Nearly half of all online searches don’t end in clicks. That’s right, an astounding 49% of those performing internet searches begin and end without ever actually clicking on a single link, according to a recent survey by marketing analytics firm Jumpshot.

What does this mean for a company or brand? Search results are one of the most influential aspects of target market or stakeholder decision-making. When people aren’t clicking on search result links, but simply eyeballing the content on the search results page – which is effectively a billboard created by Google for each search query – they’re forming opinions based on what that content tells them. This makes it essential that your first page of search results reflects your brand appropriately.

Other studies have gone as far as to say that even a negative title on a search result is enough to influence opinion of a brand, individual or organization. High-ranking negative content can significantly deter searchers from seeing positive content that has been strategically developed but positioned lower on the page. If no one is looking beyond negative search results, your reputation can be quickly damaged.

The first impression becomes the big picture.

Ideally, page one’s first 10 search results should help to strongly define your brand. That probably means professional communicators have helped manage those results with optimized content to bring the brand, company or key executives to life. It is imperative to maintain ownership of all or most of the first results and routinely monitor results to ensure longevity and relevancy. And that means ensuring your primary and any secondary websites are among the first listed results.

News, government document filings, competitors or even negligence in managing the company’s primary and associated websites, social media channels and imagery can all alter that first impression in the blink of an eye.

Your branded search results might be favorable today, but without vigilance, it is virtually guaranteed they will not remain that way. Optimizing and “owning” the first page of results means controlling your own reputation, which ensures you are projecting the image that you want your stakeholders to see.

If you are interested in learning more about how to monitor, control, and alter your online reputation through your search results, please reach out to us at Lightbox Search.