Google Instant: Managing Your Reputation With Predictive Search

Google Instant: Managing Your Reputation With Predictive Search

When Google Instant was unveiled in September 2010, most of us thought about it from a user’s perspective; “How is predictive search going to make it easier for me to find what I want?” Honestly, the answer varies depending upon the topic and the person. For every individual who extols its virtues, you can find another who hates it with a passion. The suggestions can be incredibly helpful, occasionally irrelevant, and sometimes hilarious. Regardless of how you feel about it, predictive search is here to stay, and, when you are the subject of the search, a whole other set of issues is introduced.

In a nutshell, Google Instant provides a snapshot of how others see you and your business online. Whether you are searching for yourself, your company, or keywords you would like to be associated with, you will be presented with a list of related keywords and queries. Before tackling the thornier implications of those suggestions, you should take a deep breath and note the other valuable information provided, such as your competitors and keywords you should be targeting. After you have sorted through this important marketing data, you can move onto reputation management.

Managing your reputation online, especially when you have embarked upon an endeavor near and dear to your heart, can be an emotional minefield. Predictive search will identify strengths and weaknesses. It can point you to gratifying praise and constructive criticism, but it can also provide traction to meritless claims. When you have invested so much of yourself into something, it can be tremendously difficult to remain calm and collected, but that is exactly what you must do.

No one likes to be critiqued, even when the feedback is genuinely helpful. When you stumble across something negative, give yourself time to process before taking countermeasures. If necessary, privately rant and rave offline to exorcise any frustration, anger, or defensiveness. Try to keep in mind that regardless of what you may find, being proactive about your online presence is in your best interest and blissful ignorance can undermine your every move. Once you are able to contain your emotional response, you can begin addressing the issues at hand.

No one likes to shine a spotlight on missteps and failures, but we all make mistakes, and it is increasingly impossible for our blunders to escape the attention of others. As tempting as it may be to ignore those lapses, a proactive and transparent response will serve you best. While press releases, blog posts, and editorials are all ways of responding to bad publicity, when you are dealing with consumers you should think in terms of drafting a thoughtful and polished response on the same page as the complaint and making amends that could lead them and anyone reading it to revise their opinion. In the case of unfair criticism, it can be very tempting to defend yourself and refute every point, but that will not serve your purposes very well. Instead, acknowledge their perspective, politely correct any factual errors, and extend an invitation for them to contact you to discuss the matter further. Professional and courteous responses will provide a positive counterpoint to outside observers and completely transform the context of any complaint. Also, keep in mind that the general population is fairly savvy about online behavior and can recognize an unreasonable person or an unfounded grievance relatively easy. Lastly, assuming it is the exception and not the rule, negative experiences will be seen for what they are, an aberration.

While it is easy to focus on the negative, it is equally important to devote attention to the positive. If someone compliments you or recommends your business, thank them and look for clues into how you can build upon your successes. For example, a restaurant owner might discover that a seasonal special should become part of the daily menu, or a business owner may discover that an employee deserves special recognition or a promotion. While there are substantive lessons contained within complaints, do not disregard the meaningful messages embedded in praise.

As you can see, Google Instant has become an immensely valuable tool for managing your online presence. While it is not always easy to look at yourself through another’s eyes, it is essential, if you want the internet to present a true and complete picture of who you are and what you are about. By interjecting your voice into the din, you change the timbre of the conversation and can transform even the most negative perspectives into positive ones.

Google Instant Is An Immensely Valuable Tool For Managing Your Reputation Online. Use Predictive Search To Transform Negative Perspectives Into Positive Ones. To learn More About Online Visibilty through Search Engine Optimization Visit