Posts By: Curator
We hear from tons of people who have questions on how to safely and quickly secure a Spokeo opt out.
Don’t worry, understanding how to opt out of Spokeo isn’t that difficult.
However, you definitely want to be sure you do it right.
First we’ll go over how Spokeo got your information in the first place. It’s helpful to know so you can protect your online presence more effectively.
Then, we’ll cover the opt out procedure in full detail.
What is Spokeo?
Spokeo is an online database that aggregates information about people from multiple sources elsewhere on the web so users can easily find this sort of data in one place.
The site uses web crawlers to find and aggregate the information you find on the site. No personal information on Spokeo is original research, so if it’s on Spokeo that means it is also somewhere else.
Why is it an issue?
While search results from Spokeo may feel troublesome for some more than others, there’s no denying that your search results matter. No matter what your profession, You are being looked up online by others. From business partners to potential customers to dates and coworkers – someone is googling your name!
This means if your name, phone number, or address is floating around online there’s a good chance it will be found.
With sites like Spokeo in the mix, it only gets easier for someone to come across this information. This is one of the most common reasons why people want to go through the Spokeo opt out procedure.
Aside from security concerns, there’s another reason to take Spokeo listings seriously. By diluting your online footprint with information that doesn’t benefit a professional searcher you can hurt your online reputation significantly.
The data supports how important your online reputation is – especially when it comes to your professional life. Nearly half (42%) of the online U.S. adults that looked somebody up in a search engine, did so before deciding to do business with them (2012 BrandYourself/Harris Interactive study). This makes understanding how to opt out of Spokeo even more important.
This can have a staggering impact on your career – for better or for worse. So instead of greeting a potential colleague, employee or employer with your birthday and home phone number, make sure that they see relevant information about you.
How to opt out of Spokeo
When it comes to the information available about individuals online, everyone has different comfort levels with what’s out there.
Although Spokeo publishes aggregate data that is publicly available about people online, it can be somewhat disturbing to see this all in one place. Because of that, the site allows individuals to request data removal (aka an opt out) from the site.
The full Spokeo opt out procedure
If you prefer to keep the kind of information mentioned above private, you’re in luck. While removing the information from Spokeo does not mean that other sites will also remove this information, it’s a start. Follow the steps below to remove your private information from Spokeo.
- Create an email address that doesn’t include your name or any personal information. You will receive a confirmation at the end of the process and need to click the included link to verify your removal request. Consider creating a gmail, gmx or guerilla mail account to use in conjunction with the removal process. Remember, guerrilla mail accounts are temporary, so respond to the confirmation email immediately.
- Visit spokeo.com and search for your name. Make sure to search for variations of your name including nicknames, maiden names, professional names and even spouse names.
- Click on the results that relate to you. Initially Spokeo will filter search results for your name by state. Start the process by selecting the state where you currently live, and choose your street.
- Once you’ve clicked through this result and selected your current address, copy the URL page that shows all of the information associated with this person/location.
- From here, scroll to the very bottom of the page and choose “Privacy”. Again, skip down to the bottom of the page and select the “Opt Out” form.
- Once you’ve found the Opt Out form, paste your listing’s profile URL into the appropriate text box, then type your new email address (which you don’t normally use, and doesn’t share any information about you) in the other textbox. Don’t forget to check and fill out the CAPTCHA box. When you finish, click, “Remove this listing” at the bottom of the page.
- If everything worked, when you check your inbox, you should find a confirmation email from Spokeo – make sure to check your Spam folder if you don’t see it in your primary inbox.
- Open that email, click the link and confirm that you want to remove this listing.
- Repeat as needed for listings of other places you’ve lived. Keep in mind that you will be limited to 5 removals at a time.
The next step
After going through the Spokeo opt out process, you still have more work to do. While it’s great that this listing will no longer appear on Spokeo, most of it is still publicly available elsewhere, probably not all in the same place.
Make sure that you scan search results for your name on Google (or another search engine) for more private information. Once you’ve gathered a list of potential culprits, follow their respective rules for removal.
In addition to dealing with these other sites, know that your information could still appear on Spokeo in the future. While Spokeo will not simply re-post what you’ve removed, they periodically pull information, so if there is new information associated with your name, there is a good chance that this will appear on their site down the road.
How to ensure maximum effectiveness when opting out of Spokeo
While removing your listings from Spokeo and comparable databases is one way to keep private information – well – private, it’s not guaranteed to last forever (or at all – depending on the site removal policies).
Luckily, there is an alternative solution to play defense and keep people from seeing it when they search your name online.
