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Managing Your Online Reputation Beyond SEO

November 19, 2019   |  
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The In Search SEO Podcast

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Summary of Episode 48: Online Reputation Beyond SEO

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Former Search Engine Land editor and present AimClear VP of Product Innovation, Michelle Robbins, joins us to speak about on-line model status within the fashionable net period:

  • Online status past hyperlinks – increasing the SEO thoughts
  • How to deal with detrimental model presence on-line
  • Beyond gimmicks – the best way to construct optimistic model sentiment

Plus, we go into what may be a brand new means that Google is rolling out its algorithm updates!

A New Google Algorithm Update Paradigm?

A humorous factor occurred final week when Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable reported on a large amount of industry chatter that confirmed some form of mega algorithm replace was upon us!

Now, we, as in our Rank Risk Index, usually, decide up on such updates. Can you guess what our rank fluctuation climate software confirmed because the SEO world went right into a tizzy? Nothing. It confirmed no rank fluctuation spikes. And it wasn’t simply our software, it was all the SEO climate instruments.

So we right here at Rank Ranger brainstormed and we got here up with some good previous stable hypothesis. We got here up with a extremely speculative reply as to why the instruments confirmed nothing but the chatter was by means of the roof. The reply? Small actions.

We checked out a ton of various key phrases and through the interval that corresponded to the replace, we noticed a major quantity of small rating actions. Sites shifting up or down 2 – 3 positions at some point and one other 1 – 2 positions the subsequent and so forth.

And that’s not typical, not less than to not such an extent and with such consistency every day. Meaning, the instruments, which depend on a mean degree of rank fluctuations to select up an replace had not but calibrated sufficient to determine such a gradual roll-out (however they may in time as soon as/if this dynamic turns into the norm).

And sure, you could have seen some websites with loopy rating shifts, however the trackers don’t observe one or two websites. It’s a mean. That common certainly consists of websites that noticed large motion, but it surely additionally included websites exhibiting micro-movements as properly. But once more, that is all extremely speculative.

While we didn’t have a look at sufficient knowledge to make an actual conclusion it does align to one thing Mordy noticed with a number of the core updates. As Mordy famous through the June 2019 core replace, the common variety of positions that websites moved when present process rank fluctuations was comparatively low all issues thought-about.

Personally, Mordy thinks that is we’re headed – to a world the place large rank motion is just not as widespread. But first let’s ask, why does Google make loopy giant changes to their algorithm? Big change means one thing massive needed to be corrected or it means Google was chunking plenty of smaller modifications and in combination it grew to become one massive change.

The drawback is each of these choices are dangerous. If Google makes a giant change it implies that till then Google has been exhibiting customers non-optimal search outcomes. If as a substitute Google waits and saves up a bunch of small modifications to then unleash , that may kind one large tsunami of modifications which can also be dangerous for customers.

Let’s put it this fashion, wouldn’t one of the best factor be to replace rankings repeatedly, as a lot as is feasible? That is, make fixed small modifications that outcome within the SERP present process an never-ending collection of tweaks? Obviously, it would purchase extra sources for Google to do that, we’re simply pondering of the best purpose – which is consistently occurring change. This means, customers get one of the best outcomes on the quickest charge. You don’t need to make giant sweeping modifications as that means issues want main fixes and also you don’t need customers to have to attend for small modifications both.

Now you would possibly say that rank is at all times being tweaked. Here, nevertheless, we’re speaking about substantial will increase with much more small modifications being made to much more key phrases much more typically than they’re now in such a means that it replaces the big and impactful algorithm updates we now have develop into so used to. Not that giant Google updates can be eradicated, somewhat that they might develop into a uncommon one-off that you just see just a few occasions a 12 months, not one thing you see a couple of times a month because it at the moment stands in some circumstances.

It solely makes logical sense that with Google’s extra nuanced method to understanding content material {that a} extra nuanced method to updating that content material on the SERP ought to comply with. Smaller, extra constant modifications to rankings is simply the pure evolution of Google being means smarter and having a extra nuanced understanding of what’s on the market and what’s related.

And all which means that monitoring your rank volatility goes to be far more vital than ever! Of course, Rank Ranger’s Fluctuations Insights Report is among the solely instruments on the market that tells you that info!

To sum up, Mordy thinks you’re going to see far more smaller rank modifications that always happen versus the larger form of updates. And don’t fear, the rank fluctuation climate trackers will catch on to those smaller modifications, they only want time to reset themselves.

Last factor on this, don’t neglect that these small rank modifications have at all times been occurring to an extent. While we do discuss so much about massive and sudden rank losses, Google will enhance or lower rank motion over the course of a protracted interval. Meaning, your rank may be high-quality at some point to the subsequent, however over the course of say a month there could also be a gradual decline/incline.

