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Why Content Quality Is Vital For Effective SEO

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There are many who take the saying “content is king” literally and produce a prodigious amount of articles posts, and comments to be published online. There are currently more than 2.4 million posts being published daily using WordPress alone, so you can very well imagine just how much is actually being produced. It is obvious that given the volume of content production, it is unlikely that all of it has value. This is exactly where Google encounters a problem because its search algorithms are focused on identifying content that is valuable to users and serving them in the best manner possible.

The reason content is vital to successful SEO is because it is among the top factors considered by Google for ranking. Not only is good content conducive to link generation but it also helps Google’s RankBrain to understand better what your site is all about and how it adds value to searchers. Marketers who do not appreciate the importance of quality content will end up losing out in rankings and traffic.

More Content Is Not the Same as Better Content

Publishing content in great quantity does not serve any purpose in boosting page rankings. Over the years, search engines have become increasingly sophisticated. They are better at interpreting what the user wants, and if the content is likely to add value to its information requirement. Thus, trying to out-publish competitors does not work if the content itself has no relevance or value because you can be sure that it will be discounted by the search engines. It is far better to focus on the development of original and value-added content than just churning out content of questionable quality.

Recognizing bad content is not particularly difficult. This type of content exists solely for the purpose of promoting a business or a brand and offers little or no value to the reader. This kind of ‘thin’ content consumes readers’ time but is of no use to them. On the other hand, good content satisfies the needs of the user. This, however, means that content needs to be highly specific and relevant to the user’s requirement and not attempt to serve a broad audience. Unless content developers are very clear about whom they are writing for the content is not likely to be considered good.

Characteristics of Good Content

The intent of the visitor is served: The real purpose of SEO is not to just get a good ranking but to educate users, assist them to address concerns and help them to establish a relationship with the publisher, business or brand. To do this, it is vital to conduct keyword research that will reveal exactly what your target audience is looking for. Identifying this can be a very good basis for generating content that searchers would most probably be interested in.

A good user experience is provided: Having good content is integral to a well-designed and user-friendly website. When users locate your website using a search parameter, a good user experience can be delivered only by having content that is good and served in a user-friendly manner so that the user can derive the maximum benefit from the site.

Quick delivery of information: Everybody is in a rush, especially Web users. When people want immediate answers and your site fails to load fast enough, they may not wait to access your content. This, in turn, can negatively impact your search rankings. Make sure that your site loads quickly, delivering the content really fast.

Outdo the competition: Not only does your content need to be good, it needs to be better than the competition. While you focus on developing content that is original and relevant, you should also monitor your main competitors to find out what they are up to so that you can best them. A good indicator of the value users find in content is the number of backlinks earned by the site.


Effective SEO depends substantially on the quality of content. Good content does not happen by chance – it requires time, planning, and a lot of effort — and the results are usually well worth the investment.


Barrack Diego is a senior SEO consultant at, a leading digital marketing services provider. He has extensive experience of working with content developers to serve the requirements of small and medium businesses in the travel and lifestyle sectors.

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Technology – a ‘Giving Tree’?

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Our relationship with technology is unlike the one described in ‘The Giving Tree.’  Rather it is distinguished by many trade-offs with profound implications for the human experience.

The Giving Tree is a well-known children’s picture book by Shel Silverstein and tells about the relationship between a boy and an apple tree. The tree in this story eagerly fulfills the boy’s wishes, even if it means having its branches cut off and its trunk removed. Apart from asking the boy for his company – but not as a precondition for its generosity – the tree does not request anything in return. In the simplicity of The Giving Tree story, the boy’s fulfilled wishes do not create any further consequences for him.

Humanity’s relationship with technology is not a “Giving Tree” story. It is a story that includes a broad range of trade-offs, which for most of our species’ history have been too subtle and too slowly developing for us humans to take much notice of. This began to change with the onset of industrialization.

All the technologies we’ve invented since – our tools, engineered substances, and machines – create many benefits for us. Increased food security, increases in health and longevity, ease and speed of transport, ease and speed of recording and sharing information, or all the material comforts we enjoy are among the main advantages we gain through technology use.
But technology doesn’t just give. Unlike the apple tree, technology always asks for something in return. A quote from the movie Inherit the Wind describes this: “Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, ‘Alright, you can have a telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. Mister, you may conquer the air, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.’”

