Is Microsoft Edging In On Amazon?

It’s no secret that Amazon has built the world’s largest online e-book distribution outlet. But Barnes & Noble has a growing business model as well with its competing Nook. Now, B&N has partnered with Microsoft to form a new company that promises to offer the largest online department store a run for its money.

The company is called Newco and Microsoft has invested $300 million for 18% of the stakes. That’s a pretty sizable chunk.

I think the partnership has a lot of potential. Microsoft owns the second largest search engine Bing. Not content to sit in second place for anything, the company has been building strategic partnerships all over the place – with Facebook in search and several others. It’s latest joint venture with Barnes & Noble might prove to be lucrative for both parties.

This really means that Barnes & Noble is getting serious about competing with Amazon on e-books. And competition is a good thing.

But what does it really mean for small business owners? Considering how easy it is to publish an e-book these days, I think it’s a great opportunity for small business owners to increase their authority and reputations by authoring a book that you can distribute to your customers and potential customers. And Newco could become a part of your plan to make that happen.

So what’s that got to do with SEO? Nothing. Except that you’ll need to promote your book somehow. You could promote it through your company website and blog as well as build a separate website for your e-book and find ways to drive traffic to it using traditional SEO tactics. But the bottom line is, e-books are big business and they’re about to get bigger.

April 30th, 2012 / Reputation Management

Linking Pages To Bing

Bing has added a new feature that allows you to link pages to search results related to your name. Just a note: This is for personal search, however, you can link your business and commercial web pages to your name, which will serve as a great reputation management tool.

It’s fairly easy to do, too. You just go to Linked Pages on the Bing website and sign in using your Facebook ID.

That might be a downside. You could be asking, “Why do I have to sign in using my Facebook ID? Why not establish a Bing ID instead?”

That’s a good question and I think it has something to do with the relationship that Bing and Facebook have. Bing is Facebook’s official search engine. Meanwhile, your Bing search results are also tied to your Facebook profile.

The sneaky thing that Bing did was ensure that when you link pages that Facebook is notified and it posts on your Timeline. That’s not really that big a deal. But I can see how it could freak some people out.

The real world practical application is if you have someone searching for you by name, then it will make it easier for them to find you. At least on Bing. That has huge reputation management implications. So the question remains, which pages should you link to your name in Bing’s search results? Here are a few ideas.

  • Any websites you own
  • Any blogs you contribute to
  • Your social media profiles
  • Business websites you own
  • Websites of businesses you are employed by
  • Your church’s or synagogue’s website
  • The websites of any organizations to which you belong
  • Your Wikipedia entry
  • Any other pages online that are about you, whether you own them or not

Bing is trying to make search better for its users and better for those being searched, but it remains to be seen just how well this addition will improve Bing’s search results. Time will tell.

February 23rd, 2012 / Reputation Management

Should You Publish An E-book?

If you are a Scotland-based business owner, you should consider writing and publishing an e-book. This is a new opportunity that business owners have to share their knowledge with their customers and to increase their own authority within their niches.

Before you write your e-book, however, start with a platform. Your platform is your medium for communicating with an audience.

A blog, for instance, is a platform. Your Twitter account, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Google+, and all your social media accounts are your platform. You have the means of reaching countless people who will buy your e-book and potentially end up doing business with you as a result of your increased authority within your niche. It’s all up to you.

An e-book is a powerful tool because it allows you to expand your reach beyond your current platform. It also allows you to increase your reputation among your audience and drive new traffic to your website.

Another variation of the e-book as authority theme is the iPhone app. You can take an e-book and convert it to an iPhone app, which essentially does the same thing. You share your knowledge and experience with an audience while increasing your authority and driving traffic to your website.

In this digital age, Scotland small business owners need to think outside of the box where their businesses are concerned. Build a platform and launch an e-book or iPhone app. You’ll find a new audience and connect with the audience you already have.

February 15th, 2012 / Reputation Management

Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool

What do you do if you want to test whether or not Google is recognizing your web pages as an authority and connecting those pages to your brand name? Answer: Test them. And Google has the perfect tool for doing that.

Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool is designed to help webmasters test their rel=”me” and rel=”author” reputation management tags. If you write a lot of content for your own web properties and as a guest blogger or guest writer on other web properties, then this is a great tool to use to see if Google is recognizing your content and associating it with your authorial brand name.

Enter the URL of the page that you want to test. NOTE: You must enter the URL of the exact page, not the domain name. Click “Preview” and Google will tell you if you have linked profiles on each of the popular social networks including (at least)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Quora
  • StumbleUpon

The tool will also show you the Google snippet preview, what a search result will look like if someone searches for you by name and that specific page is returned. If you don’t have a rel=”me” author tag linked to your Google profile, then the tool will tell you that as well.

Finally, the Rich Snippet Testing Tool will show you the actual rich snippet data on the page so that you can analyze it for correctness and accuracy.

Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool is one of the best online tools available for authors and webmasters to use for reputation management. If you are serious about search engine optimisation and reputation managment, then you should use the tool.

February 1st, 2012 / Reputation Management

Amazon Top Company In Customer Service

An interesting poll shows that Amazon is leading companies across the spectrum in customer service. Not just online companies. ALL companies.

This really isn’t surprising. Amazon has already put some of its brick and mortar competition out of business. But for an online company to win the best customer service award says something about online reputation and customer service more specifically.

A discussion of customer service online is not complete without talking about technology. It is very important to choose the best technology for meeting customer needs. That’s why Amazon is No. 1.

Amazon’s business revolves around fulfillment. If the company cannot meet customer expectations with regard to product delivery, then it’s out of business. Because Amazon has excelled at this from the beginning of its life, it has beat all other companies – online and off – on customer service. And you can too.

