Tag Archives: internet marketing

Protect Your Online Reputation

The internet marketing agency that I work for has been looking to hire an SEO/PPC specialist for a few weeks now, but we’re having a hard time finding the right person.  We’ve been posting ads and getting a decent amount of responses, but not too many people are qualified enough for what we’re looking for.

Today I received the resume of a person who seemed to have just the right amount of work experience and knowledge.  Before I attempted to schedule an interview I decided to Google his name and see what comes up.  There was the usual- links to his LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest accounts (which always rank high), his blog, a popular SEO site that he’s probably mentioned on and his mug shot.  Wait, mug shot?

Guess who just missed out on a job opportunity.  Especially being a search marketing professional and all, the least I expected from the guy was to have a clean online reputation.

At least once in your life, someone important will look you up on Google.  There’s a good chance it’s already happened, as search insiders estimate that that non-celebrity people searches account for more than 10% of Google’s search volume.

Admit it; you’ve Googled yourself at least once just to see what came up. But who else has?  Recruiters and hiring managers will likely look you up on search engines before offering you an interview or job. Colleges have been known to look up students before accepting them.  In my single days I wouldn’t go on a date without Googling the guy first.

Having a person Google your name is something that’s going to happen (again) in your life. If there’s something negative that might come up and hurt you, it’s up to you to fix it.  Here are four easy things you can do to manage your online reputation.

Google Yourself

If you haven’t done this already, start by going to Google and typing in your name.  Make sure you’re logged out of Google so you see standard results rather than personalized ones. Consider the first page of search results for your name your own personal home page. Studies show that about 75% of search engine users never click past the first page, so it’s extremely important to use that real estate to your full advantage.  If you have a common name and share it with some scandalous characters, I would start using a middle name or initial on job applications, your resume and social media sites.

Own Your Name

The term “own your name” refers to “owning” all of the domains that come up in the search results.  I’m lucky- there are no other Casey Kurlanders in the world that I know of, so I don’t have any competition.  But if you look, every search result on the first page for my name is something that I created and pretty much have control over.

SERP

Here are some tips on how to own the first page of results for your name:

  • Get your Linkedin profile to show up first by making sure you have a custom URL with your name.  For example, my LinkedIn URL is www.linkedin.com/in/caseykurlander/ and it always ranks high because the URL matches the keyword searched and LinkedIn has high SEO authority.  To create your own custom LinkedIn URL, go to the “edit profile” section and it’s right there.
  • Google-owned properties like Picasa, YouTube and Google+ often rank high, so make sure to utilize them using your name.  Google+ is great because it’s free and it offers lots of options for providing links, photos, and information you may want to highlight
  • Start a blog and make your name the title.  Also make sure that your name is in the URL.  I recommend using WordPress, as it’s the blogging platform that seems to rank the highest.  It’s also free and extremely easy to use.
  • Be mindful of what you use as your default photos on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn- those also rank high and are often one of the first to show up in Google Images. This also applies to photos that you post on your blog, as many of them will come up.

Fight back!

Depending on the website, the instructions for removing or hiding results vary.  However, information that’s been indexed in Google’s database cannot be extracted from Google search results.  Google has ownership of its database and will not act on negative publicity.  Even if the offending article is removed by the publisher, the content still exists in Google’s database and could be found in a search.

One of the places that you can fight back is Facebook.  There you can mark specific content as public or with varying levels of privacy. To protect yourself, it is best to keep Facebook content limited to friends only. If your online reputation is really bad, you can always give us a call at BMI Elite to remove negative or undesired content associated with your name.

Prevention

The best defense is a great offense- don’t wait until there’s something negative in the search results to improve your online reputation.  A great defense strategy is to have an abundance of positive content on the first page of results.  Go ahead and tweet, post, comment and blog!

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Mark Zuckerberg is Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO

It’s been a bit of a rough year for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, following the social network’s disastrous IPO last May.  The company’s stocks have dropped and Zuckerberg has had to deal with some harsh critics.  But he must be doing something right, as he has defeated Apple’s Tim Cook as the highest rated CEO.