As technology helps us gain increases in food availability, lowers our mortality rates, gives us modern transportation and communication and lets us enjoy material comforts, it is “paid” for with unintended, negative effects like overpopulation and overuse of natural resources, human caused species extinction, environmental pollution and degradation, ever rising energy needs, lifestyle diseases, increased monitoring by governments and corporations, etc.

The amount of trade-offs and unintended effects which modern technological development brings about is still a very new experience for our species and is of far-reaching consequences. A consensus developed regarding unintended effects like those noted above. They are recognized as problematic developments. Yet regarding unintended effects impacting the essence of our humanity there is little awareness.

So far, we humans have seen ourselves to be about more than just technology. That we are technological beings is one aspect of our humanity. Other key aspects of our humanity are, for example, that we are biological, social, cultural, psychological, spiritual beings, and that we are intelligent in more ways than technology creation and use. By intensifying our technology focus, we slowly trade off the role of the other defining human aspects in favor of technology’s role. The closer we align our species’ essence with technology’s essence, the more humanity’s non-technological aspects will fade away.

As more of our basic human resources – like our time and attention, our curiosity and creativity, our ability to analyze or to cooperate – are absorbed by technology’s realities and evolution, the less they are directly available for all our non-technological aspects. This affects the soul of our species. The more of these resources go into technology invention and use, the less they are available for all things not technology.

Taking courtship, sex, and sexual reproduction as essential expressions of our biological, social, and cultural being, we can see how technology is increasingly defining them. We now have social media and dating apps, sex dolls/robots and other ‘toys,’ virtualization of sex through videos/Internet, hormone treatments, fertility drugs, in-vitro fertilization, pre-natal diagnostics, etc.
To be clear, this isn’t primarily about judging – though we should certainly form opinions about a development so crucial for our species. Primarily, this is about making ourselves aware of the dynamics we are unleashing.

The trade-offs and unintended effects of modern means of communication and entertainment can also serve as an example: The benefits of Smartphones, the Internet, TVs and computers, or video games are obvious, which is why they are so alluring to us: ease of communication and information access, and their entertainment value. Yet as we trade off being outdoors and active, allowing downtime for ourselves, or being social in the “real” world with ever more screen time, unintended effects become noticeable: eye health issues like nearsightedness, disrupted sleep-patterns, connection between sedentary lifestyles and sickness, e.g. obesity, cognitive, linguistic or emotional effects, symptoms of addiction, etc.

How do other trade-offs affect our lives? Such as making less things ourselves and letting robots take on those tasks, thinking and observing less ourselves and increasingly letting algorithms (artificial intelligence) do it for us, knowing less of how to grow and raise food and increasingly letting machines, artificial substances and manipulated genes dictate our nutrition, or taking less responsibility for our personal health and increasingly delegating it to pharmaceuticals, medical technologies and procedures. How do such trade-offs affect for instance our self-image and world views, the quality of our social interactions, our values and beliefs, our sense of independence and freedom, or our capacity to make choices and to act?

Just how much we let technology take a hold of and define the broad range of our human aspects is arguably the most existential problem our species ever faced. Do we want humans to become an exclusively technological being, or do we see our other core aspects as an integral part of our journey? This is a colossal question. Most of us probably would – understandably – prefer to ignore it. But we ourselves, through the manner and speed of our technological self-empowerment, are bringing this question ever more forcefully upon us.

The ‘Giving Tree’ view of receiving without having to give something in return is a very unfitting view for our relationship with technology. Especially we in highly technologized societies are urged to give the basic trade-offs of the humanity–technology relationship far more attention. Taking the cultural blind eye we’ve developed towards technology’s nature and turning it into a seeing one must be our first step in addressing this great challenge.


James Heim graduated from the University of Zurich and has worked with a Swiss foundation to bring technology companies to Switzerland. His work in this field, along with his close connection to nature, informed the research for his book Voluntary Enslavement: Technology’s Fast Development Reduces Diversity and Freedom.

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3 New Facebook Ad Features to Master in 2017

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“The best Facebook ads look and feel as relevant and timely in your News Feed as the posts you see from your friends.”

Mari Smith, Facebook marketing expert

For better for worse, Facebook, like Google, is in a constant state of transformation. The company regularly implements new aspects and features to its platform; everything from live video broadcasting, to the newly unveiled marketplace.

