Talk about great taste! The City of Chicago selects eBizUniverse to promote major events like Taste of Chicago, Chicago Blues Festival, Maxwell Street Market etc. using Social Media.

 

The Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced that eBizUniverse was chosen to promote all six major events to increase awareness and attendance at these events.

 

Chicagoans are familiar with the Taste of Chicago as the premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family.

The World’s Largest Food Festival:  

You may know the Taste of Chicago as the largest outdoor festival in Chicago, but did you know that The Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest food festival? An estimated 1.5 million people attend the event annually and it is the world’s largest free-admission outdoor food festival. It is held for five days in July, July 10th-14th, in Chicago, Illinois in Grant Park.

Taste of Chicago

 

Besides food, the Taste of Chicago has a star-studded lineup of national and international artists at nightly concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell along with a daily schedule of local artists at the Goose Island Stage.

 

We are incredibly honored to partner with the City of Chicago to promote their events and make it a huge success. During this partnership, eBizUniverse will offer Social Media Marketing Strategy and Plan and execute them. We are proud to be chosen by city’s talented cultural department to assist in their social media marketing efforts and we are looking forward to building their brand and fan base through online marketing.

 

– Team eBiz

 

core update

core update

 

 

Google launched a massive algorithm update between March 12th & 14th. It was one of the biggest updates in recent years. Because it was a broad core update, Google came out to confirm that they have indeed launched a massive update and called it March 2019 Core update. Many SEO’s also termed it as Florida 2 update.

 

Key Takeaways

None of our client’s websites were affected by this update.

As per observations from other sources, the sites that were hit by August core update 2018 soon recovered from it. Seems like Google rewarded them for adding quality content, building high-quality Google friendly links and improving the user experience.

While some enjoyed the reward, some sites got punished. It may be because of the thin content present on the site and lack of basic on-page SEO factors.

Although the March update affected many industries, “Your Money Your Life” industry was hit the hardest. If you are wondering what exactly is Your Money Your Life, here’s a brief explanation:

Websites asking for personal information, such as identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identity theft.

  • Websites used for monetary transactions.
  • Websites offering medical or health information.
  • Websites offering advice on major life decisions.
  • Websites offering advice on major life issues.

 

If your site was hit by this update or in general is not performing well, you can get in touch with our experienced team to help you out.

Grade Your Website

 

A verified Google My Business listing can take your company to new heights. When your listing is verified, it not only gets a major boost in the SERP, but also appears on Google Maps & local pack. Having a verified listing on the GMB increase chances of your website appearing in front of your prospects since Google puts so much emphasis on the location of the searcher.

But over the years, Google has made their policy strict and now it’s harder than ever for some business (especially those who are in the service industry) to get their listing verified. So let’s find out if your business qualifies for it and will also try to explain how Google sees it.

 

  1. Brick and Mortar

A traditional office, store, warehouse or shop gets the fastest approval from Google.

 

  1. Shared space

 

1) Business inside another business

If you have a store or office inside a commercial complex it means that you share that location with other businesses as well. Although you are entitled to a verified Google My Business Listing, you might face some issues since Google will be extra cautious while verifying it. Many people have reported that although their business got verified, it still shows “Your business is verified. Listings may be reviewed for quality and can take up to 3 days to be published.” But it never gets reviewed and published within 3 days. It takes way longer.

 

2) Departments within other business, universities, or institutions

This case mostly arises within universities, hospitals, and bigger institutions, since they are spread over a huge area and have various entries for different departments and also have different timings.

 

Here are Google’s guidelines for getting a verified listing of different departments of the same company.

“Publicly facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.”

 

3) One location, one owner, multiple businesses

If you are an owner of multiple companies and they all share the same physical location but you want each of them to have its own listing, they should each also have distinct categories and business names and phone numbers and each phone should be answered with the name of that specific business.

 

4) Different practitioners at the same location

What if you are a lawyer or real estate agent who operates from the same location that other lawyers & realtors share? Will you be eligible for an individual listing? The answer is “YES”. Here’s what Google’s guidelines say about it:

“An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated listing if:

  • He or she operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
  • He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.

A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.”

 

Having said that, have no doubt about it that it is going to be really challenging. However, if you run into any problems then you can contact the Google support team on Twitter @GoogleMyBiz or you can fill out the form here.

 

5) Virtual office space

Google has made it clear that if you use virtual office spaces will not qualify for a verified GMB listing. It will be eligible only if you or someone from your team is “available” there at the location during the business hours mentioned. Google has also recently updated its guidelines regarding this. Give it a read.

 

6) Sharing an office with a business like yours

You will have a tough time verifying this kind of business because no legit business would want to sit at the same location where their competitors are. And in case you manage to get it verified, the chances of data getting conflated is very high. So it’s better to just avoid it because it can get messy.

