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Helping others understand & share about technology, search

How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Google? Part 3

Continuing on with our list of ways to improve your search results from Part 2 of How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Google:

  • Consider posting on Answers.yahoo.com. When you write a post and sign your name to it, you increase the number of positive results associated with you. You can also add a link to your website or blog, which also increases the number of positive returns and gives you a better ranking.
  • Consider posting on askville.amazon.com
  • Consider posting on Directories
    • Justia.com
    • Yellow pages – There are many of them
    • Superpages.com
    • Local.google.com – you can post your Regis or HQ addresses as additional locations for your business if you have temporary office space.
  • Consider posting on:
    • Encyclopedia.com
    • Answers.com
    • Dictionary.com
  • Try to get your alumni or other .EDU to link to your site and to post your biography.
  • Post videos of yourself
    • YouTube.com
    • Google.com
    • Yahoo.com
  • Create books and self-publish on Amazon.com
  • Post reviews with your name on Amazon.com
  • Post your information on ZoomInfo.com and set to public
  • Post your information on Classmates.com and set to public
  • Post your information on MySpace.com and set to public
  • Put different content on each location – do NOT just copy and paste- customize to some extent. Google will penalize you and your sites for cloning information.
  • Don’t just repost content
  • Link to different spots, not all the same.  Links can be to different pages on your blog(s), good articles or other positive content.
  • Link to what is linking to other good content.  In other words, if Sue’s blog has links to the positive articles about you, then link to Sue’s blog, especially her article that has links to the articles about you.
  • Ask others for links to you and your good sites.
    • Create a template email. Ideally you would give a phone call before hand to explain the situation.
    • Ask others to visit the good links, especially from Google searches
    • Ask that they add content (comments) and links to your site.
  • Set up a Twitter account to allow for more posting
  • Set your home page to Google with the search of keyword phrase set. Then open tabs of the ‘good’ links on a regular basis.
  • Create SlideDecks of information with links and reference to yourself.
  • Create PodCasts with information about yourself
  • Create a resources page on your website – link to other articles
    • Safe ‘free’ resources
    • How to choose a firm in your industry
    • When to use your profession
  • Post Articles on others sites with your name and links back to your site – http://help.helium.com/earn-money-helium
  • Consider outsourcing parts of this to virtual assistant or e-lance. You may also want to consider a virtual business manager to most effectively manage a project like this.
  • There are tools for monitoring your reputation.  These range from free to high-cost.  The more they can do automatically, the less they will be able to foresee the place that you did not expect to have an issue.
  • Google alerts is a great place to start – set up alerts to let you know when ever your search keyword phrases show up in Google’s search engine.  You can also set up customized news pages that provide all the occurrences of your keyword phrases as well. These are easy to do, but look to find someone who knows how to look at the situation with fairly objective views, to get all the different variations of the keyword phrases that may be in use.

You can also use Google news as a feed for your website to keep your content fresh. But of course be aware, this may post good and bad.

So there you have it, lots of different ways to get bad Google stories about you off the top of the list in search returns.  No one stop shop for free, but a list of specific steps to get results.

Have you ever had a search engine reputation issue? What did you do about it?

September 22, 2009 Posted by | SERM, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Different Search Engines give Different Results

The number of search engine results can vary depending on the search engine that you use. One would think that a search is a search, and you would get the same number of results no matter which search engine that you use. I found this to be untrue. When putting in a search for ‘about’ (as in the ‘about page’ on a website), Google returned 9 billion in Firefox, while Safari only returned 600 million.

This is something to consider when you are either doing a search yourself, and when you are trying to optimize your site for better ranking. You need to be clear on whose rankings you are going after.

While Google remains the dominent player in the search engine market, it is only about 70% of the market – so just a quick note that not everyone sees the same results when doing a search.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Of Google, Part 1 of 3

Search Engine Reputation Management or SERM

A client who had some smear stories written about him, recently asked – how do I get bad stories about me off of Google? Or more accurately, when someone else has written a story about you online which presents you in a negative light, how do you get that story pushed further down in the return results of a Google search? You want to preserve your good online reputation. You want your reputation online to be as positive as possible. When someone does a Google search on you, you want favorable stories and results which put you in a good light. And when someone writes and posts a story about you, right or wrong, accurate information or made up, inaccurate fabrications, those stories come up in a Google search. You can’t control what others write about you. So when they write about you and it is negative, what do you do, and how do you get your good reputation back?

Rather than fight the story at the source, and demand a retraction, it is easier and better just to optimize your site for searches. By going to the original source which wrote the negative story and asking them to remove or retract their story – you risk waking the ‘ sleeping giant’. That could backfire on you and create even worse press for you. The other possibility is there is more than one negative story about you, so you would end up chasing way too many people to get them to take their stories off, which they may not. It would be far more effective for you to ignore  the source, and manage the search return results a different way.

As it turned out, my client was a lightning rod of feelings – Good and Bad.  And while the saying all press is good press, in his case, it was not working to his benefit. It was costing him jobs and he seemed to have this other issue – the truth and wanting others to see the truth over the lies.

