Tag Archive | "enough"

Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Marc Benioff

“I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough,” says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, discusses how he supports the government investigations into the tech industry in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

We Are At a Point In Our Industry Where Enough is Enough

I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough. We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on. So I’m actually all in on this (DOJ review of big tech). I actually think it’s maybe too little too late. They should be more aggressive. We’re following behind what the European Union is doing.

The European Union are the ones who are the leaders in this area. Not just in privacy with GDPR but with their European action against these companies when they misuse data, misuse privacy, or take advantage of customers. There are things that have happened in our industry that are embarrassing to me. So let’s clean it up and let’s get back to where Facebook is not the new cigarettes. That’s what I’ve been saying to everybody. Let’s make it all great again if you will. Let’s make tech have the values that we all want it to have and let’s take care of our customers and put consumers first. This is what I think is important.

Absolutely, The Tech Industry Has Brought It On Themselves

Absolutely, (the tech industry has brought it on themselves). I think that now is the time for them to basically clean it up. It’s not too late, it never is. That is what has to happen. You can see companies who have not made these changes and their executives have walked out. They buy these huge companies and you’ve seen them (top execs and founders) walk out. These people are friends of mine.

I’ll say, why are you leaving this company? “Well, I don’t like the values. I don’t like what’s important to that CEO. That CEO said this to me so I’m leaving.” Wow. That’s amazing. Then you saw the customers leave and you saw advertisers leave. That has to change. I think that there needs to be corrective action and it needs to come from the government. I’m for the regulations that are coming in here.

Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

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I Used To Live In A Caravan: Here’s How I Made Enough Money To Live Anywhere In The World

This is Part 2 of my new Services Arbitrage free introductory training series. If you have not read Part 1, go do that now – How To Start An Online Business Selling Services Other People Deliver (I Call It ‘Services Arbitrage’) (10-minute read). Press play on the video above to hear the story behind the caravan, or […]

The post I Used To Live In A Caravan: Here’s How I Made Enough Money To Live Anywhere In The World appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Why Great Content Alone Isn’t Enough to Build an Audience

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about creating content that earns your audience’s attention. Mark Schaefer swung by and left a comment — and he made a point that is dear to our hearts at Copyblogger. “Outstanding content is not the finish line, it’s the starting line.”– Mark Schaefer I told
Read More…

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I Used To Live In A Caravan: Here’s How I Made Enough Money To Live Anywhere In The World

Most people don’t know this, but when I was younger my ‘bedroom’ was a small caravan (sometimes called a campervan, RV or motorhome, depending on where in the world you come from). This picture is a pretty good representation of my setup at the time, with my caravan at the back…

The post I Used To Live In A Caravan: Here’s How I Made Enough Money To Live Anywhere In The World appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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I’m Done With SEO Coverage – I Had Enough Of You

I am just done with it all. I am sick of it. I spent 12.5 years of my life writing about the changes happening in the search industry, ranking changes, Google updates, etc…

Search Engine Roundtable

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Why Content Strategy Isn’t Enough

Posted by MackenzieFogelson

In 1989, I was conquering the eighth grade with a pair of Hammer pants, big bangs, and a stockpile of Aqua Net hairspray. During class, notes would be passed so friends could arrange to drink Dr. Pepper, eat Skor Bars, and play Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth album on a ghetto blaster after school. On a real good day, there’d be a message from the guy I was “going with” on the answering machine when I got home.

Source: Antique and Retro Shoppers Map

Luckily for us, since the late 80s, the pace at which technology has evolved is astounding. If I want, I can get fashion advice from people all over the world who share my size and style. If I need to get in touch with a friend, all I need to do is send a quick text. And, if I actually needed it, I could, in fact, order a can of Aqua Net Super-Hold from my mobile phone, sitting on the couch, streaming a Jack Johnson concert, while reading a post on Pocket from Vogue about other uses for Aqua Net when it’s not serving as “an invisible cantilever for implausibly huge heads of hair.”

There’s no doubt that these technological advances have made our world faster, smaller, and more connected. How is it even possible that it took phone companies 89 years to connect 150 million people, where it took Facebook only 8 years to connect 1 billion?

What’s interesting, and actually quite ironic, is that even though the world is more connected than ever, when it comes to companies and their customers, many of the relationships couldn’t be further apart.

Source: Christoph Becker

It’s no wonder there is a ginormous distance wedged between companies and their customers. Many companies — especially in the tech industry — are not being built for the long-haul and they have their priorities in all the wrong places.

For many of today’s companies, growth is emphasized at all costs. Overvalued tech companies are painting an unrealistic illusion of what to strive for as a business.

Source: Nathalie Nahai

In the good old days when I was using Aqua Net, the average time for a Fortune 500 company to reach $ 1billion in market value was 20 years.

