Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Remove Negative Feedback from Organic Search Engine Results by Brandon Leibowitz

There are many reasons that you may want to manage your online reputation. What do we mean by online reputation?

Since the internet has become interactive, meaning customers can interact with website owners; you must be weary of negative feedback and do everything in your power to manage your reputation on the organic search engine results. One post from an irate customer can tarnish your online business.

Everyone has seen the "Rip off Reports" about shady business on the web. Well anyone can post a Rip off Report about your company.

These posts tend to rank high in the search engines because this is an authoritative site. This can be bad if your business has a rip off report rating. Now whenever someone searches for your company website, the negative report will show up on the search results, usually in the top three results. This is detrimental and can have huge consequences.

There are a number of other ways a negative report about your business can hurt you. What about a Better Business Bureau low rating, Yelp reviews, negative forum posts, Craig's List posts, etc. all get indexed within the search engines quickly and tend to rank high.

If these sites did not rank so high organically in the search engines then it would not be such a problem, but since they are authority sites they tend to dominate the organic search results.

The consequences of having negative reviews means that customers will be weary to shop from your store or to do business with you. They may even tell friends, family, or coworkers not to shop at your store due to a bad experience or negative reviews.

Would you want to buy from a store without positive rankings? I think not. So why would anyone else on the web buy from a site that has received negative feedback.

A good way to check if your site has any negative reviews is to type in different variation of your website/ company name in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Scroll through the first three pages to see if anything bad sticks out. If something does, then you must take corrective action immediately to thwart these sites.

Now that you are aware of negative feedback and the impact it can have on your business you may be wondering what you can do to avoid this.

The simplest and easiest solution is to personally manage any complaints against you company and ensure that angry customer problems are resolved. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not possible and the customer is angry and wants to do everything in their power to spread the word about your service. This means you have to fight back, by building or promoting existing pages for those specific keywords that are bringing up the negative feedback.

You can create new sites and make sure they are tailored around specific keywords that bring up negative feedback about your site. Promote these new sites by building links and adding the new sites to directories and other authoritative websites.

The other solution is to review the sites just below the negative feedback and try to push those sites up the rankings. This can be achieved by promoting and building back links to these sites. In time these sites will surpass the negative results and dominate the search results.

These methods should help remove any negative feedback or remarks about you or your company from showing up on the search results.

Remember that this is an ongoing process and the negative feedback will start to reappear if you do not continue to monitor the new sites that replaced the negative feedback. This will show your customers that you truly care for them and will increase sales, revenue, and ultimately your business's bottom line.

About the Author: Brandon Leibowitz is a professional internet marketer. He has been involved in search engine optimization and marketing consulting with over five years of industry knowledge. Read news, tips, tricks, and anything else related to search engines in his SEO and SEM Blog.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

10 Tips to Manage Criticism by Edward Khoo

Oh sure, you think you nailed that site architecture and that home page reads like pure poetry, right? After all, you wrote it. But that’s the problem. You wrote it. You designed the graphics. You created the keyword list based on those finely-honed intuitive instincts so it must be perfect. It’s your baby.

Fact: you aren’t always right. Fact: some of your ideas just aren’t practical. Fact: a second, third and even a fourth opinion improves even the best-thought-out plan – if you’re willing to listen and learn.

1. Just because you fall short doesn’t mean you failed.

Easy to say, but not necessarily easy to live with. No one likes criticism. No one likes to admit that there’s a better solution, but the fact is, there are always better solutions. Criticism is a tool. It provides different perspectives. It identifies steps that you missed during the first round.

Learn from others. Just because you get push-back from a new client doesn’t mean the client got it right and you got it wrong. It simply means the client has a different point of view – one from which you just might learn a thing or two.

2. Open mind, closed mouth.

This is going to come as a shock but you won’t get it right every time. Ok you’re good, but you aren’t perfect.

You also aren’t a mind reader. Be prepared to revise your thinking and to look at your professional and personal life from a different point of view. Keep an open mind when listening to criticism. And don’t defend your baby. There are a lot of ways to get it right. Acquiring knowledge from others is the best way to learn. It’s real-world, real-time learning, not something you picked up in a school classroom 10 years ago.

3. Become a stakeholder but don’t drive your stake through the heart.

You know, the only way to kill a vampire is to drive a wooden stake through the undead monster’s heart. And you may occasionally run in to a client or colleague that tries your patience to the point where driving a stake through the “idiot’s” heart sounds like a reasonable solution.

Okay, first, it’s not a solution. In fact, your negative reaction to criticism, regardless of the source, will only make a problem worse. It’s important to remember that things like site design, graphics and site text are 100% subjective and sometimes you won’t be 100% spot on.
Take a position. Become a stakeholder in any project or undertaking but don’t cling to your POV with your last breath. There are a million ways to get it right and listening to some constructive criticism from a client, a co-worker, family member or friend may actually move that undertaking in another direction. A better direction.

