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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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GoDaddy Goes Down

GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar and one of the biggest web hosts, is experiencing outages today, possibly taking millions of websites down as a result.

“Status Alert: Hey, all. We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it,” @GoDaddy tweeted.

While GoDaddy.com’s site is up and running, websites hosted by the company are still experiencing outages. If you are being affected by this, you might be interested in switching to a new registrar as soon as GoDaddy returns.  Here are the steps on how to do so:

  1.  Login to your GoDaddy account and click on the “Domain Management” section.  This will open a page that allows you to manage your domain names.
  2. Next to your listed domains are different icons that allow you to access certain domain features.  Hover over the “lock” icon to check the status of your domain.  If it is locked, follow the next step.
  3. Unlock the domain (it was locked by registrars by default so that nefarious parties can’t transfer the domain out from under the real owner, but in order to transfer a domain you have to unlock it).
  4. Uncheck the box next to “lock domains” and click OK.
  5. Get the authorization code (sometimes called an AUTH, EPP or ACK code) to bring to your new registrars.  Click on the domain name you wish to transfer and on the “Domain Details” page, scroll to where it says “Authorization Code: Send by Email.”  Select this option and then check your email for an authorization code from the site.  You can now give this information to your new registrar.
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Google Launches “Emanuel” Update

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to search the Internet for information and finding the same content on various different sites.  Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel feels the same way and has loudly pointed out his dislike for Google being able to filter out bad things like child pornography but not stolen content.  He pointed out that Google could be doing more to thwart digital piracy by helping to ensure that pirated content doesn’t find its way into the world’s largest search engine.

Mr. Emanuel should be pleased with the announcement that Google SVP Amit Singhal made on the company’s Inside Search blog on Friday, announcing that the company has launched a new update, dubbed the “Emanuel Update,” that will crack down on sites repeatedly accused of copyright infringement.

The blog post said:

“Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results.

This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.”

Google decided to change its algorithm when they began to notice a large increase in the number of copywriter infringement complaints.  They are currently receiving and processing over 4.3 million complaints a month and they plan on using this data as a signal in their search rankings.

It’s not always easy for Google to look at content and determine who owns the copyright.  But by making use of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “takedown” requests, they can guess whether there’s copyright infringement taking place.  If there are a large number of DMCA requests filed against your site, you might want to watch out.  If not, sites with a lot of requests against individual pages may find all of its pages ranking lower in search results.

The ultimate goal of Google’s newest update is to continue to help users find good legitimate quality content efficiently.  The search engine has really come down hard on black hat SEO in the past year or so.  First the Panda update was released in February 2011 to crack down on sites with low quality content, specifically thin, stolen or duplicate content as well as sites with a high ad-to-content ratio.  Then on April 24, 2012 Google launched the Penguin update with the intention of reducing web spam and promoting high quality content in search results, penalizing sites that created or supported spam to increase their rankings.  Now Google is cracking down on copyright infringements for movies and music in their fight against unethical SEO practices.

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21 New Statistics About Online Marketing

We’ve all heard over and over again about how important the Internet is and how it is changing the way businesses advertise. HubSpot has recently released some new data about the state of the Internet marketing world that are helpful and surprising. Check it these newly-released facts:

1) The more posts per day, the less engagement — when a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post. (Source: Track Social)

2) The click-through rate on triggered messages is 119% higher than “Business as Usual” messages. (Source: Epsilon and DMA)

3) On average, companies respond to only 30% of social media fans’ feedback. (Source: Factbrowser)

4) The average tablet user spends 13.9 hours per week with the device. (Source: OPA)

5) Text messaging users send or receive an average of 35 messages per day. (Source: Forrester Research)

6) Email opens on smartphones and tablets have increased 80% over the last six months. (Source: Litmus)

7) 27% of TV sets shipped worldwide in Q1 of 2012 had internet connectivity. (Source: Display Search)

8) By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web. (Source: Forrester Research)

9) In any given week, less than 0.5% of Facebook fans engage with the brand they are fans of. (Source: Marketing Science)

10) 45% of the world’s 2 billion internet users live in Asia. (Source: Ecommerce Europe)

11) 61% of emails received at professional email accounts are non-essential. (Source: Mimecast)

12) 20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there. (Source: Ipsos)

13) 17% of the top 1000 search terms on Twitter “churn over” on an hourly basis. (Source: Twitter)

14) U.S. consumers send 2.304 trillion text messages per year, up from 2.052 trillion in 2010. (Source: CTIA)

15) 40% of the accounts and 8% of the messages on social media sites are spam. (Source: Businessweek)

16) 88% of adults in the US have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-reader, and 19% have a tablet. (Source: Pew Internet)

17) 64% of smartphone owners are using their mobile devices to shop online. (Source: eDigitalResearch)

18) YouTube users watch more than 3B hours of video per month. (Source: YouTube)

19) About 1 in 3 bloggers are moms. (Source: Nielsen)

20) 73% of smartphone owners access social networks through apps at least once per day. (Source: Lightspeed Research)

21) 91% of online adults use social media regularly. (Source: Experian)

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