If You Don’t Have Google Credibility, You Don’t Have Credibility

I was on the phone recently with yet another marketing expert promoting yet another marketing seminar. Considering that this expert’s website gave me a big error message when I logged in, I was curious to find out more about this marketing genius whose seminar was titled, “How to Market Your Business.”


I was on the phone with this individual and when I mentioned the website issue, it was quickly shrugged off and they immediately launched into sales mode on the seminar. As this individual chattered away, I decided to conduct a search online for their name. Low and behold, three of the first four listings that come up were for an essential oils distributor. That was interesting. Also interesting to note was the fact that the only top 10 post that related to this individual was their LinkedIn profile.

It took me exactly 30 seconds to dismiss their credibility. And I felt sorry for anyone paying the $30 bucks to attend the seminar without doing a search first.

In 2005, I coined a term for this.  I call it “G-cred,” which amounts to Google credibility.  And you don’t need to be a marketing expert to pay attention to this. In 2009, Execunet reported that 86% of job recruiters relied on Internet searches to learn more about their job candidates. Today, that number is probably in the mid-90’s.

No one can afford bad “G-cred.”

When I talk to people about it and they say, in a resigned way, “My name is Mary Clark. There’s a gazillion people with that name.”  Does that mean that people won’t ever be doing a search on your name? It’s actually more of a reason to work on your G-cred. After all, do you really want the shoplifter Mary Clark, or the stripper Mary Clark, to precede you – the Mary Clark?

There are many ways to begin improving your G-cred. It’s called online content creation which simply means creating online content that, in some way, is associated with you in a positive way. It can be in the form of blog posts, online articles, presentations, memberships, press, videos, pictures, and social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MeetUp, and Pinterest.

The best, and easiest place to start is LinkedIn. If you haven’t done so already, set up your LinkedIn profile and make sure you’ve filled it out completely. There are many tutorials to explain how to do that. Then follow suit with others. If you enjoy writing, starting a blog is easier (and cheaper) than ever. That will help your G-cred in a big way. If you do, just make sure you write about the kind of things that you want to be identified with.

Start with these simple actions and before you know it you’ll have yourself some decent G-Cred – even if your name is Mary Clark.

Google Photo via Shutterstock


John Follis John Follis heads up Big Idea Video, creator of short format, high concept video that captivates and persuades prospects. According to Forbes, 76% of marketers invest in video and make it their #1 marketing strategy. John Follis honed his talents as Creative Director and Co-founder of Follis/DeVito/Verdi, one of Madison Avenue’s most successful, award winning ad agencies.

36 Reactions
  1. There’s a tendency to fight this fact, but it IS a fact. If Google doesn’t recognize you, very few others are going to.

  2. Agatha K, The Fun Money Nerd

    Very true! The first thing I always do when dealing with someone is Google them. I do that for everyone from business associates to manicurists…and if I can’t find anything about them I usually pass them up.

    • If someone cant be found online I consider that a plus in some cases. When you google your manicurists are you looking at the company name or the owners?. As a Computer Repair shop owner, I’m never surprised at how small business owners or regular people for that matter don’t know JACK about how a computer works that they sit at and rely on daily let alone an online presence. From your comment it seems safe to say that if someone you know has a bad credit score then they can’t be your friend.

  3. I can sympathize with the “Mary Clark” you mention because my name is Robert Brady. And despite my best efforts to be “the” Robert Brady online, I’m up against a formidable opponent – Senator Robert Brady of Pennsylvania. Every bill he votes on or sponsors gets him mentioned on .gov domains to which Google lends additional credibility. I’ve been able to get my Twitter profile and LinkedIn profile on the first page, but a #1 ranking is unlikely until this guy is out of office.

  4. Google is the search tool of the ages right now. Get good on that and your good on everything else.

  5. Martin Lindeskog

    I like the fact that you call the start of the G-cred process, an ego search. My first blog (started on May 7, 2002) is called EGO.

    Robert: I hope senator R.B is soon out of the office, so you could be on the top! You are not thinking of running for office? 😉 I am glad that my surname is pretty unique. 🙂

    I find 20.000+ search hits on my name, “Martin Lindeskog.” How many do you find on your name?

  6. I love this. I don’t know where I’d be without the ability to find out info on people with Google. It has helped me so much professionally (and to be honestly personally).

    And Robert, I sympathize with. Well, that’s not the right word. But whenever I speak with someone who has a similar name to a well-known figure, I know my search isn’t going to be as easy!

  7. I think that everyone Google’s anyone/anything these days and credibility comes faster than the speed of type. Perhaps, this is why many have been trying to trick the search engines with shady practices because what comes on the top pages can make or break your brand. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if we’re in the age of information monopoly.. where your authenticity is dictated by what people see on the Web.

