• 'How Do I Get Negative Information Off of Google?'

    You might be surprised – or, perhaps, not – at how often we get asked a question that looks a lot like this: “Is It Possible to Get Negative Information Off of Google?”

    Knowing that we have attained remarkable success with SEO and online reputation management strategies for all sorts of clients, professionals come to us, looking to see if there’s some strategy we can use to eliminate their bad PR from the face of the internet.

    The thing is? Unfortunately, there’s no one secret strategy to get unwelcome search results off of Google, provided that they’re real and accurate. That is to say that if a past customer of yours, say, had a negative experience and wrote a personal blog post about it, your options for getting that post “removed” from search results are quite limited, in most cases.

    Similarly, if your name is associated with a less-than-positive news story from a legitimate outlet, it’s not necessarily possible to just have that post just removed from Google results. In most cases, that link is on the search engine results page (SERP) for a reason. And, bear in mind that the internet is a complex, interconnected ecosystem. Even if you do manage to get a piece of information or a story taken down from one place, it may live on via social media, the Wayback Machine, or a user’s personal data cache.

    In most cases, what your parents probably told you about the internet is largely true: Once something is published, it often lives online forever, whether you’d like it to or not.

    So, what are your choices when you want to get rid of bad press or a search result that reflects poorly on your personal brand? We’ve got a few ideas.

  • 21 Ways to Improve Your Google Search Results

    21 Ways to Improve Your Google Search ResultsWouldn't it be nice if Google could just read our minds? I mean, granted, that would be a little disturbing, but it would at least give you the exact results you were looking for.

    While Google is very good at what it does, sometimes finding exactly what you need takes a little extra work.

    Luckily, Google search has a bunch of built in tricks that you can use to really hone in on what you're looking for - provided you know what they are, of course.

    A recently released infographic from Hubspot compiled a fantastic list of Google search operations that we know you will find useful. Here are 21 ways you can improve your Google search results.

    1. "search" (ex. "Luke, I am your father") - If you're looking for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around your search phrase.
    2. -search (ex. inception -movie) - Add a hyphen (-) before a word to exclude a search term. If a word has several meanings, this may be particularly helpful.
    3. site: (ex. cheesecake - Search a specific term or phrase within a specific website domain. First write your search term, then "site:" followed by the website you want to search.  We love this one at Geek| Chicago!
    4. 3 Digital Marketing Lessons from Santa (and 1 from Krampus)

      Ho, ho, ho!

      It’s that time of year again. The air has turned cold, sleigh bells are jingling, presents are being put into stockings with care… We could go on, but you probably get it!

      It’s the holiday season, which means that the man in the big red coat will soon be flying around the world with his trusty reindeer, delivering presents (and a few lumps of coal) to kids everywhere.

      And while some of our adult readers may have stopped believing in Santa Claus, there’s still something about his spirit that’s downright infectious – particularly for digital marketers! Don’t believe us? Well, it’s true!

    5. 3 SEO Questions You're Not Asking, But Should Be

      SEO. You know it stands for “search engine optimization.” You know it’s about securing the top spot on Google search results. You know that lots of businesses of all sizes have used it to generate traffic, secure leads, and make sales.

      That’s a lot to know – but it’s not the whole story.

      Recognizing this, lots of business owners search out information on SEO, whether online or in conversations with digital marketing professionals. This is an important first step if you’re deciding whether SEO is right for your brand, and we applaud anyone who’s doing it!

      But here’s the thing: Sitting down with an SEO pro is a little like visiting a doctor. It’s vital that you’re honest and realistic about everything. And, above all, your future success may come down to knowing the right questions to ask.

      Wonder no more! Here’s some insight into three major SEO questions you may be too nervous to ask:

      “Is the Field of SEO Changing?”

    6. 4 Essential SEO Tactics of 2015

      We're well in to our new year, and we're well into a new game of Search Engine Optimization. Yes indeed, it's time for companies to buckle down and tackle the ever-changing search world to ensure their websites show up when someone searches for their target keywords.

      While there are, of course, hundreds of SEO strategies you can use to improve your website SEO, we've chosen these 4 SEO tactics (with the help of Hubspot's recent article) as new ones you can use to start your 2015 strategy off right. Here are 4 SEO tactics you may not be using yet.

      1. Embrace Google Hummingbird and Skip Meta Keywords

      With Google Hummingbirds's new algorithm, search engines are no longer valuing pages with targeted keywords. Now, Google effectively knows what your webpage is about. It knows your page topics, how unique the content is, and if it is of high quality.