Google did it in 8.
Facebook in 5.
Uber and Whatsapp in 2.
Snapchat: just 22 months.

To expect growth at this speed is unrealistic for most companies, yet that’s the new role model. Working to become the next unicorn pushes companies to value the wrong metrics and lose sight of what’s really important: putting in the time to earn the trust of their customers and building a business that’s worth being connected to.

As marketers, we’re forgetting that it’s not just about the content we produce, it’s about the experience people have with the brand and the company we’re working so hard to build.

As we walk into yet another year, we need to be intentional about building purposeful brands. Without fail, we need to deliver a seamless, authentic experience. And whatever we do, we need to ensure people, not technology, are driving marketing efforts.


Build purposeful brands

Source: Mark Boncheck

All too often, the content that companies are generating is entirely disconnected not only from the needs and desires of their audience, but from the brand and company they aspire to be.

Over the years, content marketing has fallen prey to the “more is better” mentality. Rather than intentionally developing content as an extension of a company’s purpose and promise, content has become a quest for volume.

As more research has been advocating that high volume isn’t necessarily the best strategy, and that there actually is safety in quality over quantity, companies are starting to be more intentional about what they’re producing and why.

Unfortunately, the way many companies still view content strategy is generating a bunch of stuff that’s going to help them rank rather than as an altruistic gesture that builds credibility and serves a true need for their customers and community.

Source: Velocity Partners

There’s no doubt that content strategy is still important and that your content must be the best search result anyone can find, but just because you have great content doesn’t guarantee you anything.

As we continue to lose the ability to organically reach an audience on search and social, as technology increases the opportunity for people to block advertisements, and as avenues for connecting with customers increasingly become more digital, we must build brands so compelling and human that they transcend technology. We must become so real and relatable and true and trustworthy that customers don’t wait for you to come to them, they go looking for you.

Your content — whether that’s the words on your website, the listings on your product pages, the posts on your blog, the promotions in your emails, the exchanges on social media, the conversations with your customers, the design of your packaging, the presence of your team at an offline event, or your actions to remedy conflict — has to be part of a seamless experience across channels and mediums. This should all be part of a marketing strategy that’s working toward building an experience with a purposeful brand.

At the heart of every powerful brand and an effective marketing strategy is a company’s meaning beyond money. Many companies, not just startups, struggle with first identifying this meaning and then understanding how it integrates into their positioning. They’re not quite so sure what sets them apart from their competitors or who the right audience is for their product. When you don’t have clarity on these things, no matter how big your budget is, it’s going to make it really difficult to connect with your customers.

Arielle Jackson offers some questions and a simple framework to make sure your positioning is solid by using the prompts: For, Who, That, and Unlike:

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

With this formula you can quickly, clearly — and most importantly, in a very human way — communicate your positioning and your purpose. This is Harley Davidson’s:

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

To start, and in order to populate the prompts in the framework, Arielle recommends answering these questions:

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

She also recommends that when developing or evolving more meaningful positioning, it needs to come from the mark your company wants to make on the world.

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

In your positioning, you must identify where you fit in this world and also answer the question:

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

Knowing why your company exists and what it’s here to do will not only help you build a purposeful brand, but also make a remarkable difference in your marketing strategy and the connection with your customers and community.

Several years ago, Dove redefined their purpose and discovered a more significant meaning around which to build their brand.

Source: Arielle Jackson via First Round

Since 2004, the driving force behind Dove’s brand, their meaning beyond money, has been expressed through many mediums inside the Campaign for Real Beauty movement. From ads with real customers:

Source: Dove.us

…to billboards around the world that ignite engagement and thought:

Source: Dove.us

Since starting a conversation around what beauty really looks like more than 11 years ago, the way they’ve been communicating the message has continued to evolve so that it remains relevant. With this approach, Dove has earned brand advocacy, loyalty, many awards, and a hefty climb in profit from $ 2.5 to $ 4 billion.

Although their approach has received a great deal of press questioning its authenticity, Dove has made sure they aren’t just spreading awareness but putting action toward the meaning behind their message. Partnering with Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, and Girls, Inc, Dove has funded and supported activities that bring awareness to bullying as well as discussions about what it means to be beautiful.

Ultimately, far beyond profit, the greatest result Dove has experienced is actually working toward achieving their purpose: helping more women love and feel good about their bodies.

What you stand for as a company and a brand drives your products, your actions as a company, and also your marketing. More importantly, it will be the spark that ignites a connection with the people in your community.

When it comes down to it, people will continue to have access to more: more content, more products, and more choice. The need to build meaningful relationships with your customers is not an optional approach, but a requirement. Identifying and communicating your purpose as a brand is just one part of making this happen. The rest is delivering a seamless, authentic experience.