Online Reputation: Thinking Outside the “SEO Box”: A Conversation with Michelle Robbins

[This is a general summary of the interview and not a word for word transcript. You can listen to the podcast for the full interview.]

Mordy: Welcome to a different In Search SEO Podcast interview. I’m fully honored to introduce the previous editor in chief of Search Engine Land, a prolific business speaker, and the present VP of Product Innovation at AimClear, the one, the one Michelle Robbins!


Michelle: Thanks, good morning.

MO: I’ve to ask you since I do know you’re a Star Trek fan. Who’s your favourite Star Trek captain?

MR: Jean-Luc Picard. Is there another?

MO: I’m a Kirk fan myself. It’s nostalgic for me. I grew up watching it with my grandparents.

MR: Yes, there’s undoubtedly one thing to nostalgia. I grew up on Next Generation and Jean-Luc was my first captain. Then I went again and watched the unique collection and thought what is that this insanity?

MO: That’s precisely what it’s.

Let’s begin speaking about on-line status and pondering outdoors the SEO field. Just to assist be certain everybody listening is on the identical web page, after we discuss on-line status and stopping status assaults, what are we speaking about?

MR: For me, it truly is about model sentiment. It’s how your clients and potential clients understand you as a complete.

MO: And how does that differ from what SEOs take into consideration their model on the SERP (that even when you’re not getting any clicks not less than your model is on the SERP)? Is this a very new mind-set about branding? Do the 2 relate one way or the other?

MR: I feel they relate. Every channel combines and creates your model and Search isn’t any completely different. The means you floor your model, the way in which you current your model, and the techniques you employ have the identical foundations whatever the channel.

MO: Can you please enlighten us about backlinks and hyperlink farms?

MR: So while you discuss backlinks and hyperlink farms, that’s extra of how the various search engines understand you and never how folks understand you. SEOs are inclined to assume slightly an excessive amount of about how the various search engines consider the manufacturers. I give attention to the consumer, how folks take into consideration your model. People don’t know your backlink profile. What they know is what they learn on Twitter, Facebook, within the information, inside search outcomes, and so on. That’s what we give attention to and ultimately, it would trickle down on what the various search engines take into consideration your model.

MO: I need to discuss to you about deep fakes. I as soon as noticed this deep pretend of Arnold Schwarzenegger and I believed it was actually him talking. How can this new expertise have an effect on model status? How do you defend your self as a result of it appears really easy to idiot an viewers?

MR: Deep fakes are about your eyes believing what it sees. Technology has gotten to the purpose the place one particular person is saying one thing he didn’t say all of it (which is tremendous arduous to detect) or it’s a very completely different face superimposed on another person. The former is extra regarding as a result of when altering faces you already know one thing isn’t fairly proper. It’s the uncanny valley. You can inform one thing’s not proper, however you don’t know precisely what. What’s actually arduous to detect is altering the audio observe to the supply video as you’re not altering plenty of the video, just a bit bit.

Right now, deep fakes are the most important concern for celebrities and politicians, but when manufacturers aren’t pondering that there are rivals that may work on the “other side of the line”, then they’re not paying attention.

MO: Right, if you have a celebrity spokesperson, your competitor might use a deep fake of them to spoof you.

MR: I think it will be more low-tech than that. Let’s say you had a bad experience with a brand (not even as a competitor) and you were very angry with them for whatever reason. You can videotape any interaction between a customer and a desk clerk on your phone and then edit it to look like the clerk was cussing or saying something horrible that if the video got viral it will be a huge hit to the brand [Michelle does not endorse any such act]. Suddenly you have a problem you have to face.

MO: Wow, that’s actually really scary.

MR: It is. And we know that people have done this before to harm brands they were angry with or harm competitors. It’s logically the next step with technology changing.

Having a strong brand is the best defense against these things. Seeing is believing. If you know enough about a brand that they’re not terrible people then you will question what you’re seeing a little more. That’s what the goal has to be. To build a brand strong enough to mitigate any deep fake attack.

MO: Besides building a strong brand, what have brands done when hit with a deep fake attack?

MR: I don’t think there was a deep fake on a brand that I’m aware of as of yet, but there were other situations that caused reputation problems for brands that how they responded was of everything. A couple of examples are like when United dragged that guy off the plane or when Starbucks let those two men get arrested when using the restroom. Those were PR disasters. Cases like this bring about a ton of news articles filling the SERP that’s negatively affecting your brand.

So how do you mitigate it? You respond immediately and effectively. You have to address it meaningfully. Apologize, apologize, apologize. Do everything you can. Generate more news and more information to knock the negative news out.

