Build and protect your corporate image(s) online

If I were to start talking about optimizing content, most of our readers immediately conjure up visions of text… words, words, words. Generally, what we don’t think about are visions of images. Pictures, pictures, pictures. And we should.

I checked on a number of big brands to see what Google thinks is a relevant image. I got a lot of logos, which is appropriate. Then I checked a number of medium sized brands and the story didn’t have the same happy ending. But who cares about other companies…

Right now, search Google Images for your company name. How many pages before you get a version of your logo? First page? Second? Too many to count? How about the names of your executives? Names of your products or services packages? Are there any unflattering images being associated with your brands? Or are your competitors’ images coming up ahead of yours?

Of course content is king, but don’t let your images make your organization look like jesters. And you can’t stop at optimizing the images appearing on your website. Review other resources as well:

  • Photos journalists use in articles covering your company
  • Bylined articles where authors’ photos are featured
  • Images, photos and graphics distributed with press releases
  • Exhibitor profiles on event sites
  • Speaker profiles
  • Logos on directories or industry association sites
  • Podcast icons [cover art]
  • About.com or Wikipedia images
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Analyst reports on your company

Keep in mind that an out-of-date photo is better than no photo at all. What if you find an image that is irrelevant, off strategy or downright derogatory?

Proctor & Gamble’s first-page images include one of Pinocchio with a longer-than-normal nose and the title, “Liar, Liar, Proctor & Gamble on Fire.” That image is probably not listed under the marketing team’s successes. It’s from July 15, 2005. A year ago. Hmmm. On their site’s press room there are dozens of images. And some very nice exec portraits, including a great one of the global marketing director. More relevant than Pinocchio?

I checked 15 pages of Google images to see if any came from www.pg.com and didn’t find any. The good news is that on page four of the search engine image results, the photo of their headquarters appears (as pictured on Wikipedia). It’s from their corporate image library. I think they have some image optimization to do.

But again, who cares about other companies! Get crackin’ on optimizing your images.