According to Glassdoor’s 2013 Highest Rated CEOs index, Zuckerberg received a 99% approval rating from his employees, which is a 14% increase from last year.  While Zuckerberg’s approval rating went up this year, Cook’s went down 4%, from 97% to 93%.  This was enough to not only push Cook out of the top 10, but all the way down to the 18thslot.  Cook’s decline comes about a year and a half after the death of former CEO Steve Jobs and as the Apple’s stock has tumbled almost 40% from all-time highs.

Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community online that offers an inside look at jobs and companies.  The site features “employee generated content” – anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and more – all posted by employees, job seekers, and sometimes the companies themselves.

To compile its list of Highest Rated CEOs, Glassdoor surveyed hundreds of thousands of employees across many industries.  CEO approval ratings are calculated much the same as presidential approval ratings.  Employees were asked questions such as “Do you approve or disapprove of the way your CEO is leading the company?”

One unnamed Facebook employee told Glassdoor that Facebook possesses “an open community from Zuck on down.” There is “mutual trust companywide and a sense of community and drive, instilled by our CEO who we all truly respect.”

After Zuckerberg, the rest of the top 10 included, in order:

  • Bill McDermott & Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP (99%)
  • Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Co. (97%)
  • Jim Turley, Ernst & Young (96%)
  • John E. Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual (96%)
  • Frank D’Souza, Cognizant Technology Solutions (96%)
  • Joe Tucci, EMC (96%)
  • Paul E. Jacobs, Qualcomm (95%)
  • Richard K. Davis, U.S. Bank (95%)
  • Pierre Nanterme, Accenture (95%)

Click here to see the full list of Glassdoor’s 2013 Highest Rated CEOs.

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Mistakes That Can Render Your Website Worthless

When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn’t really have a vision or goal for it.  I just wanted to use it as a place to put my thoughts and to write and document what I’ve learned about the internet marketing industry and life.  I’m up to about 66 followers (thank you, guys!) and the stats tell me that my site has visitors every day.  However, I’m not seeing as many visitors as I had in the beginning and I know it’s my own fault.

The most successful bloggers know that it takes a good amount of time and dedication to keep users coming back to their sites. One of the biggest mistakes that many bloggers make is putting in a ton of work in the beginning, and then kicking back and counting on the website to perform all the work later on.  If you do this, expect to see your traffic decline.  If traffic is your goal, avoid these mistakes that could render your site worthless.

Not Posting Enough

This is where I have gone wrong.  Work, family and life have got me really busy, and I am not updating my blog nearly enough.  Essentially, blogs should be updated with unique content at least once a day, and the most successful ones are often updated multiple times.  For SEO purposes and the sake of keeping people interested, you must generate new articles as often as possible.  Skipping a day here and there is not a huge deal, but posting at the rate that I have been (once every week or two) can kill your site.  Luckily it can be brought back to life, if you commit to putting in the time and work and make it a habit.

Going Overboard With Ads

The goal of many bloggers these days is to generate profit through their site.  However, if you are going to put advertisements on your website, make sure that you are careful not to go overboard.

There’s nothing wrong with a few well-placed ads that provide visitors with links to sites that are relevant to the content on your site. But promoting everything under the sun on your site by filling it with banners and ads is not a good idea.

A Sloppy Appearance

Looks matter.  If your website looks like a lot of work and thought went into it, your audience is much more likely to take it seriously. If you want to attract a decent amount of traffic to your site, give users something that they’ll actually want to look at.  If you have the money, I recommend hiring a web designer to help you build it.

Going Overboard With Images

Just like banners and ads, there is a such thing as too many photos.  A few are good to have, as they add visual interest to your site and can actually help to bring in visitors.  But if you make the mistake of going overboard, it can have the opposite effect and push visitors away.  Don’t use more than a few images for each post.