Use our 3-step process
At BrandYourself, we make it our business to monitor, improve and protect your online presence. Time and time again we’ve seen our clients develop impressive online reputations by simply following our 3-Step process below. Following this will make sure you stay protected after the Spokeo opt out procedure.
The first step is building a foundation of high-quality web properties. These are most commonly social media properties and websites.
The next step is optimizing these to rank for your name in search engines and establishing further relevancy so personal information in the future doesn’t have a chance to be viewed by unwanted eyes.
Lastly, there is some simple maintenance that you can do to make sure everything stays at cruising altitude. You can do this yourself, or utilize our tools and services to make things even easier.
When it comes to dealing with private information and opting out of sites like Spokeo, we’ve found this strategy to work best. Through this 3-Step Process, the sites that you control gain authority and eventually overwhelm and suppress those search results that show your private information.
This gives you another strong layer of security for protecting your personal information. Better safe than sorry right?
The wrap up
When dealing with exposed information on sites like Spokeo, just opting out isn’t enough. You need to create a presence to replace and overwhelm the information that you can’t control and don’t want others to see.
If you want to use our tools and services to help guarantee the Spokeo opt out procedure goes smoothly, visit the pages below:
BrandYourself’s Free DIY Product: Walks you through the process of monitoring and improving your online presence yourself with a number of features to help you understand how you look now and what steps you should take to improve. (Our standard tool is free, and the premium version costs $99 per year for added features and access).
BrandYourself’s Managed Services: Put you together with a team of BrandYourself-certified Reputation Specialists who handle the work for you. This includes extracting your personal brand (what you want people to know about you), building high-quality websites and profiles, and consistently publishing well-branded content on your behalf. (Managed services start at $399 per month).
Even before coming to Main Street Hub, NYC Sales Manager Brandon Kaminsky lived by those same values. When he decided to write and publish a book, he challenged himself every day until he achieved his goals.
Learn more about Brandon, his experience becoming a published author, and how his go-get-it attitude has helped him in his career at Main Street Hub:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“I graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2015. I was working in the jewelry industry through school. A lot of my family is in the jewelry business, and I know they wanted me to follow them on that path. But, I was looking for something different.
“I’m the first American-born person in my family, and I’m also the first person in my family to get a college degree. This is my first job out of college, and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. When I walked into Main Street Hub, I immediately knew I liked it. I ended up being good at the job, and here I am.”
What was the inspiration behind your book?
“My book is called “Y” My Generation: Reach Your Potential by Monetizing Your Naturalness. It’s a mix of Generation Y, money-related, and motivational material.
“It’s about how there’s so much going on in our world right now that gives our generation the ability to reach a little higher, but it comes down to how much you want it.”
“When I was 18, I entered an online competition for students to submit their book ideas for the chance to win a publishing deal. I worked on my idea for a while and submitted a couple different things.
“Around the same time, I lost my Pops. I was only 19, but that gave me crazy motivation to get it done for him. So, my book was a two-and-a-half year journey. I researched, wrote it, and got it out there. The competition had been over for a while.”
How did you feel when it finally got published?
“I was sending out letters to publishers before I even finished writing the book. I must have gotten around 230 nos.”
“At a certain point, I looked back at all the time I’d put into it, and I knew that I couldn’t waste it.”
“Then, conveniently, as I was finishing the last chapter, I finally got one yes. My book was published in March 2016. It’s been going great. I have 100% positive reviews on Amazon, which is cool.”
What advice would you give someone looking to write a book?
“I would want them to know that it’s just like sales. You’re going to get rejected, and it’ll be hard. Once you think that you’ve put in an award-winning amount of time, you’ll be halfway. Get ready to double-down on that time. You’ll be exhausted. But, if you can reach deeper to really pull out that last half of the effort, then you deserve to be a published author. You just have to put your head down and do it. Just do it.”
What’s your favorite thing about working on the Main Street Hub Sales Team?
“There’s no other company I know of where people are so willing to give themselves to you, in terms of helping you succeed. That’s extremely special.”
What’s your favorite Main Street Hub core value?
“I have to go with Elevate Others. I love that about our company. We work together, always.”
The first step to joining our world-class Sales Team in ATX or NYC is to apply here!
Did You Know?: Fun Facts About Sales Manager Brandon Kaminsky was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Source: Main Street Hub
Posted by randfish
How can you effectively apply link metrics like Domain Authority and Page Authority alongside your other SEO metrics? Where and when does it make sense to take them into account, and what exactly do they mean? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand answers these questions and more, arming you with the knowledge you need to better understand and execute your SEO work.
