International Reputation Managementby Kent Lewis on May 29, 2009Online Reputation Management
Not many of us in the United States ever worry too much about what the search results from around the world look like, let alone which sites are returned in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s). While SEO activities typically get the bulk of “rankings” talk, online reputation is all about where and how sites you don’t control rank. If any of these listings are unfavorable for your company as a whole or individuals within the organization, you could have quite a problem on your hands.
This becomes even more important when your organization has a strong presence overseas. With such differing cultures and values across the globe, knowing exactly what is being returned in the SERP’s is imperative. A “bad review” in the USA may be seen as a nuisance, but in another country that respects anothers opinion as truth, a bad review can result in a lost sale or additional negative coverage.
There are plenty of posts on this blog that tell you how to manage your online reputation, but they typically focus on US search results only. In order to understand what others around the globe are seeing Anvil recommends the Google Global Firefox Extension.
This tool allows you to do a search for any term and return the results from any country, language, or TLD you choose. It is preloaded with the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. However, once you go into the settings/options you can create listings from anywhere around the world. Here is an example of the US results and the China results for the term “international finance”.
You can see the results vary quite a bit. While many of the top domains are still present, they do shift thier positions. This can be very important when attempting to lessen the effect of a negative/offending result. You might only need to bump 1 listing out of the top 3 instead of replacing or eliminating all three of those!
There are two things to keep in mind with this example:
1. Strong domains, particularly .com and .net that are seen as global TLD’s, rank high throughout the world. These will be more difficult to remedy if a strong domain is considered an “offending” result for your organization.
2. My language is still set to English even though the tool has allowed me to view the results for .cn domains and the CN country code options provided in the tool. The language setting of your computer and browser will also have a big effect on what is shown in the SERP’s (but I cant test this as I may never get back to English!). This is why the en.wikipedia result is still shown to me (on top of the fact that Wikipedia is one of the strongest domains on Earth). As discussed before on the blog, Wikipedia reputaion strategy is a challenge but possible.
So…. if you are a global organization embarking on an Online Reputation journey, use this tool to help you understand the real scope of what is ahead and dont fall into ethnocentrism because your customers around the world dont think like you all of the time!