 

7) Co-working spaces

It’s not very different from shared spaces and virtual office. So let’s just say that if you or your employees are available at the address during the business hours then you are eligible for a verified listing on Google My Business. But let me repeat, it will be tricky!

 

8) Home-based business location

One of the most hectic situation to be in. Google HIGHLY doubts a business that is being operated from a residential address because it got spammed a lot in the past and now they want to avoid it. However, you may be eligible for the listing, if you can show proof that you have set up a legitimate office in your home where you meet your customers. They may ask for the photos or/and videos of sign boards, business cards, front entry, etc. The reason given by Google for this is: If you meet customers at your home, then you MUST have a signboard. There’s also an option of video call verification where they will ask you to show you your entire setup while being on a call with you all the time.

 

  1. Service Area Businesses (SABs)

 

Let’s first understand what Google considers as Service area business: “Service area businesses are those that do their work at the customer’s location”.

 

Hidden Addresses

If you don’t meet your customers face to face, then Google thinks that showing your address on the map is not required. If you operate such business, make sure you answer all the questions appropriately while setting up your GMB account.

 

Verification

To get this type of business verified, you may be asked for additional proof form Google staff to ensure that your business truly exists and is legit. You may be asked for videos of your work vehicle etc. to assure Google that you are running a legit business.

 

Home Addresses

It has been seen that many companies have tried to create an individual listing of their business from the home address of their own and sometimes employees. While this “Might” work, but there are high chances that it will backfire since you are trying to trick the biggest internet country on the planet.

 

Takeaway

Make sure you read Google’s guidelines & above-mentioned tips and information before setting up a Google My Business listing. Because not only Google has made their policy strict, but your competitors are also looking out for any inconsistency so they can report a problem with your listing. This may result in suspension of your account -which you will want to avoid at all cost.

Questions about your Google local listing? Contact Us

 

Everyone was excited about Google Posts within the SEO community. But over time we analyzed that it is getting less and less exposure. However, we still believe that Google Posts are worth your time and efforts.

The good news is, that while other types of Google Posts are getting less exposure, “Offers” are getting more & more exposure. Google’s new layout introduced a dedicated space for customers to see a carousel of Offers from your business.

 

Actionable Strategy

Google Posts may not be proving as fruitful as you might have expected it to be, but it still drives free traffic. So don’t stop creating Google posts and utilize the “offers” within the Google posts to the fullest. However, make sure that you are sticking to Google’s guidelines while creating offers:

 

“An offer can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing a list of choices.”

 

Questions about Google+? Contact us!

 

Twitter has launched a new tool that lets you know the best time and date to post your video content.

According to Twitter, it’s an effort to provide our publishers with more actionable data to help them improve their performance on Twitter.

As seen in the chart below, Timing is Everything displays historical data showing when audiences are on Twitter watching and engaging with video.

They further added:

“It’s important to note that the chart on the page doesn’t show when your organic followers are watching your videos; instead, in the aggregate, it shows when people on Twitter are generally watching any video on Twitter.”

 

Takeaway

Although it doesn’t provide insights about YOUR post, it’s a good roadmap to find out the right time to post. Keep experimenting with your posting time based on the insight you get from this tool and you will eventually hit the right chord. This means, you will eventually be able to figure out when is the best time to post video content for YOUR followers.

 

 

Are you getting the best return out of your digital marketing? Need an extra pair of eyes to review your online game plan? Let our experts take a look at your current state and do a comprehensive digital marketing analysis at no cost to you. Please call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us today and we will get to work right away.

Video editing technology and computer-generated (CG) graphics have reached an astounding level of sophistication. Today, it’s possible to create lifelike images and even video footage of completely fictional people, commonly called “deepfakes.” The Pentagon recently released details of their plan to fight the surge of deepfakes and pressing issues concerning fraud and other criminal activities enabled by deepfake technology.

Risks Presented by Deepfakes

Deepfakes have already caused significant problems for many individuals. Video and photo editing technology can be used to create falsified images, such as superimposing a politician or celebrity’s likeness into pornographic material in an attempt to sully the victim’s public image.

deepfake

Many deepfake videos blend existing videos and images to create misrepresentations of actual footage. For example, a deepfake algorithm could take video footage of two different subjects and superimpose them upon one another to create a new image, ultimately for uses of impersonation or misrepresentation.

Deepfakes Are Becoming Easier to Make

In previous years, creating a convincing deepfake, even an image, required extensive experience with digital editing tools and quite a bit of time invested. Modern digital media editing tools make it much easier, and even individuals with only moderate experience in digital media editing can create convincing deepfakes with a little effort. The advances made in the film and video game industry in terms of CG graphics over recent years have inspired unfortunate consequences.

deepfake

Stopping Deepfakes

The sheer quantity of digital content on the internet can make it nearly impossible to tell a deepfake apart from a legitimate piece of content without digital media analysis technology. The Pentagon and other organizations committed to fighting the proliferation of deepfake media have started creating computer programs trained to analyze video and detect manipulations.