MO: Let’s shift from negative to positive. AdWeek recently reported that brand trust has fallen to an all-time low (something like 55% of consumers don’t trust companies). How do you build a positive trustworthy persona for your brand if people aren’t going to trust you from the get-go?

MR: You don’t sell your value proposition, you sell your values. Instead of producing content that focuses on your product, focus on your people and values. Nike is a brand that is doing an incredible job at this while doing incredible brand marketing. The way they advertise, the way they promote equality, demonstrates the values of the brand overall.

Another brand is Dove. A number of years ago they decided to not use models, stop touching up pictures, and start showing real people in real situations. Knowing Dove’s ethics and values makes me more inclined to purchase from them. You develop an affinity to them. In marketing, the value proposition used to be the best product, the best price, etc. Now, we don’t think as much about how we are aligning our products and services with our value statement which will resonate with our target audience. Inasmuch it’s about understanding ethics it’s understanding which values and ethics are most important to your target consumers. It means more if you step into something that’s potentially divisive.

Any time a brand takes a risk I’m more inclined to believe that it’s genuine.

Think of the Gillette campaign. Have you seen the Gillette campaign?

MO: Yeah, even the sports talk shows were all over this. This was not fun for anyone.

MR: Well, except for Gilette who wasn’t hurt in the long run because you can think about the data Gillette has on its consumers, who is doing the purchasing in the homes and on who are the primary constituents they were planning to target. They were actually trying to grow their women market with their female products like their female shaving products. It was an incredibly smart campaign because it resonated with every woman. It may have upset a lot of men, but maybe it wasn’t targeting the men which made it genius.

MO: To me, everything starts with brand identity. What you offer, what your content focuses is on and subsequently how both search engines and consumers view you all seems to start with how you view yourself. Forget being a more “private model” however how do you assume a model ought to go about creating an id for itself?

MR: It’s not one thing you are able to do in a day. Let’s begin micro after which go macro. Think about your self and your status. You most likely don’t get up each day pondering that is how I’m going to handle my status. You don’t. You have set values and dwell them. You don’t stroll round telling folks you’re not racist. No one does that, I hope. You reveal it by the way in which you act, behave, and dwell. Brands have to do the identical factor. The choices of what these values are is set by the founders, the advertising workforce, or branding specialists.

Let’s say you need to help ladies in sports activities getting equal pay. Equality is a worth system. It generally is a massive subject, slender subject, or no matter. Pick a worth you need to align with and ensure every little thing you’re doing along with your product, your customer support, your workers, and so on. aligns along with your values. How you get there may be individualistic. The most vital factor is that you just really reveal it.

Here’s an instance I really like to present. Do you already know Aleyda Solis?

MO: Absolutely, we had her on the podcast two months in the past.

MR: Aleyda is an incredible particular person and John Mueller as properly is an amazingly good particular person. Now think about there was a video of each Aleyda and John sitting down at a espresso store and Aleyda passes John an envelope and John says, “We’ll fix that for you.” Imagine seeing that. What would you be first reaction to seeing this?

MO: That something is wrong going on here. Knowing them, something’s not right.

MR: Exactly. Your first instinct is to say something’s not right because their reputations are so strong. What we know about them will make us question that situation. That’s what brands need to do. We need to develop a strong enough reputation in whatever communities we’re in that if something like that happens, it’s easier to address because it seems so unlikely.

MO: Do you mean it’s so strong that even with the fact that people believe so much nonsense that it will overcome even that?

MR: I think it’s so strong that people are willing to question it. There are always people who believe in almost anything or who believe in conspiracies and they will take it and run with it. Something that brands should be doing is social listening. There are a lot of tools out there that enable the ability to listen to what people are talking about in general and what’s the sentiment to your brand in general. You should always be optimizing for positive sentiment. As brands, you should be monitoring what’s happening in the marketplace. If it turns out there’s a pocket of detractors, address them, don’t ignore them. Address them head-on and keep building your brand with positive sentiment so that pocket becomes smaller and smaller.

MO: Do you have to be careful when you address it though because you could come off as being aggressive or overly sensitive?

MR: I didn’t mean to directly address it. There are a lot of ways you can address things without directly addressing the person, individuals, or the incident. Basically, resurface information that the brand has done that flies in the face of what the brand is being accused of. That’s your best offense. It shows the point that a brand isn’t built in a day, nor a month, nor a year. A brand is a long term strategy and long term play.

It was spoken about for years that Google has a brand bias. Google doesn’t have a brand bias, it has a data bias and Google has access to a wide amount of brand data, not just from the brand’s website. Brands have more signals, more data, and people talk about brands more. It’s really hard to be a new brand now without going the extra mile. No one knows who you are, you have to build your brand and trust. It takes a long time and you have to be in it for the long run.