Deliver a seamless, authentic experience

Source: Mark Boncheck

In Joseph Pine’s TED talk on What Consumers Want, he discusses how we’ve hit a new level of value in our economy. In this “experience economy,” we must go beyond goods and services to a create a memorable event. An experience. This isn’t a new concept and many companies have used experiential marketing very successfully.

But the most important piece of Pine’s talk explains how the experience needs to come from an authentic company. That authenticity has become the new consumer buying criteria. In other words, who you’re going to buy from and what you’re going to buy has everything to do with how authentic the company is. This authenticity can’t be faked through your advertising or any components of your brand’s identity. 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition. Bottom line: If you say you’re authentic, you’d better be authentic.

Authenticity means that the things we say, and especially our actions, communicate the things that we actually believe. So instead of companies saying what the demographics data tells them consumers want to hear, authentic companies — their employees and all — actually live and breathe, with conviction, their meaning beyond money, across all channels and mediums.

Take Wear Your Label for example. A fairly young brand, Wear Your Label is striking up conversations about mental health with clothing. Their mission as a company is to remove the stigma of mental illness one piece of clothing at a time.

Source: Maya Sherwood Photography – MTV News

Wear Your Label lives and breathes their meaning and authenticity, which is apparent in everything they do — on- and offline. They create an inclusive, welcoming, empowering experience. Even the labels on their clothes exude their purpose. Instead of washing instructions, all clothing has a self-care reminder:

On the Wear Your Label website, instead of hiring models to showcase their clothing, they use role models who are brave enough to share their own stories of mental illness and how it’s affected their lives. There are no height or weight requirements, they simply ask people to share their experiences.

Source: Wear Your Label

On their blog, Wear Your Label is transparent about how they make their clothes and have a community of advocates who write their content.

Offline, Wear Your Label sticks with being real. When they were asked to put together a show for New York Fashion Week, instead of solely pulling from a supermodel cast, they featured an open call to pull three customer role models onto the runway. When they spoke at Youth Day 2015 in Toronto, they went experiential by setting up a pop-up shop, having 15 volunteers hand out conversation cards to the crowd, and giving a dollar of every purchase to a partnering mental health organization.

On social, their feed is refreshingly human. On Twitter there’s a balance between self-promotion and igniting a connection. It’s real people wearing their clothes, providing daily self-care reminders, and everything is a reflection of their purpose. Wear Your Label is off to a great start as a brand and is doing a ton of good stuff to earn credibility and build relationships that will, over time, result in a strong community and a profitable customer base.

But here’s the thing. Creating this presence is fairly simple from a marketing standpoint. Any brand can do this. Any brand can ask people to tell their stories and put emotional videos up on their website. Any brand can post some helpful, heart-filled tweets on social media. But an online presence is only a fraction of the authenticity equation.

The most telling pieces will come from the quality of their product: how it wears and washes. How easy it is to order online across devices. What it’s like to deal with a return if something wasn’t a great fit. Whether they respect email preferences. When they say that order volume is high and delaying shipping, do they honor the window of 5-10 additional days as published on the site, or do they fail to communicate when they need to break this commitment?

Source: Wear Your Label

When a brand follows through, this is the stuff that builds a seamless experience, proves that they are authentic, and fosters trust and connection. In order to earn the loyalty and advocacy of their customers, like every brand, Wear Your Label has got to deliver. No matter where. No matter what. And at every touchpoint they have the opportunity to win over their customers and community. I have confidence that Wear Your Label will continue to be successful in their growth and be one of the good ones.

Source: Ekaterina Walter

Many marketers and CMOs are wondering where to put more marketing dollars. Put those dollars where your experience falters. You may not control “the funnel,” but you do control how you behave every time a customer or community member interacts with your brand throughout the lifecycle.

You can control how authentic you are, the quality of your customer service, how much time you spend improving your product, and the value the customer gets from your product once they’ve taken it home. If you’re blowing it at any stop along the way, invest your money there. By ensuring your customers have a seamless experience with your brand, the closer you’ll get to achieving your brand and revenue goals.

Source: Help Scout

The fact of the matter is that your actions as a company are what afford you a runway with your customers. If there is a disconnect in the experience you’re providing at any point, you’ve either lost a customer entirely, or you’ve just dissolved trust that has previously been built and will negatively affect your customer’s purchasing decisions and advocacy behaviors.

Source: Mathew Sweezey

The pressure is on for brands. Not that companies have to be perfect. We’re all human and we make mistakes. But in order to build deeper relationships with customers, we have to do what we say and genuinely show that we care. Companies who are willing to invest in building this level of trust will not only profit from it, but outlast their competition.


Let people, not technology, drive marketing efforts

Source: Robert Safian

These same authentic companies who are out making their mark on our world operate entirely differently from the companies my parents worked for when I was using Aqua Net and wearing Hammer pants. Companies who have had success building relationships, connecting, and earning trust from their customers in our extremely digital world know that it hasn’t come solely from their marketing strategy.