Artificial intelligence has enabled a new generation of deepfake creation, even without significant experience in digital media editing. It is unclear how deepfakes will affect the internet at large as they permeate digital content outlets and social media, but they have already caused severe damage to many individuals blackmailed or humiliated by deepfake content made using their likenesses. They obviously have the potential to cultivate great mistrust of digital media, potentially harming many web-based interactions and hindering electronic commerce in many ways.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your digital marketing, contact us!

In October 2015, a woman looked out of her window and saw a black man wearing a black hoodie trying to get into a car. What she thought she saw was car theft. What she actually saw was an innocent young man simply getting into his own car. She called 911 and reported the alleged vehicle theft, which led to a violent arrest and excessive force from the police – all caught on a dashcam. That man was Lawrence Crosby, a PhD student at Northwestern University and the owner of the vehicle, and now the recipient of a $1.25 million settlement for his damages.

Lawrence Crosby’s Controversial Arrest and Acquittal

Lawrence Crosby was on his way to Northwestern University’s engineering lab to do some homework around 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. The woman who reported what she thought was theft decided to follow Crosby in her car so that she could give police his exact location. In the audio recording of the 911 call, the woman says, “It looked like he was breaking into the car…I didn’t mean to, like, racial profile. I feel bad.”

Police caught up to Crosby and pulled him over near 1500 Ridge Road. The dashcam footage of the arrest shows Crosby stepping out of his vehicle – both hands in the air, one holding a cellphone – to multiple police officers pointing loaded guns at him. As Crosby tries to peaceably explain that the car belongs to him, the officers tackle him and begin repeatedly punching and striking him – all while Crosby continuously says, “I’m cooperating, I’m cooperating.” The officers kick and punch Crosby at least ten times.

At the scene, police verified that Crosby did, in fact, own the vehicle, but they arrested him anyway. The charge was for disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest. During his criminal trial, the judge acquitted Crosby of all charges. Crosby then filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Evanston, where the arrest occurred, and against the four police officers who used excessive force.

The Crosby Case Settles for $1.25 Million

During his civil case, Lawrence Crosby’s attorney, Timothy Touhy, says the amount Crosby was seeking was fair and reasonable due to inappropriate use of force during Crosby’s arrest.  Crosby himself stated that, had the police given him any opportunity to engage in conversation, none of it would have happened. One expert witness in the case, former police officer Dennis Waller, says Sergeant Anthony Correa should have taken control of the situation but failed to do so. Crosby now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, and fear of police.

On January 23rd, 2019, justice sided with Lawrence Crosby. He received a $1.25 million settlement from the four police officers and the City of Evanston for his experience and damages. The Evanston City Council will review the settlement for approval on January 28th. Although the city manager, Wally Bobkiewicz, did not disclose the settlement amount, Crosby’s attorneys confirmed the $1.25 million value of the settlement. The city’s official statement post-settlement was that it was a “compromise of disputed claims, and the parties have not admitted liability.”

One main reason Crosby’s attorneys managed to settle his case for over $1 million was due to the significant damage to his online reputation. Thomas Bibby Varghese of eBizUniverse was asked to testify on behalf of Lawrence Crosby as an expert in online reputation and as an expert witness in the case. Thomas was deposed and it is his opinion that the arrest will continue to haunt Crosby during his life – the infamy of internet is forever.

The Key Role Online Reputation played in the High Settlement Amount

Lawrence Crosby is now a doctor. He received his PhD in engineering from Northwestern University. As the case’s media consultant, Tom Shaer, pointed out during a press conference, Crosby came from extremely humble beginnings. He has worked hard and stayed out of trouble to get where he is now. Yet, thanks to the viral video of his violent arrest receiving almost 50,000,000 hits online, news of his arrest has literally spread worldwide.

Thomas B. Varghese and his team of online reputation experts was able to assess the reputation damages as a result of this case and their conclusion was that the damage was extensive and would take months or years to repair. The case became national news – forever associating the name Lawrence Crosby with an altercation with the police. In fact, when you search the name Lawrence Crosby, there are close to 20 million results.

Unfortunately, nothing Crosby can do will give him a clean slate. It does not matter that the courts dismissed his charges or that he won a settlement for the police officers’ misconduct. When employers, colleagues, coworkers, and others conduct an online search for Crosby’s name, they will see articles on his arrest, police officer testimony stating they had to punch Crosby in an “attempt to gain control,” and the video of the entire event. Even after the settlement in Crosby’s favor, Evanston police say the officers were complying with procedures during Crosby’s arrest.

