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How To Guarantee Your First Impression In Search Results Is A Winner

How To Guarantee Your First Impression In Search Results Is A Winner

How long ago did you Google yourself?

Did you think your name search results were making a good first impression?

Many people won’t even scroll, the first thing they see when searching for you (or your business or your product) in Google is what they go away with.

7 in 10 internet users search online for information about others image for search results

Did you know that 7 out of 10 of your perspective clients would Google you before even considering your product or your service? Did you know that most people would type your site name into Google instead of your browser address bar?

In the era of Google becoming a common verb, is it a smart idea to neglect your branded search results?

Probably, not…

What if you begin to be associated with a negative search phrase? What if a fake negative review ranks on top of your search engine results? What if people searching for you are driven away to your competitors?

Think of your search engine results page (SERP) as the first impression via search that a potential visitor to your website is going to have. It is important that it is a positive one, otherwise it could become a huge hurdle to your business success.

So, what creates a negative impression?

Common Reasons For a Bad First Impression

1. Auto-suggest provides a less than flattering option

A cringe inducing scenario for you – someone is disgruntled with your brand and they decide to trash talk you. A lot.

Before long, your name starts to be associated with those insults and auto-suggest immediately offers up “[Your Name] sucks!” as a possibility when you start putting in your name.

It could be better. Instead of suggesting that you or your business might be a bad choice, Google may simply recommend checking out for alternatives;

Auto-Suggest provides a less than flattering option image for search results

How many potential customers who were actually heading your direction will be driven away by this?

Plenty of companies have faced this very headache, especially giant corporations.

2. The image results look weird

When you put your name into Google, does it show “blended” image results as one of the first results? In many cases, those images could be embarrassing!

You want better control over how your brand is portrayed, both personally and professionally. You don’t want any confusion. Or anything offensive, which can happen from time to time.

The tricky thing about these onebox search results is that they are attention grabbers! According to the most recent Google SERPs eye-tracking studies, when a a visual is located on a page, natural human behavior will make your eyes go to that image first.

We’re naturally programmed to look at images: Your photos within your name search results will draw attention and influence to people’s opinion. There’s no way around that.

In some cases, that box may include some images misrepresenting your personal brand and creating a negative first impression:

The image results look weird image for search results

3. Your business reviews aren’t favorable

Negative reviews high up in search results can become a sure-fire way to lose interest before you have even gained it.

What’s more, Google will highlight those reviews with stars making them stand out in search results.

Your business reviews aren't favorable image for search results

Easy Fixes For These Common Pitfalls

Now that we know what issues may be creeping up on you and your SERP, it is time to look at how to fix them. The good news? They are all pretty simple, even if a few may take some time to work on.

1. Auto-suggest provides a less than flattering option

Unfortunately, this problem is not easy to deal with. Google Auto-Suggest results are fast to appear and slow to go away.

Google Suggest is powered by what people type into search results and thus can:

  • Manifest a real problem that needs to be fixed
  • Signal a competitor’s negative campaign
  • Show you more phrases you need to be ranking for
  • It could be all of the above.

So your steps to address the issue will be:

  • Fixing the problem your customers are telling you about by searching it in Google
  • Using Mechanical Turk to push other suggestions into the box (This should be your last resort!)
  • Creating and optimizing landing pages to rank for those suggested queries (Both organic and PPC)

Creating and optimizing landing pages to rank for those suggested queries image for search results

A preventative measure is to keep an eye on your competitors, because it’s always easier to handle before it becomes a search suggestion. Monitor comparison sites in your niche to make sure your product is always ahead. Most popular examples of those comparison sites are SimilarWeb, SiteGeek, G2Crowd, etc. Establishing your presence on those sites will help you more easily handle the problem when it’s in search results.

2. The image results look weird

You can’t actually choose the pics that show up in an image result one-box. But you can provide multiple images that differ from one another. Make sure you match the metadata to your name, so Google will immediately recognize it upon searching.

Publish varied images to varied platforms. The more images it can pull for your name, the better. Google seeks variety in image search results. Unless they find diverse images of you, your brand or your product, the more they’ll have to “make up”.

Variety is one the key Google image search rankings factors.

To get better control over your image search results;

  • Use more visual sharing platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Facebook, Google Plus, etc) and upload different photos of yourself there. Here are more ideas to diversify your visual marketing channels.
  • Use folders, tags, and albums… as well as solid original descriptions to give Google more context and surround your photos with original text about you.
  • When you are invited to do an expert interview on someone else’s blog, consider providing a unique photo of yourself to go with that interview.
  • Use Cyfe to monitor all these multiple visual channels you set up:

Cyfe to monitor all these multiple visual channels you set up image for search results

The more visual context you provide for yourself and your brand, the better!

3. Your business reviews aren’t favorable

In many cases, you’ll need to track down the original source, so follow the unflattering suggestions to their results pages. Sometimes it will be reviews on official sites like Yelp, and you can comment to tell your side and to offer a solution to the poster.

Other times it may be a blog, and that is when you have to contact them directly. Ask them to take down the review in exchange for offering up a solution to whatever is bothering them. Ask them to try working with you, your service or your brand again, then writing a second review mentioning the first and how things may have been different this time.

If it is a reasonable person they should have no trouble doing this. Occasionally you may come across a troll, in which case legal action may be required.

In the meantime, or if this isn’t possible, you can bury those results with plenty of varied and high quality content and mentions across the web. Include a lot of social posting mentioning your name in that campaign.

Tip! Use Facebook pages to move negative reviews down and replace them with positive ones!

Facebook pages have become a great way to improve your business standing. They rank high fast and if you request friends and happy customers to review your business on Facebook, you’ll have plenty of 5-star reviews to show off in search results.

Tip! Use Schema.org on your site to optimize your site for rich snippets (starred ratings in Google search results). Here is how;

Have any SERP tips for a good first impression? Let us know in the comments!

Author Bio: Ann Smarty is a marketing blogger and community manager for Internet Marketing Ninjas. She is author of reputation management course.

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