They’ve successfully presented a very human experience for their customers because it’s a passion and a mindset that’s breathing life from inside their very core. And their entire company, not just their marketing department, is feeding it. Internally they know how to break down silos, communicate, and effectively align their organization to their goals so they can deliver what their customers and community really need. They may use technology like HipChat or Slack to be more efficient internally, but they don’t allow it to take the place of face-to-face when it’s needed most.

Source: Mathew Sweezey

As companies get their bearings in our rapidly changing world and make the necessary adjustments to stay alive, marketing can no longer operate separately from other teams.

Doesn’t the shipping or product team need to work closely with the website and social teams to communicate real-time delays or bugs to customers? Wouldn’t the marketing and engineering team benefit from the feedback customer support is receiving? Shouldn’t the social and community teams work alongside sales to nurture relationships on- and offline? In order for companies to be fully authentic, they cannot mislead by presenting a unified presence on the outside that is completely disconnected from what it’s really like on the inside.

It’s also impossible for companies to deliver a seamless experience if the people — on both internal and external teams — cannot collaborate, align with co-workers, or focus together on achieving the overarching vision of the company. Just as you must build trust with your customers, the people on your teams need opportunities to do the same.

Teams need to be given the tools to self-manage, empower each other to be leaders on many levels, and have the courage to more effectively communicate with their peers. Changing the way your organization operates internally certainly gives your employees the opportunity to figure out how to work better together, but on a much grander scale, it affects the trajectory of the company.

Your entire organization is responsible for the customer experience at every touchpoint, which means giving your employees the power to take initiative and collaborate across teams allows more people in the company to focus on the customer. Similarly they can recognize the challenges you’re facing as a company and take the initiative to collaboratively find solutions to fix them. All of these actions affect your bottom line.

Source: Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s also up to every person in your entire company to find ways to relate to your customers. In Max Lenderman’s book Experience the Message, he tells the story of the Ritz Carlton approach not just to customer service, but customer data. Each day the doormen and concierges are given a check-in manifest that they memorize. Guests are personally greeted — by name — by the staff.

As the hotel staff learns the likes, dislikes, and habits of their guests, they make note of these characteristics in a customer relationship management (CRM) database. The more often someone stays at the hotel, the more personal their experience becomes. Their guests return. A lot. The average Ritz Carlton guest spends $ 100,000 over a lifetime.

But having this data is not what builds the trust and relationship with their customers. It’s how the Ritz Carlton staff apply it in their very caring and personal interactions one-on-one with their guests. It’s in the values that serve as their staff training tool. It’s in the way they use the data not to exploit their guests but to make their experience better.

Source: Rita J. King

Technology is unfortunately a double-edged sword. It certainly benefits us tremendously, but it’s also what’s causing the insatiable desire for companies to be more real and human. We think a CRM system or marketing automation platform is going to help us talk to someone at the right time and the right place and make the sale for us. That’s not for a machine to do. That’s where we — as people — win. Those systems are only tools and a tool is not a solution. They are to be leveraged to create better experiences and ultimately help brands become more human.


Let’s build better companies

The way our world is evolving heavily affects how companies should shape and market. Content strategy isn’t enough because with the quick-wins marketing approach we have now, we’re losing our connection to people. We’re trying to force control over a journey with our customers in which we have very little influence. We’re thinking technology is going to build our relationships for us and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

But although these are huge challenges, they’re also huge opportunities. They give us the chance to stand above the level of mediocrity that consumers — and even other brands — contend with every day.

Content will always be extremely important. And when building your content strategy, you must have the entire cross-channel experience in mind, and that should guide the tools you use to effectively and authentically engage with your audience. But just producing great content won’t work unless you also prove yourself to be the worthwhile company your customers desire.

The characteristics of an authentic company are harder to prove results from. And building a purposeful brand takes a great deal more work and time to earn a customer base. But it’s also what will keep your customers around longer. It’s what will motivate them to tell their friends about you. And it’s what your competition can’t build overnight. The companies who are willing to do this work are going to be the ones who win over the next many years.

And these are the companies we need to build. The ones who will stand out from the rest. If you invest the time to build a genuine brand, people will hear about you. And they will come find you. Hammer pants and all.


A special thanks to Olivia Roat, Mike Soderholm, Beth Etter, Rebecca Gilmore, and Courtney Brown for their support in writing this post.

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This Area Would Be Enough to Power the Whole World with Solar Energy

Did you know the amount of electricity consumed in the world each year? According to statistics Site Index Mundi, the world’s electricity consumption reached 17,780 million kWh in 2011 and 19.090 million kWh in 2012. With a growing population and expansion of the technological infrastructure, the number increases every year, while the energy resources of our planet are limited and will be exhausted in the near future.