People may form their own opinions on the arrest and about Crosby himself based solely on what they find during an internet search. They may assume he must have done something wrong to get in that situation in the first place – even though he didn’t. Crosby has spent his whole life working toward his education and creating a professional life. Now, thanks to Evanston police and the internet, he will never have the privacy of a normal citizen; even his innocence is one display; no one should have to be seen begging for their lives on a dashcam.

How Important Is Online Reputation?

Today, public image rests largely on what comes up during an online search. Varghese explained in his testimony that Crosby will have to live with a “digital scar” because of the negative news articles and videos. Varghese says the experience will damage Crosby’s professional, personal, and social brand – something that would take a substantial investment of time and money to repair. It is almost impossible to put a figure on Crosby’s lifelong damages.

Lawrence Crosby will have to live with the arrest as a “digital scarlet letter” forever, as Tom Shaer puts it. The incident tarnished his online reputation in a way that will force Crosby to explain himself during job interviews and in many other situations. Mr. Varghese and other experts explained that to shift the media back in Crosby’s favor is extremely difficult and costly; it would also cause an incalculable amount of stress to Crosby himself. Therefore, Shaer argues, Crosby had no choice but to file a lawsuit against the city and the individual officers, in an effort to salvage his image.

As long as the video of Crosby’s arrest still exists online, Crosby will have to live with its impact to his reputation for as long as he lives. He did nothing wrong, yet he will always have to deal with this unfair blight to his character and good name. It is the foreseeable longevity of the damage to his online reputation that helped him secure a $1.25 million settlement – something that will only partially make up for everything Lawrence Crosby has and will continue to suffer due to a justice system travesty.

Dr. Crosby no longer lives in Evanston. He is an engineer in Arizona and is now leading a forum on implicit bias at Stanford University. He hopes to use his experience to change society in a way that prevents anyone else from experiencing the same thing he did.

 

Have your reputation damaged and looking for help? Please reach out to us: call 800-379-2829 or submit form here.

Come join us on February 14th, 2019 at 11 AM as eBizUniverse presents: 5 STRATEGIES TO TRIPLE YOUR ONLINE REVIEWS AND BUILD A STELLAR ONLINE REPUTATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS

In this seminar, we will provide you with the tips and tricks on how you can build a stellar online reputation for your business.

Seminar

Topic Outline

  • An understanding of what online reputation is and why it matters
  • Understanding your audience and how to build a reputable and profitable brand.
  • Tips on how to build a Stellar Online Reputation
  • Online Reputation – Devastating mistakes to avoid.
  • Specific tactics for improving the reputation of local businesses
  • 2 Common mistakes that most local businesses make, yet can be easily avoided.
  • What to do when your online reputation is attacked
  • How to come back strong after a reputation attack, defuse negative search results and cleaning up the mess.
  • I have been Yelped! How to fix it.
  • Case Studies of Online Reputation Repair
  • Optimizing social media profiles and use it for your reputation
  • Building a brand that is trusted and admired for years to come.

 

Who should attend? Anyone who wishes to master online reputation management should register immediately. This is especially true if your company needs to improve its own reputation or don’t have a reputation strategy in place. Even if you don’t have any bad reviews yet, you don’t want to scramble when you get a bad review, you need to put the strategy in place so even if you get a negative review, it doesn’t affect your business. This is ideal for B2C and B2B businesses.

*Lunch Included*

SEO world

 

 

SEO world

 

 

SEO world

We have witnessed some big changes in the SEO world in 2018. From big algorithm updates, to mobile first indexing & changes in Google search console, there is a lot to catch up on.

Search ranking and algorithm updates

Speed update. Google pre-announced that they will be launching the Speed update anytime soon in January but launched it five months later in June. At first, many website owners and SEO professionals were flipping out, thinking that it will adversely affect their site ranking, but Google confirmed that this update will only affect the slowest sites. Google said it “only affect a small percentage of queries.”

Medic update. Clearly the biggest search ranking algorithm update in 2018. Google launched the Medic update around August 1 & confirmed it after the SEO community took notice and approached them to get more information.  At first Google shrug it off saying that it just another “broad core algorithm update” that they do multiple times a year, but this update was different as it specifically impacted health and YMYL categories.

Other algorithm updates. Along with the Medic update, Google also launched March core Update and April core update.

Mobile-first indexing

Google started hinting that they will be going mobile first very soon….in 2016. Yeah, they were planning to go mobile first since 2016 and fully shifted to mobile first indexing in 2018.

For those who are unaware of it, Google finally decided to index the internet from the view of a smartphone instead of desktop. They started sending notifications via Google Search Console to inform the site owners about this shift. Today, Google claims that almost 50% of the websites have been shifted to mobile first indexing.

Here’s a Google guide on how you can prepare for mobile first indexing.

