Reputation Management Matters in the Age of Privacy

I am always surprised to find the most emphatic parents who worry about their kids posting inappropriate images or videos online do not own their first-name-family-name domain. The fear of a future employer googling your child’s name while interviewing only to find evidence of youthful behavior that prohibits the opportunity of being offered employment can be offset by taking control of the online reputation and publishing curated content on a personal domain name. Oh and it costs $20 a year to renew a domain name and there are dozens of free template websites + hosting packages! There is no excuse and in an age where the big tech companies own and monetize personal data (thanks Zuck!), you need to be in control of your online presence, reputation and destiny.

With online databases such as ZoomInfo, Crunchbase and LinkedIn publishing profiles of executives, SearchForecast has provided a suite of Online Reputation Management services for our clients. Creating and curating a positive online reputation to ensure the appropriate website links appear in search engines and to ensure the proper facts and narrative is explained as well as helping individuals to restore a damaged online reputation gives our team great satisfaction in being able to achieve for clients.

Building and maintaining Founders websites and CEO websites support the content posted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks by executives. Being seen and heard is an important policy for senior executives.

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Customer Persona’s For Content Marketing

A deeply quantitative firm, SearchForecast will deep dive into the traffic analytics of customer websites constantly. Using a combination of Google Analytics > Demographic data (remember it’s not always 100% accurate), Google Analytics > Locations data + transactional dollar spend data (average order value, etc), our team will then include pyschographic composition of target audiences.

We translate and present our analysis into an easy to read ‘Persona’ of customers. A real client example can be seen below which our team produces. This makes it easier for everyone to understand how keywords, content, blog, articles, social media, keyword buying and content partnerships should be targeted to real audiences. This process brings new ideas, insights and campaigns that can be measured for return on investment.

Simple stuff yet so often clients don’t have a Persona of Customers. Do you?Avas_Flowers_Persona

 

 

Demystifying Schema Mark Up with Google Tag Manager

A wise man once told me that people usually pay for what they can see, not what they cannot. That’s very true of clients. All the thinking about a problem can be hard to quantify in the eyes of a client. Welcome to the world of convincing clients to pay up for Schema Mark Up of their website.

At the essence, Schema Mark Up as detailed at Schema.org is a collaborative efforts to create a deeper richer set of information which searches engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, etc can use to more accurately crawl and index websites.

Along comes Google Tag Manager and suddenly it is a lot easier (that is if you know what you are doing!). We prepare videos of schema mark up for clients in marketing and they can barely watch 45 seconds of this technical deep dive. It’s complicated. We simply explain that the schema mark up will be served from Google Tag Manager engine and you can mark up with schema videos, store listings, blogs, product prices, reviews, etc. Here’s a sample of how it should look in the Google Tag Manager.Screen Shot 2019-01-24 at 3.49.48 AM

Fintech Disruption served with Peets Coffee

Earlier this year I was back in Sydney and went into a Commonwealth Bank only to find the music blaring, 3 ATM machines and a lady standing there glancing up to smile before returning to tap away on her iPhone. No tellars. Do it yourself. Fast forward 6 months and I’m in Santa Monica and confronted with this sign. At least I was able to buy a coffee while getting out some cash. My kids and your kids dont use cash. They tap. Like the lady in the Commonwealth Bank. Ironic right?

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When Amazon purchased Wholefoods, all of us in the Bay Area thought it was a bold move and wondered if prices or quality of foods would diminish. I almost hit my head on the glass casing when I rounded the isle in Wholefoods Redwood City one afternoon. Progress my friends. Disruption works for most people. I now drink coffee more at home, do most of my shopping/ banking via an app.

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Apple Maps Listings Tips & Insights

Apple Maps Vans have been spotted around the Bay Area and our team of Quality Assurance testers put thousands of retail store NAPUs (Name, Address, Phone Number, URLs) into Apple Maps on a range of iPhones to verify the correct details. Across the board, 25% of listings are needing updates. That’s a lot! In many cases, Apple Maps have images from Yelp.

There is no central dashboard to manage listings en mass yet Apple do allow an easy confirmation process and report back with when updates are made. Something Google could learn from!