Case in point: Facebook Ads. Just when we think we’ve mastered the myriad of features, new developments arise. An example of this is Facebook’s recent decision to begin allowing marketers to advertise in the Instagrams Stories section.

All throughout 2016, Facebook also pushed a slew of ad updates, augmentations, and alterations that helped marketers better target their audiences, create more compelling experiences, and track data in more meaningful ways.

Now, in 2017, the social network is at it again, announcing new features and advertising methods to help brands succeed. They can also help to confuse the heck out of you.

If you’re ready to sink your teeth into a new ad experience or need insight to quell the confusion, check out these three new ad updates from Facebook.

New Dynamic Ad Features

Back in 2015, Facebook introduced Dynamic Ads. This is a popular ad model that allows brands to promote relevant products and services in a carousel-style layout.

Since its inception, this form of promotion has been leveraged for retargeting audiences who have already viewed a company’s merchandise. But Facebook wants marketers and businesses to be able to reach more interested buyers who have displayed an intent to purchase with their ads.

In mid-January, Facebook announced that it would be updating this ad format to enable advertisers to extend their reach to individuals who have been searching any website for a product similar to the one a company offers through the ad platform. Facebook clarified the new feature by stating:

“Now, if someone has been browsing for furniture across multiple websites, Facebook may infer that this person is interested in buying a couch, and they may be a good candidate to serve a dynamic ad for furniture. The broader point here is that dynamic ads – which as primarily only been used for remarketing – are now become much better at predicting intent by allowing advertisers to use multiple signals for targeting, including activity on Facebook such as Likes and ad clicks, and also activity off Facebook such as website visits.”

In simple terms, this means that if your company sells red umbrellas, you can now target individuals searching for that type of product across retail websites.

While the offering is only available in the U.S. as of now, it will certainly roll out globally in the near future.

Start learning to master this new element because it is likely to lead to a massive increase in sales.

Video Advertisements Coming Soon

While this feature is still in a testing phase, it’s best to start bolstering your video marketing skills to take advantage of this forthcoming video element.

It has now been reported that Facebook will soon give video content creators the option to place ads into videos that are longer than 90 seconds.

Since Facebook has always shied away from pre-roll video ads, the company has opted for mid-roll promotions that will play after viewers have watched a video for at least 20 seconds.

Facebook sources have stated that 55 percent of sales derived from ads will be shared with publishers, which is similar to what YouTube offers.

This is significant news for marketers considering that this time last year the social website stated that, “. . . People now watch over 100 million hours of video on Facebook each day. . .”

This is definitely a double-edged sword. While this provides advertisers with increased options, and more compelling ones at that, this also means that publishers will need to create ultra-engaging videos to keep people watching once an ad starts playing.

Two-Page Newsfeed Product Ads

In mid-November of 2016, news broke on Facebook’s upcoming multi-product newsfeed ads that will allow advertisers to display multiple pages as well as offerings. According to Facebook, these ads will enable retailers to display as many as 50 products within an ad.

The two-click process works by displaying a main ad image or video with related products listed below. If a user clicks this ad, a second page will be displayed wherein various related products will be displayed. If a viewer clicks an item on this second page, he or she will be taken to the company website where he/she can purchase the items.

This is fantastic news for retailers who were green with envy when Instagram received similar shop-able posts.

This is certainly an ad feature to master in 2017 because it allows many retailers to display large portions of their catalog for shoppers to browse within a single ad, helping to increase their chances of making a sale; especially when compared with ads that only display a single product.

Facebook Wants to Own Your Ad Dollars

Facebook is without question one of the most innovative companies developing ad experiences for brands to leverage. This is exactly why the company has effectively seized a large portion of Google’s AdWords revenue.

If you focus on just one ad platform, most companies would benefit the most from Facebook Ads. If you know a portion of your audience is active Facebook users, it’s unequivocally worth your time to master Facebook’s advertising platform. Video ads will be a game changer; become an early adopter and you can blow away your competition.

Which of these ad experiences are you most excited for? Do you think that mid-roll video ads will negatively impact the amount of video people who are watching on Facebook?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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8 Reasons Former Bosses Do Not Honor Company Policy Regarding References – Worried About a Bad Reference?  Better Check Your Boss First

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Many unsuccessful job seekers come to the realization that a negative reference(s) from a past employer is the source of their problems.

