You are who Google says you are.
That’s why you should be paying more attention to your name outside of your own website. Places like Yelp, Wikipedia and Google Images are beginning to report data to the user on the front page of a search. That means a query for your brand reveals a laundry list of items that you may or may not want people to see.
Soon, startups like Croking will allow businesses to respond to influential consumers. There are a few advantages here: the community building will help strengthen the brand, the feedback might help create a better product, and the brand doesn’t have to hunt for that feedback.
What Knowledge Graph Reports
You might have noticed that for big name searches like “Barack Obama” or “Stephen King” that you are now presented with a panel to the right-hand side. This small panel shows information like where a celebrity was born, where he or she lives, and major awards and accolades he or she is remembered for. Google calls it the “Knowledge Graph” and it is part of the company’s steps toward what they have dubbed “semantic search.”
Semantic search tries to intuitively understand what the user is looking for, which is huge for SEOs. The implication is that user’s won’t have to leave the search page to find what they are looking for. Say for example you search for “Amazon.” You might find data about the company’s stock price, its Wikipedia summary, and other data pulled from Google searches or other sites. Google knows you’re not interested in “The Amazon” and it will happily suggest other places for you to buy things online that are not Amazon directly from the search page.
Google draws this data from a few known sources, like Wikipedia. According to Brand.com reviews, your business Wikipedia page is often out of your control. Wikipedia editors make it difficult to build your own presence there, and if left dormant your page may reveal one-sided facts or untruths about your company. That’s why part of any reputation management strategy that deals with the “Knowledge Graph” must examine the comprehensive Web presence of a business or individual.
Establishing a Wikipedia Presence
Two researchers presented a study about the impacts of Wikipedia on your reputation. What they found was that public opinion largely shaped the content of an article over time, and that the topics discussed have been more timely.
What notable sources have discussed your business? Have you conducted or published case studies of any significance? Is your business a household name within a particular industry? Establishing your own article may be difficult, but you might be able to be a footnote on someone else’s depending on what you’ve done.
You should also search Wikipedia for your company name. If you find an article, carefully review it for accuracy and report disputes to the editing team. Be prepared to back up your claims with reputable third-party sources that have written about the work you’ve done.
Google’s usage of user-generated content points to an increasing importance on reputation management. Expect your image outside your site to begin to influence a user’s behavior on the Web, and take steps to monitor it.