So many of you have written to us at Moz over the years and certainly I go to lots of conferences and events and speak to folks who are like, “Well, I’ve been measuring my link building activity with DA,” or, “Hey, I got a high DA link,” and I want to confirm when is it the right time to be using something like DA or PA or a raw link count metric, like number of linking root domains or something like Spam Score or a traffic estimation, these types of metrics.
So I’m going to walk you through kind of these three — Page Authority, Domain Authority, and linking root domains — just to get a refresher course on what they are. Page Authority and Domain Authority are actually a little complicated. So I think that’s worthwhile. Then we’ll chat about when to use which metrics. So I’ve got sort of the three primary things that people use link metrics for in the SEO world, and we’ll walk through those.
So to start, Page Authority is basically — you can see I’ve written a ton of different little metrics in here — linking URLs, linking root domains, MozRank, MozTrust, linking subdomains, anchor text, linking pages, followed links, no followed links, 301s, 302s, new versus old links, TLD, domain name, branded domain mentions, Spam Score, and many, many other metrics.
Basically, what PA is, is it’s every metric that we could possibly come up with from our link index all taken together and then thrown into a model with some training data. So the training data in this case, quite obviously, is Google search results, because what we want the Page Authority score to ultimately be is a predictor of how well a given page is going to rank in Google search results assuming we know nothing else about it except link data. So this is using no on-page data, no content data, no engagement or visit data, none of the patterns or branding or entity matches, just link data.
So this is everything we possibly know about a page from its link profile and the domain that page is on, and then we insert that in as the input alongside the training data. We have a machine learning model that essentially learns against Google search results and builds the best possible model it can. That model, by the way, throws away some of this stuff, because it’s not useful, and it adds in a bunch of this stuff, like vectors or various attributes of each one. So it might say, “Oh, anchor text distribution, that’s actually not useful, but Domain Authority ordered by the root domains with more than 500 links to them.” I’m making stuff up, right? But you could have those sorts of filters on this data and thus come up with very complex models, which is what machine learning is designed to do.
All we have to worry about is that this is essentially the best predictive score we can come up with based on the links. So it’s useful for a bunch of things. If we’re trying to say how well do we think this page might rank independent of all non-link factors, PA, great model. Good data for that.
Domain Authority is once you have the PA model in your head and you’re sort of like, “Okay, got it, machine learning against Google’s results to produce the best predictive score for ranking in Google.” DA is just the PA model at the root domain level. So not subdomains, just root domains, which means it’s got some weirdness. It can’t, for example, say that randfishkin.blogspot.com is different than www.blogspot.com. But obviously, a link from www.blogspot.com is way more valuable than from my personal subdomain at Blogspot or Tumblr or WordPress or any of these hosted subdomains. So that’s kind of an edge case that unfortunately DA doesn’t do a great job of supporting.
What it’s good for is it’s relatively well-suited to be predictive of how a domain’s pages will rank in Google. So it removes all the page-level information, but it’s still operative at the domain level. It can be very useful for that.
Linking Root Domain
Then linking root domains is the simplest one. This is basically a count of all the unique root domains with at least one link on them that point to a given page or a site. So if I tell you that this URL A has 410 linking root domains, that basically means that there are 410 domains with at least one link pointing to URL A.
What I haven’t told you is whether they’re followed or no followed. Usually, this is a combination of those two unless it’s specified. So even a no followed link could go into the linking root domains, which is why you should always double check. If you’re using Ahrefs or Majestic or Moz and you hover on the whatever, the little question mark icon next to any given metric, it will tell you what it includes and what it doesn’t include.
When to use which metric(s)
All right. So how do we use these?
Well, for month over month link building performance, which is something that a lot of folks track, I would actually not suggest making DA your primary one. This is for a few reasons. So Moz’s index, which is the only thing currently that calculates DA or a machine learning-like model out there among the major toolsets for link data, only updates about once every month. So if you are doing your report before the DA has updated from the last link index, that can be quite frustrating.
Now, I will say we are only a few months away from a new index that’s going to replace Mozscape that will calculate DA and PA and all these other things much, much more quickly. I know that’s been something many folks have been asking for. It is on its way.
But in the meantime, what I recommend using is:
1. Linking root domains, the count of linking root domains and how that’s grown over time.
2. Organic rankings for your targeted keywords. I know this is not a direct link metric, but this really helps to tell you about the performance of how those links have been affected. So if you’re measuring month to month, it should be the case that any months you’ve got in a 20 or 30-day period, Google probably has counted and recognized within a few days of finding them, and Google is pretty good at crawling nearly the whole web within a week or two weeks. So this is going to be a reasonable proxy for how your link building campaign has helped your organic search campaign.