At the same time, the Earth receives an average of 164 watts of solar energy per square meter in a 24-hour day, which makes 84 terawatts of energy (or 84 billion kWh) per day worldwide. So the challenge is to gather the necessary amount of solar energy through solar panels. You may think it should be covered with solar panels to power the entire world with vast territories of electricity. However, incredible as it may seem, a small piece of land would be enough to meet global demand for electricity.

According to a diploma thesis of Nadine May the Technical University of Braunschweig entitled “Eco-balance of a solar electricity from North Africa to Europe Transmission,” the world could be powered exclusively by solar energy through solar panels placed in a small area in North Africa.

The three red boxes can be seen in the above picture shows the area that would be enough to meet the demand for solar electricity in Germany (D), Europe (EU-25) and worldwide (Welt).

Of course, this would require the installation of equipment and network cables needed and have ecological impacts on the ecosystem of the region, which, however, would be many times lower than those of a conventional power plant. In all cases, the benefits would far outweigh the possible environmental effects.

“The overall we can say that, from an ecological point of view, nothing prevents the expansion of solar thermal power in North Africa and the transmission of solar electricity produced in Europe,” concluded May

Interestingly, the document was published in 2005. Now, ten years later, most countries still depend on conventional sources of energy production and take little advantage of renewable energy. The problem is that much depends on governments, most of which seem to favor the development of green technology and renewable energy.

This, however, should not prevent us having our own “green revolution” – everyone can install solar panels on your roof instead of continuing the use of technologies based on conventional fuels. Remember that the future of our planet depends on our decisions and behaviors. This, however, should not prevent us having our own “green revolution” – if more and more people are choosing to install solar panels on your roof instead of continuing to use conventional fuel technologies based on the world situation will change. Remember that the future of our planet depends on our decisions and behaviors.

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What Motivates You Enough To Work On A Friday Night…

What Motivates You Enough To Work On A Friday Night… You know the power of a deadline right? On Friday night I was in my short term rental apartment in South Yarra Melbourne.  It's a cosy modern little apartment, a little bit dark and small, but perfectly suitable for my…

The post What Motivates You Enough To Work On A Friday Night… appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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If a link drops on the web, does Google care enough to penalize you?

Bad LinksI receive several link removal requests a month from people who have left legitimate comments on my blogs. These people followed the rules and only embedded links in the little URL field that WordPress provides by default in the comment form. It is not required that you place a link there but most people do it.

The links use the “rel=’nofollow’” attribute and I manually review all the comments. Once in a blue moon a spammer gets past my vigilance with a well-crafted generic comment. I have learned to be more suspicious and to sometimes search the Web for the 1-2 sentences that the spammers leave before approving comments.

The Problem Is Not the Links: It is the Lack of Research

Not every Web marketer has been doing this as long as I have so I try to cut people with less experience some slack when they make mistakes. But the growing number of link removal requests from people who obviously don’t know what they should be removing is starting to alarm me. The requests all come with basically the same explanation: “Google Webmaster Tools shows me that I have 500 links coming from your site.”

First of all, you don’t have 500 links coming from my site. It’s more like 1,000 links. And you should be ECSTATIC that someone with my experience would be glad to hand you 1,000 NoFollowed links. They won’t hurt you in anyway.

Secondly, I removed the WordPress widget that was giving you those links quite some time ago. So when you look in your GWT link report, you need to understand that those links may no longer exist. The widget I used was “Recent Comments”. It’s a standard WordPress widget. It’s a blogger’s way of rewarding people for commenting and reassuring new visitors that real people do read the blog (and leave comments).

The Marketing Web is Changing Because of You, Not Because of the Rules

It’s just a shame that ignorance and paranoia are forcing people like me to change what they put on their Websites. I did not remove the widget for your sake; I removed it for mine. There is no way Bing or Google will care about any link to your site from my blogs. They know my sites, they have known my sites for years, and they know those links are good, safe links.

It’s not the search engines’ fault that Web marketers are starting to run in a panic toward the nearest exit from the Link Building. Web marketers did this to themselves, and to each other. If you read advice on a popular SEO blog it must be good, right? After all, it’s a popular SEO blog. And I am giving you advice on a popular SEO blog. But the difference between my advice and the bad advice out there is that I am not telling you how to run around the Web and build spammy links.

If you see an article on your favorite SEO blog that tells you how to get links from a specific Website, using a specific tool, etc. think of any links you acquire via that method as spam. The search engines may not have a problem with those links today but as more marketers follow that advice all those links will lay down a pattern of obvious manipulation and abuse that becomes labeled as spam.

So the links you should be disavowing are the links you built for SEO, not innocent comment links.

If you cared enough about what I wrote somewhere to leave a comment, to thank me or to disagree with me, and you embedded a link to your site in that comment: you’re fine. If, on the other hand, you used XRumer or some other spam tool to leave a bajillion comments across the Web linking back to your spammy affiliate site or client site, well, you need therapy.

