When I was recategorizing my posts last week (as part of my grand re-design), I came across one of my more interesting articles from last May regarding calculating your "Google score." Today, I want to revisit that concept, but expand it to a broader audience and application. The question you should be asking isn't "what's my Google score." It's "how relevant is my brand in online media?"
There are as many different ways to find information online as there are opinions on pizza toppings. But some are more important than others. Rather than try to calculate a composite relevancy score from all media, we'll focus on just a handful: Social networking (Twitter), social bookmarking (Digg), and content-based search (Google and Bing). Understanding how relevant your brand is in these spheres will begin to give you an idea of how relevant you are to the online world as a whole.
Since the online world is constantly changing, your relevancy will go up and down on a daily (if not more frequent!) basis. Keep in mind that the numbers I present are only a snapshot and were likely inaccurate only a few minutes later!
Google and Bing
Measuring your relevance according to search engines is easy. You count the number of positive, negative, and irrelevant results returned by your brand name (both with and without quotes) and apply a score to each. In this case, each positive result is +4, each irrelevant one is -1/2, and each negative one is -4.
With a service like Digg, this is a little more difficult. A search for your brand name might only return 1 result, so we need to normalize against something. For the purposes of this study, we'll take the 10 "best match" results, apply the same scoring schema as above (+4, -1/2, and -4) but multiplied by the number of people who "dugg" each result divided by the highest number of "diggs" in the list.
For example, a great article about the Apple iPad that was dugg by 500 people would give you a score of +1 if there is another top 10 article dugg by 1500 people.
Twitter is the hardest of all, since it changes by the moment. So assume we can stop time - then take the 20 most recent search results for your brand and score them the same was as above.
The results for a small, personal brand will be drastically different than that for a large, multinational one. To give you an idea of how things can vary, here are the results of the above test for Apple iPad (consumer brand), Barack Obama (political brand), and Eric Mann (personal brand)
Apple has done some great work gaining search traffic - it had the most positive search results of our three examples. Unfortunately, the blogging community has not been as kind with many negative Digg articles and Twitter posts mostly about contests for free devices. Overall, the Apple iPad has a score of -0.65.
With almost as many positive searches as Apple, the President is faring well. So well, in fact, that Bing's search results were custom tailored to him (biographies, profiles, etc) with no extraneous results. Digg and Twitter were just as kind, giving Barack Obama a score of 0.77.
My personal brand is much smaller than these two, so I showed up far less often in search engines. I didn't even register on Twitter. But search results combined with Digg gave me a score of 0.46.
What This Means
The highest score possible was a +1 (the lowest score was about a -1). These scores show how relevant online search results are to a positive brand image - some brands are more positively represented than others. So ask yourself this question, do you focus on SEO so much that you neglect what online communities say about your brand? Do you focus so much on Facebook that no one can find your office address via Google? How balanced are you, and how well-represented is your brand across the entire online market?