Batter up, April is here.  It’s time for a new season of baseball.  Teams are well practiced, prepared, and have planned for success.  In theory, each team knows what it takes to succeed.  It’s a matter of playing hard each game, maintaining positive momentum, and keeping cleats laced for the long haul.  There are little-to-no surprises to be had by management.  There are unfortunately the occasional slumps and trades; but, managers have all the tools at hand to compete.  In short, there’s no crying in baseball; and, there should be no crying in branding, moving forward amidst the marketing season.

Bad Link Networks
Perhaps you’ve heard.   Google is addressing link networks, entities which are bad for businesses, browsers, and the Internet as a learning place.  The owners of the networks know of the low worth; in addition, it’s hard to believe brands involved in the networks are not somewhat aware.

It’s a brand’s responsibility to ensure its funds are ethically implemented.  It’s understood that particular providers may have more ‘knowledge’ of online marketing; however, due diligence is warranted when leveraging service providers.  Are you blindly handing money to providers and granting them carte blanche?  Perhaps it’s time to be more responsible with your brand.  If you’re not looking out for your brand’s best interest, you better at least understand Google is looking out for the best interest of its search engine.  Don’t cry about it; be proactive and build links the right way.

Do you want audiences to view your team as a major or minor league squad?  Those in the former group don’t rely on link networks; the big boys put in the time to find worthy and legitimate links.

Scraped Content
News aggregation is running rampant on the Web.  Journalists of popular news sources don’t like bloggers ‘copying’ their stories; and, bloggers don’t like it when other bloggers or sites ‘copy’ or ‘scrape’ their stories.  True, scraped content is basically a cut and pasting of another site’s content.  Sites of lower quality often do this to recruit visitors and gain some ranking traction.  But there is no thing as a good content scraper.

There’s no reason to scrape content or ride the story coattails of others.  Plenty of original conversations are to be had.  A brand, leveraging scraping and borrowed ideas, is never going to make it in the ‘big leagues.’  For one, the search engines will never allow such a site great rankings for long.  Secondly, it basically ruins the brand’s chances of building authority and reader respect.  A large part of online branding focuses upon building a community.  No one rallies around a scraper site.

Can your team produce real results?  Do you need to steal signals, plays, and strategies of others; or, does your team have natural talent?  The world is reading.

No Authors
Have you ever visited a site, which appears to be an author ghost town?  Meaning there is seemingly no personalities aligned with the brand and its offered services?  For instance, a search engine optimization service, offering articles of insight with no visible author may cause alarm for readers and service seekers.  Some brands cultivate content; yet, readers want to know the source; they want to know a brand houses experienced and efficient practitioners.  Author rank will come more into play in the near future.  Does your brand have visible authors, serving as the overt practitioners of your brand?  Don’t shed tears in the near future when this becomes more of a regular occurrence and source of better rankings and authority.

Does your team have no fans in the seats?  Think of your favorite baseball team.  When fans wear jerseys, do they adopt a particular player?  Most people are fans of teams largely because of the players on the field.  Who are your star players?