Posting Offensive Material

Think about who you may be offending before you type!  I cannot stress this enough!  This rule applies to your entire internet life, way beyond just your blog.  This applies to social media, discussion forums and any other articles that you may have written.  I’m careful what I say through emails, even when I’m just talking to close friends.  I have seen first-hand how things that you said long ago can come back to haunt you down the road.  I’d avoid posting content about religion, politics, gossip, and strong opinions on any other controversial topics.  I also recommend being careful about the jokes and pictures you post.

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Why Search Engine Rankings Vary From Computer to Computer

Yesterday morning I was going through the Google search engine results pages, creating a bi-monthly online reputation management report to send to one of my clients.  This client is a large company that’s been around for over two decades and has about seven years’ worth of negative posts from disgruntled customers floating around the internet.   It’s a big project, to say the least.

When I was searching and creating my report yesterday, I was glad to see that two of our sites that we created, optimized and have been posting positive content to are ranking on the first page.  I happily reported to my client that one site was in the #3 position, and another was ranked #6, pushing two pages with bad stuff down to the second page… or at least from what I could see on my computer.

About 30 minutes after I sent the report over, I got an instant message from my client saying that she was on Google, but she wasn’t seeing our sites rank for the positions that I reported.

It’s never a good time when your client thinks you may be lying to them.  I immediately sent over some screenshots that I couldn’t have possibly photoshopped that quickly to show her what I was seeing.  I also tried to explain some of the possible reasons why SEO rankings vary from computer to computer.  Here are some of the most common ones:

Browsing History

This was the most likely culprit, as search results are personalized.  Google doesn’t forget about the sites you’ve visited in the past and often shows them higher in search results.  The search engine is simply trying to customize results to give you what it thinks you may be looking for.

Location

Google shows different search engine results based on your location.  In this case, I am in Florida and my client is about 9 states away.  Search engines try to provide the best results based on where you are, and the results will be slightly different and the order may change.  I have even noticed differences in results from my office to my house (which are about the miles apart).

IP Address

Google tries to custom tailor results, so if you have a different IP address from another computer or phone it’s possible that you may get different results.

Google Plus

Twitter has been known to influence search results for some time, and now it appears that Google Plus is as well.  The little +1 buttons that you see all over the web are similar to “liking” something on Facebook.  These +1 buttons could affect what you see in search results because Google remembers what you “plused” and will likely show these sites ranking higher.  There are rumors that these “pluses” not only affect your search results, but having a lot of them could also help your website rank higher.

 

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Valentine’s Day Spending

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  While today is no Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it is still a major retail and e-commerce event, and a boost for stores and shipping companies early in the calendar year.  With the help of the National Retail Federation, UPS , Ad Age and the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey, I’d like to present you with Valentine’s Day by the numbers.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend $18.6 billion overall on Valentine’s Day gifts.

Jewelry is the big-ticket item for gift givers.  $4.4 billion will be spent on diamonds, gold and silver.

$1.9 billion will be spent on flowers today.

$1.6 will be spent on candy; 51% of those surveyed give sweet treats to their loved ones.

Who would have thought- $1.5 billion will be spent on gift cards.

$815 million will be spent on the ones who love us unconditionally- our pets.

UPS will ship 95 million flowers for Valentine’s Day, with the bulk coming from Latin America on UPS temperature-controlled aircraft from Ecuador and Colombia (big rose-growing countries).

6,000,000 are expected to get engaged on February 14; that number is up from 4 million in 2012.

3,000 TONS of flowers will move through a massive refrigerated warehouse in Miami that UPS has set up to keep flowers fresh.

Can you guess what the average U.S. consumer plans to spend on candy, cards, gifts and more this year?  The answer is $130.97- up from $126.03 last year.

So how much is the average woman spending on today? About $88.78, which is less than half of what men are estimated to spend (an average of $175.61 on jewelry, flowers, and a romantic evening out).

40.7% of smartphone owners are estimated to have used their handhelds to shop for gifts.

26.3% of Valentine’s gifts are found online, up from 19.3% last year

29% of those surveyed said they’d post sweet nothings on Facebook.

