Jack Nicholson

Watch your step

Webster’s Dictionary defines International Sheep Poop as OMG you should totally see your face right now. Gabriella’s invited me back, why I have no idea and for another reason yet unknown the topic has to include “international sheep poop”. I’m sure she’s laughing her head off but little does she realize once a story like that goes live the end result is an odd array of keywords bringing visitors to your site (well, until not provided hides it all). But I doubt she’ll care anyway.

Sheep poop, of the international variety (or any variety really) is stinky, sticky and unsightly. Even if you think you’ve cleaned it all up, you probably haven’t.


My dad’s church in Southern AR always did an Easter Egg hunt at a local farmer’s sheep pasture. It wasn’t a huge field, but big enough that twenty or so kids could spend an hour or so combing through it all to find what eggs were hidden. While parents were trying to help their kids avoid poop there were teenagers telling kids to go look for eggs right where the poop was lying in wait…I *may* have been one of those teens at one point. I can neither confirm nor deny that allegation.

The hunt would end the same way, some kid finds the “prize egg basket” while the other kids are opening their eggs and eating the candy and tossing the wrappers on the ground with their parent telling them to pick up their trash. Pretty simple right? A seemingly innocent event and everyone had a good time. But then comes the real clean up. On the way home parents and the kids notice a smell, it’s the sheep poop on their shoes they thought they missed. And for the unfortunate kids and parents that left their shoes outside to clean off they took their Easter Egg baskets inside to dump out…along with the trash and bits of sheep poop that got grabbed by accident. Considering all this it’s a wonder kids didn’t get sicker from the poop than they did the mass amounts of candy they ate.

Enough poop talk already! Where’s this going?

The first conference I ever went to I was lucky enough to connect with Melissa Fach who gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. “Keep your nose clean”. Simple, to the point and effective. Her point was to try to stay out of the gossip and keep away from any conversations/people that you didn’t want to be associated with. And at industry conferences, it can be a little tough.

But the search industry aside, any industry/client/person can learn from that. You may have a great reputation but getting in the wrong conversation or using the wrong business practice could leave a bit of a “stench”. And cleaning that up can be harder than just washing sneakers off.

You control your reputation

Say what you want, but in the end you control your own reputation. There are things you can do to protect it, but if you’ve done anything to hinder it then it won’t help. Build all the websites you want, claim all the social profiles you want, but if anything goes to court or breaks in a major industry publication you better be ready to either apologize or come clean or have some good information to retort what’s been said.

But that’s going to the extreme cases. If you offend someone and they start going off on a rant, you’ll be fine if you’ve built a good reputation. Even then others would rally behind you and defend you. And that’s the biggest thing here, when your reputation is so good others stand up with you.

If you have to clean it off, keep it clean

It’s bound to happen from time to time. But the thing is, the more you have to clean up your reputation the more people will question how solid it is. A few times yeah, that could happen to anybody. But if the same stuff keeps coming up time after time. You/your client will be left with a pretty messy pair of shoes.

We may be responsible for our own reputations but when it comes to client work should we just sit back and help clean up their mess? Or should we get more vocal? Everyone wants to bring in more business and make more money but at what point does a client’s reputation begin impact our own? Can it impact our own? I think it will. Like Melissa said, “Keep your nose clean”. That extends to more than just those we keep company with, it also goes along with whom we do business with.


BIO: Joshua Titsworth is an SEO Analyst with Vizion Interactive, Inc. You can find out more about Joshua on his Google+ page


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