Typically, a former employer is only supposed to offer limited information about previous employees, e.g. employment dates and title.  While the track record of corporate Human Resources is generally (but not always) consistent with this policy, it is a different story when considering former supervisors.

While there are a number of reasons why your former supervisor might offer potentially damaging information about you, the bottom line is that you should never assume that your prior supervisor(s) is following company policy when they are contacted about offering you a reference.

To see unbelievable comments from former bosses, please click here.

What are some reasons your supervisory references may be unfavorable?  They include:

  1. They may think the rules do not apply to them.
  2. They may simply not have liked you, or your performance.
  3. They may be unhappy that you left the organization (or are thinking about leaving the organization) and are either retaliating/discouraging someone else from hiring you.
  4. They may fall in the “bad boss” or “bully” category.
  5. They may have issues pertaining to your age or gender.
  6. They may be having a “bad day” when contacted for a reference, offering more revealing commentary than they normally would.
  7. They may think you are not qualified for the position for which you are being considered.  They may even be envious that you are being considered for such a position.
  8. They may simply be offering the truth as they see it, not being mindful – or aware – that they should not be offering that level of commentary about you.

Reference checking company Allison & Taylor estimates that approximately 50 percent of all reference checks they conduct reflect some degree of employer negativity.  Given this substantial number of negative supervisory references, what is a job seeker to do?

A useful first step would be to utilize an organization to conduct a reference check(s) on their behalf.  If a former supervisor’s commentary is in any way unfavorable, the job seeker will have some form of recourse in discouraging them from offering such commentary again.  (One such remedy is the Cease & Desist letter that has an extremely high rate of success.)

Bottom line, it is critical that the job seeker vet their references prior to seeking new employment.  Sadly, too many candidates only become aware of a negative reference once a number of promising job opportunities have passed them by.  With one of the peak hiring times upon us, consider making reference checking a priority in gaining that next new job.


AllisonTaylor and its principals have been in the business of checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. We are highly acclaimed with employers, employees and the media alike. Compliments and mentions from influential publications and writers at The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Workplace Bullying Institute, ABC Newswire, Forbes, USA Today, Hcareers, Fortune and MyFox News provide insight into our services. AllisonTaylor is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For further details on services and procedures please visit

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WhatsApp Channels Snapchat With New ‘Status’ Feature

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Facebook is continuing its mission to make Snapchat irrelevant: this time by launching a new feature for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp StatusDubbed WhatsApp Status, the new tool is markedly similar to Snapchat Stories, although it does have some original features of its own.

Status permits users to share with contacts photos and videos customized with captions, drawings and stickers. All images and videos disappear after 24 hours. The biggest difference between WhatsApp’s and Snapchat’s offerings, is the level of security.

“Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted,” CEO Jan Koum said in a blog post.

The enhanced security feature means that WhatsApp cannot see or gain access to what users are sharing with their friends — and neither can anyone else, like hackers. The privacy settings enable users to control who sees their statuses.

The change has been in the works for a while, Koum said.

“Even after we added messaging in the summer of 2009, we kept the basic ‘text only’ status functionality in WhatsApp. Every year, when Brian and I would plan projects to work on, we always talked about improving and evolving this original ‘text only’ status feature,” he wrote.

“Just like eight years ago when we first started WhatsApp, this new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way.”



Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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Yahoo-Verizon Deal to Go Ahead — With $350M discount

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Yahoo has saved its deal with Verizon by slashing $350 million from the $4.83-billion sale price of its Internet division.

Now valued at approximately $4.48 billion in cash, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. The price reduction is a far cry from the $1-billion discount Verizon was reportedly pushing for late last year.

The companies will share some of the legal and regulatory liabilities arising from the two major data breaches that affected more than 1.5 billion Yahoo accounts, the firms announced in a joint press release. While the companies will equally split any cash liabilities arising from government investigations and third-party litigation related to the breaches, liabilities arising from shareholder lawsuits and SEC investigations will be the sole responsibility of Yahoo.

Marni Walden

Marni Walden

“The amended terms of the agreement provide a fair and favorable outcome for shareholders. It provides protections for both sides and delivers a clear path to close the transaction in the second quarter,” Marni Walden, Verizon executive vice-president and president of product innovation and new businesses, said.

