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  • '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.

  • "Google Enterprise" Is Now "Google For Work"

    Google for WorkSmall businesses are no stranger to the delights of the Google platform. Integration, cloud-based storage, and extensive means for customization are only the beginnings of what we love about Google. And it just got better still for businesses everywhere.

    Google recently rebranded their old "Google Enterprise" (which includes Gmail for businesses and Google Cloud) to the much more approachable "Google For Work". Here's some information from Business Insider.

    The "Google For Work" Rebrand

    Currently more than 5 million businesses have "gone Google", more that 1 million Chromebooks were sold to schools in Q2 of 2014, and 64% of the Fortune 500 have gone Google. The rebrand helps to illustrate just that.

  • 10 Google Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

    10 Google Features That Will Make Your Life EasierGoogle has become an essential part of most of our online lives. It's superior search engine, maps, email, calendar, and cloud storage already provide so much to our online browsing experience.

    But did you know there are even more features we can take advantage of?

    A recent article in USA Today brought to light 10 incredibly awesome tools that often get overlooked. Here are the highlights.

    1. Google Flight Search

    10 Google Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

    If you're shopping around for the cheapest fare for a flight, Google has a great tool for it. Check out Google Flight Search - easily one of the simplest and most effective price-comparison sites around. Pick your starting location and your destination directly on the map, your desired travel dates, and voila. It will even give you recommended tips on additional departure dates around your time slot that are cheaper.

    2. Atari Breakout

  • 11 of the Best Google App Add-Ons for Docs and Sheets

    Google rolled out an online marketplace for third-party apps last months, and there are a lot of great apps to choose from.

    The apps, known by Google as "add-ons", are available to users through Google Docs and Sheets - Google's free online word-processor and spreadsheet generator.  The add-ons essentially provide added functionality or some missing features to what the programs already provide.

    Here are some add-ons that we love.

    1. Charts - Insert data from Sheets directly into to Docs

    Making a Google spreadsheet in Sheets hasn't yet been easily transferred over to Docs without some issues.  With this add on by Charts, however, it is now exceptionally easy to do so.

    2. Track Changes - Review and approve changes to your documents. 

    The desktop competitors, like Microsoft Word, feature this handy tool to help collaborators propose changes and give the author ultimate discretion to review and accept or reject those changes.  Now this functionality is available in Docs.  Killer.

    3. HelloFax - Fax documents for free from Docs

    HelloFax is a fantastic free service that lets you fax your documents to any number, anywhere in the world directly from Google Docs.  The free version of HelloFax lets you fax up to 5 pages.

    4. Avery's Label Merge - Create labels within Docs

    Sheets and Docs work well together with Avery's Label merge add-on.  It allows users to take data found in Sheets and transform it into labels and name tags within Docs for printing.  Avoid the "copy+paste" stage of your process by using this neat add-on.

  • 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 site:www.pepperplate.com) - 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 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?”

    5. 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.

    6. App of the Week - Allo

      App of the Week - Allo (Source: google.allo.com)

      Considering all of the communication channels we have available on our smartphones and tablets, doesn’t it seem like it should be easier to communicate by now? Shouldn’t our apps be smarter, more intuitive, more in line with the way we actually speak, work, and think?

      That’s where Allo, from Google, comes in! Billing itself as the “smart” messaging app that “helps you say more and do more,” Allo is a truly intuitive instant messenger that combines the best of texting, Snapchat, and Siri in one convenient, easy bundle.

    7. App of the Week - Camelizer Browser Extension

      App of the Week - Camelizer Browser Extension (Source: camelcamelcamel.com)

      Ever noticed how much prices can change on your favorite e-commerce sites? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly when prices are at their lowest, so you can jump on the bargains while they last?  

      For all of the curious online window shoppers who need a little push to seal the deal, or for budget-conscious sleuths always hunting down a sale, Camelizer is here to help.

      A browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Camelizer takes stock of historical pricing data from camelcamelcamel.com, camelbuy.com, and camelegg.com, allowing you to look at pricing trends on just about any product without you having to so much as open a new window.

    8. App of the Week - Google Arts & Culture

      App of the Week Google Arts and Culture

      Looking for something informative and interesting to do this weekend? Ready to be the member of your friend group who’s always got some deep trivia locked and loaded? Then you’re going to want to give Google’s incredible Arts & Culture app a try.

      Billing itself as a way to “meet the people, visit the places and learn about the events that shaped our world,” Google Arts & Culture offers a variety of remarkable multimedia features, many of which we’ve never quite seen before.

    9. App of the Week - Google Photos

      App of the Week - Google Photos (Source: Pixabay, Pexels)

      The cameras on our smartphones get better with every generation. And while that’s a wonderful thing, it can lead to picture overload: With so many digital snapshots filling up our mobile devices, it can be hard to store and keep track of all your favorite images.

      Enter Google Photos.

    10. App of the Week - Just A Line

      What is augmented reality (AR), and why do you need it when doodling on your phone? Google’s new Just a Line app is the answer to both of those questions at once!