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Facebook Location helps Retailers Optimizing on Social Media

Facebook is a walled garden (you have to login to access content only on Facebook) and the promise of Facebook content optimization has not materialized. When Facebook reduced news feed reach due to fake news scandals etc, it was a nail in the coffin for content sharing marketing addicts. Instead of littering the Facebook feed with often meaningless brand or product updates, Facebook Business Manager provides a very useful resources for customers of brands. That is, helping users on Facebook locate a store, ring the store and show the store location on a map. Sounds what Google Maps and Google My Business does right? YES it does.

So when Zuckerberg announced in the official post of when News Feed was changing at Facebook in January, I’m sure the team down at Google chuckled at his comment:

“Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”

In recent months, we have been shifting our retail store network clients to focus on Facebook Location Store Listings inside Facebook Business Manager. While a little funky to set up, the tool allows stores who are busy serving customers in store to have a dedicated Facebook URL set up as part of the process. There is a nice toolset inside Facebook Business Manager to conveniently manage all locations and we will be tracking over time the impact of page visits, store visit and conversions as do Google with driving directions and phone calls to stores.

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Conversation Bots Does Not Equal Optimization

We remember the first chat bots that were on websites. They looked strange and out of place. Then Zendesk came along and made it all seem so beautiful. Boldchat and other chat technologies that weren’t that interesting have been trumped by newer smarter AI and CRM integration offerings like Drift.com.

While they don’t help nor hinder the online optimization process, they do help engage users and while remarketing was always SEO best friends for keeping those newly found users coming back to a site, the conversational applications now have users ready to use them (client and customer).

This month Microsoft acquired Semantic Machines to build upon new approaches to building conversational Artificial Intelligence technology for language interfaces that can better handle natural language interactions.

So we are just at the beginning of the generation where technology is starting to help people more based on their requests. Kind of makes you want to scream for joy right!Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 9.39.58 PM

 

The dirty little secret about XML SiteMaps

Submitting a list of URLs to a search engine is a good moment for any website developer. It means you’ve arrived at a point where the site or application is ready for prime time and pushing it into ‘the wild’ for everyone to see it is a cause for an mental high five. Or is it?

While submitting URLs via Google Search Console is easy enough using free XML Sitemap generators, dropping the file onto the root directory of the website server and then verifying it inside Google Search Console, the hard part is waiting for the indexation to occur and managing client reporting.

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Enter Pro-SiteMaps that host the XML SiteMap. Their real time dashboard gives extra comfort beyond Google as you can see daily movements of URLs being indexed as the sitemaps are constantly being generated from their servers. Initially we were concerned about having duplicate sitemaps yet Oleg, the founder of Pro-SiteMaps, confirmed that multiple sitemaps isn’t deemed to be falling foul of Google’s indexation policies. There’s no rule book on this yet from what we can tell over dozens of clients, multiple sitemaps using both 3rd party services and Google Search Console is acceptable.

Facebook Data & Identity Optimization

If you didn’t know, Facebook Ads are much lower than Adwords because you can target by psychographics. Cambridge Analytica made that global news this week. We in the online industry in Menlo Park have known it since Facebook had their Beacon program settlement.

What everyone failed to realize about Facebook is that just because my friend likes something, doesn’t mean I am going to like something, believe what they do, go where they go, eat what they eat. I mean at what point didn’t high school online reunions and long lost friends using Facebook realize they were going to be taken advantage of by ‘bad actors’.

This isn’t a data breach, it’s a full scale assault using Facebook on democracy and individual freedom. That’s why I’ve never been a Facebook user.

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50,258 Twitter accounts ID’d as Russian Linked During US Elections

Finally. Twitter announces publicly “50,258 automated accounts that we identified as Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content during the election period.”
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Twitter also said “we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period.”

More at https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2018/2016-election-update.html

At SearchForecast, our clients over the years have included ThreatMetrix, Skybox Security, Brkt.com and Menlo Security. We are now live in a world where information cyber security software is paramount. While Facebook announced they are scaling back news and corporate posts in their feed and allowing users to rank news sources that they see as the most credible and trustworthy, this isn’t going to help the spread of ‘fake news’. A social network based on groups of friends ranking news is irrefutably at odds with editorial objectivity.