My parents always told me not to care about what other people think of me. But, let’s be honest–we all care a little bit.

Of course, we care what certain people think more than others. The high school quarterback’s opinion means a little more than the captain of the chess club. Your CEO’s opinion of you matters a little more than your average co-worker. From the lunch table to the conference room, let’s face it–we care.

As far as the Internet is concerned, Google is the high school quarterback; they’re the CEO. Their opinion means something. So if you’re on the Internet–personally and/or professionally–you should, to some degree, care what Google thinks of you.

How Does Google Perceive You?

Google runs on relevance. You type in a term and it spits back information it believes to be relevant to that term.

Google also uses relevancy for its own gains. They display ads in your browser based on your search activity (if you’re curious, be sure check out just how much Google knows about you–they’re either shockingly dead-on or shockingly off).

Take a second to Google yourself and see what comes back. Google your company and see what comes back. Google words that you think are relevant to your company. This is what Google currently thinks of you–where they rank you and the sites they associate you with. Do you like what you see?

If not, don’t worry just yet. There’s probably a lot you can do to get the search results you’re looking for and, essentially, get Google to change its perception of you.

Making Friends through SEO

If you own a website, whether it’s a personal blog or your company’s e-commerce site, you can improve the way Google perceives you through ethical optimization. They like that stuff.

To start, though, you need to know what Google looks for and see how well your site is currently optimized. This will provide you with baseline data for the elements Google looks at when crawling your site.

A few (basic) factors they consider include:Google Palace

• Your link profile
• Site architecture
• Content
• Page Speed

When you address these issues and work to optimize your site, you’ll find that Google likes you a whole lot more. And when the most popular kid in school likes you, you can bet a lot of other people will like you too (i.e. sales).

Managing Your Reputation

People love to talk smack on the Internet. Whether they’re angrily writing a restaurant review or bad-mouthing a former employer, people love to vent in blogs and forums. Unfortunately, this form of therapy can negatively impact companies and individuals–usually for unjust reasons.

So, if you want Google to continue liking you, it’s important that you manage your reputation. This means keeping your site in shipshape as well as keeping an ear out for anyone talking behind your back.

Through active SEO and by keeping a watchful eye over your name and your brand, you can protect your reputation online and be sure that you’ll always be in Google’s good graces.