4. Consider the source.

Who's criticizing? Does that person have authority? Is she better versed in the topic? Is he the one with the checkbook?

Clients want things done a certain way – even if you know they’re dead wrong in their approach. As a knowledgeable professional, you have an obligation to point out flaws in the client’s thinking. However, once you’ve pointed out the flaw and the client still wants it done his way, you’ve done your job. You provided the best consultation you could, you provided the road map to success, but if the guy with the checkbook wants black text against a black background – even after you’ve explained why that’s a problem – you’ve done your job.

5. Learn from anyone and everyone.

There will always be someone who disagrees with your point of view, your suggestions, your designs and your expertise. No problem.

Confident people learn from anyone simply by listening. You don’t have to accept the point of view. Your free will remains in tact. Your opinions remain unchanged.
The key is to have confidence in your abilities, professional and otherwise. With self-confidence, criticism isn’t a threat. It’s a useful tool.

Learn by listening. The more perspectives you see, the better equipped you become when similar circumstances come up next month or 10 years from now.

6. How’s your self-image doing?

Don’t take it personally.

Development is a process, a strategy, a goal or objective, but it’s not about you. Keep your self-image strong and you’ll keep you self-esteem in place.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an asset that’s often more important than intellectual intelligence (IQ). Accept criticism and learn from it. The result is a collaboration that delivers the positive outcomes from which all stakeholders benefit.

7. Not all criticism is constructive.

We’ve all met people, or have dealt with clients, who are mean-spirited – men and women who actually enjoy tearing your concepts to shreds. So be it.

Consider the source of the criticism. Consider the value of the criticism. Consider the benefits derived from the criticism. Never stop learning, even from those who are totally clueless. There may be a pearl of wisdom in what these mean-spirited people have to say.

Find those pearls and use them. Learn from them – even if the intent of their criticism is to undermine your efforts. Keeping silent in the face of criticism isn’t easy but it is beneficial to you, the client, the project, the objective.
Accept what you can’t change. It’ll save a lot of sleepless nights, hassles and headaches – especially when you realize that the source of the criticism doesn’t have the experience and knowledge you have.

8. Learn to let go.

You have an idea or concept, a design or strategy that you know is perfect. Okay, maybe it is, but don’t marry yourself to any one way of doing things. Learn to let go. Learn to keep an open mind.

You’ll be a better person for your efforts. Even better, you’ll learn to be a quality service provider when you can let go of that perfect concept and follow a different path. There are lots of ways to achieve success.

9. Recognize your own limitations.

Each of us has different strengths. Each of us has different limitations (weaknesses). Take pride in your strengths and use them to your advantage and to the advantage of your clients, your family and friends.

Accept your limitations and learn from others to lessen the negative impact personal limitations have on your professional career or the growth of your client base.

10. A closed mind never welcomes criticism.

Too bad. If you close your mind to new ideas, differing opinions or points of view, you don’t grow. You don’t get better. You don’t learn.
Criticism is about managing your emotions. It’s also about learning how people think, determining their needs and meeting those needs. Always put the needs of others before your own needs. It makes you a better human being and a better business owner, whether you’re a one-man company working out of a spare room at home or the CEO of a multi-national conglomerate.

Welcome criticism. Even mean-spirited criticism. In the end, you’ll learn. You’ll become a better human being and a better service provider. Think of criticism as a lesson from which you can become better at whatever it is you do.

The development of emotional intelligence isn’t something that’s taught in school. It’s something we learn by living, working with a variety of personalities and adapting to the needs of others.

To grow your business or to grow as a human being, recognize criticism as a positive, not a negative, in your daily routine.

In the end, you come out ahead. In the end, your business prospers.

In the end, you win.

This guest article was written by Edward Khoo, a full time blogger from Malaysia. Follow him @squall768.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Three Hidden Gems for Marketing Your Business Socially by Shell Harris

Small businesses are seizing online social media as part of their efforts to establish a niche and engage a wider prospective customer base.

Social media is not a fad – it is here to stay.

The issue is how to gatecrash someone else’s party with a commercial message that doesn’t get you thrown out of the door as soon as you walk in!

This is the conundrum which established, mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace are trying to address as they seek to monetize all those surfer eyeballs spending minutes, hours and days on the internet. While this may seem like someone else’s problem, it is in fact every business’ problem – how to engage potential customers as part of their recreational time online.

It is important for businesses to understand that while Facebook, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn and the rest of the big players in social media, may be grabbing the headlines with multi-million dollar valuations and financing, they are not the only party on the block.

So let’s take a look at three sites you may not have heard of, but they are bubbling under the top division in the social media league.


Kirtsy (kirtsy.com) caters primarily to women and it’s a good social media site for businesses looking to attract women as their prospective customers.

The site is primarily user-content driven with a substantial amount of third party content added by the users themselves for comment, education and simple fun. Kirtsy focuses on female friendly topics and issues, but they do include forums and self-help groups for dealing with more than just relationships and the site lends itself to infiltration by businesses with something positive and constructive to say on issues such as technology, especially if it addresses a female experience with the issue.

