This is part one of a short series on our online reputation. This post will go into the disillusions of PageRank and other ranking scores.
I don’t mean to preach or lecture but I think this needs to be said. How many times have you heard others say your Alexa rank doesn’t mean anything? How many people believe our Google PageRank is a useless number that counts very little? The same is said in literally every method of gauging our online reputation; everything from number of comments to our Klout scores, from our Twitter followers to our Facebook likes.
Why Numbers Count
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The fact is, these numbers count. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It is true; we can take each score individually and discredit them in a number of ways. At the end of the day, we are being judged, like it or not. Can the Alexa rank be manipulated? Of course it can. Does Google PageRank hold less stock in the SERPS than it once did? Absolutely. And Klout, don’t even get me started with that. Seriously, these numbers DO COUNT! They count because people pay attention to them.
I Don’t Believe Any Of It!
Your personal views really have nothing to do with the masses that you want to follow you. You want a large list, right? You want a large following that consider you an authority in your field, right? Personally, I think a page’s Alexa score is a crock. The simple truth of the matter is, many people look up at their toolbar to see that rank before they read a single word on the page. The same goes with PageRank; less so with sites like Klout but they still count. So we can take a stand and say we’re not going to participate in those silly numbers but we do so at our own peril, at least for the time being.
The Real Measure
Do these numbers REALLY measure your real online reputation? Of course not. Our reputation can only be developed by consistently demonstrating our knowledge, leadership and reliability. This is where we need to start, by earning respect in our field.
What Online Reputation Is Not
We don’t build a positive reputation by manipulating scores and cheating the system or spamming everyone we know to beg for votes, likes or +1s. We don’t build our reputation by taking other people’s content and spinning it off as our own or submitting utter garbage for guest posts.
Conclusion – My Advice
I don’t mean to say we have two separate online reputations, we only have one. Combine real integrity with smart business and we succeed in both Worlds: How we prove we are worth following and what the masses initially use to judge us.
We’ve heard for years, there’s only one chance for a first impression. Sadly, that first impression is often gaged by ranking, association and overall aesthetics. Ideally, we can take advantage of those initial, albeit shallow and superficial, judgments and build on that with real dependability, influence and respectability. In other words, we can’t prove ourselves if we’re only talking to ourselves.
How do you gage online reputation? Do you check your toolbar stats… be honest. How important is your reputation and what’s the best way to build on it?