Posted on 03/22/2017 at 02:32 PM

A Review is Worth a Thousand Words: Part 1

[GMB Review and Photo Policies]

Like any experienced villain, Lord Black Hat did not know the meaning of idleness. He did not rest for even a single moment since Gadget BizHound teamed up with the White Hat Team and began protecting the insurance agents of Newhoundland in earnest, always looking for weak areas in their defense.

One day, the Dark Lord realized that Gadget’s team was doing nothing for the reputation management aspect of the business owners in their care. I shall exploit their reviews and photos!, Lord Black Hat decided, and promptly put his plan into motion. He called upon his newest minions called the Reviewers, and he instructed them to wreak havoc on all the positive reviews they can find.

Past experience taught the Dark Lord that dramatic attacks alert Gadget and his team quicker than The Search Engine, and many of the latest attempts at destruction had been minimal. Less noticeable violations, on the other hand, might finally succeed at destroying the local business owners’ reputations.

Choosing an unsuspecting insurance agency, the first thing that the Reviewers did was fill the already approved positive reviews with offensive language that may not seem offensive at first glance. Other Searchers might not see the problem, but The Search Engine will. Losing all the reviews would appear as if the insurance agent’s reputation has not yet been established, effectively confusing Searchers and preventing them from becoming new clients!

Next, the Reviewers made alterations to high-quality photos that previous and current clients had posted. In no time at all, the photos were dark and blurry and thus on a guaranteed path towards removal. In a world where visuals are important, poor quality photos could spell doom for the affected business.

Will Gadget BizHound come to the rescue in time? Lord Black Hat hoped that he would not!

[To be continued.]

Posted on 02/14/2017 at 03:31 PM

Home is Where the Heart Is

[How to Optimize a Home Page]

As the White Hat Team continued instructing the insurance agents of Newhoundland in The Search Engine’s guidelines, Gadget brought up the important question of directing Searchers to each agent’s office. Like Mr. and Mrs. BizHound, most local agents operate their businesses out of their residential addresses, which means that the home is also the heart of each business and should function as such.

To not only reach a target audience but also pave the way towards a lasting client-agent relationship, the White Hat team suggested the following steps:

  1. Understand their needs – Answer Searchers’ questions before they even get the chance to ask, and feature the answers prominently in the home’s signage.
  2. Introduce yourself – Describe what you do best, how you do it, and why in an eye-catching way that will be sure to draw in potential clients and develop trust at the outset.
  3. Offer an incentive – Searchers love free things, and that includes free quotes and consultations. This is also a great additional way to develop trust and encourage a potential client to walk through your door.
  4. Keep it short and simple – While you may want to attract clients with something bold, they best respond to effective use of white space with clear and concise wording that tells a story.
  5. Maintain “curb appeal” – It is important to be aware of the psychological effects of colors and design elements on Searchers. Choosing a color scheme that best represents your unique agency is the key to success.

As the insurance agents took their meticulous notes, Gadget BizHound was taking his own notes on weak areas that Lord Black Hat could take advantage of. This home optimization plan appears to be foolproof, but is it enough to withstand the elusive Dark Lord when he launches his next attack?

We’ll just have to wait and see, thought Gadget to himself.

Posted on 01/16/2017 at 02:01 PM

About Search Words

[Keyword Research & Google Keyword Planner]

The holiday season had been as uneventful as the last. Having successfully foiled Lord Black Hat’s attempts at citywide identity theft, Gadget BizHound and the White Hat Team had some extra time to create a structured lesson plan for the insurance agents of Newhoundland. While avoiding the Dark Lord’s unethical practices is the first step to successful business advertising, being aware of the correct ethical strategies is an equally critical consideration.

Many Newhoundland insurance agents, including Gadget’s parents, have particular trouble finding the right search words to use in their advertising in order to get their businesses noticed by Searchers. Upon hearing of this, the White Hat Team decided it was time to introduce local insurance agents to The Search Engine’s “Search Word Planner” – a powerful tool that not only increases exposure but also helps deter Lord Black Hat’s Stackers.

Indeed, the Search Word Planner provides a simple way to determine how many potential clients are looking for the search words related to a business, ensuring that the right clients are directed to the right place. Its other important features include:

- Local search words – adding the city to the main search words, e.g., “Newhoundland insurance."

- Long-tail search words – searches that best reflect the user’s intent, e.g., “Buy auto insurance in Newhoundland.”

- Search word modifiers – adjectives that Searchers use when they seek a specific service, e.g., “best auto insurance.”

Another curious detail that the insurance agents of Newhoundland learned this day is that The Search Engine not only allows but encourages the “stealing” of search words among business owners in the same industry. If a search word has helped your competitor, chances are that it can help you as well, Gadget explained.

