Facebook Moves to Block Fake News

New Facebook Update Expected July 17 will Affect Your Ability to Edit Posts–But is that the Right Answer?

Fake News keyboard

In late June, Facebook announced they were taking steps to make if more difficult to edit what readers see in the “preview windows”. In reality, this ‘preview’ is all that many people actually do see.

And there is the underlying problem. Many, if not most professional “publishers”–the loose term given to anyone who posts content on the internet–make changes to the headlines and descriptions.

Why do we do this? Because we want people to click on our post. We want people to be so moved by what they see, they click it and “read all about it”–on our site, rather than the competitions.

Some publishers are really good at writing compelling copy that results in lots of people looking at their websites.

NASA runs a child-slave colony on Mars!


Photos taken by a Chinese orbiter reveal an alien settlement on the moon!


Shape-shifting reptilian extraterrestrials that can control human minds are running the U.S. government!

The above are some of the headlines that have been purported as truth in the media. (Thanks to Scientific American for these.)

So what is the problem with allowing people to edit the headlines and description?

Most people just want you to click on their site, but are not intending to pass off false information. There are more nefarious types out there though whose main goal is to make you believe things that are just not true.

Fake News cartoon by Frederick Burr Opper

This isn’t anything new. As the image above shows, Fake News has been an issue for a lot longer than Facebook or the Internet. The image is a portion of an illustration of reporters with “fake news” dating to 1894 by Frederick Burr Opper

There are more examples of fake news being propagate in history in this article by Scientific American.

Now, it may be that the headline and description are merely provocative, and if you were to read the actual post it would not be ‘fake news.’ The problem is that, as we mentioned earlier, most readers don’t bother to click and read more. They actually believe the headlines and descriptions, and share that information as if it were the wisdom of the ages.

After all, if we read it online if must be true. Right? Not right? Really?

Our goal is to support publisher workflows and app functionality, while limiting malicious misrepresentations of underlying link content. As content customization evolves we continue to work closely with our partners to support the best tools for sharing links on Facebook.

Even though Facebook is attempting to clean up the information stream that they control, it is still smart to question anything that you see online. Even if it is “everywhere”–probably even more so if it is everywhere!

Facebook of course is not the only entity facing this issue. Most of the social media outlets are looking at their policies, and trying to determine how much policing they should, or want to do.

Fake News is News Worthy!

PolitiFact is actually covering Fake News as a newsworthy topic!

There’s an interesting discussion happening now about the spread of fake news on the Internet and what companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, among others, should do to stop it. That’s a healthy conversation to have, and one we hope continues in the weeks and months ahead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something now. Here at PolitiFact, we’re beefing up our coverage of fake news to help our readers better sort out fact from fiction on their social media feeds. The claims can be about anything — politics, entertainment, a fishy-sounding medical cure.

There is no 100% fool proof way to verify that what you are reading is the truth. Reading the real article and not the “cliff notes” version is a good start. Be willing to read and engage your brain. Rather than having a knee jerk reaction and sharing everything you see, pause, take a deep breath.

Let us take a little bit of responsibility for what we believe. Maybe we’re being unkind. Scientific American in their article, How Fake News Goes Viral says that maybe we’re aren’t just super gullible. It could be that we are just overwhelmed with information.

“If you live in a world where you are bombarded with junk—even if you’re good at discriminating—you’re only seeing a portion of what’s out there, so you still may share misinformation,” explains computer scientist Filippo Menczer of Indiana University Bloomington

But, even SA admits that the solution may rest on the shoulders of the readers. At least, that is what they said in February: The Ultimate Cure for the Fake News Epidemic Will Be More Skeptical Readers. Despite computer algorithms, we have to be more discerning.

Is it true is it kind is it necessary

And in the words of the poet Mary Ann Pietzker, ask yourself, “Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

In an example of the internet getting it wrong, this quote has been claimed, with some slight variations, to be the words of Buddha, of Sai Baba, and an ancient Arabian Proverb. No doubt there are others who have claimed the words, or attributed them to someone else entirely!

Thanks to Facebook, Scientific American, and PolitiFact for providing us with just the facts, ma’am.

Image of the special Fake News keyboard credited to Credit: Peter Dazeley Getty Images and appears on Scientific American, from their article “How Fake News Goes Viral—Here’s the Math”

Read more about Fake News on Scientific American:

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Your Site Name

This is part 5 of a 6 part series on search tips for local businesses

Should Your Site Name be Your Business Name?

