Life itself is only a vision – a dream…RSS
Anyone who uses the Google search engine has undoubtedly noticed the “Google Suggest” and “Google Instant” features trying to finish their sentence. These features are designed to take the letters or words currently entered into the search box and offer suggestions as you type. Google became an internet giant because they were able to predict the future of the internet, so they just incorporated foresight into the construction of their search engine.
In most cases, “Instant” is a convenient, time-saver. According to Google’s site, the feature saves on average 2 to 5 seconds per search. I don’t know about you, but I am all for anything that cuts down on time and the likelihood of getting carpal tunnel. The system works by automatically comparing your search inquiry to a database of previous Google searches and the prevalence of the phrase(s) on websites.
This may be convenient for the user, but may pose major problems if a negative search term gets associated with your business’ name.
The Issue with “Instant”
The problem with these features is that sometimes there are predictions you were not really expecting, ranging from the irrelevant to the ridiculous. There are some cases, though, when a company name becomes linked to an unflattering search phrase.
This is where “Instant” and “Suggest” can become problematic. The system is just a program, so it does not filter based upon factuality of the search terms. If a few dissatisfied customers decide to get online and gripe about your poor customer service, then there is the distinct possibility that a negative search phrase could become linked to your business’ name.
Let’s say I want to know when Wal-Mart is open. I go to Google and start to type “Is Wal-Mart open on Sunday?” Before I could even get to “Mart”, five suggestions popped up, including “Is Wal-Mart too powerful/a monopoly/good for America”. This is probably not what the advertising execs for Wal-Mart were hoping for.
Of course there will always be people who go after large corporations like Wal-Mart, but that does not mean it can’t or won’t happen to a smaller business like yours. News travels fast on the internet. With as many users as Google has, a negative search suggestion could be extremely detrimental to your online market. If something like that appears as an option, there is a good chance the person will click on that search before they purchase anything from you. Even if they choose to ignore the review, any click on that search will count against you.
I hope you never find yourself in the situation where you go to Google only to find out you are running a “scam”, but there are things you can do to prevent and/or control the issue if need be.
First and foremost, you need to be aware of your brand on the internet. Keep a close eye on social networks and Google to see if anything bad pops up. If you do see negative reviews coming up about your company, be sure to address the issue as quickly as possible. You don’t want to get into an argument with the person, but you also cannot let bad publicity go unanswered. If need be, apologize to the person and re-commit yourself to working harder to prevent such a problem in the future. An “I’m sorry” can go a long way in mending fences and promoting yourself as a caring and committed business owner.
Another way to help prevent the issue from arising is to increase your positive web presence. If you can make it so a negative comment is functionally outweighed by positive reviews, then there is very little likelihood that the bad remarks will show up as a common search. You don’t want to resort to spamming good reviews for yourself all over the internet, but you should try to create a forum where satisfied customers can flatter you with praise.