Americans spend an average of $8.49 on friends for Valentine’s cards and gifts; they’ll shell out an average of $5.12 on colleagues.

7% of consumers who in a survey said they send their Valentine’s message via Twitter in 140 characters or less.

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Push For Pizza

pizza

The most creative thing idea I’ve seen today is pizza at your fingertips – literally.  Created by TBWARAAD Dubai for Red Tomato Pizza is a fridge magnet that orders your favorite pizza for you with just the push of a button.

The magnet was given to some of Red Tomato Pizza’s most loyal customers, and it has their favorite order preset.  If hunger or a craving strikes, all they have to do is press the button to place an order.  The magnet is connected to the Internet via a Bluetooth connection on a smartphone.  After pressing the button, Red Tomato Pizza sends them confirmation text and then delivers the pizza soon after.  If the customer’s favorite order changes, they can sign online at any time to change it.

Pretty cool!  What local pizza places do you wish would deliver at the push of a button?

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BMI Elite Buys Employee A New Car, Then Takes Staff to Bahamas

There’s never a dull moment around here at BMI Elite.  We’re back in the news once again, this time for surprising one of our longest and most deserving employees with a brand new 2013 Ford Escape for his 52nd birthday last week.  We’ve been on the front page of the Sun Sentinel’s money section, on the homepage of MSNnow, and many other news channels including CBS12, CNN and WPBF.

Chris Ninos has been BMI’s chief financial officer for the last two years and is one of the most loyal, honest, trustworthy and hardworking employees that our CEO Brandon Rosen has ever met.

“Chris will call me up at midnight, at 5:00 a.m., and on holidays just to talk about business,” said Brandon.  “He’s one of the hardest workers I know.”

Chris has been driving an old 1998 green Ford Escort for the last 11 or 12 years, and recently it’s been giving him lots of trouble.  Even though everyone around the office has been telling him to trade it in and get something new, Chris was determined to ride it until it died.  So last week, a few days before Chris’ birthday, Brandon and BMI’s president, Dan Lansman, decided to surprise him with the new Escape as a way to thank him for all that he does for the company.

Chris was told by some co-workers that they were taking him out to lunch to celebrate his birthday.  They said they needed to make a stop at the Maroone Ford dealership, and when they arrived at the showroom, Ninos was surprised with a new 2013 Ford Escape filled with balloons.

Before this all happened, BMI contacted the media to capture the moment as well.  Not only did Chris get a new car, but he also got the celebrity treatment for a few days.

If that wasn’t enough, BMI Elite is taking its entire staff on a cruise to the Bahamas this weekend for our holiday party.  I am excited and I feel lucky to be working at a company that is doing so well.  In less than two years, BMI has grown from two employees to 55 and next month, we are moving from a 4,500 sq. foot office to one that is over 21,000 sq. feet.  There are lots of big things to come!

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Instagram Gets Web Profiles

Today, as most social media companies like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn work to improve their mobile interfaces, Instagram has done just the opposite.  The popular mobile application recently introduced web profiles to give users a chance to share photos and find friends on the web.

The photo sharing website looks a lot like the Facebook timeline, which is a good thing because 14 million Instagram users also use Facebook. This is most likely due to Facebook acquiring Instagram for about $1 billion in April. Since Facebook is one of the largest photo-sharing outlets in the world, they have not allowed Instagram to upload any pictures on the web.

This remains true for now, but users are now able to like and comment on other users’ photos, in addition to being able to browse your own and other users’ photos on the web.  It’s so nice to be able to finally view photos on something larger than an iPhone or tablet screen!  Users can also change their name, bio and profile picture via the web.

A lot of marketers are happy to have Instagram on the web because they have wanted to expand their mobile followers to the web. The social network is now a more effective place for brands to boast their services and products.  Instagram did not function before like some of the other more prominent networks did because it was solely a mobile service. When I visited the site before, all that was there was a simple page which welcomed users and some information on how to download the mobile app.  All of Instagram’s traffic so far has come from mobile platforms. This has been the main setback that marketers have faced in seeing their full potential with a photo sharing social media platform. Imagine what brands can do now that it is on the web.