SEO changes

Structured data. Google is putting a lot of emphasis on structured data & schema.  From speakable markup for voice search related queries, a brand new indexing API for job posting schema to image search changes, various updates to recipe markup, new job posting guidelines, Q&A schema, live stream support, data sets schema, how to, QA, FAQs schema and so much more.

Other changes. Google not only introduced new schemas & API but also dropped support for the old ones like news meta tag, the standout tag and editors pick in Google news. This move was seen as an attempt to appear unbiased because all of the internet giants are facing allegation of partial treatment from a lot of publishers & users.

Google’s effort around the dynamic rendering & lazy loading content and photos is an effort you’ve seen a lot around with JavaScript SEO in 2018 & will continue through 2019.

Personalization. As we mentioned earlier, the two internet giants Facebook and Google were accused of misusing personal data in 2018. However, Google said that they do not use personalization that much and it is limited to showing relevant local results. “BUT” the duck duck go founder says otherwise. He explained in a long Quora post that how Google misuses your personal data and how privacy becomes a myth when you use any of the Google products or services.

Google Search Console and other tools

Google launched a brand new search console in 2018. Just like most of their updates, they first launched the beta version of it and then removed the beta tag and fully launched it for everyone. They also provided a way to import your old search console reports and data to the new one.

Google also started showing Search Console snapshots directly in the search results for site owners. They also changed the limits and quotas on crawling and indexing within search console, removed the ability to use the public URL submission tool & provided convenience to the site owners by automatically verifying them with their Google Analytics account.

Google also tested new form of domain properties for cross site reporting, added a number of reports for event listing, AMP, links, mobile usability and more. They also launched several tools in 2018, and one of the best from the lot was URL inspection tool.

This wonderful tool gives a snap shot of how Google sees your page. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

They also heard the demand of the SEO community and finally allowed us to view 16 months of historical data. Not only that but they also expanded the API to provide us with 25,000 rows of data.

Google local

Google Posts. Google spent a lot of time polishing Google Posts. They tested many UI around Google Posts on both desktop and mobile searches and also updated the My Business Console to enable Google Posts on the web or through the mobile app.

However, all these efforts from Google didn’t yield the type of results they were expecting since many local SEO experts said that the Google posts traffic and engagement level is on the decline.

Google My Business. Google not only updated the GMB API several times in the past year but also updated the GMB mobile app to allow business owners to manage their listing on the go. They added more insights data, analytics, branded searches, more query data and also launched an agency dashboard as well.

Mobile search and voice assistants

The increasing popularity of voice assistants has made many SEOs take keen interest in voice SEO. Although Google Home is considered the smartest one out there, but the competition is neck & neck since all the tech giants like Apple, Microsoft & Amazon have their own home assistants. But we can give credit to Google home for being the first home assistant that comes equipped with a display.

From an SEO perspective, we couldn’t care less about which one is the best, but rather very much interested in how we can beat the competition & secure the number one spot in voice search results. We know that featured snippets play a big role in it, and as the usage will grow, so will the SEO tactics to outrank each other.

Google UI changes

Google rolled out a new design for desktop searches, discover feed & more results button for mobile and did many changes to UI.

They also increased and then decreased their snippet length, expanded the autocomplete predictions and started showing cameos of famous people in search results.

AMP. Coming to AMP, Google released a developer preview of showing the publisher URLs in search and not the Google AMP cache URL. They also launched AMP stories in search & a bunch of other AMP features.

Other big Google news

In other news, Google is finally closing down Google Plus after 7 years due to many security incidents.

Continuing from the last year, our client’s rankings haven’t had any major impact after roll-out of these algorithm updates and continue to rise as we shift to 2019.

 

FREE INSTANT SEO Audit Of Your Website

SEO world

It’s more than an obvious fact that consumers are most likely going to rely on newer reviews than the older ones. Also, in comparison with older people, younger individuals greatly depend on reviews for a number of things.

What’s so surprising in this, you would ask? A new study has not only proved these facts but has also come up with some insightful metrics indicating the year after year changes.

A Local Consumer Review Survey published by BrightLocal last month, revealed that reviews are critical to the decision making process of consumers choosing goods and services from local businesses.

The below screenshot indicates a strong correlation between the trends and the age of the consumer.

It’s nothing of a surprise that consumers aged 18-34 grew up in the online era. While those older than them grew up taking recommendations from friends and neighbors.

However, it all comes to the same point, people still consider reviews. The only difference over the years is that they are now digitized and available online for everyone to see other than just your friends or neighbors.

Key Findings of The Study

  • 91% of 18-34 year old people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
  • More consumers require multiple reviews to trust reviews
  • 80% of 18-34 year old people have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
  • Older consumers are more likely to be skeptical about online reviews

In case you are looking for stats and in depth details, read the Full Report and for takeaway points, follow our Actionable Strategy based on the findings of the report.