You might not win this specific competition, but your local Scotland business can be tops in online customer service with the right content management system, e-commerce solution, or customer relationship management software. Pick the right technology and you’ll be heads and shoulders above the competition.

Customer service really is a matter of owning and using the right technology. Meet your customers’ expectations and you can win a few awards too.

January 19th, 2012 / Reputation Management

5 SEO Tools For Managing Your Reputation

Managing your reputation online isn’t hard. The key is to be proactive and not reactive. You should be managing your reputation before you need to erase the negative stuff. And you should realize that you can’t really ever erase the negative stuff. You can only make it disappear from search results.

But if you manage your reputation on an ongoing basis, then it becomes a lot easier to manage when you really need to manage it.

Here are 5 SEO tools you can use every day to help you manage your online reputation.

  1. Blogger - Blogger is Google-’s blogging platform. Since Google is the No. 1 search engine online, let’s start with this one. Recently integrated with Google+, any content you put into Blogger will receive instant cred.
  2. Google+ – Speaking of Google+, this social networking tool has intense ramifications for search and reputation management. The more you use it, the more likely your Google profile will rise to the top.
  3. WordPress – WordPress is the premier blogging platform. Buy a domain, set up a blog, and blog to it every day.
  4. Articles – Article marketing still works, albeit a bit differently than it did in 1995. Write articles and publish them online with links back to your websites.
  5. Twitter - Really, any social media tool can be used for SEO and reputation management, but there’s just something about Twitter that makes it really powerful – and you don’t have to spend a lot of time there.

Are you ready to manage your online reputation through SEO and social media? Try these tools.

October 27th, 2011 / Reputation Management

Would You Use Google+ On Your Blog?

Google+, in its short life, has taken on a level of popularity unknown before. Google+ is Google’s social network. Of course, many times before Google has tried to get into the social networking game and failed, but this time they seem to have succeeded in ways that they probably couldn’t even foresee.

But what if you were able to publish blog comments on your blog that connected to your commentators’ Google+ accounts. Would you?

Let me tell you why you should probably consider it – if it happens.

First, it would be an awesome reputation management tool for your commentators. By allowing commentators to link their comments to their Google+ IDs, you will do more to encourage comments than anything else you could do. And when you comment on other blogs, then you’ll increase your own reputation as well.

Google+ comments would also gain some extra traction in the search engine. Not that there’s any evidence of Google+ comments having great SEO value than anything else, but I think it’s quite possible that Google+ comments on your blog could very well give it an SEO boost in Google’s search engine. They are, after all, competing against Bing, who is in cahoots with Facebook to make their search engine more social.

Is it true? Right now, this is in the rumor category, but if it is true, then look for a Google+ blog comment system soon.

October 10th, 2011 / Reputation Management

Reputation Management And Google+

If you haven’t tried Google+ yet, let me give you one more reason why you should. It’s a great reputation management tool. If you want to know why I say that, think about this:

The more often you post to your Google+ public stream the higher your Google profile rises in the search engines – especially Google.

And the good news is, it doesn’t take much. You can post just a few times a week and see your profile rise to the top for your name. This is particularly important if you have a common name. But it’s also very important is your livelihood is dependent upon your reputation.

Google is integrating Google+ with all of its other services. That means, if you use Picasa, YouTube, Google Reader, or other Google services, then the more you use them the higher your profile could rise when people are searching your name. Got a very active YouTube account? Post your videos to Google? That counts.

I think within a couple of years, Google+ could very well be the reputation management tool that everyone is using. I would encourage you to get on that bandwagon right now – before everyone else does.

October 9th, 2011 / Reputation Management

How To Get A HubPages Subdomain

Remember the Google Panda update? It got HubPages, and a few other high profile websites that article marketers were using for link building. Since the Google content farm killer was rolled out early this year, HubPages has tried to figure out a way to reward high quality article writers while letting Google have their way with the low quality article writers. Their solution was subdomains.

I actually think this is a good idea – for several reasons. No. 1, you’ll have total control over all the content on your own subdomains, except for the ads served up by HupPages and its advertising partners.

Secondly, your subdomain can be your name, which means it will have tremendous reputation management benefits if used correctly. That is, if you don’t abuse it.

Thirdly, HubPages is still a good source of links and traffic.

Plus, you can monetize your articles at HubPages, which you can’t do at most traditional article directories.

So when you count the benefits, it makes sense to have your own HubPages subdomain. If you don’t already have a HubPages account, I’d recommend signing up for one now. Then go through the steps to claim your subdomain.

With quality content becoming more and more important every day, HubPages offers another way for you to ensure your name and your content are rewarded for their excellence.

July 30th, 2011 / Reputation Management

Amazon’s Reputation Management Strategy

Amazon is a company that has had a pretty solid business strategy right from the get-go. Because of that, the company has managed to snag an unsuspecting award: The most reputable company award.

The award is sponsored by Forbes Media and Reputation Institute. The criteria for judging were:

trust in companies and leaders rather than product brands, multiple stakeholders and their interactions, and building a connection between a company’s reputation strategy and its business strategy.

So if trust in companies and leaders trumps products and brands, what’s that say about reputation management? I think it says a lot.

First, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if your company’s leadership is always falling down in the public eye. Your leadership’s reputation is your company’s reputation. They are inseparable.

While small businesses don’t have stakeholders, you can have fans. They may or may not be steady customers, but if you have a social media presence, then your fans and followers will be watching your every move. How do you interact with them?

Thirdly, your business strategy and your reputation management strategy should be inextricably linked. If they are not, eventually one or the other will suffer. Maybe both.

Congratulations to Amazon for its strong leadership.

April 6th, 2011 / Reputation Management