Navigating BrandYourself’s New Software Update 0

The new version of BrandYourself provides much more comprehensive technology to help you clean up and improve your online presence. This quick guide explains your new features and how to find all the information you had in your old account (if you already had one).

What this guide covers:

  • What’s new in this version?
  • How is my new Reputation Score different from my old Search Score?
  • Where is the info that was on my old Report Card?
  • Where can I find all my submitted links?
  • Where can I submit new links?
  • Where can I find my profile visitors?
  • How can I edit my BrandYourself profile?

Your Reputation Score replaces your old Search Score

Your new Reputation Score gauges how your entire online presence helps or hurts your career – think of it like a credit score for your online presence. It identifies factors that are putting your career at risk, including potentially damaging search results, risky social media posts, and inappropriate social media images. It also looks at positive information about you on the web that benefits your career, like well-optimized and up-to-date properties. Your new Reputation Score is a numeric value, with the highest possible score being 800. We also provide a range of “very poor” to “excellent” as a guide to show how you stack up.

What to expect: Your new Reputation Score may be lower than your previous Search Score

You may notice that your new Reputation Score is comparatively lower than your previous Search Score that gave you a letter grade – that’s ok! Your Search Score only rated the first page of search results. Your new Reputation Score looks at your entire online presence, including search results, social media posts, and images. As online screening becomes more and more prominent, employers are now looking beyond just search results.

Your Reputation Report replaces your old Report Card

When you first log in, you’re brought to your Reputation Report – this is your dashboard. In the previous version, the information housed here was known as your “Report Card”. The Reputation Report provides an overview of your online presence, including:

  • Your Reputation Score
  • A summary of your risk factors (search results, social posts, and images)
  • A summary of your personal brand (how many high-quality properties you’ve created and kept updated)
  • A summary of your Google results
  • Your BrandYourself profile visitors
  • Your new Earnability Calculator, which quantifies how your online presence could be impacting your earning potential

Your Reputation Builder replaces your old My Links page – and adds powerful new features to improve your score

Your Reputation Builder section is where you can action to improve your Reputation Score. That includes building your personal brand and cleaning up risk factors.

Your new Reputation Builder includes:

  • Action Plan. This lists the steps you can take to improve your Reputation Score.
  • Risk Factors:
    • Search Results. This lists any Google results that could be flagged by employers during an online screening and damage your reputation. It also shows you how to suppress them by building positive content.
    • Social Posts. This scans your social media profiles for any posts that could be flagged by employers as unprofessional during an online screening, and helps you delete them.
    • Images.  This scans your social media profiles for any images that could be flagged by employers as unprofessional during an online screening, and helps you delete them.
  • Personal Brand:
    • Properties. This is where you’ll find all your links (it replaces your old My Links page). It walks you through the process of building a positive personal brand to improve your Reputation Score. Your customized personal brand plan takes into account your industry and your current Reputation Score to provide a list of recommended properties that you should build. It then shows you how to optimize them and keep them updated over time.
    • Profile. This is where you can edit and view your BrandYourself profile.


Where is the info from my old “Report Card”?

Most info from your old Report Card can now be found on your Reputation Report, including an overview of your Reputation Score, a summary of your visibility in Google, and your profile visitors. It also includes new information including a summary of your risk factors and a summary of your personal brand.

Where is the “My Links” page? Where are all my submitted links, and where do I submit new ones?

Your Properties page completely replaces your old My Links page. It lists all the links you’ve submitted, how well optimized they are, and how updated they are. You can also add additional links by scrolling down to the “Other Properties” section and submitting them in the input box, just like in the old version.

Where are my BrandYourself profile visitors?

Your Reputation Report shows your profile visitors. Just scroll down to the “Online Audience” section to see who’s viewed your profile recently. We changed the name because this section will show more info about your online audience in the future. But for now, it just shows your BrandYourself profile visitors.

How can I edit my BrandYourself profile?

Edit and view your profile on your Profile page here. Click the “Reputation Builder” tab in the main navigation, then look for “Profile” undern the “Personal Brand” subheading.

Where can I find my Google results?

Your Google Visibility page shows the top 10 pages of Google results for your name. Here you can mark each result as “Positive”, “Damaging”, or “Not Me.” We’ll also notify you of any potentially damaging search results our technology flags in your Flagged Search Results section.

Why is my Reputation Score lower than my Search Score?

You may notice that your new Reputation Score is comparatively lower than your previous Search Score that gave you a letter grade – that’s ok! Your Search Score only rated the first page of search results. Your new Reputation Score looks at your entire online presence, including search results, social media posts, and images. As online screening becomes more and more prominent, employers are now looking beyond just search results.


The post Navigating BrandYourself’s New Software Update appeared first on BrandYourself Blog | ORM And Personal Branding.

Source: Brandyourself

Airbnb Gets Crucial Section 230 Win Over Unauthorized Subleases–La Park La Brea v. Airbnb 0

[It’s impossible to blog about Section 230 without reminding you that it remains highly imperiled.]

Many of Airbnb’s short-term rental listings are illegal. For example, some listings violate local ordinances regulating short-term rentals. Also, apropos to this case, some listings constitute unauthorized sublease. Airbnb has no idea which listings violate their leases. If Airbnb is liable for such listings, it faces substantial exposure and its inventory will undoubtedly shrink.

The plaintiffs own thousands of apartment units in Los Angeles. The landlords allegedly have express no-Airbnb clauses in their leases. The landlords complain about various ill-effects attributable to unauthorized Airbnb rentals. As usual, because Airbnb does not disclose its vendors’ names or exact addresses, the landlords can’t easily find and punish the lease-breakers. Further, Airbnb told the landlords “that it does not review lease agreements or mediate disputes between hosts and property owners regarding leases.” However, Airbnb tries to divert angry landlords and HOAs into its “Friendly Buildings Program,” which cuts them into some revenue if they consent to the listings.

The landlords sued Airbnb using several state law theories. The court grants Airbnb’s 12(b)(6) dismissal motion based on Section 230, noting such early dismissals are proper per Kimzey and Barnes.

The landlords argued that Airbnb constituted an information content provider of the lease-breaking listings. The court says that Airbnb doesn’t “develop” those listings. Per, “development” only occurs if the defendant materially contributes to the alleged illegality of the content. The court concludes Airbnb doesn’t do that by (1) requiring “prospective hosts to include information such as home type, room type, location, description, name, email address, and phone number,” (2) offering “ancillary services such as user information verification, messaging systems, photography, local occupancy tax collection and remittance, a pricing tool, host insurance, a guest refund policy, or an autocomplete search function,” and (3) offering its Friendly Buildings Program. The court says:

what allegedly makes the listings “unlawful,” “illegal,” or “offending” is that they advertise rentals that violate Aimco’s lease agreements. Airbnb hosts—not Airbnb—are responsible for providing the actual listing information. Airbnb “merely provide[s] a framework that could be utilized for proper or improper purposes.”…Aimco does not explain how Airbnb’s failure to cease engaging in rental transactions with tenants whom Airbnb learns are violating their lease agreements, or Airbnb’s complaints to Aimco when Airbnb guests are denied access to Aimco’s properties, transforms Airbnb into an information content provider.

The landlords also argued that Airbnb profits from illegal subleases. The court responds that “Courts have granted CDA protection to websites that process payments and transactions in connection with third-party listings, including Airbnb.” It cites a Maine state court case that never showed up in my Westlaw alerts,  Donaher, III v. Vannini, 2017 WL 4518378 (Me. Super. Ct. Aug. 18, 2017), which held that Section 230 protected Airbnb from failing to remove listings and for processing payments. (That opinion also has some garbled and dubious discussion about Accusearch saying that if a user develops content in part, Airbnb categorically cannot also be a partial developer of that content). The court also cites StubHub v. Hill and several other cases. Finally, the court distinguishes Airbnb v. San Francisco because “Airbnb’s website features are central to Aimco’s claims” instead of the claims targeting only Airbnb’s booking services.

Section 230’s immunization of Airbnb here isn’t surprising. And it’s nice to see courts continue to read the term “develop” narrowly. Still, I can understand why the plaintiffs might be frustrated by this ruling. First, the plaintiffs could feel like they did focus on Airbnb’s booking services, just like the SF case did. Second, the ruling seemingly makes it very difficult for the landlords to crack down on subleasing tenants. They don’t know who is listing apartments on Airbnb, and Airbnb won’t tell them. Finally, they might feel like Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings Program tries to bribe landlords into acquiescence (and punish dissenting landlords by withholding the cash).

At the same time, there really is no way for Airbnb to determine when a sublease is permissible. Most landlords aren’t experts at contracts management, so even finding the right version of a lease sounds like an onerous challenge in many cases. There are good policy reasons not to make Airbnb an adjudicator of complicated fact questions that it lacks the facts (and possible expertise) to resolve.

Still, I have to wonder if this ruling will turn into a tactical win and strategic loss for Airbnb. First, the case may be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, always a risky proposition. Second, large landlords like the plaintiffs have many local regulator friends who can dream up new ways to make life difficult for Airbnb vendors and possibly Airbnb itself. So, I doubt we’ve heard the last of this issue.

Case citationLa Park La Brea A LLC v. Airbnb, Inc.2017 WL 6799241 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 29, 2017). The first amended complaint.

Some Related Posts:

Section 230 Helps VRBO Defeat Claim Over Fraudulent Listing–Hiam v. Homeaway
Another Collision of Housing Regulations and Online Innovation–SF Housing Rights Committee v. HomeAway
Section 230 Ruling Against Airbnb Puts All Online Marketplaces At Risk–Airbnb v. San Francisco

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

Some Blog News: We’re Now Hosted by Justia! 0

[Apologies if you’re seeing this a second time]

The blog has been on an unscheduled and unannounced hiatus for the past few weeks. The hiatus partially reflects the holidays and my need to finish grading over 200 student papers. However, mostly it’s due to some major backend issues with the blog.

I’ll spare you the details, but the blog melted down twice in Fall–first when we tried to switch to HTTPS, and second when we got hit by a pernicious spider that spiked server usage, which caused the blog host HostGator to unceremoniously and without any warning turn off the blog (and all of my other sites). Needless to say, I was not thrilled by HostGator’s customer “service,” which guaranteed I would become an ex-customer. However, I lacked the expertise to solve the problem myself. In desperation, I put out a request on social media for professional help to get me back online and fix my backend issues.

Tim Stanley and the Justia team rode to my rescue. They got me back online quickly and then offered to permanently take over my blog/website administration on exceptionally generous terms. I can’t thank them enough!

I’m thrilled to announce that today we switched the nameservers from HostGator to Justia-operated servers, so Justia is now hosting the blog instead of HostGator. This is incredibly good news for Venkat and me as bloggers and for you as readers. The switch won’t change too much, but here are some changes to note:

* if you see anything broken, please email me ( so we can look into it and get it fixed!

* my personal blog, currently located at htttp://, will relocate to (The “nested” blog-within-a-blog URL was a major source of the backend problems). It may take some time for this change to occur. This URL change may break the RSS feed, so if you subscribe via RSS, you may need to resubscribe at the new URL. You can also get posts emailed; I only post at my personal blog a few times a year.

* In the near future, we will be migrating the blog and other sites to HTTPS (as I had hoped to do in Fall before the prior conversion attempt broke the blog).

* Though Justia hasn’t required it of us, we’ll probably add some promotion for them as a small token of appreciation

I’ll close this post with a request and a thank you. The request: if you have any suggestions of how we can make the blog more helpful to you, I’d love to hear it. With the extra muscle of Justia’s team, it may be possible to do some backend work that wasn’t possible previously. And finally the thank you: we’re coming up on the 13 year anniversary of this blog, and I know many of you have been reading for a long time. Thank you for your continued readership and support for the blog. Happy new year!

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

SEO Ranking Factors & Correlation: What Does It Mean When a Metric Is Correlated with Google Rankings? – Whiteboard Friday 0

Posted by randfish

In an industry where knowing exactly how to get ranked on Google is murky at best, SEO ranking factors studies can be incredibly alluring. But there’s danger in believing every correlation you read, and wisdom in looking at it with a critical eye. In this Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers the myths and realities of correlations, then shares a few smart ways to use and understand the data at hand.

SEO Ranking Factors and Correlation

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are chatting about SEO ranking factors and the challenge around understanding correlation, what correlation means when it comes to SEO factors.

So you have likely seen, over the course of your career in the SEO world, lots of studies like this. They’re usually called something like ranking factors or ranking elements study or the 2017 ranking factors, and a number of companies put them out. Years ago, Moz started to do this work with correlation stuff, and now many, many companies put these out. So people from Searchmetrics and I think Ahrefs puts something out, and SEMrush puts one out, and of course Moz has one.

These usually follow a pretty similar format, which is they take a large number of search results from Google, from a specific country or sometimes from multiple countries, and they’ll say, “We analyzed 100,000 or 50,000 Google search results, and in our set of results, we looked at the following ranking factors to see how well correlated they were with higher rankings.” That is to say how much they predicted that, on average, a page with this factor would outrank a page without the factor, or a page with more of this factor would outrank a page with less of this factor.

Correlation in SEO studies like these usually mean:

So, basically, in an SEO study, they usually mean something like this. They do like a scatter plot. They don’t have to specifically do a scatter plot, but visualization of the results. Then they’ll say, “Okay, linking root domains had better correlation or correlation with higher organic rankings than the 10 blue link-style results to the degree of 0.39.” They’ll usually use either Spearman or Pearson correlation. We won’t get into that here. It doesn’t matter too much.

Across this many searches, the metric predicted higher or lower rankings with this level of consistency. 1.0, by the way, would be perfect correlation. So, for example, if you were looking at days that end in Y and days that follow each other, well, there’s a perfect correlation because every day’s name ends in Y, at least in English.

So search visits, let’s walk down this path just a little bit. So search visits, saying that that 0.47 correlated with higher rankings, if that sounds misleading to you, it sounds misleading to me too. The problem here is that’s not necessarily a ranking factor. At least I don’t think it is. I don’t think that the more visits you get from search from Google, the higher Google ranks you. I think it’s probably that the correlation runs the other way around — the higher you rank in search results, the more visits on average you get from Google search.

So these ranking factors, I’ll run through a bunch of these myths, but these ranking factors may not be factors at all. They’re just metrics or elements where the study has looked at the correlation and is trying to show you the relationship on average. But you have to understand and intuit this information properly, otherwise you can be very misled.

Myths and realities of correlation in SEO

So let’s walk through a few of these.

1. Correlation doesn’t tell us which way the connection runs.

So it does not say whether factor X influences the rankings or whether higher rankings influences factor X. Let’s take another example — number of Facebook shares. Could it be the case that search results that rank higher in Google oftentimes get people sharing them more on Facebook because they’ve been seen by more people who searched for them? I think that’s totally possible. I don’t know whether it’s the case. We can’t prove it right here and now, but we can certainly say, “You know what? This number does not necessarily mean that Facebook shares influence Google results.” It could be the case that Google results influence Facebook searches. It could be the case that there’s a third factor that’s causing both of them. Or it could be the case that there’s, in fact, no relationship and this is merely a coincidental result, probably unlikely given that there is some relationship there, but possible.

2. Correlation does not imply causation.

This is a famous quote, but let’s continue with the famous quote. But it sure is a hint. It sure is a hint. That’s exactly what we like to use correlation for is as a hint of things we might investigate further. We’ll talk about that in a second.

3. In an algorithm like Google’s, with thousands of potential ranking inputs, if you see any single metric at 0.1 or higher, I tend to think that, in general, that is an interesting result.

Not prove something, not means that there’s a direct correlation, just it is interesting. It’s worthy of further exploration. It’s worthy of understanding. It’s worthy of forming hypotheses and then trying to prove those wrong. It is interesting.

4. Correlation does tell us what more successful pages and sites do that less successful sites and pages don’t do.

Sometimes, in my opinion, that is just as interesting as what is actually causing rankings in Google. So you might say, “Oh, this doesn’t prove anything.” What it proves to me is pages that are getting more Facebook shares tend to do a good bit better than pages that are not getting as many Facebook shares.

I don’t really care, to be honest, whether that is a direct Google ranking factor or whether that’s just something that’s happening. If it’s happening in my space, if it’s happening in the world of SERPs that I care about, that is useful information for me to know and information that I should be applying, because it suggests that my competitors are doing this and that if I don’t do it, I probably won’t be as successful, or I may not be as successful as the ones who are. Certainly, I want to understand how they’re doing it and why they’re doing it.

5. None of these studies that I have ever seen so far have looked specifically at SERP features.

So one of the things that you have to remember, when you’re looking at these, is think organic, 10 blue link-style results. We’re not talking about AdWords, the paid results. We’re not talking about Knowledge Graph or featured snippets or image results or video results or any of these other, the news boxes, the Twitter results, anything else that goes in there. So this is kind of old-school, classic organic SEO.

6. Correlation is not a best practice.

So it does not mean that because this list descends and goes down in this order that those are the things you should do in that particular order. Don’t use this as a roadmap.

7. Low correlation does not mean that a metric or a tactic doesn’t work

Example, a high percent of sites using a page or a tactic will result in a very low correlation. So, for example, when we first did this study in I think it was 2005 that Moz ran its first one of these, maybe it was ’07, we saw that keyword use in the title element was strongly correlated. I think it was probably around 0.2, 0.15, something like that. Then over time, it’s gone way, way down. Now, it’s something like 0.03, extremely small, infinitesimally small.

What does that mean? Well, it could mean one of two things. It could mean Google is using it less as a ranking factor. It could mean that it was never connected, and it’s just total speculation, total coincidence. Or three, it could mean that a lot more people who rank in the top 20 or 30 results, which is what these studies usually look at, top 10 to top 50 sometimes, a lot more of them are putting the keyword in the title, and therefore, there’s just no difference between result number 31 and result number 1, because they both have them in the title. So you’re seeing a much lower correlation between pages that don’t have them and do have them and higher rankings. So be careful about how you intuit that.

Oh, one final note. I did put -0.02 here. A negative correlation means that as you see less of this thing, you tend to see higher rankings. Again, unless there is a strong negative correlation, I tend to watch out for these, or I tend to not pay too much attention. For example, the keyword in the meta description, it could just be that, well, it turns out pretty much everyone has the keyword in the meta description now, so this is just not a big differentiating factor.

What is correlation good for?

All right. What’s correlation actually good for? We talked about a bunch of myths, ways not to use it.

A. IDing the elements that more successful pages tend to have

So if I look across a correlation and I see that lots of pages are twice as likely to have X and rank highly as the ones that don’t rank highly, well, that is a good piece of data for me.

B. Watching elements over time to see if they rise or lower in correlation.

For example, we watch links very closely over time to see if they rise or lower so that we can say: “Gosh, does it look like links are getting more or less influential in Google’s rankings? Are they more or less correlated than they were last year or two years ago?” And if we see that drop dramatically, we might intuit, “Hey, we should test the power of links again. Time for another experiment to see if links still move the needle, or if they’re becoming less powerful, or if it’s merely that the correlation is dropping.”

C. Comparing sets of search results against one another we can identify unique attributes that might be true

So, for example, in a vertical like news, we might see that domain authority is much more important than it is in fitness, where smaller sites potentially have much more opportunity or dominate. Or we might see that something like https is not a great way to stand out in news, because everybody has it, but in fitness, it is a way to stand out and, in fact, the folks who do have it tend to do much better. Maybe they’ve invested more in their sites.

D. Judging metrics as a predictive ranking ability

Essentially, when I’m looking at a metric like domain authority, how good is that at telling me on average how much better one domain will rank in Google versus another? I can see that this number is a good indication of that. If that number goes down, domain authority is less predictive, less sort of useful for me. If it goes up, it’s more useful. I did this a couple years ago with Alexa Rank and SimilarWeb, looking at traffic metrics and which ones are best correlated with actual traffic, and found Alexa Rank is awful and SimilarWeb is quite excellent. So there you go.

E. Finding elements to test

So if I see that large images embedded on a page that’s already ranking on page 1 of search results has a 0.61 correlation with the image from that page ranking in the image results in the first few, wow, that’s really interesting. You know what? I’m going to go test that and take big images and embed them on my pages that are ranking and see if I can get the image results that I care about. That’s great information for testing.

This is all stuff that correlation is useful for. Correlation in SEO, especially when it comes to ranking factors or ranking elements, can be very misleading. I hope that this will help you to better understand how to use and not use that data.

Thanks. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by

The image used to promote this post was adapted with gratitude from the hilarious webcomic, xkcd.

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Source: Moz

2018: The Year of New, Sparkly Content 0

Content ideas to keep your social media pages fresh for the new year

By: Sam Koontz, Content Editor

Now that the holidays and New Year’s have come and gone, what we’re left with, aside from stubborn confetti that refuses to stay in 2017, is the shiny promise of a clean slate in the months ahead. January is the time of year that we all vow to improve ourselves in one way or another — that same optimism can be applied to your small business’ social media content.

2017 was a huge year for social media activity, rounding out at 2 billion users on Facebook, 700 million on Instagram, and 328 million on Twitter. These numbers will grow even more in the new year as mobile device usage continues to gain traction. For that reason, it’s increasingly important to have some fun, new content ideas in your toolbox for the next month.

Check out these 4 strategies you can utilize to make your social media pages stand out in 2018:

1. Seasonal Spirit

Every year, 40% of the population commits to making a New Year’s resolution. Among the top five most popular resolutions for last year were self-improvement and trying something new and exciting. Keep your pages topical by using this hopeful spirit to drive your content! Your customers will appreciate that your content is relating to their goals.

Gyms or studios like this one lend themselves perfectly to New Year’s-related content:

“Meet your New Year’s resolution accountability team.”

Here’s an example of a seasonal direction to take if your small business involves outdoor activities:

“Resolve to be adventurous this year.”

2. Ongoing Specials

Let your customer base know that your ongoing specials are sticking around in the new year! Whether you offer an afternoon happy hour every Sunday, host trivia on Wednesdays, or offer student discounts year-round, now’s as good a time as ever to remind your fans that they can count on you when they want to fall back on their favorite routines.

If you own a bar or a brewing company, you might advertise your ongoing specials like this:

“New year, same Wednesday night plans.”

3. Product Highlight

Your products and services are the backbone of your small business, and they’re a huge part of what keeps your loyal followers coming back. This year, make it a point to pepper in content that shows off your product. Amidst your other posts, this will ensure that your audience never forgets what you’re all about.

Here’s an example of a great post from a local boutique:

“Every journey begins with a single step. Start 2018 on the right foot — with the right shoes.”

4. Upcoming Events

If your small business plays host to different events throughout the year, now would be a great opportunity to foster a more meaningful relationship with your customers. Posting content about your event in the weeks prior increases awareness and will drum up support from the fans who are eager to be a part of what you do.

If you have an upcoming event, a graphic is a quick and easy way to share information with your audience! Here’s an example:

“The future is bright this year.”

2018 offers endless possibilities for your social media pages. Take advantage of some of these tips, and this could be your best year of content yet!

Sam Koontz is one of Main Street Hub’s Content Editors. On our Content Team, Sam helps our Community Managers develop and improve their writing skills to provide the best possible content for our local business customers all over the country.

Looking for someone to take social media off your plate this year? Main Street Hub can do it for you. Click here to get started with us today.

Don’t miss a thing — follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

2018: The Year of New, Sparkly Content 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