  • Keep your reviews fresh if you are planning to target younger customers.
  • Reviews that are older than 90 days become less valid, those that are less than 2 weeks old are best and those within a couple of days are ideal.
  • Bad reviews create a negative impact on customers, you must put in all your marketing strategies to action to turn them into good reviews.
  • The more the reviews, more will customers believe in their authenticity. Make sure your product/service has LOTS of reviews or at least more than 10 reviews.
  • Having No reviews is almost as bad as having bad reviews.

So be open to reviews and deliver what your customers are looking for! If you’re looking for genuine reviews, we highly recommend you to check out MyReviewEngine. MyReviewEngine is a review management tool where your business can get more 5 star reviews and triple your sales. The system automates your review process and makes it easy to invite your clients to review your business, via email, SMS, etc. In addition to growing your reviews on auto-pilot, the tool also prevents negative reviews from being published online and be sent to you so you can handle that directly. There are several other features but those are just a few. Go here to run a review scan and check your online reputation.

 

CHECK YOUR REPUTATION SCORE

 

 

 

Moz has released the 2018 local search ranking factors last month & it reveals a lot about the upcoming big changes in the SEO world. If you are looking for accurate predictions, or just want to stay updated about the current trends, we recommend reading the full report.

2018 was a good year for Local SEO since we witnessed a major boost in the rankings of the local players instead of the corporates. This just solidifies the facts that no matter your size, if your site has what it takes, then there’s no denying that you can even beat the mega corporations.

Keep in mind that this survey was conducted among the SEO professionals. They were asked to rank the main ranking factors. Here are some of the key findings.

Local SEO has changed drastically over the past 3 years and if you are sticking to old SEO practices, it will do more harm than good. Also, if you want your site to rank high, you will have to prefer quality-over-quantity. Be it content, backlinks, reviews or citations.

It has been observed by many SEO professionals that you can manipulate the content on the knowledge graph. It mostly works for hijacking brand queries or getting clicks that you will not get normally. 

Also if your site is not receiving the kind of traffic that you were expecting that maybe you have to send signals to Google. What it means is that if Google gets the “hey this business is alive signal”, it might boost your rank a little. You can then use this to show a detailed report of your SEO efforts. But you will have to figure out which thing to prioritize. Because there’s a lot of things going on and there’s a good chance that your client will not understand the technical things.  So you may have to break it down in simpler terms.

Factors to pay attention to in 2019

An easy way to check for what Google thinks is important with internal links is to do a site search on Google, type in one of your keywords & see what comes up first. This will help you determine what Google thinks is most relevant for your keyword.  And if the result is not what you expected, fix it and do a search with the same keyword again.

If your business is new, you have to ensure that you have covered all these basics.

  1. Order Citations
  2. Website is up and running.
  3. Page loads quickly.
  4. High quality and relevant content
  5. Add schema to the site
  6. You are using Google My Business posts
  7. You’re responding to Questions asked via knowledge graph listing

If your business is around for a while, it is going to take a lot more efforts. You can start by checking the source of the traffic, if you are paying for it, then is it converting? Are your blogs up to date. Are you regularly uploading high quality content?  These are only a few of the questions that you should ask yourself about your website.

Be informed that GMB categories are a major ranking factor. Therefore it is often manipulated BUT GMB related spam can be reported on Google Maps or escalated to Google via their various support channels. So if you see anyone misusing it, you should report it.

The conclusion of the survey is hard to sum up but if you will pay attention to the details, you will be able to crack the secret ingredient to a successful local SEO strategy. Although, you will have to do a lot of research to revise your current plans without hurting the existing campaigns.

 

 

Google is slowly moving features and data from the old Search Console to the new one. However, not all are happy with the way data is presented within the new search console because many reports are missing from it. Although Google has promised that all the data will be available in the new version as well.

Google announced via a tweet that reporting features for AMP, Index Status, Links, Manual actions, Mobile Mobile Usability, Rich Cards, and Search Analytics have been successfully moved to the new Search Console.

Takeaway:  Google search console is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. It provides you with invaluable data, so if you are not using it, then we highly recommend reading this guide on how to get your website on search console and start utilizing this powerful tool to the fullest.

And if you are already using the new Search Console, the above table will help you locate old reports. Maybe it will be bit difficult to get used to the new Search Console, after using the old one for years, but as we all know, the only thing constant in digital world is change. So get used to the new interface and use it to your advantage.

 

 

It’s no secret that customer reviews are important to ALL businesses. People vale customer reviewers as much as personal recommendations. However, old reviews may not be as important as the new ones as reported in our earlier article. The freshness of the review matters a lot.

So it came as no surprise when Yelp decided to update their automated recommendation software to show only fresh reviews. The software moved the older reviews to not recommended category, hence taking it away from the public eye. As a result, many business owners were shocked to see a sudden plummet in their business’s ratings.