Good comments may be rewarded with links from good Websites.


Bad comments should just hit the SPAM folder and eventually be deleted.


The Number of Comment Links from a Site Does Not Matter

You’re confusing the old SEO practice of asking for/buying sitewide links (which did not use “rel=’nofollow’”) with the Web wide practice of sharing legitimate links. Search engines know the difference.

Comment links hurt you if, unlike a real person, your Website magically appears in comment links on hundreds or thousands of Websites within the space of a day, a week, a month.

Comment links are relatively harmless if, like a voracious normal commenting passionate person, your Website appears normally in comment links on dozens or maybe a hundred Websites a month. If you leave 5 real comments on Websites every day, you can leave 150 normal comments a month.

That should not hurt you. How do I know this? I leave comments on blogs all the time and I have never once received a suspicious links notice from Bing or Google. And I publish thousands of linky comments on my blogs without ever receiving any warnings, penalties, downgrades, or memos from Bing and Google.

The search engines do not care about real-world, passion-driven links. If you’re charging up your blog comments with dozens of links to malware-laden Websites – well, you’re probably not the kind of person who would care about penalties anyway.

The Only Thing You Need to Know about Any Link is WHY it was Left There

If you were not spamming at the time you left a comment on my blog, and if your comment was approved, your links are fine. You don’t need to ask me to remove them. You don’t need to disavow them.

Let your honest intentions be your guide. Your gut instincts will serve you far better in analyzing your link profiles than all the SEO bloggery in the world.

The only good link is the link you didn’t care about when you created it because you were so intent on participating in the discussion.

The only bad link is the link you made because you read on some marketing blog or forum that this was a great link to get.


About Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez has been developing and promoting Websites since 1996 and began practicing search engine optimization in 1998.  He is the principal author of the SEO Theory blog. 

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

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Is Your Content Credible Enough to Share?

Posted by Carson-Ward

Insufficient credibility undermines digital marketing, particularly among SEOs who now produce or promote content as part of their job. People won’t share content that isn’t credible; they know the things they share reflect on them and impacts their own credibility. While the importance of credibility gets mentioned in passing, little has been said about
how to actually build it, until now.

Your Guide to Establishing Credibility

You build credibility by signaling to the reader that you can be trusted. The signals of trust can come from the author, the site, and from within the content itself. Each signal will appeal to different types of readers in different contexts, but they come together to make content that is credible enough to share.

Rand mentioned credibility in his
Content Marketing Manifesto as one of the things we need to build familiarity, linkability, and trust. Several studies have also shown credibility’s critical role in promoting and sharing. So, let’s build some credibility.

1. Establish expert credibility

Expert credibility comes from having knowledge others do not. People want experts they can understand and trust, especially when trying to understand complex or ambiguous topics like new technology, engineering, advanced science, or law.

Be an expert or hire an expert with insight

A Syracuse University
study found “insightful” content was most correlated with users’ estimation of a blog’s credibility. You can’t offer interesting insight on a subject you know very little about, so obviously you need to be an expert or hire one.

Unless your expert has breaking news, he or she needs to provide quality analysis and opinion to add any value. Most successful non-news content is opinion and/or analysis, whether verbal, graphical, or textual.

If you’re creating video or text content for your site, the expert should also be able to clearly express complex subjects in a way readers can understand and follow. If he can’t then get a content writer to interview the expert and relay the information.

Source experts

Do not try to give your opinion as an expert in a field where you’re not one. It won’t work.

We’ve all read non-expert content on subjects where we’re knowledgeable. We know what expertly-written content looks like and can easy detect pretenders. If you pretend to be an expert and get one little detail wrong, you’ll blow all your credibility with the people who actually understand and influence the discussion. They won’t link to or share that piece of content and they may never share any of your content again. Don’t take that risk.

Rather than trying to fake expertise, try finding experts and incorporating their expertise into your post. Journalists have long understood this tactic. Even journalists who
are experts use quotations from other experts in both news and analysis pieces. The front page of the Washington Post’s technology print section is usually littered with quotation marks and according-tos.

People running blogs can easily get a quote from someone knowledgeable enough to have an opinion that matters. Experts with strong opinions usually want to share them.

Be passionate to build trust

Syracuse University study and this University of Pennsylvania study show that passion is key to judgments on credibility and sharing. Readers don’t just want an expert who can explain things; they want an expert who cares.

Experts who know what they’re talking about tend to have nuanced and sophisticated opinions about subjects they understand. Don’t undercut that understanding with a shallow piece of content. Expert pieces should be deep and thoughtful.

Legal experts who really care about
Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission simply wouldn’t take the time to write a bland essay on what the ruling said and how it might impact the future of politics. SEO experts don’t want to report on the fact that Google penalized guest post networks. They care, and want to explain why it’s good or bad.

