This past week, there was some interesting online reputation management (ORM) news as well as several stories about Google. Here are the items that caught my eye during the week of July 20-24, 2015 …
Recently, Mitsubishi apologized for its role in using American POWs as slave labor during World War II. Tim Bower and Lucy Hooker at the BBC used this as a jumping off point for an article looking at good and bad examples (mostly bad) of corporate apologies. Bottom line: There are ways to apologize without putting yourself into legal hot water. “I’m sorry” can be the two most powerful words in ORM, and can often lead to diffusing what, otherwise, could be a very negative impact on a brand’s online reputation. Check out the full story: Sorry: Is it too hard for ‘macho’ company bosses to say?
For the most part, I don’t believe lawsuits are the way to deal with negative online comments against a brand. Many times, following a well thought out online reputation management strategy can help forestall negative content posted by users. Of course, there are times when legal action is warranted, but normally that would be only in extreme circumstances. This week came news that Herbalife has filed suit against Twitter in order to learn the identity of someone who “… posted defamatory tweets against the weight-loss and nutritional products maker … ” and “… vilified the the company and its management as ‘thieves, pill pushing frauds and bullies.'” It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. Check out the details on this Reuters story from Yahoo News: Herbalife files petition to seek user information from Twitter
I get lots of questions about the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Google does, too, and they shared out how they handle them in search results in this Google Webmaster Central Blog post by John Mueller: Google’s handling of new top level domains. Bottom line: Google treats those gTLDs as they do other TLDs such as .com and .org. I don’t recommend using them for a business’ main website just yet because the public is still stuck in .COM for now. There will come a day when gTLDs will be very commonly used. For now. though, most businesses will find it best to stick with a good .COM.
Many website owners have been pondering switching their sites over to SSL encryption across the board. I think it’s a good idea, but I recommend waiting until a website redesign is being done. Switching over from HTTP to HTTPS takes a lot of planning that’s likely going to be easier when the site is being redone anyway. At any rate, it’s not a good thing to do only as a tactic to rank higher. Google’s Gary Illyes announced this week that SSL is used as a tiebreaker for ranking only when two sites are equal in all other ranking factors. Check out the details shared by Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal: Google: With All Else Equal, HTTPS Gives Sites An Edge
In more ORM news comes an announcement that Microsoft will start honoring requests to remove content from their search results related to revenge porn-type websites. This is a great move that follows on the heels of Google making a similar move several weeks ago. Check out the details by Amy Gesenhues on Search Engine Land: Microsoft’s “Revenge Porn” Reporting Page Helps Victims Get Photos & Videos Out Of Search Results
People involved in local search, pay attention to this: Google announced this week that they will start deleting Google+ pages for businesses that have not verified their accounts. It’s important to get the details on this and learn what you have to do to avoid losing this very strong local search signal. Mike Blumenthal shares details on Blumenthals.com: GOOGLE REMOVING ALL NON VERIFIED LOCAL PAGES FROM PLUS?
Google algorithm update watchers will be interested to know that Panda 4.2 launched last weekend. Funny thing is: most of those who generally pick up on these types of things didn’t notice. Check out Google Releases Panda 4.2 & You Didn’t Notice on Search Engine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz.
In more Google news comes an observation by Mike O’Brien on Search Engine Land that the search giant is testing updates to the Google Knowledge Vault. It looks like answers to questions are starting to take up more real estate at the top of page 1 SERPs. This just reinforces the idea that natural language search is here to stay and that website owners need to think about optimizing their content to answer those questions their customers are likely to ask. Details here: Is Google Testing a Knowledge Vault Update?