MO: I feel obliged to tie this into SEO at this point…. Do you think that the idea of having a core brand identity plays into how Google understands who you are (as an entity)?

MR: Yeah, and it goes with the signals I was talking about. There are more signals from brands to digest. Think of Yelp when someone writes a review about Brand A and says that they were first using Brand B and then wanted to try and switch to Brand A, but they now want to go back to using Brand B. That article was about Brand A, but Brand B was mentioned, and Google is digesting all of this data.

Google’s not only taking online data, but it’s also taking people’s movement data as well. Imagine a small town with two pizza shops, one with a killer site that loads really fast, it’s fully optimized, it has a 4-star rating on Yelp with over 400 reviews. The other pizza place has a site that’s only a PDF with only 100 reviews on Yelp. Now imagine every week the highly optimized pizza shop gets 500 people through the door and the shop across the street gets 5,000 people because the locals know it’s better pizza. They don’t care about Yelp or search rank, these town folk care about the pizza. Google is capturing all of this. Google knows which pizza store is more popular. So which local pizza store will rank higher? In this case, the pizza store with 5,000 people ordering pizza will rank higher.

We have to broaden our understanding of what we think Google understands about brands in the world. Start thinking more holistically about the channels we operate in instead of just thinking about what I can do in order to optimize for a bot.

MO: I don’t know what it is with the SEO industry, but there is this blinder’s eye where nothing else exists outside of SEO and even in SEO it’s very linear. High search volume keyword? Perfect. Does it align with what I’m doing perfectly? Not particularly, but because it’s high volume I’ll target it.

MR: SEOs need to think about other things that could also be influencing what you’re seeing in Google search results. It could be the advertising team created a SuperBowl ad which is why your site’s direct traffic spiked. It’s important to understand everything a brand is doing and not just what you’re doing within SEO.

MO: What are some of the tools outside the SEO box that you’re fond of that help manage brand reputation?

MR: Again, it’s the social watch tools. There are a number of them so you should invest in the one that’s right for your brand and within your budget. Large brands might be already doing this in their marketing department so make sure to get access to this data.

Optimize It or Disavow It

MO: In a zero-sum world… which would you do, create really reputable video content to help build your brand reputation or you could spend time disavowing spammy links to better your backlink profile?

MR: I will take this back to what I said at the beginning to always focus on the user so I would create the content all the time.

MO: (Jokingly) But links are everything!

MR: Not for customers. They do play an vital function, however except you could have a extremely major problem then you need to create the content material. And it’s one thing that’s going to profit you in the long term, it would at all times exist as soon as while you create it, and it’s one thing you may leverage throughout a number of channels and campaigns. SEOs have to typically take into consideration the a number of channels and never assume so narrowly. A chunk of content material isn’t one thing you employ as soon as after which throw it away to gather mud. Think of what you are able to do with the content material throughout channels and campaigns.

And it must be good content material. Think about when you have one thing to say, when you have authority on this subject, and is it one thing that your buyer wants. And when you can’t tick these bins then transfer alongside to your subsequent initiative.

MO: Thank you for that. I actually respect you approaching, Michelle.

MR: Thanks a lot, Mordy.

SEO News

Google Removing Featured Snippet Organic Result: Google was seen removing the Featured Snippet URL from the organic results. Meaning, the Featured Snippet URL confirmed solely within the snippet and never a 2nd time inside the natural outcomes!

Google Grouping Same Domain Results: Google was additionally seen exhibiting multiple results from the same site collectively in a single field. As against the outcomes from the location exhibiting in numerous positions on the SERP, Google threw all of them into one field.

Google Updates Video Structured Data Help Doc: Google has up to date its video structured data doc to be extra particular and due to this fact extra useful. Check it out.

WSJ Accuses Google of Interfering in Search Results: The Wall Street Journal took a tough shot at Google accusing it of foul play. There’s so much to expunge from this story. Basically, in Mordy’s opinion, the piece was a hatchet job with an agenda. The better part was that they did analysis on 17 searches. 17?! Seriously?! That’s it?! We would possibly go extra into this subsequent week as a Pet Peeve section.

Fun SEO Send-Off Question

If Google ordered takeout the place would it not order it from? 

Sapir believes Google will order from a Korean restaurant, issues like bibimbap, kimbap, and different dishes (and under no circumstances was her reply biased as a result of Sapir as soon as lived in Korea). Mordy selected Chinese meals as a result of it has so many flavors that Mordy can’t put a finger on as to what they’re, similar to an algorithm replace the place one thing is occurring however we will’t fairly determine it out.

Tune in subsequent Tuesday for a brand new episode of The In Search SEO Podcast.

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The In Search SEO Podcast

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