In our digital-centric world, the prominence of accessible information has drastically changed how human beings behave on a day to day basis.

Phrases like “Just Google it” are now common place, and it has not only changed our vocabulary but how we use our brains. Digital natives are not capable of retaining information like past generations and every passing year we become inherently more dependant on the encyclopedia of knowledge online. The direct effect is that we now turn to the internet any time we want to gain insight into peoples lives, products or services.

Google’s dominance in the search market has also had a drastic effect on how we filter this wealth of information online. Earlier this year they told the world that they are focused on delivering a more comprehensive internet home page especially for you.

Following a simple search in Google such as “France”, you will now be presented with hotels, restaurants, travel options and activities that match your past search history. What this means for individuals and businesses alike is that we must be very aware of the information presented in the results when someone searches for us. We also need to be able to manage and curate this information as it is being presented to potential customers, clients and employers.

An important aspect of this is managing any negative feedback or associations that may rear their ugly heads. The best, easiest and often most effective manner to achieve this is quite simple – Ignore the bad and praise the good. People make mistakes, ranging from the small and unimportant to major calamaties with huge effects, but vital to accept is that we are not infallible. Fighting to excuse a mistake, explain it or make it go away will only give it more air time.

“Piggate” was a horrendous story and a tarnish that would seem somewhat unrecoverable. However there was little to no comment on this from the Government, and the story quickly fizzled out. With so much more news from the Government to report on, not much is said about this anymore.

Although you may not be compensating for animalistic associations, the best way to improve your appearance in search results is to just push out as much positive content into the world as possible. Simply squeeze the negative content off the first page, then the second and so on. A saving grace of digital amnesia is that no one cares what results are on page 300.

What we really want is for people to focus on the positives, and the best approach to this is Search Engine Optimisation. At CHC Digital, we like to look at SEO as a three piece puzzle; embedded data, content and reach.

  • Embedded data

This is really all about getting the basics right. With many developers focused on creating websites that follow the latest trends in design and functionality, the importance of meta tags, page titles, page descriptions, structured links etc. can be eaily overlooked. However these are still the forefront of in-page SEO, and are the search engine’s “bread and butter” for information on your company. It is worth getting this sorted right from the get go, but it’s never too late to make improvements.

Spend time looking into competitive keywords, make sure you are really targeting your niche. Targeting “Nice Guy” is not going to find you the partner of your dreams, so get a little more focused: “Nice Guy london brown hair green eyes six foot one”. The more specific the better.

  • Content

Search engines are looking to present us with reliable
information from the most credible source, so you need to be that source. They are looking for know-how and insight so you need to show these search engines that you are the master of one very specific service or product. Be specific with your content, write blogs frequently, give your opinion and try to integrate your keywords. Ultimately they are publishing the encyclopaedia of information that we all use on a day to day basis, and you can be the author of your specialist area.

  • Reach

With a lot of similar content all over the web, and so much of it plagiarised, how do search engines determine the real opinion leaders? Who is the master of their trade? Who’s answers should they recommend to certain questions? In the latest dimension added to the SEO puzzle, they look to the online community for insight. In late 2015 Google told us that they now also rely on the information from the social networks. This allows us a unique opportunity to leverage our communities to benefit our search results. If you write a great blog, post it on twitter and it gets retweeted 100 times search engines now consider that a more reliable source than one that was only retweeted 50 times. The race is on.

In a nutshell, analyse your website, fix the basic issues and submit your changes through the webmaster tools. Build a big community on social networks as quickly as you can. Write informed, inspiring and influential content on positive topics about you or your business. Share this content with your community and ensure that there is a good back link to your newly optimised site. Given some time and successful sharing, you will see how you can control your own search results and ultimately become the master of your own online reputation.

Harrison Williams

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