3. The distribution of Domain Authority. So I think, in this case, Domain Authority can be useful. It wouldn’t be my first or second choice, but I think it certainly can belong in a link building performance report. It’s helpful to see the high DA links that you’re getting. It’s a good sorting mechanism to sort of say, “These are, generally speaking, more important, more authoritative sites.”
4. Spam Score I like as well, because if you’ve been doing a lot of link building, it is the case that Domain Authority doesn’t penalize or doesn’t lower its score for a high Spam Score. It will show you, “Hey, this is an authoritative site with a lot of DA and good-looking links, but it also looks quite spammy to us.” So, for example, you might see that something has a DA of 60, but a Spam Score of 7 or 8, which might be mildly concerning. I start to really worry when you get to like 9, 10, or 11.
I think this is something that folks ask. So they look at their own links and they say, “All right, we have these links or our competitor has these links. Which ones are providing the most value for me?” In that case, if you can get it, for example, if it’s a link pointing to you, the best one is, of course, going to be…
1. Real traffic sent. If a site or a page, a link is sending traffic to you, that is clearly of value and that’s going to be likely interpreted positively by the search engines as well.
You can also use…
3. DA. I think it’s pretty good. These metrics are pretty good and pretty well-correlated with, relatively speaking, value, especially if you can’t get at a metric like real traffic because it’s coming from someone else’s site.
4. Linking root domains, the count of those to a page or a domain.
5. The rankings rise, in the case where a page is ranking position four, a new link coming to it is the only thing that’s changed or the only thing you’re aware of that’s changed in the last few days, few weeks, and you see a rankings rise. It moves up a few positions. That’s a pretty good proxy for, “All right, that is a valuable link.” But this is a rare case where you really can control other variables to the extent that you think you can believe in that.
6. I like Spam Scor for this as well, because then you can start to see, “Well, are these sketchier links, or are these links that I can likely trust more?”
So I think this is one that many, many SEOs do. We have a big list of links. We’ve got 50 links that we’re thinking about, “Should I get these or not and which ones should I go after first and which ones should I not go after?” In this case…
1. DA is really quite a good metric, and that is because it’s relatively predictive of the domain’s pages’ performance in Google, which is a proxy, but a decent proxy for how it might help your site rank better.
It is the case that folks will talk about, “Hey, it tends to be the case that when I go out and I build lots of DA 70, DA 80, DA 90+ links, I often get credit. Why DA and not PA, Rand?” Well, in the case where you’re getting links, it’s very often from new pages on a website, which have not yet been assigned PA or may not have inherited all the link equity from all the internal pages.
Over time, as those pages themselves get more links, their PA will rise as well. But the reason that I generally recommend a DA for link outreach is both because of that PA/DA timing issue and because oftentimes you don’t know which page is going to give you a link from a domain. It could be a new page they haven’t created yet. It could be one that you never thought they would add you to. It might be exactly the page that you were hoping for, but it’s hard to say.
2. I think linking root domains is a very reasonable one for this, and linking root domains is certainly closely correlated, not quite as well correlated, but closely correlated with DA and with rankings.
3. Spam Score, like we’ve talked about.
4. I might use something like SimilarWeb‘s traffic estimates, especially if real traffic sent is something that I’m very interested in. If I’m pursuing no followed links or affiliate links or I just care about traffic more than I care about rank-boosting ability, SimilarWeb has got what I think is the best traffic prediction system, and so that would be the metric I look at.
So, hopefully, you now have a better understanding of DA and PA and link counts and when and where to apply them alongside which other metrics. I look forward to your questions. I’ll be happy to jump into the comments and answer. And we’ll see you again next time for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.
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Ahead of Father’s Day, we’re celebrating some of our team’s awesome dads!
In the office, Garrett Robins is known as a Manager of Account Management on our Customer Success Team, but at home — he’s known as dad.
We talked to Garrett about balancing life at the office with raising his three adorable children and what he loves about being a father:
What are your kids’ names and how old are they?
“Reid (5), Juliana (3), and Elizabeth (3 months).”
Will your family be doing anything special for Father’s Day this year?
“We’ll likely go on a walk and let Reid and Juliana drive their Power Wheels Jeep down to the park. We’ve also been playing a lot of UNO! Attack lately, so we might get a game or two in of that as well.”
What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
“I love being able to teach them! Sometimes it’s as simple as right from wrong, other times it’s a questions like ‘How far is the moon?’ They are so smart and remember everything you tell them!”
What are the biggest challenges of being a parent?