This is something a lot of people wished Instagram did a long time ago.  Websites like Webstagram allows users to surf profiles on the web, but it isn’t the same experience. It is kind of like buying bootleg DVD’s on Canal Street instead of watching it in IMAX theaters. I am really happy with this Instagram launch and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future.  Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has already hinted at more stuff in the works, saying “It’s not the last thing you’re seeing from us on the web.”

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Target Is Playing Catch Up in the Digital Marketing Game

There has been much speculation that the internet will dominate in holiday shopping this year. With this said, Target is switching up its game in an effort to make sure they won’t fall behind in the digital market.

Last holiday season, many shoppers went to Target just to scan product barcodes and then made purchases from online retailers such as Amazon, instead of actually buying the product for full retail price. Target wants to prevent this from happening again, so they will match the prices of various online retailers between November 1 and December 16. They will even match prices from the online prices of Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Toys R’ Us and Babies R’ Us. Target has matched local competitors in the past, but never online retailers due to the inconsistency in prices.

Target is really trying to prevent a trend called “showrooming,” which is when consumers go to retail locations to test products and then go online to buy it. For example, I know people who have gone to Best Buy, found the exact television that they want, and bought it online. Generally, online stores like Amazon offer cheaper and exclusive internet prices.

Target is also lending out QR codes in stores to help people shop and navigate through their website.  According to Target, they are trying to improve their online marketing to become more personalized and integrated with consumers. If there is a particular item that is sold out, people will be able to scan the QR code on the tag and order the product on Target.com. For example, the top 20 toys will have QR codes on them. This is very beneficial for consumers because all they would have to do is scan the code and they will be lead to the product. Then, they can buy the product and chill out while thousands of consumers are impatiently waiting in long lines.  If people are worried about using up data on their smartphones, Target will provide free Wi-Fi to help access the codes that were scanned.

Target has been recently trying to play catch up with other retail powerhouses with digital marketing strategies. It is part of their new project called Multichannel, which offers consumers various online-related services to make it more convenient to shop at Target and on their website. Although they are behind rival Wal-Mart, they feel it is never too late to implement strategies that others have already put to use. For example, they are also planning to test in-store pickups of online orders and home deliveries within hours, which is something eBay has implemented in some states. Target shouldn’t feel ashamed that they are using strategies that their rivals use. Pablo Picasso once said that “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

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The iPad Mini is Coming October 23

One of the worst-kept secrets in tech has finally been made official.  Following months of speculation and rumors, Apple has finally released press invitations for its next big launch: the iPad Mini. The event will be held at the California Theatre on October 23rd in San Jose, California.

The iPad Mini is expected to be much smaller than the current 10 inch iPad model. Rumors say that the iPad Mini will be around seven or eight inches, with fewer pixels than the current size. Some say the new device could tout a retina-resolution display, 3G connectivity, two rear speakers instead of just one and use the new lighting connector introduced with the iPhone 5.  Apple has no confirmed any of these reports, of course.

Although the company is traditionally secretive about product details and announcements, leaks have been spilling out of its factories and hitting the web more than ever before.  Just recently, iPhone 5 pictures and specs circulated the internet long before its official launch in September.

Steve Jobs famously opposed trimming the size of the iPad, saying the introduction of a seven-inch tablet would be “dead on arrival” and users would need sandpaper to shrink their fingers for an optimized experience.

“While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size,” Jobs said.

Considering how popular seven-inch tablets have become in the past year, it was only a matter of time for Apple to step in. Companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google and Samsung are already competing for market share and the arrival of an iPad Mini would certainly shake things up.

So now everybody is busy getting ready for the iPad Mini’s release.  Manufacturers aren’t wasting any time ahead of Apple’s big announcement next week- screen protectors for the iPad Mini are already on sale.

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