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Protect Your Reputation Online AND Offline

Review sites are everywhere on the internet today – local business directories such as Google Places and Superpages and social apps like UrbanSpoon and Yelp, and of course –  those strictly negative review sites like complaints [dot] com and RoR (I refuse to link to these sites). If you’re a business owner and you’re not actively monitoring your reputation these days, take a moment and do a quick search for your business name on google, then do it again and add review afterwards….or better still, see what Google’s autocomplete adds on it’s own.

Reviews, Scams, Complaints – oh my.

Even if everyone of our customers love us, that doesn’t mean the reviews being posted about your business will always represent that. It’s ridiculously easy to leave an anonymous complaint on any of these ‘review’ sites, and there are a lot of businesses that have taken the low-road and done just that to their competitors. If you’re one of those scumbags, just know that karma is a b*tch.

If the complaints are legitimate, however, then it’s time to pony up and get to work fixing that reputation before it does your business too much harm. Because unlike those days of old, nothing gets forgotten on the internet. Respond as best you can, and if that doesn’t work then go about producing a ton of content to bury those review sites past the first page of results.  It’s tough (and costly) work, but it can be done.

Offline Actions Can Lead to Online Nightmares

So the good news, if there is any,  is that you can control the visibility of those review sites on the internet to some extent – or at a minimum, at least post a response to their complaints.

But what do you do if your idiot employee does something ‘offline’ , like enter ‘lady chinky eyes’ as a description for a customer on a pizza take-out receipt?

This has got to be every business owner’s nightmare. How do you ensure that this won’t happen to you?

You can’t, unfortunately. But you CAN be pro-active about instituting a positive workplace for your employees, and help them treat your customers the way they should be treated – with respect and gratitude.

Posted in Social Media.

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Can YaCy Compete Against Google?

You’ve heard about Yacy – the new peer to peer search engine, right?

In a nutshell, they believe that Google (and bing and yahoo – to a lesser extent) have become the ‘gatekeepers’ of information on the internet, allowing access only to the content they deem worthy. On their site they declare:

Only a decentralized search engine technology can ensure free access to knowledge

…and honestly, it’s hard to find fault with that statement.

That’s what YaCy is attempting to be. An open-source, decentralized, peer to peer search engine that eliminates both tracking and censorship. That’s right – this search engine is powered only by the processing power of the computers that are running it.

Always one to help out the open-source community, I decided to give it a try. After clearing out some hard drive space (it asks that 30 gigs of free space be available on the drive you’re installing to – I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure I want to know why, either), I installed YaCy without any real issues. Installation took less than a minute, and I’m running a Windows desktop. It also runs on Mac and linux, for all you hipsters and geeks.

Eco-saving, peer to peer powered search may sound great in theory, but in real life it’s pretty darn sluggish to use when only a few thousand people are running it. It also makes searching for anything an exercise in frustration as the content of the search engines itself and the ranking of the sites included is entirely left up to the community of YaCy users. After 5 minutes of attempting to get a single search result, I quit. Unfortunately, it continued to run in the background for another 10 minutes or so before finally closing.

So, is there a chance that YaCy can actually gain momentum and be a small ray of sunshine to fight back the ever growing shadow of our dark search overload – Google?  For the answer, let’s check out the search volume query popularity of  ’YaCy’ during the last 30 days and see how much steam it’s gained.

yacy search popularity


Well, that sucks. Guess we can just move on, now.

Posted in Search Marketing.

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Google’s Hypocrisy Continues

I may whine and/or moan about the blatant hypocrisy of Google when it comes to SEO and more specifically – organic link building, but I’ve never taken the time to craft a handy infographic detailing the search engine giant’s two-faced antics.

Fortunately, Aaron Wall has done just that. I proudly present to you all- the Ode to the Organic Link.

How Google Hit Organic Links.

SEO Infographic by SEO Book


Posted in Google.

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Use Psychological Motivators in Your Web Copy

You’ve just spent the last 2 hours reworking the content for a client’s landing page to help improve the desired conversion. Unfortunately, you’ll be re-writing it again in just a few minutes after you realize you’ve forgotten to employ these all-so-important tactics in your copy. But remember, with great power comes more money, …or responsibility, or something like that.

Posted in Search Marketing.

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Does Ranking Position Matter for Smartphone Users?

You’re trying to create a search marketing strategy for smartphone users, and you’re struggling with which marketing channel you should focus on. Of course there are a multitude of paid ad networks for mobile out there, you could also develop an app and try and promote that. There’s always social interaction, but what about good ‘ol SEO?

Does first page ranking matter as much on a smartphone?

We all know the stats on how users interact with the SERPs on desktop systems, but what about on their mobile device?  Let’s go ask Google’s new think insights center.

