Bing’s partnership with Twitter to integrate the social platform into its search results is one of many initiatives to merge social and search. Therefore, individuals and brands need to play an active roll in shaping their image on the web. For instance, potential voters searching for Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, in Google would find blog postings to the candidate’s racy contributions to an adult website called Dirty Scottsdale.
Whether it’s a politician fighting for a political office or an unemployed nurse searching for a position at a local hospital, web and social searches play a major factor into how others perceive personal brands. So how might a digital neophyte suppress embarrassing photos or condeming blog posts? NPR discusses a simple way to “own” your personal brand image in search results is to piggy-back off large, social sites with high page ranks. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg are sites where you should own a username similar if not the exact same as your real name. Accordingly, when a prospective voter or employer Google’s your name, your Twitter account rises to the top, not that embarrassing picture.
Ralph Lauren found itself in hot water when it picked a fight with the famous Boing Boing blog, over an offhand comment about a model looking too thin. The negative Boing Boing article rose to the top of search results for Ralph Lauren — giving the fashion brand a bad name. Ralph Lauren, although the company lawyers tried to bully Boing Boing into removing the damaging post eventually blew up in their faces, was monitoring their brand. Google search results change all the time, so monitoring how your personal brand stands day-to-day can help you move quickly to suppress embarrassing content. Social Mention monitors multiple platforms — from Twitter to Facebook to blogs — to let you know who is saying what about your personal brand. Quickly responding and promoting positive feedback can help suppress that content and save your personal brand.
SEO is estimated to be a $2 billion industry — quite sizable for such a niche portion of the marketing pie. As personal branding on the web becomes more and more linked to financial and social success, SEO strategies will be adopted and implemented by more than digital market firms. From those unemployed seeking a job to prospective Congressional teams, will monitor the web more carefully to shape and mold their digital brand image — particularly as the social, economic and political environments become more volatile and competitive.