8 Ways to Improve Your Google Results


Have you ever searched your name on Google? If not, have you searched your favorite celebrity? Chances are you have, and what you may uncover is not always good. For example, my latest search of my favorite actor (Brad Pitt) brought up a whole host of articles about his relationship with Jen. Unless they’re hoping to profit off the old breakup story forever, Pitt’s PR team likely wants the ranking of those articles lowered.

During the past few years, Google has made multiple algorithm updates nicknamed Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and, most recently, Pigeon. While these algorithms change the way paid SEO firms must operate, they do not significantly change the best practices. There are still ways that you can raise positive content or bury the not-so-pleasant articles about your product shortfall, or latest breakup!

Here are some tips to help raise the good content and hide the bad: 

  1. Issue a press release: Increase the number of press releases on the wire. While we don’t always encourage extra press releases, if you are not issuing at least one a month this is a simple solution to increase rankings.
  2. Comment on news articles:  Results coming from a domain like The New York Times are considered very credible by Google. While this doesn’t necessarily have the same impact as coverage in The New York Times, it’s better than negative articles.
  3. Optimize brand videos: YouTube is often considered the second largest search engine, and promoting images and videos can help push negative content down further. Some experts say Google ranks your YouTube content higher than pages from your own website. This article also highlights more reasons for why videos are awesome for search.
  4. Contribute content: Draft content for some of the most credible publications, such as Wired or Fast Company. To optimize reach you can also pay to promote, giving your content an extra boost.
  5. Sponsor content: We’d recommend considering sponsored content or paid ads. There are a whole host of publications, such as VentureBeat, that allow you to publish advertorials while ensuring that it’s contextually relevant, and then of course you could try mastering AdWords.
  6. Update/add online presence to search directories: Make sure directories, such as Crunchbase and BigSight are up to date with your latest messaging, as search engines consider these credible when it comes to your rankings.
  7. Increase owned content: Continue a strong cadence of publishing to your brand’s blog and social media profiles. Also, investigate ways to republish content on other platforms such as SlideShare, Vimeo or Storify.
  8. SEO consultant: If you have tried all of the above and want to try and fight Google’s algorithms, work with an SEO consultant to determine if your SEO is optimized appropriately.

What did you find when you searched your name or brand? Any other tips that have worked well for you? Let us know @BlancandOtus.

Sponsored Content and Disclosure: When the Cat Should Leave the Bag

Credit: Mr. TinDC
Credit: Mr. TinDC

One of the major trends we are seeing in the technology industry at large is the rise of sponsored content. We’ve long heard the expression “content is king,” and organizations today are investing more than ever before into their content marketing efforts. The trend can be traced to the inherent value in a company presenting themselves as a provider of valuable information as opposed to an advertiser of their own worth.

To further derive value from content, organizations are commissioning influencers and bloggers to cover their company or product. The reasoning is simple: if a knowledgeable third party source says, “Like Company X,” it is more convincing to a potential customer than Company X saying, “Like us.” Yet, immediately the question of ethics comes to mind. After all, just how ethical is it if a company pays an influential person to sing their praises? Fortune recently discussed this very topic, using results from a survey to highlight customer distrust of sponsored content. John Oliver also raised concerns over this growing trend, also known as “native advertising,” in a recent HBO segment. For me, the answer is simple: like with any form of advertising, be transparent with customers. How? Disclosure.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines for this very subject. Sure, in a relatively new space, sponsored content might seem like it falls in a grey area compared to traditional advertising. But the days of half-page ads above the fold in Section A of the Sunday paper are long gone. And not disclosing when content is sponsored can lead customers to lose trust in a company, ultimately harming reputation.

So here’s a quick guide to ensuring proper disclosure:

Q: When does disclosure need to occur?
A: Whenever a company provides a third-party content writer some form of compensation. In other words, if money or services are involved, disclose.

Q: What does disclosure entail?
A: There is no specific language that needs to be included. However, general factors to consider include:

  • Proximity: Where in the piece is disclosure occurring? Upfront before the piece begins typically works best.
  • Prominence: Is it easily noticeable? Make it as obvious as possible without ruining the content’s quality, both aesthetically and editorially.
  • Format: What format is it in? Disclose in the same multimedia format as the piece (i.e. radio, video, written, etc).
  • Language: Is it understandable? Don’t use legalese. Use clear language to describe the piece as sponsored content.
  • Social Media: Sharing via a social media platform? Be sure to call out in the social post that the content linked to is sponsored.

In general, the onus is on the company to urge the media to take these steps. Doing so can ensure a great piece of content maintains (or improves) your company’s reputation, maintains a positive relationship with the writer and publisher, and builds customer trust. It may be tempting for a company to try and hide they provided some form of compensation to a publisher, but remember: a customer who knows content is sponsored and takes the time to look at the piece is a more meaningful interaction anyway.