Expert opinion shouldn’t be confused with argument, and it doesn’t require you to start a firefight with anyone who’s taken the other stance.

Cite sources

Cite the sources for all you expert insight. Citing expert sources is the most obvious way to back up your claims and gain trust. Often citing a source is as simple as linking to the webpage from which you got your information.

Don’t use
weasel words like, “it has been said,” or, “many people believe,” to skirt the citation responsibility. Experienced writers and editors instinctively close the tab on any content attempting to unnecessarily blur their sources.

Show data

Sometimes, instead of breaking news, you can add to it with data. Data lends credibility to your post in a unique way because with numbers, your sources and methodology are more important than the author’s history and popularity. The data, if it’s compiled and analyzed correctly, speaks for itself.

For example, when the CableTV team heard about the potential Comcast/Time Warner merger, we knew simply sharing the news would be a waste of time. Every major news outlet would easily drown out our site, and opinion pieces where popping up everywhere. Instead, we crunched some numbers, comparing U.S. Census data with coverage data, producing a
coverage and population analysis people could see and understand. A few large news organizations used the data in ongoing analysis, Reddit’s founder (Alexis Ohanian) shared the post, and roughly 60,000 people ended up seeing it.

JavaScript libraries and HTML 5 tools are springing up everywhere to help non-technical users visualize data in interesting ways. Mapping examples include
SimpleMaps (used in our post), MapBox, Google Fusion Tables, etc. Graphing and other data options are all over, but this site is a good place to start. Compile data in-between writing stories related to your niche with Census data or any of these data sources so you’re ready to go when news hits. For more tips, Kane Jamison always has tips on data-driven content marketing, including the presentation below:

2. Harness hierarchical credibility

Hierarchical or rank-based credibility comes from a person’s position or title. High-ranking members of an organization have a better chance of being taken seriously simply by nature of their perceived authority, especially when the organization is well-known.

Have important people write important things

People lend more credibility to an article written by an unknown CEO than a writer they don’t know—even if the writer knows more about the topic than the CEO. For better or worse, people are simply influenced by official job titles and standing within hierarchy.

Your definition of what’s important may vary. Almost everything on the popular
42floors blog is written by a founder, while CEOs of larger companies will probably have less time and less interest in regular blogging.

Use executives for guest posts

I know – I’m the guy who wrote
guest posting had gone too far. Google thought so too based on its latest round of penalties. I believe, however, the lack of credibility and expertise in many guest articles was a major cause for Google’s (perhaps disproportionate) response to guest blogging networks.

Don’t waste an executive’s time on small unknown sites no one would ever read. Instead, consider pitching an article written by an executive or other well-known figure to well-known sites. Trulia is a good example with high-ranking members adding guest posts for
Google, The Wall Street Journal, and interviewing with sites like Business Insider. Moz, of course, is another place to see founders adding posts and video frequently.

Better job titles

If you want your content to be shared, make your authors experts in both title and in truth. Changing titles for title’s sake may sound stupid, but titles like managing editor, [subject] correspondent, [subject expert], or even [subject] writer have more gravitas than a plain “author” or “contributor.” Think about what the title says to a person reading your content (or email). The flip side: writers should actually be subject-matter experts.

You should also re-think giving quirky titles to everyone, as they can hurt credibility. I can’t imagine the Wall Street Journal quoting a “digital ninja” or “marketing cowboy” in their story – unless that story is about job titles.

Leadership quotes

You can also make use of another person’s position to lend credibility to your content. This works especially well if you’re looking for insight into a recent news event. Quotes from company executives, government officials, and other high-title positions give you something unique and show you’re not just another blogger summarizing the news built on someone else’s journalism.

3. Seek referent credibility

When someone trustworthy shares something with positive sentiment, we immediately trust the shared item. The referrer lends his or her credibility to the referee. The Moz audience will have no problem understanding referent credibility, as it’s the primary method Google uses to prioritize content that seems equally relevant to a user query. People also rely on referent credibility to decide whether a post is worth sharing. Those referrals build more credibility, and viral content is born. How do you get some referent credibility to radiate onto your content?

Publish on credible sites

This post will receive some measure of credibility simply by being published on the main Moz blog. Anything on or linked to from well-known sites and authors receives referent credibility.

Share referrals and testimonials

You’ll commonly see “as featured on” lists or testimonials from recognizable personalities. Testimonials from anyone at Google or Microsoft with an impressive-sounding position could go a long way for a B2B product. Referent credibility is the reason celebrity endorsements work.

Leveraging referent credibility in a press push generally works well if your company is involved in something newsworthy. Consider requesting and using quotes from relevant and well-known people in press releases or even outreach emails if you’ve done something worth announcing.