We tried to gather as much information as possible about the update, and here are our findings:

  • Everyone was impacted by this update since it was a cross-platform update.
  • Not all 5 star reviews were filtered, it just moved the older ones to the “Not Recommended” category.
  • It doesn’t matter if you advertised on Yelp or not or if you were Yelp Elite, everyone was similarly affected.
  • Reviews that were on the platform for several years were filtered.

For a little clarification watch this short video where Yelp explains why some reviews are filtered and some aren’t.

Takeaway:

You can’t do anything about the filtered reviews. They are gone forever so you should start focusing on getting new reviews instead of getting upset over the older ones.

If Yelp played an important role in your overall marketing efforts, then you should start focusing on getting new reviews from your satisfied customers. You will have to come up with creative yet simple ways to generate new reviews, like adding the link to your business’s Yelp profile into the receipt email or on the checkout page.

Furthermore, you can also allow users to “check in” when they are in your location. Adding Yelp Review Widget on your site is also one underrated way to get more reviews. You can also embed some of the best reviews on your site to not only generate trust but also to prompt customers to check your business profile on Yelp. And last but not the least, keep your Yelp profile updated.

How to automate prevention of negative reviews (If you can’t fight it, automate it!):

Finally, we highly recommend you to check out MyReviewEngine. MyReviewEngine is a review management tool where your business can get more 5 star reviews and prevent negative reviews. The system automates your review process and makes it easy to invite your clients to review your business, via email, SMS, etc. In addition to growing your reviews on auto-pilot, the tool also prevents negative reviews from being published online and be sent to you so you can handle that directly. There are several other features but those are just a few. Go here to run a review scan and check your online reputation.

 

CHECK YOUR REPUTATION SCORE

 

 

 

You may have witnessed a sudden drop in the number of subscribers on YouTube. It is because YouTube is actively removing spam subscriptions from their platform.

Google said that they regularly check the authenticity of the accounts on YouTube and remove the accounts that looks suspicious. It means that they not only deactivate the spam accounts but also remove their subscription from every channel they are subscribed to.

The most recent cleansing drive was performed on December 13th.  So if you noticed a drop in the number of subscribers, this might be the reason why.

Upon contacting, they said –

“Removing spam from the platform helps ensure that YouTube remains a fair playing field for everyone and should result in higher confidence that you’re organically building a community of authentic fans”.

However, Google is not keeping the channels in dark. They are showing a banner on YouTube studio & Classic Creator Studio which informs the affected channel about the removal of spam subscribers.

However, Google is not keeping the channels in dark. They are showing a banner on YouTube studio & Classic Creator Studio which informs the affected channel about the removal of spam subscribers.

You maybe wondering that how Google decides that which account is spam. Here’s their answer:

“We use a mix of industry leading techniques and proprietary technology to identify spam on the platform. Often, these types of actions are meant to make channels look more popular than they actually are”.

Google explained that it will not affect the watch time since they were spam and wouldn’t have watched the videos in the first place. So you will only loose numbers of subscribers and not the number of actual viewers.

Your biggest concern would be falling below the 1000 subscription threshold required to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program because that’s the only way most of the YouTubers get paid. Addressing this concern, Google stated that:

“Channels that had a high percentage of spam and fall below 1,000 subscribers will no longer meet the minimum requirement for YPP and will be removed from the program. They are encouraged to reapply once they’ve rebuilt their subscribers organically. You can learn about how to apply for YPP here.”

Takeaway

If your subscriber count fell below the YPP 1000 minimum, then there’s nothing you can do to gain those back. You should focus on getting new subscribers instead. And to avoid this type of sudden shock in future, make sure that they are not spam from your end. If you need more information, we recommend reading this article by Google.

 

 

Are you getting the best return out of your digital marketing? Need an extra pair of eyes to review your online game plan? Let our experts take a look at your current state and do a comprehensive digital marketing analysis at no cost to you. Please call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us today and we will get to work right away.

Facebook live streamingNo doubt you’ve seen live videos all over Facebook and other social media outlets by now.

Businesses, news stations, celebrities, and even people from your neighborhood have been able to broadcast themselves in real-time. The trends will only increase, according to research. In fact, the signs say the growth could be ten-fold in the coming year.

How Live Streaming is Changing Our Lives

Concert live streamingInstantaneous video information is more in demand than ever before. Think about television services such as Netflix: instead of paying hefty bills each month for content, people are opting to spend a few dollars and stream their own movies on-demand. We are becoming increasingly used to using video for all of our information and entertainment needs. The progression is now moving into our social lives.

The biggest change will be with our mobile phones. More people use their handheld devices to access the Internet than laptop or desktop computers now. As a result, researchers are estimating that mobile live streaming will increase tenfold by 2020. This is without accounting for the traffic generated by Wi-Fi usage, meaning the actual increase will be much more.

