Google doesn’t say much about reputation management practices, possibly due to the fact that the search engine speaks to many of the same issues when addressing search engine optimization (SEO). When reputation management is addressed it pays to listen to what Google wants from these types of campaigns.
Here is a summation of comments and outside analysis regarding the search engine’s stance on what will work and what won’t in today’s reputation management campaigns:
- Black hat is dead – Black hat practices such as pointing spammy links to pages that are being optimized are a thing of the past. One interesting aspect of Google’s evolution in terms of policing manipulative practices is that, according to Webspam Team leader Matt Cutts, their algorithms now throw out spammy links rather than punish websites for the practice. This change could be due to concerns that came up after the release of the Penguin update relating to the potential for sabotage by websites that bought spammy links and then directed them to the sites of their competitors.
- Long live quality content – Google has continued its mission to deliver perfect search results that answer questions or present solutions to searchers’ queries with the complete replacement of its existing algorithm in August of 2013. The Hummingbird algorithm, which is in a constant state of being upgraded to better understand conversational search terms, is now ignoring low grade content that feigns relevance by being crammed with keywords and is getting better at listing results that accurately address the context of search queries. The end result is that content that serves a purpose will be rewarded while pieces designed solely for search engines will be kicked to the curb.
- Success in reputation management campaigns is a numbers game – This assessment centers on the fact that search engines are looking not only for quality content but for the consistent publication of it. As such, focusing optimization efforts on a small quantity of published content is now unlikely to deliver the results that comprehensive distribution of quality pieces will. In addition to the benefits derived by distributing quality publications, managing content in this manner demonstrates a depth of knowledge by the sponsoring business, which carries weight with the search engine’s algorithm while also helping to build the brand with the company’s target market.
In many ways, delivering what Google wants from reputation management campaigns has become much easier since the Hummingbird algorithm change. Rather than trying to determine keyword percentages, appropriate meta-tags, etc., content strategies can now be built around delivering valuable information to the target market, which is exactly what Google wants to display on its search engine results pages.