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Your site nameFor many businesses, they want their website name to be the same as their business name. And for many this makes sense. Especially if you are a big, well-known brand. Someone looking for a hardware store in your area may just type in the name of one of the big box stores rather than using keywords. In those instances have your site name (your URL) match your business name is important.

If you aren’t a big brand, you might consider using a keyword in your URL, possibly in conjunction with your business name. If your business is specific to a town then you may want to also consider using your town name in your site name. Both of these can help the search engines know what your business is about and where you are located.

When people search for a Mexican restaurant they may not include the town they are looking in. That’s okay, because the search engines are smart and know the IP address the search was made from—and the town that that IP address is located in. It isn’t perfect, but it means that they will tend to serve to the potential customers the Mexican restaurants nearer to them, not ones across the state or country.

By including your town in your URL you can help the search engines serve up your listing to people in your area.

One word of caution—if you have your town in your URL then you do not want to put your town in every page and description. Sometimes that can be misinterpreted by the search engines as “keyword stuffing”

OK, you want to build a brand and therefore you want to have a website with your name, not a keyword based URL. That’s okay. There are ways that you can have your cake and eat it too. By having two URLs you can take advantage of local search strategies and still build your brand and name recognition.

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Content

This is part 4 of a 6 part series on search tips for local businesses

Provide Important Information, AKA “Content”

Search Tips for Local BusinessesWhen you are building your pages pay attention to both the content which is the information ON the page, and the tags and metadata—the information behind the scenes.

Even though some people will claim that the search engines don’t use keywords any longer, that is really a misinterpretation. It is true that keywords have been overused and abused, which has led to changes in how search engines work. But a keyword is at its most basic simply a word. It is a word, or group of words that people use when searching for your business. As long as people use words to search, then keywords will have a place in search engine algorithms.

Think about it this way. Twenty years ago if you wanted to find a place to have dinner you would grab the phone book and look under the restaurants section. “Restaurants” was your main keyword even back then, we just didn’t call it that!

Now, if you had a hankering for great chili rellenos, you would further refine your search and look for “Mexican Restaurants.”

Of course the phone book you grabbed was for your city or town, or neighborhood, right? You wouldn’t be looking in a San Francisco phone book and expect to find a great Mexican restaurant in Phoenix.

That is the importance of the information behind the scenes. By using metadata, tags, and even titling for your posts, pages, and images, you are helping the search engines determine which “phone book” your business belongs in.

Place your most important keyword, like Mexican restaurant, in your titles, images, and descriptions. When you are building your page content, you want it to sound natural, but you also have to create the right road signs so search engines can find you.

Some of your “road signs” will include links. These may be external links that take a reader to another site for additional information. You should also have internal links: links that go from one page of your website to another page on your website. Think of links as another way to help your readers (and the search engines) to find the information that is most important to them.

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Multiple Locations

This is part 3 of a 6 part series on search tips for local businesses

Multiple Locations, Multiple Pages

local business search tips for multiple locationsIf you have more than one office or storefront then you will want to create a webpage for each physical address. Depending on your business you may choose to have separate websites, but that may not be necessary, or even desirable.

Is each business a separate entity? Does each office service different cities or areas? Then you may want to have multiple websites.

On the other hand, it can be helpful if someone learns of your business from a friend or associate that they can discover you have multiple branches. They can then choose the location that is most convenient to their home and the one closes to their office. This can actually help you get more business than if each location had its own website.

Whether you have separate pages or entire sites is up to you, but either way be sure to have all the location information for your customers. Maps and photos of what the specific office looks like are a big help, too.

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Local Search Optimization

This is part 1 of a 6 part series

Local Search Optimization

local search marketing

Be sure your business is optimized for local search. It is important to note that this is different from traditional SEO practices. While having a website can be a great idea, it is not necessarily the first place you should start–even when talking about getting found online! (I know, sacrilege, right?)

What local search optimization does for you is it actually helps the search engines and your potential customers to fine you online. It also helps them to find what content is most important on your site, if you have one.

The first thing you must decide as a local business owner who wants to improve their local search rankings is what is most important for YOUR business. And that depends on the type of business you have. The needs of a retail shop will be different from those of a restaurant and those of a doctor, for example.