    7. 4 Reasons Why You Should Consider the Podcast

      4 Reasons Why You Should Consider the Podcast

      Chicago is famous for many reasons, but more recently it garnered attention not for a museum or restaurant, but a podcast. Serial, produced by the Windy City’s own WBEZ, took the United States on a wild ride via weekly podcast posts that discussed a murder, the victim, and the offender’s alleged mistrial. (Seriously, if you haven’t listened, do so now.)

      Per CNN, more than 40 million listeners downloaded the podcast last year, creating a tipping point for podcast producers and entering this medium into the mainstream.

      Content marketers should learn from this frenzy. Podcasts are a multitasking platform that allow people 20-60 minutes to listen to you weekly, and they could be a great way to bring in the storytelling element that your current content is missing. Here’s why you should consider the "low-cost, low-risk" podcast when planning out your digital marketing strategy:

      1. Podcasts Are “Push” Audio Content

      “Push” content is like a digital newsletter. As soon you produce this form of content, it reaches a targeted audience made of those who want to engage with your content - a “push.” Podcasts offer something different from newsletters, however, in that they are intended for listening on the move. All your listeners need is a smartphone or MP3 player to subscribe.

    8. 4 Ways to Create Content That Speaks To Your Readers - Not Above Them

      In today’s media landscape, content is king. It’s vital for everything from maximizing search engine optimization to getting free shares on Facebook and Twitter.

      How can you make sure your content is as effective and accessible as possible? A lot of your blog’s success comes directly from the language and voice that you use.

      Here are a few ideas that will help you speak to your readers, rather than above them:

      1. Use Language Your Audience Knows

    9. 5 Big Predictions for the Next 5 Years of Digital Marketing

      5 Big Predictions for the Next 5 Years of Digital Marketing

      One of the great things about digital marketing is that it’s a field that’s always evolving – sometimes so incrementally that you barely even notice, sometimes in sweeping leaps that make it feel like the whole world has turned upside down.

      What do the next few years hold for SEO, social media, and content marketing? Here are five big predictions worth keeping in mind for the next five years of digital marketing:

      A Complete Restructuring of SEO

      SEO is an ever-changing beast, and the next three to five years promise some of the most dramatic shifts to ever hit search engines, as a result of a few major advancements.

    10. 5 Exciting Changes Coming to Content Marketing

      5 Exciting Changes Coming to Content Marketing

      You might be familiar with this famous misquote from Charles Holland Duel, the commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office from 1898 and 1901: 

      Everything that can be invented has been invented. 

      Of course, as you sit (or stand) and read this from your smartphone and tablet, maybe from the backseat of an Uber ride or in the cabin of an airplane, you know that this concept is laughably untrue. 

      And, like the rest of the world, content marketing is in a constant state of revision and reinvention. The marketplace's continued transition into online platforms hands out opportunities for marketers to log in and creatively meet digital demands. 

      Once you get to know digital marketing, you can begin to anticipate and prepare for its changes. Here are five huge changes to content marketing that will affect the way you engage with leads: 

      1. Seeing is Believing - Visual Content

    11. 5 Golden Rules of Mobile Website Design

      5 Golden Rules of Mobile Website Design (Source:

      Did you know that 80% of Internet users are using their smartphones to search online?

      Did you know that Google plans to use mobile friendliness to rank websites?

      Creating a fantastic mobile website experience for your prospective clients is more important now than it has ever been. This algorithm change from Google will affect 40% of mobile search inquiries - a massive amount compared to the measly 12% which the former Panda updated impacted.

    12. 5 Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from Politicians & Elected Officials

      5 Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from Politicians

      The goals of new small businesses often share some common components - Provide a great product or service, market that product of service, and build a loyal following.

      As it turns out, the needs of great political leaders often fall under these same categories. Their great product? Their political platform. Their marketing? Their campaign and presence on media. Their loyal following? Those that will vote for them come election time. 

      Thankfully, these similarities provide small businesses a great source of opportunity to learn how to better their own practices. We've learned a great deal from our political clients over the years, and they're not so different from the small- to medium-sized businesses with which we work.

      Here are 5 lessons we can learn from our politicians:

      1. Have a clear platform

    13. 5 Reasons You Need to Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO

      5 Reasons You Need to Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO (Source: Pixabay CC)

      With more than 74% of internet users logging into social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter on a regular basis, social media needs to be a top priority when addressing your SEO issues (Pay lots of attention to Facebook- 71% of adults have profiles on this behemoth website). While it might take a while to get acquainted with these internet offerings, social media can be an invaluable method of reaching your target audience. Here are our top 5 reasons why you need to update your status, freshen up your Facebook copy, and hashtag the workweek away! 