  8. That is GREAT comment Shaleen. It makes you think a lot. I’m curious, also, most particularly if individuals will start having an adverse reaction to this. After putting all of ourselves out there on the internet, will we soon try to take it all back?

    Also, on another note, there are people who understand search engines and the important of a internet presence, but there are those who’s industry simply doesn’t lead to them having the time/knowledge/etc of doing this. Are those people going to suffer because people can’t find information on them?

  9. People are smart. They know the difference between Susan Payton the romance author (not me), the nurse (not me) and the marketing consultant (me). If search results yield multiple people, all someone has to do is add another keyword. In my case, “marketing.”

    I’d be embarrassed to be selling marketing services if I didn’t know what Google would reveal (or not reveal) about me!

  10. Yes, this is a difficult thing. I share a name with an actor(Cindy Lauper’s husband), and an NFL football player. I’m thinking I should just change my name. LOL.

  11. Hey, search my name and skateboard or long distance skate and there I am! Oh, and google David Thornton marketing and I’m there again (well, second on the list)! Okay, not so bad after all.

  12. Especially since I’ve only been in marketing for a year and a half.

  13. Haha. You know what’s interesting, in the actor’s union (Actor’s Equity Association) there can only be one actor with a name. So, for example, I have had friends who’s “actor name” had to now include their middle name, since there was already an actor with their name. Before you know it,there is going to be some sort of system for different industries! I also think about how hard it is to get your specific twitter handle or facebook URL. I’ve read stories on parents who lock up their kids handles early on, so they can have them (I’m not even kidding…I wish I could find story). Anyways, I think it’s interesting, how people are trying to secure their identity so they don’t get lost in the online masses!

  14. Yeah, my degree is actually in theatre and I was an actor. I could never figure out what in the world I would call myself if I actually did pursue it as a career.

  15. Haha me too! Except my name was open :).

  16. I have a positive with this “G-Cred”. My personal name(thankfully i have a one of a kind last name) shows great results on a google search! However, my business name search shows nothing about MY business and everything about a bigtime video/film production company(which is the same industry mine is)…thing is, they have not cranked out a production in several years according to IMDB. Does anybody have any tips for differentiating my business from the competition and how i can get google to properly recognize my site as a real functioning business?

    • Eric,

      You’re certainly asking the right question. If you’re interested in a thoughtful right answer, that would require a verbal conversation.
      If you’re interested, let me know.


      • John-
        Thanks for note on proper questioning logic. I am interested in learning more methods of obtaining positive business “G-Cred.” You can email me from my web site. Thanks!

  17. I have not used the ‘G-Cred’ name but do tell this to my clients all the time. The issue most people have it is a bit overwhelming. The other issue is most people are not just searching for your name but your industry. This article really goes in to the details I have been missing, thanks.

  18. Thank’s to Google Authorship markup, social signals and an uncommon name, I virtually own the first few pages of Google.
    That is not the case with one of my businesses. I called it Sussex SEO (Sussex the county UK). This is a search term in itself. I thought a long hard battle against many SEO professionals to get on the front page.
    A lesson learned. If you are starting a new business, think carefully about the name. Getting high on Google is becoming more important with each passing year. A well thought out name can help get you off to a good start online.

  19. Good article John, and I love that phrase G-cred! Until recently I was just Tanya Smith, and was forever being muddled with another Tanya Smith – both of us coaching in the small business arena – her in the US, me in the UK – and both blessed with a surname that’s everywhere! I’ve now changed my name (marriage!) so searchability for me is getting better remarkably quickly. I think, as you say, if you’re in business at all, and want to rank well for your name and your business, content is definitely the way to go, and creating solid profiles on the social platforms to support that. Thanks 🙂

  20. Thanks for sharing, Tanya.

  21. Interesting point you’ve made here, but me being me, I hate it being called “Google credibility”. I’d rather call it search engine credibility because the truth is that, overall, if you’re not showing on Google you’re probably not showing anywhere else either, or at least not where you’re hoping to show.

    I do pretty well for the most part if people are looking for me and something associated with it, but if they just put in “Mitch Mitchell” the first 13 or so pages are going to pull up Jimi Hendrix drummer first. Actually, I’m in the top 20 only once, and it’s my Twitter account. But I own the 20’s. lol

  22. Sherry Nouraini

    Great article, and I love the term “G-cred”, it actually holds more meaning than the likes of Klout or Kred.

  23. Very True! Google credibility is indeed very important. I, personally, search everything online before making a decision – even things like renting an apartment.

  24. I too have an extremely common name, and I’ve found the only way to get to the top of rankings (or even close) is to work like crazy with online content creation. It doesn’t happen overnight, and takes a lot of concentrated effort. But…now…5 years later, I’m starting to make some progress.

  25. Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

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