“When you are focused on being the best father you can be, you have to remember to be a great husband as well. Balancing everything is a challenge, but it’s a challenge I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Can you tell us a funny story about a time that things did not go as planned with your little ones?
“The other weekend, we were running in a Mud Run out in Dripping Springs, Texas with Reid. He was up ahead of us a little bit (running well, I might add), and I noticed he suddenly stopped. At first I was worried he was becoming overheated, but I quickly realized he was using the bathroom on the side of the course! I was extremely embarrassed, but realized he didn’t understand why sometimes in the woods he could do that, and other times he couldn’t. Another learning moment!”
How do you balance your work and the demands of fatherhood?
“I try to be as transparent as possible with them as to what I do at work, and why I need to go to work (to pay for our house, food, toys, etc.). I think this is the first step in teaching them how to be responsible with their money. I also like to take them up to the office a few times a year so they get a chance to meet my coworkers and see where I spend my time. They always enjoy pointing out my building as we drive by on the weekends!”
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since becoming a father?
“Enjoy the present time! They grow up so fast, and while it’s great to have long-term goals professionally and at home, it’s important to take time to appreciate everything that is going on in the moment.”
Garrett’s not the only father on our Customer Success Team — get to know Account Manager Patrick Parrish!
Want to learn more about what our Account Managers do? Watch:
Apply to join them!
Father’s Day Spotlight: Garrett Robins, Manager, Account Management was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Source: Main Street Hub
In 2016, 18 CEO’s from the world’s 2,500 largest public companies, were forced to resign because they did something unethical. 18’s not a very big number but it’s bigger than it’s ever been before.
According PwC’s CEO Success study, CEO dismissals for ethical lapses rose 36% in the last four years vs the prior four years. This includes incidents of fraud, bribery, insider trading, sexual indiscretions, and lying.
It’s interesting to note that the percentage is even higher when you hone in on only the largest companies in the world. And it’s higher among CEO’s who have been with a company more than six years.
What’s happening? Are today’s CEO’s less ethical than they were a few years ago, or is something else causing the rise in forced resignations.
PwC thinks it’s more about a change in climate than a change in people. They pin the rise on several trends that are making it harder for CEO’s to escape a public flogging.
First, is the fact that the public is a lot less forgiving than they used to be. CEO trust is at an all-time low. In the past, we put our blind trust in our leaders but those days are gone. Not only are we more suspicious, we’re also less likely to forgive and forget when we learn of a CEO’s indiscretions.
Another big issue is the 24/7 news cycle and the rise of citizen journalism and social justice warriors. A slip that might have been caught and fixed before anyone was the wiser is now a viral video with a hashtag on Twitter in a matter of minutes. Once the mistake hits the fan, CEO’s often jump to explain themselves publicly, when they should be closing ranks. This leads to a second round of finger pointing that inevitably makes things worse.
Third, is the increase in digital communications, social media and automatic data storage. In 1954, it was your word against your boss’s word. In 2017, there’s a digital paper trail including emails, conversations recorded on a mobile phone, copies of hard drive deleted documents in the cloud, and Facebook confessionals.
Really, it’s a wonder any CEO gets away with even the slightest misstep in the modern world.
But let’s get back to the original question; are CEO’s less ethical than they were? Could be. We tend to think of leaders making unethical choices out of greed. They cut corners that lead to safety issues or they shave a little off the top to line their pockets. But it wasn’t financial gain that led to the most recent lapses; it was social pressure.
Today’s top companies are being asked to hit impossible goals in sales, production and customer service. When a leader is failing, through no fault of his own, he might feel the need to cross the line for the good of the company. Who’s going to notice a slight tweak in those emissions reports? So the ground beef is a day or two past the code – it’s still good to eat, right? And those sexual harassment complaints? You could fire those responsible but that’s going to lead to a loss of productivity. Who has time for that?
We’re all so very good at justifying our actions.
Here’s the problem, saying you did the wrong thing for the right reason isn’t going to protect you or your company when the world finds out. Yes, it’s tough to stand up at a board meeting and say that your exciting new product doesn’t actually work. But it’s a lot tougher to face a news camera and admit that you repeatedly lied in order to keep the money coming in.
Before you write this post off with a breezy, “that would never happen to me”, remember that we all handle pressure differently, and while you may have the strength to battle on, the people who work under you might not have as strong a moral compass.
Protect your company by carefully monitoring incentive-based goals, encouraging communication at all levels, and investigating all allegations of misconduct. And, above all else, always strive to do the right thing because the world is literally watching.
Source: Reputation Refinery