“We have always believed this acquisition makes strategic sense. We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously so that we can quickly welcome Yahoo’s tremendous talent and assets into our expanding portfolio in the digital advertising space.”

Walden’s statement is also a significant change from the doubts she expressed last month about the deal going ahead. When asked at the beginning of January if the transaction would still occur, she was quoted by Reuters as saying: “I can’t sit here today and say with confidence one way or another because we still don’t know.”

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

Yahoo and Verizon struck the $4.83-billion all-cash deal last July and all appeared rosy for the tech titan who had been trying for months to spin off of its core Web business — which includes search, mail and messenger. The deal pleased Yahoo shareholders who were unhappy with Yahoo’s slow turnaround process under CEO Marissa Mayer.

When Yahoo admitted in September to a 2014 data breach impacting 500 million user accounts, its deal with Verizon appeared to be shaky. Then, in December, when Yahoo admitted to a hack in 2013, this time affecting one billion accounts, the deal appeared to be in genuine peril.

While it is uncertain how much rumor mongering played a role in media reports of the deal being scrapped, it is safe to say that Mayer must be breathing a sigh of relief that the transaction is back on track.

“We continue to be very excited to join forces with Verizon and AOL,” Mayer said. “This transaction will accelerate Yahoo’s operating business especially on mobile, while effectively separating our Asian asset equity stakes. It is an important step to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo, and we can now move forward with confidence and certainty. We have a terrific, loyal, experienced team at Yahoo. I’m incredibly proud of our team’s strong product and financial execution in 2016, setting the stage for a successful integration.”

While the deal is set to be wrapped up in the next few months, the fallout from Yahoo’s data breaches could stretch on for some time.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced last month it is investigating Yahoo for its failure to promptly report two massive hacks of its systems to its investors. The SEC has probed the actions of other firms in similar situations, although the agency has yet to take action against a company.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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Uber Asks Former U.S. Attorney General to Investigate Sexism Charges

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Uber once again is in the spotlight after sexism charges were levelled against the high-tech transportation firm by a former employee.

The company, in a bid to head off more bad press, has appointed former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to a panel put together to investigate claims Uber ignored sexual harassment complaints from engineer Susan J. Fowler who worked at the firm for one year. The panel will also include Uber board member Arianna Huffington, who announced her involvement in a tweet.

Susan Fowler

Susan Fowler

Fowler, in a blog post, says the trouble began shortly after she came on board with Uber in November 2015. She claims she was sent sexually suggestive messages from her manager and, when she filed a complaint with HR, nothing was done to investigate the matter.

That was the beginning of a number of questionable incidents Fowler says she experienced before leaving Uber in December of 2016. Her blog post describes a male-oriented culture in which women were treated poorly.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick responded to Fowler’s blog post, saying what she describes in it is “abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.”

“It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations,” reads a statement sent to Recode. “We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”

Fowler, in her post, describes how, once her training was complete, the manager of the team she joined sent her sexually-charged messages.

“On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat,” her post reads. “He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.”

HR, she claims, brushed off the incident, saying it was the man’s first offense, and he would receive a “warning and a stern talking-to.” Upper management told her he “was a high performer” so “they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.”

She said she was then told she could either find another team to work on to avoid future interaction with the manager or she could stay on the team, but would “have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that.”

After opting to move to another team, Fowler says she discovered other female employees had lodged similar complaints against the same manager.

Fowler also details other issues in her post, such as having perfect performance reviews altered in order to keep her on a specific team. She says she was not the only female to be treated poorly, noting that when she joined Uber, the organization was more than 25 percent women.

“By the time I was trying to transfer to another eng organization, this number had dropped down to less than six percent,” she writes. “Women were transferring out of the organization, and those who couldn’t transfer were quitting or preparing to quit. There were two major reasons for this: there was the organizational chaos, and there was also the sexism within the organization. When I asked our director at an org all-hands about what was being done about the dwindling numbers of women in the org compared to the rest of the company, his reply was, in a nutshell, that the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers.”

Fowlers allegations are the latest in a string of difficulties for Uber.

