Archive for September, 2010

How to Protect Your Brand from Cyberstalking

In the days before the Internet was popular, stalking just happened in the physical world.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, however you want to view it) I’ve never been stalked. I’m not quite sure why that is. Probably because I’m sarcastic enough to the point where you might fear that I’ll punch you in the face 🙂

Jilted lovers or political activists might follow you home, but they weren’t very difficult to spot. In the computer age, however, the evolution of stalking has led to some frightening and disastrous results. Web stalking, also known as net stalking and cyberstalking, is incredibly common, and in many jurisdictions, law enforcement is lacking on this particular front. As an online business owner, you may be experiencing a specific type of cyberstalking, the sort that comes from an obnoxious, unhappy customer.

Upset over their experience, these individuals may go around to various forums, blogs, and sites, declaring that your business is an unholy scam. This is the rough equivalent of a small group standing outside of a brick and mortar store with picket signs, screaming at anyone who tries to enter. So, how can you get these disgruntled people to go away, or at least diminish the damage that they’re doing? Here is a quick guide on how to protect your brand from cyberstalking.

The first thing to do is get lots of your own content containing positive messages onto the web. If you don’t have at least enough websites to fill up the first page of Google (in other words, 10 results), then any negative reviews will float to the top by default. One way you can get content out there quickly and easily is by using social media. Social networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube can create pages that are likely to rank better than someone rambling on their blog about a bad experience.

Other content can be created using alternate domain name extensions. If your site is a .com address, creating the same address but with a .net, .org, .tv, .us, or .info extension can do a lot of good. After all, an “exact match” domain name ranks incredibly well in almost every search engine. Just create some unique informational content for each site, and you’re good to go.

Do you need to get really aggressive? Do you have Better Business Bureau complaints overflowing on the web? Rip off reports? Jaded customers working day and night to optimize their viciously worded blogs? Well, first of all, how did you upset so many people? Maybe you should consider whether some of these people have valid concerns. And second, maybe it’s time to hire out your reputation management.

Major reputation management companies can be costly, but they have multiple services that can help you. Putting a positive spin on articles that you simply can’t get rid of, contacting and negotiating the removal of a damaging article or entry, creating new content with positive information, and optimizing sites with existing positive reviews can all be used to drown out the screaming voices of one or two persistent disgruntled customers.

The real point is to get 10 pages with good reviews ranking on the top page of Google, and reputation management companies usually get that done.


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How to Eliminate Duplicate Content Issues in WordPress

Duplicate content is the worst- especially when it’s someone ripping off your work or duplicating your own articles on their site. So what can you do? Aside from some butt-kicking? Here’s some tips that are pretty basic.

Why Duplicate Content Matters

Some of you may respond with a resounding and sarcastic “big deal” to the concern over duplicate content. The reality is this: The search engines hate content that’s duplicated repeatedly. It will have multiple negative impacts on your site. One is that it will water down how relevant every one of these pages is. Also, the search engine robots will generally choose a single page to count as relevant for their search results, and it may not be the one that you want. It’s true that most search engines have recognized the tendency of blogs to do this automatically, so the duplicate content won’t hurt you nearly as much as it would on a different sort of site. Still, studies have shown that fixing the issue will help bring in traffic, especially to older posts.

Which Pages May Be Declared Duplicates

With all these excerpts being created, new links being formed, and your home page being in a constant state of flux, a large number of pages have the potential for duplicate content. Your home page is one of them, since the blog entries that you’ve recently added already have the same information, word for word. Your category pages, “printer friendly” page versions, “members only” versions of the same page, the same page or product in an alternate category or location, and the full “read more” versions of entries are all essentially identical. If you’re not sure which pages fall into this category for your site, the SEOMoz duplicate content detector tool is a great resource to find out.

Finally, a Use for NoIndex!

So, how do you fix it? Well, there are multiple ways that you can approach the issue, and the simplest is just to block the search engine robots from getting to the duplicate pages. Throwing a simple “Robots-NoIndex” tag into your code will send the Google robot running, which is, oddly enough, exactly what you want. You can also use 301 redirects if the extra page isn’t needed for your visitors, throwing any person or search engine to the one page that you do want to have seen as relevant.

Plugins Also Work: The SEO Pager

You can get rid of some of this extra workload by using plugins such as the SEO Pager for WordPress. This simple utility updates and upgrades your page navigation, eliminating the “newer post” and “older post” dynamic options, replacing them with numbered pages. These are easier to navigate, and get rid of some duplicates.



Benefits of Facebook-Like Integration

Facebook. My arch enemy 🙂

Itroduction of the Facebook “like” button has opened new doors for marketers to explore. For the first time, social networking has been combined with social bookmarking. Many people feel that the Facebook “like” button will be more popular, and more widely used, than the Digg button.

The benefits of the Facebook “like” feature are obvious:

1. Exposure: Every time someone “likes” a Facebook page (or webpage) the action is shared with all their friends. In other words, if someone with 500 friends decides that he or she likes your page, that action is logged on the profiles of 500 other users. All it takes is for one influential Facebook member to hit the “like” button, and it gathers speed like a snowball.

2. Chain reaction: Friends tend to “like” what their friends like. It could be a matter of trusting a friend’s recommendation, or it could simply be a matter of “following the herd”. Regardless of what the reason may be, the trend has been proven on other networks like Digg and Stumbleupon. When any person with a number of friends “likes” a page, a reasonable percentage of those friends will visit the page, and a good percentage of those are likely to “like” the page as well.

3. Incentives: It is possible to offer incentives to those who “like” your page. As such, you are in a position to apply some leverage to get the visitor to hit the “like” button. It could be discount coupons, or access to regular special offers, or bonus offers. You could even narrow it down to liking specific items – like a specific article, or a product.

4. Analytics: By using Facebook insights (available thanks to the API) it is possible to get some interesting information – even including geographics and demographics. This allows you to target your content, offers and communications to suit your typical visitor. Furthermore, the API also allows you to use Google Analytics for a different set of measurements – since you can use coding inside your Facebook page.

Finally, the insights feature also allows you to track Facebook activity related to your domain. As such, it offers you feedback as to the efficiency of your website. In short: The Facebook “like” feature allows you to gain exposure, and use the existing relationships of members to increase that exposure. Afterwards, you can find out who came, where they came from, and what they are like.

Currently, there is nothing else that offers the same capabilities – and nothing as fun as Facebook. Relish in this and enjoy playing in the marketing industry 🙂

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What! a new blog!?

Well looky here! It’s my first post 🙂 As you may have noticed from my profile, I’m more of a traditional writer… but I’ve been noticing that everyone is making the shift to blogging so I thought I’d morph and change with it.

I’m really getting into social media and the internet industry, so this blog will kind of follow things I’m learning… really a place for beginners to come and (attempt) to learn from my ramblings.


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