Business development · 7 September 2017

Eight in ten founders Google their own business to manage its online reputation

Sydney, Australia - September 6, 2011: Close up of an Apple Ipad and on a desk showing the Google search engine home screen. There is also a keyboard and some documents on the desk, the documents show charts and graphs. This scene depicts ipad in a working environment.
Fewer than half of business owners were happy with how their company appeared on Google

Googling your own business is becoming an increasingly popular way of managing a brand’s online reputation, as new findings reveal 82 per cent of entrepreneurs regularly put their company into search engines.

In a survey of small business owners, conducted by marketing agency Digimax, over a third of believed how their brand appeared on Google, in terms of rankings and reputation, was vital to business survival.

A closer look at the findings uncovered the driving factors for business owners Googling their own company.

For over two-thirds, the main concern was purely how the company looked to potential customers and clients whose first encounter with the brand was online.

Meanwhile, a fear of reputational damage also concerned founders. Over half said they were seeking customer reviews of their business, while only a minority were happy with what they saw of their company on Google.

Reflecting on how important an online presence has become for small businesses, Shaz Memon, Digimax creative director, said Google was seen by founders “as having the potential to make or break their business”.

“Marketing professionals have long known the power of Google – there are few people who don’t now know what is meant by a ‘Google ranking’ – but it’s interesting to see that companies are no longer simply trying to move up the search engines ranks, but actively using it as a tool to control their image and determine customer opinion,” he explained.

Memon added: “The internet has become an increasingly important aspect of running a business and companies need to find ever-more inventive ways to make the most of it. This widespread embracing of Google is really only just the beginning of the tech revolution.”

Winning the Google war

Around six in ten founders told Digimax that they regularly Googled their business to assess how visible they were amongst competitors. For smaller brands on tighter budgets, strengthening the SEO value of a website is vital to ranking as highly as possible on search engines and reaching customers.

To help readers mount a strong challenge on Google, Jamie Evans, ecommerce manager at fashion wholesaler Influence Fashion, revealed his top tips for SEO success.

“There’s a number of things you could be doing on page for free to aid you in the battle against Google’s algorithm and have you ranking for certain keywords,” Evans said.

“First off, it’s worth learning the basics – the Moz blog is a brilliant (and free) place to find best-in-class SEO tricks, and you can also learn a lot of basic on-page SEO tips from YouTube videos.”

Evans explained that priorities should be optimising meta titles and descriptions, and writing well-written content that utilises the relevant keywords you want to rank for in your industry.

Indicating how an SEO strategy can tie-in with wider marketing efforts, Evans said Influence Fashion produced keyword-focused weekly blog posts that also reflected latest trends and releases.

He added: “Before you dive in, make sure you do plenty of keyword research, and remember not to cannibalise any of your content by duplicating it across your site.

“Once all your pages are optimised, you can start producing content that will win you back-links from high ranking sites, and then turn your attention at the more robust technical aspects of SEO like canonical tags, rich snippets and indexing.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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