You are your reputation.
Search engines are a great tool, but they add to the vulnerability when the wrong information gets exposed online. It doesn’t matter whether the misinformation is from neglect, a disgruntled former employee or a jilted lover, the damage can be real and sometimes, devastating, both socially and to one’s career. People finding the bad data don’t stop to ask questions, they just make an assumption and move on. That can deprive you of opportunities, or expose you to punishing consequences.
Keywords and Citations are the language used by search engines to define who you are (Citations) and what’s important to you and about you (Keywords). No one can tell search engines like Google what to do. All we can do is make suggestions, so talking the search engines’ language can be a strong advantage.
Citations are just that – references to a bit of data, plain and simple. Just as your English professor used them to check on the accuracy of your term paper’s quotations, so Google uses them to establish the credibility of bits of data, such as name, address and phone number. Google looks for exact match data, and applies trust to the data based on how many times it is accurate (and where it is listed).
Citations may arise as a tool in a hostile competitive or disinformation campaign. Bad data can be misleading, thieves may use false citations to steal business leads, or simply to confuse readers. Incorrect data can hamper local search results. Unwanted disclosure of some data, such as credit card numbers, or unlisted phone numbers, represents a vulnerability that it is best to defend against.
What Can You Do?
Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) is a free ‘clipping’ service that can send you E-mail alerts when particular keywords that you select are found on the web and newly arise in their search index. Your Business Keywords may be:
- your personal name,
- a unique brand-name,
- company name,
- product name,
- leader, officer, spokesperson,
- or even a competitor.
A carefully-chosen bunch of keywords (when limited by ‘negative keywords’) can feed a warning system for personal and business purposes. As new mentions of your keywords are crawled by Google on the worldwide web, you can click through to them and find out if the mentions are positive, negative or neutral. Each type of sentiment expressed requires its own strategy to profit from any interaction. Some times it is even better not to react at all. The key is knowing the difference, and for that it pays to gain knowledge from a Reputation Management expert.
An even-handier tool for personal use may be Me On the Web, https://www.google.com/dashboard/ (part of the Google Dashboard). It offers email alerts when your personal information (name, company name, home address, email address, phone number, etc.) is posted on the Web. It automatically includes things such as one’s E-mail address. Even better, it includes guides to “Manage Your Online Identity”.
To use it requires one’s Google services log-in. Clients and prospects must be cautious when providing this to their Online Reputation specialist, potentially making this a strictly personal tool. Information that’s confidential, embarrassing, or just plain wrong should be addressed by taking the time to click the “How to remove unwanted content” link to request the removal of a page from Google’s search results. That way, one can reduce the risk of exposure of unwanted material.
An Online Reputation professional who is made aware of the undesired presence of personal information or incorrect listings in Google has strong tools at their disposal. They may apply effort to ProActively or ReActively alter listings in Directories or Business Indices in order to correct the data. They may add more and better Citations. They have experience in how best to respond to Comments and Remarks, whether complimentary or complaining. They may even advise on contacting Google or other methods to improve the situation. Results are tracked and reported on a regular basis. That way, the successful improvement of your Citations, Keywords and thus your Reputation will be clear.
And what of Social Media? Mentions on Social Networks can be utterly scathing, yet Twitter and other social sites’ messages are not indexed by Google. How will you know what is being said about you? WhosTalkin.com is a search tool focused on social media sites. SocialMention.com is another, very fully-featured tool. If people are talking about you or your company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the 60 other social sites that these sites monitor, this service will help you keep tabs on those discussions. How to respond then is up to you. Time is of the essence… most complainers resist any effort to change their attitude after about 24 hours have elapsed.
Any good, ethical Reputation Management specialist can talk knowledgeably about your situation. Don’t hesitate to contact WebiMax with any concerns you may have. After all, it’s our reputation on the line, too!
The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about. Are you adhering to the latest guidelines? Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?
Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably. From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.
In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.
However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to. Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo. The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers. Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.
The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.
This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource. With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.
Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy. Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!
These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection. Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery. With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.
What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?
Last Friday, I attended the 2013 Paradigm Award ceremony at the Hyatt at the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom in Philadelphia, PA and I was fortunate enough to witness this year’s honoree, Denise Morrison of Campbell’s Soup Company, accept the prestigious award. Presented by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the yearly luncheon was organized to celebrate and recognize prominent professional women in the area and their contributions to local businesses.
As President & CEO of Campbell’s, Denise’s guidance has helped the company achieve success across the board, but what intrigued me the most about Denise’s acceptance speech was learning that one of Campbell’s biggest apparent challenges as a business is adapting their model to the digital age.
While Campbell’s is a brand name that has long been synonymous with soup, several competitors have emerged in the industry within recent years and have quickly gained ground, both offline and online. This competition has given Campbell’s incentive to maximize their marketing efforts and reach a new audience on the Web while still striving to maintain their significant offline presence, as well.
Many of the Paradigm Award attendees understood Denise’s goal to build a stronger presence online, as these local business owners and managers have worked to enhance their marketing strategy in recent years. With a stronger focus on their social media marketing and on-site user experience, Campbell’s has been able to tap into the lucrative Internet market and businesses (both locally and nationally) have followed suit.
