Reputation Management; So Hot Right Now; Reputation Management

As a self-described cynic of corporate jargon, I found myself  motivated to write a year-in-review article about trends from within our industry.  Now, before I go any further, yes, I am aware that this type of article is essentially the inception of linkbait (I even created a couple memes below), but this is something I was actually very interested in.

As far as buzzwords go in the internet marketing industry, we’re probably akin to the Madagascar of the animal world.  Our work allows for a dirty, flexible, DNA of vocabulary that is prone to mutation.  Sometimes it seems like new buzzword hybrids are being born every other day.  In a business where the highest form of compliment is to have your name or strategy be turned into a verb, let’s take a look at some of the buzzwords oft-described as being worthy of the title of internet marketing buzzword of the year.  For the sake of looking at the popularity of trends, I chose five:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Marketing
  3. Reputation Management
  4. Thought Leadership
  5. Relationship Marketing

Of these, I would probably pick ‘social marketing’ as the most cringe-worthy phrase, perhaps followed by ‘thought leadership’.  I would probably pick ‘content marketing’ as the most legitimate in terms of the description of a strategy.  Heck, I am even guilty of using the phrase ‘content marketing’ (note to self to come up with a different description for 2013).  Some honorable mentions that didn’t have enough search volume to register on this graph’s scale include ‘conversion rate optimization’ and ‘multichannel marketing’ (I have a prediction this one will be hot in 2013).

But these phrases do mean very real things to real people, and there is some actual insight within this Google search trend.  Do you write a blog geared toward the internet marketing industry?  You’d probably want to focus on what is being searched for the most, as that might be an indicator as to what people are the most confused about.  Here is what was hot in 2012 according to Google search trend:


What was amazing to me, is the skyrocketing popularity of the phrase “reputation management“.  For a scale, the phrase ‘social marketing’ had an average monthly global search volume of 550,000 searches in 2012 (according to the Google Adwords Keyword tool).  That number represents that green line that crosses the middle of our graph and stays somewhat consistent around the 40/100 scale line….

That means that roughly 1,375,000 people (550,000 x 2.5) searched for the phrase ‘reputation management’ in December of 2012.  Think about that, 1.375 million people.  If you were well-positioned for that search term, your traffic probably blew up in the closing months of this year. It’s understandable too – Google local switched over to Google Plus and all of the sudden, thousands of previously non-existent third-party reviews were popping up alongside your name on the front page of the SERPs.  To make matters worse, Google kept changing which third-parties it was pulling these reviews from.  Stories were all over the news about companies being sued for libel and being found either guilty or not-guilty after writing fake reviews about competitors.   As confusion abounds regarding Google’s transition to Google Plus and the lack of case law surrounding libel on review sites, people turn to the internet to figure out what’s going on.  And thus, out of necessity, an internet marketing buzzword was born.

So, congratulations “reputation management”, our buzzword of the year.  If you had reputation management in your SEO buzzword pool, you win.  My money is on “mobile optimization” for 2013.  And not to get too deep, but in many ways, aren’t we all in a sort-of buzzword pool, jockeying for visitors and trying to get out in front and well-positioned for emerging high-volume search terms?  Think about it.


Happy New Year everybody; may your 2013 be filled with monetized paradigms.