Privacy vs. Targeting in Search
Your potential customers should know by now that you’re keeping tabs on them. After all, it’s no secret that if you’re on a computer or other device with smart technology, your activity is being tracked. That said, most people may not be aware of exactly what details are being tracked. As the line between specialized targeting and breach of privacy becomes more blurred, you may have to tiptoe to ensure that you don’t have angry, violated people on your hands. There may come a time when these users say, “enough is enough”. Data collection will inevitably be stilted, so for now, make sure your customers are happy and still place their trust in you.
Traditionally, the majority of data collected used to revolve around certain websites that a user visited. Though this method is still used to a degree, the means to gather data is much less limited than it was in the past. Now users freely give up their information on social networking sites where they list everything from their phone number to their favorite sushi joint. The rise of apps has given advertisers more insight than ever. They can easily give themselves permission to track a devices’ location, or even delve into call logs and text message folders through confusing “allow” buttons, and fine print. This information wouldn’t typically be considered within the bounds of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), however, it’s being collected, and for many, it’s already taking it a step too far.
Modern technology is providing more targeting opportunities than ever, but critics are skeptical about the usefulness of some information. Behavioral targeting in particular starts to get muddy, because while a list of sites that a user visits could bear weight on whether a display ad should appear in their path, simply knowing a list of that user’s favorite movies on Facebook may not. The vastness, while exciting, can also complicate the targeting process, and offend users at the same time. This is obviously not a desirable result. Targeting should be set up thoughtfully and the information used should not be overly intrusive or obtuse. A 1000% rise in poor click through rates (.001) may just be one result of relying too heavily on this “big data”.
It’s logical to worry about a time when customers rise up against this data collection and reclaim their rights to privacy. We already see initiatives like the “Do Not Track” (the web’s equivalent to the phone’s “Do Not Call” list) movement popping up on the interweb. And speaking of pop-ups – folks have been blocking those for some time now. These are all just signs that people are fed up with being constantly bombarded by ads when browsing online. The time will come, and when it does, let’s go back to simpler times. Remember the good old days when gender, age and geographic demographics were enough to get your point across. Going back to basics can actually be a good thing, especially if you feel that some of your targeting may have started flying off the rails.
There is a settings feature in AdWords known as frequency capping that can benefit your cause. This feature ensures that the same ads are not shown to users over and over again. After all, you don’t want to drive your customers crazy, and you ultimately want them coming back for more. With frequency capping, you can set the number of times your ad is shown to certain users on the Display Network for a given amount of time (per day, per week, per month, etc.) You can modify these settings by visiting the “Settings” tab in AdWords and then clicking “Advanced Settings”. Next click the “Edit” button located next to “Frequency Capping.” By limiting the number of times that your ad is shown, your potential customers don’t have to feel like you’re constantly on their backs, or watching their every move. It alleviates that sense of urgency while still being prominent enough to stay top of mind.
Many professionals believe that we will start to see a natural balance occur in regards to how consumers will be reached. As users become more open about their frustration, advertisers will need to find new ways to reach these people. Remarketing is a great targeting option because you can reach out to potential customers who have already shown interest. It’s certainly less irritating if a user understands why you may be reaching out again. Perhaps they remember that they left your site, leaving behind a full shopping cart of items. This approach will help you supply useful messaging to your targeted audiences rather than just throwing meaningless ads into cyberspace.
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The Anatomy of a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
Content has continuously been a main factor in ranking authoritative websites, but recently content marketing has gained the attention it deserves in businesses committed to creating quality content. In the past couple of years, content marketing has become a commanding way for companies to build long-term relationships with customers while generating more traffic and leads to their sites at the same time. Google has made it clear that their long-term vision is to reward high quality and helpful websites in the SERP’s. This means it’s now more critical than ever to reassess your company’s content, and understand how to plan ahead with this new perspective. It is important to have a clear outline of what a solid content strategy is made up of, especially when it comes to planning your content for the coming year.
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Copyright Infringement Can Now Affect Your Ranking on Google
It is common knowledge that you should do your research before positing material to your site that may be copyrighted. When you post information that could potentially infringe on copyrights, or allow other users to do so, you risk being reprimanded or even facing legal consequences. Now Google is giving you even more reasons to be extra cautious when treading near this type of content.
Google owns the majority of the market share of search engine companies today – almost 70 percent to be precise. Their high status makes them a target in regards to promoting copyrighted material, and in order to watch their own backs they have been forced to make some drastic changes. Recent updates to Google’s search algorithm may prove to have serious repercussions for offending businesses.
Google announced that moving forward they will be taking note of the number of valid copyright violations a website receives. A website may receive a copyright violation for posting materials like video, music or photos to which they should not have free access. As these violations stack up, it’s possible that their business may appear lower in the search results when a user enters a query, or their listings may be excluded from the search results entirely. This could be very dramatic for companies who reply heavily on online searches to gain access to new customers and sales.
A rights holder can file a copyright removal notice if they discover that their content has been used without prior consent, or if they believe this might be the case. This can include photos, video, writing samples, audio recordings, etc. This means that by even posting a YouTube video on your blog that uses a copyrighted song without permission or featuring a stock image that you didn’t pay for, could ultimately hurt your placement in Google search results. This of course can then damage your activity and sales for the coming months.
And don’t think that these right holders are lazy on the reporting side – Google has logged more than 4.6 million copyright removal notices in the last month alone. This number is huge compared to their list from 2009. The full log can be examined in The Google Transparency Report which is located at the following URL: http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/
These reports are most commonly filed by folks in the entertainment industry (music, photography, etc.) however, any rights holder has the ability to file a request to have information removed from your site if you are in fact in violation. This accessibility means you should be even more adamant about filtering the type of content that makes it to your website.
If you already know that pirated content is appearing on your site, make it a priority to remove it immediately. The sooner it comes down, the less likely you are to feel the potentially crippling effects. You can plan monthly audits with your team to ensure that new content remains outside the grounds for violation. Another great way to avoid running into this problem is to carefully protect your business within the wording of your terms and conditions. Make any visitors to your site agree to the terms and conditions before they can post on their own. By doing so, you are lifting the responsibility off of your shoulders and putting it on that of the individual.
Be aware that other businesses may be taking advantage of Google’s new rules to wreak havoc on your site. It has been reported that some people are filing false claims in an effort to improve their positions in search results. Google has become smart to this kind of poor practice, and people who violate the take down requests may also see negative impacts in their positions.
It is all self-explanatory, but take the proper steps to protect yourself against posting pirated material. The potential outcome of being excluded from search results is just not worth it. Take responsibility by planning regular audits, and removing any content that looks suspicious. Be detailed when preparing your sites’ terms and conditions to avoid feeling the negative effects of Google’s new take down system on your business.
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