Most recently, Kalanick’s ties to Donald Trump left both him and his company in hot water after the president signed an order suspending immigration to the United Sates from Muslim countries. A #DeleteUber campaign was started and the company lost more than 200,000 customers. Kalanick was forced to resign from Trump’s economic committee to stem the flow.

Also last month, Uber settled a FTC complaint that it had misled drivers with its earning claims. Uber agreed to shell out $20 million to refund affected drivers. The FTC, in its complaint, said Uber exaggerated the yearly and hourly income drivers could make in certain cities, and misled prospective drivers about the financing options available through its Vehicle Solutions Program.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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Six stats on the importance of trust in influencer marketing

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Image by Walter Lim, available via CC BY 2.0

Successful influencer marketing depends on trust. 

Influencers need to establish trust with their audiences in order for their posts to resonate. Brands and agencies conducting campaigns must establish trust with their influencers if they want their campaigns executed effectively.

Consumers are inundated with media competing for their attention, and consumers’ trust for brands is lower than it’s ever been. This makes establishing trust with your audience harder and more important than ever.

Generally, people trust their peers and the recommendations that they provide. So to cope with this battle for trust, savvy marketers are turning to influencer marketing to take advantage of these peer recommendations and build trust with their audiences.

Don’t just take my word for it — look at the statistics.

“Only 22% of brands are trusted.” (Havas Media)

That’s a frightening metric for any marketer. Without establishing trust between your brand and your audience, it’s nearly impossible to market your product or service. So marketers are faced with the difficult question of how to create and maintain trust with their audience.

61% of women said they won’t engage with an influencer’s sponsored content if it doesn’t feel genuine.” (Bloglovin)

Trust and authenticity are critical for engagement in any influencer campaign. Without trust, the content that you’re hoping will build engagement won’t feel genuine and won’t resonate with your desired audience.

Low trust equals low engagement, and a pattern of this can erode an influencer’s audience over time. While this report references women specifically, these principles are applicable across the influencer marketing sphere.

“43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” (Forbes)

According to a survey of 1,300 millennials carried out by Forbes, young people prioritise trusting a company or news site before they will look at any content it produces. As Dan Schawbel of Forbes wrote, “Millennials connect best with people over logos.”

If trust isn’t established, millennials may not even interact with your content. An influencer can get a lot of attention, but the only attention that matters for your brand is authentic, genuine interaction that builds trust between you and the audience.

“60% of YouTube subscribers say they would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite YouTube creator over a traditional celebrity.” (The YouTube Generation Study)

Celebrity spokespeople have long been considered a surefire way to build positive associations for your brand among your target audience. H&R Block wants to establish trust with their audience, so they recruit Jon Hamm to be their spokesman.

But savvy brands are turning to influencers on YouTube and other channels who have built audiences related to a shared set of interests. These placements are more authentic, and drive more brand-relevant recommendations than the generalized appeal of celebrity spots.

83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising.” (Nielsen)

Consumers take recommendations from their peers much more favorably than the ‘recommendations’ they see in ads. They trust the opinions of their friends because they know they’re both unbiased and providing recommendations that are personalized to the individual. Influencers fit this bill nicely.

The best influencers turn down deals that don’t have a natural fit in their feed and approach branded deals without bias. Either they already love a product and are happy to endorse it, or they agree to test the product and give an honest review or endorsement.

If you find the right influencers whose personas fit your brand values, targeted to your area of interest, the recommendations they share are more personalized for their audiences.

54% of consumers believe the smaller the community, the bigger the influence.” (Technorati)

Although influencer marketing can help you reach a larger audience, ultimately, that audience doesn’t matter if it’s not the right audience. It is more valuable to show your brand to 30K likely buyers than it is to show it off to 200K totally uninterested viewers.

Finding influencers whose content and style perfectly match your brand, no matter their follower level, is a much smarter strategy than just getting as many eyes as possible. Influencers with smaller followings may have a more relevant, engaged and trusting audience because they haven’t “blown up” yet. Check the comment sections on a Kardashian-branded post and you’ll see what I mean.

To build trust with your audience, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. But you do need to foster trust between your brand and the influencer — trusting them to make content that will capture your brand values while also engaging their followers in the best way.

You can take advantage of existing marketing principles to build a playbook to engage your audience. Make use of peer recommendations from authentic influencers to drive engagement with your brand.

Brian Zuercher is CEO & Founder of SEEN, and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.