      1. It's Not Just About Google

      The social media boom came along with something equally as important: the birth of the social search. The internet is changing the way people research products and services. (Maybe you looked up last night's restaurant on Yelp instead of consulting a Zagat guide). The numbers don't lie. Twitter searches hit 1.6 billion in 2011, while Facebook rakes in about 1 billion per day. Your leads are out there - Give them a chance to look you up and 'like' you before the conversation begins. 

    14. 5 SEO Trends We're Watching in 2019 (Plus One to Grow On)

      2019 is going to be a big year - particularly in the world of search engine optimization, orSEO. 

      Already this year, there are trends and narratives taking shape in the SEO realm. On Google and other search engines, changes and developments, big and small, are starting to have an impact on search engine results pages (SERPS). Audience tastes and techniques are changing. New technologies are gaining a foothold. 

      Bottom line? If your brand is considering starting with SEO in 2019, or fine-tuning the approach you already have in place,  it’s important to keep an eye on all these developments as they come up. Knowing what lies ahead for SEO could make all the difference when it comes to getting your business the traffic and conversions you need - or else, getting left behind. 

    15. 5 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Referral Traffic

      5 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Referral Traffic

      In terms of inbound marketing for your site, we tend to talk about traffic in two major ways: either as organic traffic, or referral traffic.

      Broadly speaking, organic traffic is best categorized as the clicks that come from users who find your site directly from a Google or Bing search. Referral traffic, then, refers to the visitors who come to your page through any site other than a major search engine.

      For your site to truly generate value and help your brand achieve its strategic goals, it’s important to have campaigns in place to drive in both organic and referral traffic. Unfortunately, we see many too many people who tend to focus on the former at the expense of the latter, not realizing that SEO and referrals are deeply interconnected.

      Referral traffic is, indeed, a key part of “off-page SEO:” The more trustworthy sites that link to your pages or content, the more the search engines value your content. The more that Google and its ilk trust and recognize your content, the higher they prioritize it on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Consistent, steady referral traffic, then, will also net you more organic traffic down the line.

    16. 5 Things to Consider When Designing Your Website

      Looking to refresh your website? Starting a new business and ready to set up your online “forever home?”

      Well, by even considering these questions, you’re off to a great start… and likely miles ahead of some of your competitors.

      Having a functional, accessible website is one of the most important things you can do to secure future business. More importantly, having a sound strategy in place when implementing a new design can:

      • increase your chances of securing leads
      • help solidify your existing customer base

      Need some inspiration to get started? Consider these five essential areas when preparing to launch a new website…

      1. Efficient Backend Engine

      A foundational part of website design, coding dictates how your site will function. In essence, this is the infrastructure of your site. It’s your building material, your foundation – and so, it’s critical that you make great coding a top priority as you prepare to build your site.

      With that said, it’s important to consider what goes into constructing a functional, efficient site today. The web development process may have changed a bit since the last time you worked on a website.

    17. 6 Ways to Get More Shares on Social Media Without Galling Readers

      6 Ways to Get More Shares on Social Media Without Galling Readers

      Pop-ups, annoyingly-placed hyperlinks, endless requests in the middle of blog posts: These are ways to increase shares, but they all run the risk of backfiring, frustrating your reader, and sending them off to other sites. How can your blog increase shares without annoying your audience?

      Here are some ideas:

      1.) Make Sharing Easy

      Readers are much more likely to share your content if they’re able to do so quickly, without interrupting their experience on your site. Position social share buttons where they can be found easily – maybe under your headline or in a well-placed sidebar. Or you can enable a click-to-tweet plugin, which lets users highlight and share facts or quotes on Twitter with a single click.

      2.) Pick the Perfect Headline

    18. 7 Landing Page Flaws That Damage Your Conversion Rates

      7 Landing Page Flaws That Damage Your Conversion Rate (Image Source: Flickr CC Commons)

      You have put a significant amount of work into developing your business. You've invested in a responsive website, you've started your presence on social media, and you're on your way to generating leads with an inbound marketing campaign.

      Your leads are captured when people find value in the content you present them on your website. In turn, they share with you similarly valuable information about themselves: their name, their email address, their company, and more.

      ...provided, of course, if your landing page is up to snuff.