With that in mind, I figured I would outline how to improve your online reputation.

  • This area of Internet presence management is labeled Search Engine Reputation Management or SERM. It is a subset of SEO, and contains many skills – including an understanding of crisis management.  Many of the solutions will not be quick, like much of SEO – but results will vary, like your mileage and situation.
  • Understand that Google results change – 1st of all not everyone gets the same results at the same minute.  Two different people can do a Google search at the same time, using the same search words, and one person will have the same entry ranked higher than the other search return will give the other person. One person can have ‘peas’ returned as the third listing, while another person can have ‘peas’ returned as item number 5, using the very same search words. Google is trying to improve the results for everyone.  So it will create different results based on what you have searched before and what is in your other Google account including:
    • Gmail – Google will try to customize your search results based on what is in your GMail emails,
    • Customized news on Google News – If you follow Cricket over Candian Football, your search results will lean that way as well. Follow McCain over Clinton – your results are different.
    • Google Docs – What you store helps Google understand what you are focused on.
    • Google alerts
    • YouTube – Also owned by Google, so watch Oberman clips more then Beck or Cute Kitties – your results also reflect the shift.
    • Previous Google searches

This assumes of course, that you have a Google account, which not everyone does. Using  a Google account can be to your benefit, because Google keeps track of what you have searched for, what you have looked at in the returned results, how long you were there, and what you did from there. It keeps track of this, so that when you do another search, it in effect thinks, well, they were interested in x before, so based on that, I will return things more likely to be like x, since that is what they seem to be interested in.

You can choose to have it optimize its results for you on your Google account.

Follow the discussion on Part 2 of How Do I Get Bad Stories About Me Off Google…

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Google Image Searches

Another way to rank your site and push it up is to have photo and image content on your site and pages. Using ALT tags on your photos can get your name (or the name you want to push up) noticed more.  The more you have text, captions, ALT tags and file names that match your name, the better chance Google will interpret your images as being about you.

Its helpful to do a Google image search and see what kind of images come up. Some of them may be rather unexpected and not related to you at all. Or maybe remotely related to you. I did an image search recently, and someone else’s photo came up under a search of my name. Different gender and all. So its a good idea to check and see what will come up for you when you search. You may need to address it or not, but at least you will know what is being pulled up and associated with you and your site.

Of course if your photo is used in more places that have your name, the more likely the image will have your name in it.

August 31, 2009 Posted by | SERM, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Neuro Web Design

What is Neuro Web Design? And why is is so important?

Neuro Web Design is based on a book written by Dr. Susan Weinschenk. In an interview of Dr. Weinschenk by Joe Vitale, they discussed what makes people click. You can also see Dr. Weinschenk’s work on her website, http://neurowebbook.com/

The parts of your brain – did you know you have 3 parts?

Most people design their websites based on logic and rational thinking. This is important, but its only part of the equation. The brain is made up of 3 parts, the old brain, the middle brain and the new brain. And all 3 must be engaged and addressed for a website to really work well.

The new brain focuses on what we say, how to clearly say it, and the organization bar in the designing of the webpage. This is good as far as it goes, but it won’t get people to do what you want.

The old brain is concerned with 3 questions, Can I eat it, Can I have sex with it, and Will it kill me? One of the more powerful things the old brain is concerned with is the fear of losing something. That fear is more powerful even than the fear of not having something. This is why ‘free’ on a website is so powerful. If it’s free, the brain isn’t concerned about losing it. That’s why its better to have free on the website, instead of buy one get the second for half off.

The middle brain is the emotional involvement. It is really important to get the emotional involvement. When the emotions are aroused, and this can mean any emotion, from fear, sadness, excitement and joy, the brain remembers things more. To get your reader on your page to do something,  get their emotions involved.

This also engages a feeling of trust, the feeling of safety and security. They will want to come back to your site more if they trust you.

The old and middle brains run more on an unconscious level. This is not a bad thing, but something to be aware of. The brain receives 11 million bits of sensory data coming in at a time, but can only process 40 at a time. You don’t need to be consciously aware of all 11 million, but you do need to be aware of them on some level. The unconscious mind is very powerful. In fact, most of the mental processing is done on an unconscious level. This has been determined by FMRIs, or Functional MRIs.

Stories engage the brain more than facts and figures do, so if you want to engage someone, tell them a story. The word ‘you’ is also very powerful in engaging people. Stories with basic archetypes are powerful, rite of passage, the hero story, rags to riches stories.

Limiting choices is also a better way to sell. People want more choices, but if they have too many choices, then they won’t buy. A study was done in a grocery store where they had 6 different jars of jam on one table, and 24 jars on another table. On the table with 6 jars, 40% of the people stopped by. On the table with 24 jars, 60% of the people stopped by. But, and here is the key, at the 24 jar table, only 3% of the people bought. At the 6 jar table, 30% of the people bought.