Analysis pieces are a little trickier: pointing out past coverage can lend some credibility to a blog post or press release, but it can also look a little desperate if done incorrectly. High relevance and low frequency are key. A good offline analogy is that person who mentions that time they met a celebrity every chance they get, whether it’s relevant or not. Name-droppers are trying (too hard) to build credibility, but it’s actually just sad and annoying. The same celebrity encounter might actually generate interest and credibility if it’s relevant to the conversation and you haven’t told the story to death. Feel free to talk about times well-known people shared or endorsed you, but make sure it’s relevant and don’t overdo it.

Appeal to credible people

When a well-known person shares your content, more links and shares often follow. Find credible people, see what they talk about and share, and then try make something great that appeals to them. This idea has already been covered extensively
here on Moz.

4. Take advantage of associative credibility

People make associations between one trait and another, creating a
Halo effect. For example, several studies (1, 2, 3) have found that attractive people often receive higher pay and are seen as more intelligent, when in reality there is no correlation. Users do the same thing with websites, so making your website look and feel like other credible sites is important.

Use trusted design as a guide

Don’t run in and steal the Times’ CSS file. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. It’s also probably not going to work unless you’re running a national multi-channel newspaper. But you should be aware that people associate design elements on a site with the credibility of the site. You can help or hinder your credibility through web design in hundreds of ways. Start by looking at legitimate sites and incorporating some of their design elements into your own. Then check out some untrustworthy and unknown sites to see the difference and determine what to avoid.

Obviously you want your site to be unique, but be carefully unique. If you stray from trusted convention, know why you’re doing it. Maybe you want to
kill hamburger icons on mobile – just make sure you have a well-considered alternative.

When in doubt, test

Split tests tend to focus on conversion and sales, and too often the blog/news design gets dragged along for the ride. Given the importance of content and sharing on visibility, testing the impact of site elements on sharing should be as important as the tests we do on sales funnels.

You can test different design elements as they relate to sharing by creating posts and pages with a page-level variable and a canonical tag back to the original post. Always test URLs with variables against other URLs with variables to account for site owners manually removing them. This setup may also be useful for testing different content promotion channels and methods.

Tracking results externally requires a different URL. You may use a modified URL rather than a variable, but only for single-page tests. Note that results will be a little erratic with variables people might remove, but trends will still emerge.

Consider your domain name

You have probably read a news article and wanted to share it, but
then looked for a more reputable source to post to Reddit or Twitter.

Sometimes I’ll share content from a site I’ve never heard of, but usually I want the content I’m sharing to come from a site with a name that evokes trust. Everything in this article goes into a decision on whether to share, but domain name is a surprisingly large factor. When I post an article, I don’t want the first response or comment to be something snarky like, “Oh, according to goodbusinessnews4u.com – sounds legit.”

Domain will also impact click-through on social networks and social sharing sites. A couple years ago I wrote about
choosing the right domain for your branding strategy, and I think its message still holds true.

Domain name will also influence what content seems appropriate. You don’t want people asking, “Why is highspeedintaernet.com writing about cooking recipes?” Make sure content strategy aligns with your domain and branding strategy.

Write like a writer; build profiles

You must have credibility in your writing if you want your content to be shared. Follow these simple tips:

  • Write clearly, hire writers, or don’t waste your time on text content. Even a credible expert will have a hard time being trusted enough to share unless they write clearly with native-level grammar.
  • Build author profiles, use full names, and use author images. Nothing says, “I’m not proud of this” like a partial name without an image.
  • Build a full section about your company. Be as specific as possible, and avoid vague statements on the value your site adds.
  • Craft headlines that are easy to follow, avoid trick/cute headlines unless you have a great reason for tricking or confusing users about what the content will deliver.
  • Be consistent with surrounding articles. Jumbled topics and unrelated surrounding articles make sites look inconsistent.

Avoid clip art and stock images

Just ask Ian Lurie
what he thinks about stock images. When I wrote “How Google’s Algorithm Silences Minority Opinions” I had the image in my head of Googlebot placing a gag on a user. Thankfully one of CLEARLINK‘s talented designers had a better (and less aggressive) idea:

A Google logo would have been easy, but boring. The custom image added a strong visual to the argument, emphasizing key points: a computer algorithm silencing a person, the person not caring too much. It also sent the associative message to users that the site is legitimate enough to use unique images.

Most of us can’t get custom illustrations or photographs for each post, but you should consider it for high-investment pieces or pieces you think have a good shot at success.

Final thoughts

Unless you have inside information on a rumor or are willing to burn your credibility going forward, your content must project credibility. Smaller sites and lesser-known brands have the most to gain by understanding how users and journalists make judgments on credibility and working to improve those factors. You don’t necessarily need to employ every strategy and tactic, but the best coverage and links will always require a high level of credibility. 

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