      Landing Page Basics

      A landing page is a page designed for your prospects to land on, get interested about the product you offer, and give you information about themselves which you need to create a first correspondence with them.

      (Note that landing page is not synonymous with home page. Business owners can, and often should, have multiple landing pages. You can have separate landing pages for separate promotions, multiple landing pages for the same promotion.)

      Landing pages are where you make or break your lead generation goals. These pages alone can persuade (or dissuade) your users to fill out the form and create a lead. The placement of your images, the length of your descriptions, and the wording in your titles directly affect your ability to convert customers in the future.

      Unfortunately, many companies often fall victim to these 7 mistakes, recently displayed in an infographic by Quick Sprout (also shared by Hubspot). Here's how you can optimize your own landing pages.

    19. 8 Website Turn-Offs That Discourage Customers

      8 Website Turn-OffsBusinesses everywhere put forth ample amounts of effort to get customers to their website. Search Engine Optimization is pursued, keywords are researched, quality content is written, and more.  But what about page abandonment(measured in "bounce rate")?

      If customers aren't staying on your website once you get them there, however, there's a bigger problem at hand.

      Once your prospects land on your website, you want them to be encouraged to click through your pages and engage in your content by reading a blog, filling out a form, or maybe even buying something.

      In other words, attraction is only the first step in your inbound marketing game - lead conversion is the essential second step. If customers are dissatisfied with your website once they get there, your work to get them there will be entirely wasted.

      So, what things turn customers off of your website? Here are 8 top turn offs, originally outlined in an Hubpost infographic.

      1. Bad Navigation

      The problem:

      Having bad navigation design is one of the best ways to frustrate your visitors. Complex or inconsistent navigation makes it difficult for visitors to find the information they're looking for.

      Avoid scattering navigational elements around different portions of your website, linking navigation within large bodies of text, or use elements that are in any way unclear (like a link simply titled "other" or a linked image that does not obviously serving a purpose).

      The solution:

      • Group navigational links together in a central area
      • Aim for logical, intuitive, easy to understand links in terms of language and location

      2. Too Many Ads

      The Problem:

      It's a given that customers do not appreciate advertisements. This notion is compounded by having too many obtrusive ads in one area, particularly ones that pop up over the browser window, flash, and fill the entire browser window.

      The Solution:

    20. A Look Back on Google Algorithms and their Impact on SEO

      Do you remember how Google search was back in the late 90s?

      If you don't, it isn't really that surprising. Google has come a long way since then, especially in terms of its search algorithms.

      In the beginning, getting your website to rank highly in a Google search comprised of a simple two steps:

      1. Saturate your pages with as many keywords and trigger phrases as possible
      2. Accumulate inbound links - The more, the better.

      As you probably already know, the Google search algorithm has evolved quite a long way from its primitive beginning.  Keywords and links are no longer the full name of the game - value, on the other hand is.  "Hacking the system" (i.e. keyword saturated content that has little to no actual value to readers) has been effectively avoided as Google's algorithm has improved.

      Google has endeavored over the years to find new, more effective ways to deliver high-value, high-quality search engine results. Starting in 2003 with "Boston", Google users started seeing these algorithm changes labeled with names. In recent memory, you may recollect mention of "Panda", "Penguin", and most recently, with "Hummingbird".  Google has recently endeavored to have their searches pull up high-quality content that effectively serves as an answer to a question.

    21. Boost Organic Traffic With These 5 Smart SEO Tactics

      Despite what you may have heard over the years, SEO is still here to stay.

      In fact, in an era of inflated marketing budgets and boundless technical innovations, the art of maximizing your presence on search engines matters more than ever.

      The long and short of it all is that SEO is still vital for spreading the word about your business, particularly if you’re trying to connect with local audiences. It’s one of the most consistent ways to drive traffic to your site, increasing your brand’s visibility and helping to generate warm leads over time.

      But – and, we know, there’s always a “but” – just thinking about SEO won’t make it start producing results for your brand. Instead, you need to understand SEO – what it does, how it works, and what types of audiences it will bring to your site.

      For one thing, it’s vital to understand the type of audience driven to your site via search engines – which digital marketers call organic traffic. In simplest terms, organic traffic refers to the volume of visits to your site that come through queries on search engines.

      And now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize that your organic traffic consists of hyper-local audiences, mobile users on the go, and people looking for quick solutions to complex problems. These are all users prime for conversion – if you know how to help guide them into your funnel in the first place!

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).