Nodding in understanding, the local agents agreed that a little friendly competition with their search words may in fact be healthy for their businesses! With that, the White Hat Team called the meeting adjourned.

Posted on 12/22/2016 at 10:05 AM

How Lord Black Hat (Almost) Stole Christmas!

[Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Online Safety Tips]

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas is only 2 days away, as is the imminent deadline for finding those perfect gifts for family and friends. For Gadget BizHound, this is also the perfect time to foil Lord Black Hat’s annual identity theft scheme once again.

Every year near the end of December, the Dark Lord briefly abandons his pursuit of destroying insurance agencies in favour of attacking unsuspecting holiday shoppers. Knowing that honest online stores can ship gifts in mere days during the holiday season, Searchers tend to throw caution to the wind with their searches and payment information. This is when Lord Black Hat attacks!

Fortunately, Gadget and the White Hat Team are well aware of the problem and have made it their mission to save Christmas. First, they created a guide to warn last-minute holiday shoppers to proceed with caution and sent it out to all residents of Newhoundland and beyond. The guide is as follows:

  1. When you see an advertisement that matches your recent searches, it does not automatically mean that it is a reputable merchant from whom you can shop. It is not difficult to set up a fraudulent website whose primary goal is to deceive and steal. Although it will be reported and shut down by The Search Engine eventually, by then it might be too late and your personal information will have been compromised.
  2. One way to tell whether the website is safe to share your information with is to make sure that the URL begins with “https” rather than “http.” The s stands for secure.
  3. Even if you are shopping online from a reputable merchant, it is best to pay with credit rather than debit. Credit card companies are familiar with your typical purchases and account charges, which means that any suspicious charge is usually easy to prove and your losses are reimbursed. Debit card fraud, on the other hand, involves all kinds of problems – lack of proof, loss of savings, and much more.
  4. If you are using a public computer and/or public Wi-Fi network and happen to see something that you want to purchase, wait until you get home prior to doing so. The Dark Lord specializes in infecting public computers and Wi-Fi networks with hidden spyware.
  5. Email scam is another important factor to be aware of during the holidays. Lord Black Hat sends out emails that appear to be from UPS, Newhoundland Post, or other postal services with alleged shipping information enclosed in an attachment. If that type of email ends up in your junk folder, rest assured that there is a reason for that! Emails from a real postal service will generally contain all the necessary information in the message itself.

Gadget would like to personally issue a reminder that everyone has more than one definition of a “perfect gift,” and thus there are always different options. It is definitely worth giving up on one option in favour of another – perhaps from a brick-and-mortar store – if it means that one avoids falling victim to Lord Black Hat’s online fraud.

The White Hat Team also advises all Searchers to alert The Search Engine of any suspicious activity that may occur during the last-minute holiday shopping rush. This is the simplest yet best way to ensure that all fellow Searchers are able to enjoy their Christmas celebration.

So, from all of us at My BizHound, we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted on 11/18/2016 at 03:09 PM

Two Businesses Both Alike in Phone Number

[Citations Update]

With the development of Operation Spam Slaughter well underway, Gadget BizHound and the White Hat Team encountered yet another bump in the road: Lord Black Hat appeared to have come back! Letting the team handle the rest of the planning on their own, Gadget decided to do what he does best and act alone.

All the insurance agencies across the busy Newhoundland Metropolis appeared to suddenly share their phone numbers with restaurants and other unrelated businesses. Upon closer inspection, the insurance detective found that all of those other businesses have recently closed and are conveniently located near the affected insurance agencies. Unfortunately, the BizHound Insurance Agency owned by Gadget’s parents has also not been missed in this attack.

In the past, Gadget would have believed a popular myth that advertisements for unrelated businesses should be ignored if they share the same phone number. However, working with the White Hat Team has taught him about the importance of Searcher experience. There are at least two problems with the shared phone numbers:

  1. Searchers looking for a closed restaurant would unknowingly call the insurance agency, leading to significant confusion.
  2. The insurance agents would have to continually state that they are not a restaurant, leading to a loss of potential clients.

Not waiting for The Search Engine to intervene this time, Gadget immediately set about eliminating the records for the closed businesses to prevent the frustration that has surely already ensued. He only hoped that the confusion was minimal, as he was alerted of the attacks as soon as they began.

By sheer accident – or was it fate? – Gadget also finally found his detective's monocle by destroying the Dark Lord’s chief spy who had stolen it in the first place. Regaining his greatest weapon not only helped our hero eliminate the remaining businesses with greater ease but it also gave him renewed hope in winning this eternal war!

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