      Coined as an “AR experiment,” the Just a Line app is one of manyARCore 1.0 apps that the company plans to release within the foreseeable future. The appbills itselfas a cross-platform collaborative AR app for doodling, the first of its kind.

      So, AR is what makes Just A Line like no other drawing app out there. But what does AR really mean?

      Put simply, AR is the layering ofcomputer-generated enhancements on top of the reality you see around you. AR is sometimes known as the “cousin” to virtual reality (VR), because while VR tends to create a fabricated yet hyper-realistic generated reality simulation, AR incorporates your surroundings and adds noticeable enhancements to add to your lived experience.

      Sound complicated? That’s the great thing about Just A Line. Beyond all the technical terms, the app itself is as simple and user-friendly as its name implies. 

    11. App of the Week - Slack

       App of the Week - Slack (Source: slack.com)

      It’s the app that’s singlehandedly “killing email,” trending endlessly on Twitter, and helping NASA put rovers on Mars

      It’s Slack, and it’s here to permanently change the way that we collaborate as teams online.

      Slack bills itself as a way for professionals to “be less busy.” Media critics have called it a “workplace revolution.” But just what does it do?

    12. Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

      Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

      Though it’s gone through its fair share of changes in recent years, SEO – the art of boosting organic traffic by improving search engine ranking – is here to stay.

      Though blackhat tactics like keyword stuffing are (thankfully) a relic of the past, the art behind SEO is still vital and remains a key part of any business’ successful content marketing strategy. But are you doing enough to maximize your SEO for Google’s most recent updates? Are you making sure every facet of your marketing campaign is engaged and running at full speed?

      Want to get the most out of your SEO? Then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here are five common SEO mistakes to watch out for:

      1.) Not Producing Content

    13. Gadget of the Week - Google Home

      Gadget of the Week - Google Home (Source: bestbuy.com)

      Organize your shopping list, translate it into Portuguese, and play some pump up music while you do it – all without ever having to lift a finger. That’s the amazing future promised by the current spate of AI assistants on the market, led by the Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, and, now, the Google Home.

      Whereas the Echo is a brutalist black cylinder, the Google Home is a slightly sleeker and more welcoming device, notable from a design perspective for its elegant white shell and cool teardrop shape.

    14. Gadget of the Week - Google Pixelbook


      There was always something a little quaint and charming about the Chromebook.

      After all, it was small and a little clunky, its app selection was a little paltry, and it relied on constant WiFi connectivity to function. But buried within the Chromebook’s tiny, featherweight design was always the seed of a good idea, just waiting to be stretched out and applied to its full potential.

      With the Google Pixelbook, the wait is over.

    15. Gmail Could be Getting a Whole New Look

      Gmail is about to get a huge makeover in both form and function, it is claimed.

      Thanks to some leaked screenshots published by Geek.com, we're able to get a first glimpse at an all-new Gmail that Google is supposedly testing with a select group of users.

      Gmail will likely get a whole new interface

      Looking at the new screenshots, it is apparent that apart from a new design, the interface itself will be very different in the new Gmail.  Some would speculate the new interface looks a good deal like Google+ and the Google Now digital assistant.

      Here are some other interesting potential new changes:

    16. Google Chrome is Getting a Huge Speed Boost

      Google Chrome is Getting a Huge Speed Boost

      Are you ready for an even faster Google Chrome?

      That’s what the company promised earlier this yearwith the announcement of Brotli, a revamped compression algorithm that is set to make the browser faster than ever on both desktops and mobile devices.

      How does it work? Brotli actually makes web pages smaller, which means faster loading times and less data usage for consumers. In a blog post, Google said that Botfli will reduce the size of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code by 20 to 26% more than the company’s previous version, which was dubbed Zopfli.

    17. How to Decode Your Most Pressing Google Analytics Questions

       How to Decode Your Most Pressing Google Analytics Questions (Source: plus.google.com)

      Google Analytics is the easiest way for marketers, developers, and businesses to track the successes and failings of a website – but for many, the powerful free tool just leaves more questions than it actually answers.

      “What exactly is bounce rate?”

      “How do I have such a high average time on page and a high bounce rate?"

      “Which metrics should I actually be concentrating on?”

      “Hey, what did you mean when you said that bounce rate and exit rates are different things?”

      “…Help?”

      At times, Analytics can be frustrating and a little confounding, even for the experts. Fortunately, like any program or process, there is a way to work through and logically break down all of your Google Analytics questions.

    18. How to Get Started with YouTube for Marketing

      How to Get Started with YouTube for Marketing (Source: youtube.com)

      YouTube boasts more than a billion active users, about one-third of all people who use the internet. Those users upload and consume millions of hours of video content every day, putting YouTube leaps and bounds ahead of the cable networks providing more traditional content on TV.

      What we’re saying is that YouTube isn’t only one of our world’s top social networks, but one of the most dominant forces in all of media. Period.

      Ready to reach YouTube’s massive, plugged-in audience? Here’s how to put YouTube to work promoting your brand, gaining conversions, and creating real value for your business right now:

      1.) Optimize Your Video Pages and Channel Page

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).