! There we have it. Although Google has many constructive uses, it also has the potential to be an extremely harmful resource. In previous generations, reputation was formed via word of mouth, and through interpersonal relationships. Now, reputations completely depend upon what is included (or not) about a person or company online. Read ahead to discover how Google has not only changed the meaning of reputation, but also of privacy.

The previous generation functions completely differently from the one that came post-Google. In-person, actual relationships and word of mouth were the forming bases of reputation. Now, simply enter a person's name or business into your search bar, and endless sources of information instantly appear. Although Google can be a great tool when trying to discover information on any given topic, it can also be extremely misleading. Google users generally pursue the first five given links to a search. And these links are extremely biased. The "top hits" are based on page popularity, and not whether the content is actually true or not. This can be extremely damaging for a person or company's reputation, as we often don't question whether a source is credible or not. If something negative is in fact true about us, it has great potential to be read first (or only), instead of something positive that may have been included further down in the search. This makes it seem like our online reputations are highly out of our control.

Fortunately, there are ways to manipulate what content appears about us on the Internet. Our social media pages are often among the first links to appear on a Google search, so ensure you delete any potentially harmful content. If your online reputation seems beyond salvage, consider hiring an online reputation manager. These management companies explore your brand, determine what exists about you online, and suggest ways to combat and counteract any negative press. Online reputation managers are experts in search engine optimization, and can manipulate Google to battle the ways in which Google has manipulated you. Although this seems like a violent and hostile language when talking about a search engine, we unfortunately need to take active roles in determining what exists about us online. Since essentially the existence of humans, one thing that hasn't changed is that reputation is everything.

It's unfortunate that we often don't consider the biases existing in search engines like Google. Although we can find important, and likely true information about any topic upon hitting our enter bar, the negative press often overshadows the many positive aspects of a person or company. In all pre-Google generations, a person's reputation was created through an in-person account of an experience. Since the onset of Google, this notion seems to be quickly receding in our memories. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your online reputation if any unwanted content appears. However, after reading this I hope you do in-depth research about a topic you seek information on, and this often means diving deep beyond the first five links.