According to the stats, 30% of all mobile devices in use today are smartphones, and that percentage is growing at a rapid pace. We also know that the vast majority of users with smartphones only browse the internet for relatively short periods of time each session.  For more info on smartphone usage, you can check out my ‘in-progress’ docs presentation.

I didn’t bother asking whether or not people use their internet-enabled smartphones for searching, because,… well….duh. Of course they do.

But just how likely is it that those individuals searching Google on their phone will actually venture past that first all-important page of results?

smartphone user search query activity 2011

Pretty close search behavior, if you ask me.

Ok, well us smartphone users certainly like to search with our phones, that’s a given.  What’s ‘kinda’ surprising is that almost half of us will venture past that 1st page of results when looking for an answer to a search query.

Now the only thing left to ask, is WHY?

Are there fewer search results per page on a smartphone?

No. You’ll find the same number of results on a smartphone search using Google as you will with the desktop search.

Are there more ads?

Not really. Of course the sidebar ads are all gone, but Google typically only shows 2 paid ads at the top of the results and 2-3 ads at the bottom of the page, before the pagination. They’ll also include universal results – youtube videos, news, etc. as well as ‘relate search queries’ just above the paid ads at the bottom.

That’s a lot to get through. And still –  almost 1/3 of smartphone users will click the next page(s) to find that result they’re looking for.

What do you think? Is it worth pursuing SEO for mobile devices at this point, or is it better to focus on other channels? Let me know!

Posted in Search Marketing.

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Mobile Blogging Using Dragon Dictation

Internet marketers working today would most likely agree that there is less and less time to manage all of the different aspects of the typical search and social media campaign. That’s why I thought in this post I would share with you a handy little tip to help you trod through some of that sludge a little bit faster.

One of the more time-consuming tasks we often struggle with as marketers is blogging. You know you have to do it, whether for link building via guest posts, building your own personal brand, or creating keyword rich blogs that no one will ever read.  And unless you’re paying someone to create the posts, you’re the one who has to pony up and get to it. So let’s see where we can trim some time on that.

I bring you the dragon dictation app.

It’s free, currently works on the iPhone and probably android though I haven’t checked it out.

Here’s what you do- after downloading the app, gather your thoughts. breakdown two or three bullet points and start blabbering. I’ve found the Dragon dictation app to be surprisingly accurate. Much more so than trying to type on the iPhone. The only downside is that it limits the number of characters that it transcribes during each session. Though I haven’t noticed any limit to the number of sessions you can have while using it so you can close -reopen, close – reopen, close….well, you get the point.

blogging with iphone by dictation

Yell at me all you want. I won't yell back.

If all you’re looking for is a quick and easy way to post up an image with a paragraph of copy,  if combined with the very good WordPress mobile app for iOS – this will definitely do the trick .  Just tap the copy button on the Dragon dictation app after you’re done talking, open the wordpress app and paste in.  For longer posts, I find copying and pasting to the notes app first is faster. When you’ve got the words in wordpress, do a quick editorial run through, as you’ll likely need to add some punctuation here and there – correct any proper nouns and bad grammar, etc.. Upload an image from your iphone photo library or snap one from within the app, and publish.

Booyah, you’re done – and all in less than 2 minutes.

screen shot of dragon dictation app on iphone

hey look, Ma. No-hands!

Is this a perfect solution?

Uh, no. Not by a longshot. I used the app for the whole section above using it, but decided to finish up on my main computer, at my desk.

In fact, it’s likely much quicker to just type out a post on your laptop or desktop computer than trying to re-edit mangled dictation on a mobile device. You’ll also need to edit the alt attributes for the images you upload, add tags to the post, etc…all of which is much better accomplished when at a real keyboard.

But as a way for quickly gathering your thoughts, and throwing into a draft for later – it’s great. Nothing’s perfect in this world, but anything that helps even a little can go a long way…

What about you?

Do you blog via dictation, either on your mobile device or while sitting in front of your monitors? What’s the most effective way that you’ve found to blog?

Posted in Search Marketing.

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Adwords New Location Targeting Tool is Pretty Awesome

adwords new location targeting tool

I always discover something new when studying for my annual Google Adwords Certification Exam, and this year was no different. Not sure when they introduced this new feature, but this certainly improves our ability to more accurately target our ads to relevant cities and locations.

You can read all about it here, or get the quick overview by watching the embedded Adwords Location Targeting Video below.

Posted in Search Marketing.

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Mobile Ad Sales to Top ONE BILLION dollars in 2011

mobile advertising tops one billion dollars in 2011I’m sorry. Did you say that you’re STILL waiting for mobile to take off before advertising on it?

Maybe you should watch this clip featuring Anna Bager, who heads the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) mobile section.

Then pull your head out of the sand and get with the game. (tip: if you’re going to do it with adwords, please don’t combine all devices into one campaign…)

U.S. Mobile Ad Sales to Top $1 Billion in 2011 by 5minTech

Posted in Search Marketing.

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