The Internet has changed many businesses on a fundamental level and even large companies like Campbell’s are no exception. As a truly forward-thinking and innovative CEO, Denise Morrison’s push to make Campbell’s a more Web-focused business has not only enhanced their brand recognition but helped to increase their revenue, as well.
WebiMax congratulates Denise Morrison on receiving the Paradigm Award and we look forward to next year’s ceremony!
For more on the Paradigm Awards, visit the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce website at www.greaterphilachamber.com/paradigm. Want to know when WebiMax will be attending a conference or networking event near you? Follow us on Twitter: @WebiMax to find out!
On February 19th, WebiMax’s Danelsy Medrano will be presenting the “Internet Marketing 101″ Webinar from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia, PA.
While registrations are still open, space is limited both at the event and via WebEx conference, so click here to register now for an informative look into the present and future of Internet marketing and how these strategies can help bring more revenue to your business!
Date: February 19, 2013
Registration from 8:00AM – 8:30AM
Program: 8:30AM – 10:00AM
Location: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
200 S. Broad St. Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102-3813
To register: http://lp.webimax.com/internet-marketing-101/
My parents always told me not to care about what other people think of me. But, let’s be honest–we all care a little bit.
Of course, we care what certain people think more than others. The high school quarterback’s opinion means a little more than the captain of the chess club. Your CEO’s opinion of you matters a little more than your average co-worker. From the lunch table to the conference room, let’s face it–we care.
As far as the Internet is concerned, Google is the high school quarterback; they’re the CEO. Their opinion means something. So if you’re on the Internet–personally and/or professionally–you should, to some degree, care what Google thinks of you.
How Does Google Perceive You?
Google runs on relevance. You type in a term and it spits back information it believes to be relevant to that term.
Google also uses relevancy for its own gains. They display ads in your browser based on your search activity (if you’re curious, be sure check out just how much Google knows about you–they’re either shockingly dead-on or shockingly off).
Take a second to Google yourself and see what comes back. Google your company and see what comes back. Google words that you think are relevant to your company. This is what Google currently thinks of you–where they rank you and the sites they associate you with. Do you like what you see?
If not, don’t worry just yet. There’s probably a lot you can do to get the search results you’re looking for and, essentially, get Google to change its perception of you.
Making Friends through SEO
If you own a website, whether it’s a personal blog or your company’s e-commerce site, you can improve the way Google perceives you through ethical optimization. They like that stuff.
To start, though, you need to know what Google looks for and see how well your site is currently optimized. This will provide you with baseline data for the elements Google looks at when crawling your site.
• Your link profile
• Site architecture
• Page Speed
When you address these issues and work to optimize your site, you’ll find that Google likes you a whole lot more. And when the most popular kid in school likes you, you can bet a lot of other people will like you too (i.e. sales).
Managing Your Reputation
People love to talk smack on the Internet. Whether they’re angrily writing a restaurant review or bad-mouthing a former employer, people love to vent in blogs and forums. Unfortunately, this form of therapy can negatively impact companies and individuals–usually for unjust reasons.
So, if you want Google to continue liking you, it’s important that you manage your reputation. This means keeping your site in shipshape as well as keeping an ear out for anyone talking behind your back.
Through active SEO and by keeping a watchful eye over your name and your brand, you can protect your reputation online and be sure that you’ll always be in Google’s good graces.
Let’s be honest, the SEO industry has been marred by scams in the past. Less than reputable companies would often promise things that there was no way of honoring and use unfair measures to attempt to keep their word in order to syphon more money. These promises included getting a company on the first page of Google rankings for a keyword within a short amount of time, saying they’ll submit a website to thousands of search engines and, most comically, they have cracked the Goggle algorithm. All of these are not true, involve deceitfulness or require broad interpretation of the promise in order to live up to it. These are just some of the many ways SEO has been linked with scams.
So when SEO and scams are linked together, it is often because of this stigma against the industry. Luckily, the SEO markets has cleaned itself up – with the help of Google, which we’ll talk about in a sec – and SEO is now a term that coincides with ethics and fair business practices. Businesses today can benefit from the help of Webimax and other SEO companies that have developed strategies that work within the guidelines put forth by different search engines. So what would a typical strategy include?
- On Page Optimization: The typical campaign will make it a point to take a look at the load times and other issues that may be off-putting to a visitor of the site. In addition, onsite content modification towards specific keywords and themes will allow those who are searching for specific keywords find your site.
- Offsite Optimization: This may include everything from guest blogging onto other sites, content that offers back-linking and more. The key is to build more authority to your page by building natural links back to your site.
- Social Engagement: Social signals are increasingly having a larger impact on search engine results and page hits. A typical social media campaign will include frequent updates, content enhancement, networking and more in order to bring your social engagement up.
These are just some of the many ways Webimax and scam don’t go together. Google has indicated that scams and Black Hat methods would not be tolerated through algorithm updates that have penalized those with linkfarms, invisible content and more. Because of this, ethical SEO companies like Webimax are becoming an increasingly important part of SEO and internet marketing as the industry aims to clean itself up even further.