Google Cracking Down on Bad Local Listings

Are you at risk of the Google Slap on your local listing?
Are you at risk of the Google Slap on your local listing?

Is your local business listing on Google at risk of being shut down? It could be, if you are in violation of their current policies.

“It might be time to spring clean your local marketing strategies with these updated tips for avoiding Google’s harsh penalties,” writes Ben Silverman in Among the things Google is looking at, and possibly suspending local listings for, are:

  • Stuffing your business name with keywords. “We use ‘Brafton Inc’ [the legal business name] instead of ‘Brafton Inc – Boston Content Marketing Agency,'” Silverman notes.
  • Duplicate local business listings. Be sure you don’t have two by mistake…or by design…for the same business. They could both be shut down.
  • Vanity URLs or any URL that forwards to a site that is not related to your business.

Take a few minutes this week and make sure you’re up to par.  And if you haven’t set up your Google Local Business Listing, now’s the time. (If you need help, get in touch with me. I’m happy to give you a 15-min consult no charge.)


How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

Thanks to Ricardo Fayet, founder of Reedsy, for this fantastic Mediashift article and infographic. If you’re wondering what it might cost you to get professional help with your book, this is the info you’ve been looking for.

Fayet writes: “…let’s say you’ve written a first draft of your novel and just uploaded it to Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. Technically, you’re ‘self-publishing.’ And your only monetary cost is the formatting to get the required .mobi file, which can be done for free via several online tools.

“Now, if you want to have a chance of selling that book, you need to replicate at least some of the steps of traditional publishing and ensure a certain level of quality and professionalism. This means having your book properly edited, typeset and proofread, and hiring a designer to create an eye-catching cover. Depending on your genre and your writing ability, these can cost more or less,” he continues.

As Fayet notes, there’s no hard and fast rule to say it will definitely cost you $xx; but his infographic will definitely help you understand what it takes.

(c) Reedsy 2016
(c) Reedsy 2016


Real Life: When a Brand Takes a Stand

Timing is everything.

Last week I wrote about the importance of a brand taking a stand in their content. The fear of alienating a potential customer or market segment often outweighs, in many brands’ eyes, the benefit of authentically showing up. I argued that those customers were probably never going to be good customers for you anyway.

Then this happened: Old Navy and the Internet frenzy created by this weekend’s #ThankYouEvent advertisement.

Predictably, the haters hated, and the lovers replied in overwhelming force. The #BoycottOldNavy movement was fueled by people who can’t abide by the brand’s acceptance of racial harmony. These folks are self-selecting out of being Old Navy customers (at least they say they are…time will tell when those hoodies go on sale again.)

Yes, it can and will happen that you may, in the course of being authentic, alienate some potential future customer.

Yet look at what the brand has gained in the bargain: an outpouring of positive messages and congratulations like this one, applauding the brand for what is sure to be an iconic image going forward:


Old Navy highlights diverse races and ethnicity in their advertising and social media on any given day, so this is really nothing new for the brand. And that’s why this whole thing is only a net positive.

To Old Navy, the potential loss of those racist customers is not really a loss at all.

Old Navy had already made the decision that their brand embraces diversity. (For some brands that cater to a more closed mindset, this might not be true. Again, it’s all about authenticity.)

From a personal standpoint, I applaud Old Navy for their stand. From a business standpoint, it’s a stunning example of the power of your authentic message. Now I’m going shopping.