Kirtsy is well laid out, simple to use and makes it easy to register – it stands out because of its focus on women.

Small Business Brief

Small Business Brief (smallbusinessbrief.com) is a good example of how to develop a blog into a social media site – Small Business Brief is primarily a blog, with content centering upon small business issues, however, it has developed beyond a blogger writing posts.

The site/blog stands out because of the quality of the posts and information which is included – it is obviously written well and by people who really do know what they are talking about based upon experience. What makes SBB stand out though is the opportunity for users, eg. your business, to interact with solution provision. If you do have a genuine B2B solution, then SBB has a platform for you to hold forth. If you are a B2C company, you have a community of tens of thousands of small and medium sized business owners for you to tap into, to bolster your own knowledge and experience base.

SBB has some way to go in getting its format better developed, but it certainly shows how powerful even a simple platform can become in the social media niche.


NowPublic (nowpublic.com) is a social media platform powered by citizen journalists who either write, or more usually, share existing content with the rest of the site community. News items are voted up or down, depending on popularity pretty much the same way as we see on Digg or Reddit.

NowPublic stands out because of the diversity of issues which are covered – there is a well organized format which effectively replicates the content of a serious newspaper, and there is a very active community of users and a vocal commentary on stories of consequence.

Consider NowPublic to be an evolution of Digg and Reddit, with a greater degree of organization, much more user-friendly and a very lively community which is not primarily made up of internet nerds, but Joe Public with a passion for issues.

Of course there are dozens of other great niche social sites that can help your business, but the key is finding one that you enjoy and are passionate about. Better to be heavily involved in one social media site than a lurker in many. Who knows, one day you may find you are using social media for more than just promoting your business, you’ll also use it to promote yourself.

Shell Harris is a founding partner at Big Oak Studios, Inc., a Richmond SEO Company and currently manages a team of experienced SEO and search engine marketing experts, helping their client's realize increased search engine visibility, website traffic and online brand awareness. He also writes the SEO Comic, Ranked Hard which pokes fun at the SEO community. Being a former designer, Shell loves working with infographics and you can see some of his favorites at the Infographics Showcase.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What To Do If Your Facebook or Twitter Account is Hacked Written by Donna Gunter

Unfortunately, this scenario is a reality for all of us who use social networking -- it's not a matter of IF your Twitter or Facebook account will be hacked, but simply WHEN. I've been on the receiving end of messages from my friends whose accounts have been hacked. The message typically compliments me on some body part or requests me to click on a link to view a video of myself. Also, there are usually a number of misspellings in the message.

Be very careful when you get those kinds of messages, even when they are coming from trusted friends who would normally not engage in this type of behavior. Many of the messages are linked to a virus or some type of malware that either infects your computer or will gain access to your account and send all of your friends and followers spammy messages. If you do slip and click on one of these links, pay attention to what your virus scanning software tells you, especially if you get a security warning about a site.

If your Twitter account is hacked:

1. Visit Twitter's information page for problem resolution.

2. Log out of Twitter

3. Clear your browser cache (your browsing history and cookies and private info) and close down your browser.

For Internet Explorer: Go to Tools -- Internet Options, and then click on the "Delete" button under Browsing History. Check all of the boxes (except InPrivate Filtering data) and click on the "Delete" button.

For Firefox: Go to Tools -- Clear Recent History, and then click on the down-arrow next to "Details", check all of the boxes, and select "Everything" for the time range to clear.

4. Open a new browser window, log into Twitter, and change your password. You can also use the Twitter password reset feature to set a new password before logging in again.

5. Visit your settings page and check your Connections. Revoke access for any third-party application that you don't recognize.

6. Submit a support request to let them know you have taken all of the proper steps to reset your account and to request that your direct messaging capability be restored. You can also include info on any statuses that weren't posted by you in the body of the request.

7. Update your password in all of your third party applications as well. If a third party application (like Facebook, Twitterrific, Twhirl, etc.) is trying to use your old password to access your tweets, it will lock you out of your account.

If your Facebook account is hacked:

1. Visit Facebook's information page for problem resolution.

2. If you are still able to access your login email address, then use the "Forgot your password" link to prompt an email from Facebook with a password reset code. If you can't access your account, then use the link above.

3. Clear your browser cache (your browsing history and cookies and private info) and close down your browser as described above.

4. Your account could also have been phished/hacked by a phishing web site, worm, or malicious software. To ensure that all is safe again, refer to the "Warnings" section on Facebook.

Take care when using Twitter and Facebook. Trust your intuition, and if something doesn't look or feel right, ignore it or delete it before clicking on it. You will have probably saved yourself hours or headache in trying to restore a hacked account.

Internet Marketing Automation Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals create prosperous online businesses that make more profit in less time. Would you like to learn the specific Internet marketing strategies that get results? Discover how to increase your visibility and get found online by claiming your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, at ==> http://www.TurbochargeYourOnlineMarketing.com