How to be Prepared

Companies can use these changes to their advantage. Platforms like Facebook make it very easy to begin a live stream and notify followers and friends about the broadcast. The real-time reactions are also a handy tool to help evaluate the success of the video while it is streaming, making it easier to adjust the content accordingly.

Live video isn’t something to be feared. In fact, it’s going to change the way we use the Internet, so businesses should do everything they can to take advantage of the trend.

Smartphone voice searchSearch engine optimization is crucial for the long-term health of your website. Without the right search rankings, it’s impossible to show up high enough on websites like Google to bring in new customers.

Voice-to-text technology, however, may be redirecting the way certain inquiries are showing up.

The Difference Between Voice and Text

Let’s say you wanted to know what the oldest breed of cat was. How would you type that into your computer? Chances are your search would look something like “oldest cat breed.” You would certainly get the results you’re looking for, but what if you are using a voice assistant such as Siri or Cortana?

Research has shown that people are more likely to use natural phrases when they’re using a voice-to-text. This same inquiry would likely become “What is the oldest breed of cat?” Searches are finally evolving enough to pair perfectly with human language.  Apple and Microsoft are constantly updating these voice to search programs so it understands ‘everyday’ language and not ‘canned’ language.

Why Voice Search is Changing the Game

Voice searchThese changes might seem pretty minor, until you consider how fast voice searches are growing. These inquiries are becoming more popular faster than any other type. According to new research, 55% of teenagers and 41% of the adults are already using voice search capabilities, and that number is growing rapidly.

Even these small changes to word choice will have a big effect on general searches over such a large scale. Now companies can begin expanding their focus for keywords and search terms. Longer voice searches also give better insight into the intent behind the search. Because when it comes to marketing, you can never know too much about your customers.

To get your website ahead of the curve, contact us today at 847.220.9541 or visit our website.

Offensive marketingThe principle of war, known as the Strategic Offensive, is much better remembered as the old adage, “The best defense is a good offense.” Yet, any sports fan knows that “special teams” is often the hero of the game.

Security, Hackers, and Cyberattacks

The birth of today’s internet began back in 1969 with the government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency and the communications network that linked four major universities in the United States together. It was intended as an alternative communications system if the country came under military attack.

HackerIn 1982, the intelligence agency discovered a plan that Russia was going to steal computer software to gain control over the Trans-Siberian Pipeline. The United States changed the coding in that software causing the pipeline to explode and cyber-attacks were born.

In 1986, just four years later, the first hacking investigation took place tracing the hacker to Germany after he had broken into multiple computers at universities and government computers around the U.S.

Smarter Mousetraps Create Even Smarter Mice

Network exploitToday every person, every business, and every government agency needs to be aware of how personal or confidential information is handled. There are hackers who break into computers to steal information for personal gain, some believe they are crusading for a cause, and others just like the thrill or the challenge of breaking into systems that are considered impenetrable.

No matter how much we advance there will always be someone looking to exploit a weakness; we literally create the next generation of hackers with every update designed to prevent hacking.

Defense, Offense, & Special Teams

Any successful team is made up of different talents coming together as a complete unit to get the job done; in April 2016, the government is going to add a “special teams” area to their talent pool. Businesses have been using hackers to test computer security systems with great success, and now, the U.S. government is stealing that page from the playbook. Inviting external, but vetted hackers to try breaching selected public websites. The offense builds it – the defense protects it – special teams finds the weak spots making us stronger and more successful against future cyber-attacks.

BloggingContent curation articles offer more benefits than a few sparse blogs here and there. When you blog, you share your own ideas and soon, it would prove to be a challenge to come up with unique topics and content on a regular basis.

With content curation, you pull out content from various online sources and share these on your site together with your insights and recommendations. While establishing your authority by sharing what you know on the subject, you are also helping readers get the information they need on the subject from one source—your website.

Make Yourself Known as an Industry Expert

While you can do this with blogging, it is easier to achieve this with content curation. Content curation is not merely copying and pasting content from other sources. It’s linking to it or quoting them and sharing what you know and think about this information that you have shared. The various information that you collect and share on your site support the messages that you are trying to send to your readers and ultimately adds value to your content.

It helps with SEO

Content curation helps with SEO because it helps you stay relevant. Google and other search engines love new content that readers find interesting and useful. This is the type of content that gets shared. It also shows how relevant your site is when readers start linking back to your site.

Save Money and Cost

BlogQuality content needs time and money. You save on both when you curate content because you don’t have to start writing from scratch. With content curation, great ideas are already there, it is just up to you to build upon it with your own insights. It would also be easier for you to keep your content fresh and focused on your niche.

Like blogging, content curation helps with branding and marketing. Consider the advantages of content curation and see how it can help you and your business achieve your goals. If you need the help of digital marketing experts to get started, you can contact eBizUniverse.com.