Most local businesses want more customers to come into their physical location. As one friend puts it, “boots in the door.” With that goal in mind, you want to focus your web presence on getting local search results.

If you don’t have a website yet, this is the ideal time to get it done right. A website is not just about looking good. It is about being found, and that requires the right structure. It takes some planning, but really is a pretty logical process. You can take this on yourself if you have or get the right training. Otherwise, hire someone who specializes in websites for local search results. This is a very important distinction to make when having your site built.

Already have a website? No worries. You can tweak what you already have to get found more easily by Google. If you don’t know how, give us or another local search company a call to improve your results.

The tools of the trade to get results: website structure, optimizing each page, using tags properly, and adding keywords, links, and metadata.

Talk To Me: for Local Business SEO Communication is Crucial

You own a local business. You want more business.  You have even hired someone to help you get more customers–AWESOME!telephone

Of course you want people to call you or come to your store.

But this isn’t the only communication that is key to your success! It is also important for you to talk to the company you hired to get you more customers. This should be an on-going relationship, not something where you hire them one time and never speak to them again.

Here is MY call to you, to talk to your local business SEO or marketing company–whether that is us at Internet Advertising That Works or someone else.

We want to help you grow your business and flourish. After all, that is what we do! To maximize YOUR success we want to know what is going on in your business.

Have you received any awards lately? Be sure to let us know–we’ll plaster that around the web!

Are you donating your goods or services to a charity or as part of a fund-raiser? We want to know that, too.  Of course you do good deeds because you are good people, but people to know that about you–and we want to tell them.

Is your store having an anniversary celebration?

How about your employees–any new faces? Is anyone retiring?

On a more personal level, are there any major milestones happening in your business “family”? Anyone recently have a baby, or a “baby” who is graduating from college? Wedding bells or a big anniversary coming up for the store manager?

Customers love to get to know the people they do business with, so we want to share with them as much as your comfort level allows. Of course if it is personal to an employee, we always want to be sure they are okay with it going public–we always respect a person’s privacy.

Give us a call and we can help you determine how or how much to spread the word.

We may be a lot of things, but we aren’t mind readers, so if you don’t let us know what is going on then we can’t help spread the word!

Talk to me!





Local Business Tip: Keep Color in Mind

Color affects your clients and potential clients. It can be used to attract or to repel. Color is used to slow people down and to speed them up.

My friend Pat pointed out in a recent blog post some of the statistics about how color affects buyers.

Check out the full post from Kissmetrics on how color impacts the decisions of buyers.

One of the reasons fast food restaurants frequently use a lot of yellow and orange is these colors make people a little uncomfortable and so they get in and out more quickly. Clearly, these would not be the best choices for a business that profits more by having clients spend a great deal of time there.

Local businesses must pay attention to colors and what the color communicates. When you are looking at your colors, either if you are just establishing a business or if you are considering a new look, go beyond whether you like the color or not. Take some time and look at the psychological impact that color can have and make sure the color you choose is consistent with your marketing goal.

This color tip is true for your physical location and your website. If you want to have internet advertising that works, it needs to be consistent with your physical presence, and both need to appeal to your customers!

Local Business Marketing Tips: Consider Writing Articles

I know, I know, a lot of people don’t think they can write, but writing articles is one of the easiest, and least expensive ways to conduct local business marketing.

Article marketing is a way for you to let people know about your company, your brand, your products and services.

Articles do not have to be long essays that you dreaded during school. They can be short, and fun to write. The trick is to be yourself and write to your customers! Write as if you were talking to your customers. For example, if you are casual in your business, then be casual in your writing.

When conducting an article marketing campaign, know what message you are trying to convey before you begin to write. Don’t try to give them every important point in one article–you will either overwhelm them or they won’t have any reason to come see you because you already shared it all.

Always remember to include information in your article so the reader can find you! There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective customer then to be excited about something and then not know how to get more information.

If done correctly, article marketing can be used to expand your business and your bottom line while you are having a good time.

Unlike Netflix Check Social Media First When Creating Business Name

When creating a business name, it is smart to check Social Media first.

Case in Point: Qwikster the new company that was formed when Netflix split its home delivery and streaming video services.

The argument that Netflix is charging more for less service with this split is the subject of a different post.

Let’s just focus on the business name.

Businesses seek names that are unique, easy to remember, memorable, and often, but not always, are meaningful.