To summarize what you need to do to get someone to do what you want them to do on your webpage:

  • First be very clear on each page what it is you want them to do, click this button, buy that product, etc.
  • Then use the more powerful ways to get people to do what you want on the webpage, tell a  story, use old brain triggers, (sex, food, danger, fear of loss, free).
  • Don’t have too many choices.
  • Limit the length of text on the page. Don’t write in big long blocks of text.
  • Give them something before you ask for something. (Give them good content before you ask for their name and email information).  If they have to give you something first, they are not indebted to you, and don’t feel any obligation to give you anything. But if you give them good content first, then they will want to reciprocate and give you something back.

When you engage all 3 parts of the brain of your visitors brain, you will be more likely to get them to do what you want them to do. And when you do, they will come to your site, do what you want them to do, which will let the search engines know that this is a really important site, and it will rank higher.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What am I, a Mind Reader or Something?

I was having a conversation the other day with someone and he assumed something in the conversation, to which I said, ‘What, am I a mind reader or something?’.

Google Can not mind read

Which brings us to Google. Google is not a mind reader either. You can’t assume that Google knows what you mean. You have to be specific, and spell it out in on the page’s text. Why do you care what Google thinks about your page? Because Google and other search engines are typically 87% of a websites traffic. And that traffic is generated based on how it understands your site, or at least what it thinks you are trying to communicate about. You want Google to play well with others and rank your page for the keyword phrases you want. So don’t make it assume something. Give it something to work with, and be clear with your communication.

The key here is to write out full paragraphs or bullets.  You can use bullets to communicate your points, however, make sure you are not dropping the keywords from your bullets, assuming that because you put the keyword in the subheading it will be covered. And you can use pictures and graphs – but understand that the saying a picture is worth a thousand words does not apply to Google or the visually impaired.

Use SubHeadings and Bullets

So considerations to remember for your content pages:

  • Use the terms and phrases that your visitors and customers use – not the industry jargon, unless your visitors speak that normally.
  • Be thorough in your writing. This is not the classified ads in the back of the newspaper where you are paying for each word.
  • Use headlines to highlight your more complete descriptions – They should be labeled as H2 or H3 (see other post) to allow Google understand that the headline or sub-heads are more important then ‘normal’ text.
  • Where you are using words that are unfamiliar, link to outside definitation if you are not defining them there. Wikipedia is great, and so is Answers.com
  • Have someone who is your ideal visitor proof read your copy or content. If they do not understand your terms, then Google will probably not understand the terms you need to be optimizing for.
  • Remember to look at your website from the perspective of a visitor not from the perspective of the writer, and you will be much more likely to get Google ranking your site well.
  • If you still have not fully explained your ideas, link to smaller sub-pages to more fully describe your topics or concepts or item descriptions. Just make sure you have a link back or bread crumb back to the previous page.

What have your experiences been in writing copy and having Google rank your site?

July 11, 2009 Posted by | copywriting, How To | , , , , | Leave a comment

Breadcrumbs-Not Just for Meatloaf Anymore

Sounds like a good fairy tale (Hansel and Gretel) … but isn’t that what Google is all about, helping the searcher tell a story?

As many of these posts speak about, what is good for the visitor in making a better experience to your site,  is often good for the Google Spider – that robot computer that wanders the web and looks at websites to determine how to return results for our searches.

So part of making a better visitor experience is to have breadcrumbs as part of your website’s pages to make it easier for a visitor to know ‘where they are’ relatively speaking on your website.  This also will improve your search engine ranking.

A Breadcrumb definition from Wikipedia-Breadcrumb (navigation):

Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It gives users a way to keep track of their location within programs or documents. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.

These navigation aids are typically near the top of the page just below the ‘navigation bar’ that map out how you would ‘logically’ get from the home page to the current page in a very structured ‘top-down’ fashion.

Typical breadcrumbs look like this:

  • Home page > Section page > Subsection page

This may seem redundant since the navigation bar or the back button may also let you follow that same path if you came in from the home page and followed the top-down structure.  But more and more, traffic analysis (using Google Analytics, WebTrends or others) show that visitors do not prefer to walk through your site in the same fashion as you design it.  This lets them wander around and still facilitates them not getting ‘lost’ in the site.

These breadcrumbs also let Google know how to relate your pages to each other and what makes your site have some coherence.  This helps it index well, because it can also define what the different mean by defining each link (not just ‘home’ but ‘main page for Evanston IL Handyman with 20 years experience’) by have a descriptive ‘crumb’ that has a clear ‘TITLE’ tag in the HREF line describing the links back to the ‘parent’ pages. For example:

<div id="breadcrumbTrail"><a href="/" title=”Schaumburg Books”>Home</a> &gt; <a href="index.shtml" title=”Sell Books and make money”>Sell Books</a> &gt; Inventory Solutions </div>

Use this layout ‘trick’ to take the opportunity to tell Google exactly what each page is about, and have your site rank higher for the description you want, not what the witch wants.

Unless of course you have the new AT&T iPhone with GPS, but that is another story.

A good article on implementation of breadcrumbs is at http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/17/breadcrumbs-in-web-design-examples-and-best-practices-2/

June 29, 2009 Posted by | How To, HTML Issue, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment