Blogging Experiment with Google

As I wrote last Wednesday on my personal blog, we got a new water heater. Exciting news to you all I am sure.

As with most home repair activities that one rarely does, when it comes time it’s difficult to know what company to go with. Who do you trust? Who is least expensive? Who will do the job right?

Well, you can read about the experience on my blog, but here I want to briefly talk about how easy it would be to completely own the first impressions of a web-enabled, plumbing needing public.

It’s been only 5 days since we had the work done. When I blogged about it, I purposefully optimized the title and keywords in the post. Now when you do a search on Bloomington, Illinois plumbing and heating, or Mayol plumbing and heating, my post is the number one result (barring Google’s insertion of its “local” results).

I rave in my post about Mayol’s work. So Google users in need of plumbing will now see my review of Mayol’s work. Hopefully it will help them make a decision. But I could have easily been displeased with Mayol’s work. Then those searchers would get a very different view of the company, and it would probably impact their decision and not in Mayol’s favour.

Mayol doesn’t have a blog. They don’t even have a web site. They probably don’t need one either, but I wonder if they track the web to see if people are saying anything about them. Probably not. But little ol’ me is sitting there with a blog influencing some of their potential clientele. My blog isn’t even a high traffic site and I can get to number one on Google for this.

So now I control part of their company’s reputation. In this case I am using my powers for good. But what if I wanted to be evil (who doesn’t)? I’d be at number one telling everyone that their company was [insert epithet here].

Robert Scoble used a plumber analogy when speaking at the Blog Business Summit in January. He used it to illustrate the question of who is controlling the reputation of your company? Here we take it from illustration to practice.

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4 Responses to “Blogging Experiment with Google”

  1. Bill Berry Says:

    You ask, “But what if I wanted to be evil (who doesn’t)?”

    I’ve got a similar situation. We’ve done some home renovations. Our contractor promised us it would be a three month gig. We assumed it would be six. As it turns out, we’re on month 16 now. Most of the work was done by month 13, but the contractor hasn’t gotten around to finishing our work. We’re contemplating a lawsuit.

    Would it be evil to broadcast our version of the truth about a contractor who has taken money and not delivered on the work? It certainly would be nice if the contractor monitored the blogosphere and the web, if he were concerned enough about reputation to actually deliver on promises. But I’m not certain publishing the truth, even our version of it, would be, you know, evil.

  2. tiffany Says:

    I wrote something that’s tangentially related on my own blog.
    http://blog.webinista.com/index.php/2005/04/14/business-blogging-and-seo/ />

    Indeed your experiment shows precisely why companies should blog. It’s a direct and cost-effective way to shape your message (since you can’t quite *control* it anymore).

    And I’d add the obvious: companies also need to *track* blogs so they can monitor and respond to what’s being said about them online.

  3. Steve Gill Says:

    Thanks for publishing your observations here. One thing I’ve noticed is Google will give a newly spidered post a very short peak at the top of its results page before dropping it down much lower.

    With a noncompetitive search term – perhaps ones you’ve mentioned above – the high rank may be more or less permanent… but in my experience, new posts rank well for only a short time before being pushed down if the search term is moderately popular. (i.e. not for a word like “dogs” but maybe applicable to “hound dogs” or for sure “hound dog dolls”)

    However that can still be used to your advantage if you know something news worthy is coming up a few days in advance (as I believe Darren from problogger mentioned a while back too).

    Just blog about it 2 or 3 days earlier than it’ll happen and hope your timing is spot on. I’ve done that a couple times with good results.

    Thanks again for the info!

    -Steve Gill

  4. Matthew Oliphant Says:

    Steve,

    I totally agree. There usually will be a limit to the length of time you will stay at the top (unless you keep updating which is a good idea). I’ll probably be at the top for a good long while with the above example.