Qwikster meets none of those criteria–in addition it does nothing to capitalize on the brand millions of people associate with the successful video business: Netflix.

Not only is Qwikster not unique–it is alarmingly similarly to names that could be offensive to many of it’s customers.  Read Qwikster: Not to be Confused with Quistar, QuickStar, Kwikster, Quickster, Kwik Star, Quick-Star, or Kickstar for more on similarly named companies.

When hearing about the company by word-of-mouth, still the best free advertising there is, one wonders just how is it spelled?

People of a certain age are apt to type in the “most correct” spelling as a first effort, which would be q-u-i-c-k-s-t-e-r.

According to UrbanDictionary.com a “quickster” is someone who can get girls “in the sack quick”

A Quickster is also a type of sports net…and lots of other items.

BTW, “The Quickster” was a superhero that appeared in a single SpongeBob SquarePants episode. OK, maybe that’s not a problem for Netflix, but it does make you wonder about Sponge Bob…buy maybe that is why the character is retired.

Now the customer or potential customer is left to wonder if there are hyphens in the name or what “sounds like” spelling was chosen. And why?

Googling is a challenge when people don’t know how to spell your name...and there are so many variations. Today people want instant results–even people who want their videos mailed to them.

By Googling Netflix you discover the spelling is Qwikster. Ok, we can handle that, right. Well, the execs at Netflix must have been smoking dope, because they didn’t check Twitter for the availability of their new moniker. Nope. @Qwikster is already taken by a guy who mostly tweets about smoking dope and chasing girls. Not exactly the image the video giant will want to many of their clientele.

The lesson in all this? (Ok, there are LOTS)

Social Media is imperative to your business. If you already HAVE a business, check to see if your name is available on on the Social Media sites that your customers frequent–especially Twitter and Facebook. If it isn’t, get as close as possible, use abbreviations, whatever, but CLAIM YOUR SPACE.

If you are just starting your business, or considering a name change, check out the Social Media spaces where your customers hang out, including, but not limited to Twitter and Facebook. If the name is already taken there, TRY SOMETHING ELSE. Especially if it is claimed by a dope-smoking young quickster. Unless that’s your target market, of course.

Clicking vs Liking on Facebook Varies by Age Group

Research by SocialCode reveals clicking or liking Facebook ads differs by age groups, which really ought to be no surprise.

Younger people (18-29 year old users)  are more inclined to click the Like button than their older counterparts (50+ year olds.)

On the other hand, older web users are more inclined to click thru the ad and at least learn more about the offer before they would Like it.

One thought behind these findings is that the younger users are more comfortable with the web having grown up with it, they have more invested in the social aspect of Facebook whereas older users have fewer online social connections and therefore have less interest in Liking pages.

The research shows 50+ year old users:

  • 28.2 percent more likely to click through ads than 18-29 year old users
  • 9 percent less likely to ‘Like’ than 18-29 year old users
  • 22.6 percent higher CTR and 8.4 percent lower ‘Like’ rate than all other age groups
  • women’s CTR is 31 percent higher than the younger group’s
  • men’s CTR is 16 percent higher than the younger group’s

2 other interesting stats:

  • Overall, women are 11 percent more likely to click on an ad
  •  ‘Like’ rates are almost even for men and women

What does this really mean? Being “liked” on Facebook, like anywhere in life, is nice, but it really is more important what happens after that, unless your goal is merely amass lots of followers and fans. This is one point that many marketers miss in their goal to amass large number of Likes.

Most businesses aren’t satisfied with merely a like. They want you to interact with their page, check it out, learn more about their company/product/service and hopefully buy from them.

Clicking the like button does get people involved in your site, and provides you with some visibility on their page which could encourage additional interaction with them later. But if they ignore you from then on, are those Likes still of value to you?

Which is more valuable to your business? That depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are attempting to build a targeted fan base then Likes are better for you. If you want people to go to a specific page or take any other specific action RIGHT NOW (call a number, sign a petition, visit a website, make a purchase…) then getting clicks is what you want.

This is simply another reminder that there is no one marketing plan that is perfect for every business. Be sure you know what you want to achieve before you design your campaign. Then when you know what your goal is and you start to get data you can decide if that campaign is meeting your goal. If it isn’t, then “test, test, test” until you find something that moves you in the direction of that goal.

Know your market. Know your business. Have a team that will work with you to achieve your goals.