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Whether we are making a high-value purchase, such as a car, or picking a T-shirt off the rack, we always look for the price tag — the most natural human buying behavior. Thus, it goes without saying that pricing a product or service correctly is one of the most important factors that determine its success or failure. However, we inhabit a world where laissez faire economies rule. There are many types of pricing strategy, but nothing is set in stone to determine the right price for a product or service.

A pricing strategy is based on factors like supply and demand, the perceived value of a product or service, revenue goals, marketing objectives, target audience, brand positioning, and product attributes. The trick is to figure out the right mix of factors to consider for a particular use case.

Often, despite their best efforts, marketers fail to do this resulting in iconic pricing errors. For instance, Tata Motors — one of India’s biggest automotive brands that also owns Jaguar — launched the Nano car as “the cheapest car you can get,” with the hope that it would replace bikes. It was meant to fit the budget of a lower-middle class family. However, Nano did not work in the market in the long run because, in India, a car is a status symbol, and people did not want to buy a car that was so obviously targeted at lower income groups. It just wasn’t “aspirational enough.”

This was an error in reading the cultural context. Here are 10 such common errors in pricing strategy with a few examples to help you understand better:

#1: Predatory pricing strategy that is solely practiced to wipe out the competition

Predatory pricing is one of the oldest pricing methods in the game. It essentially involves pricing your products below the competition, sometimes at a loss, to deny market access to any other players. This kind of pricing is illegal in many countries, but allegations of predatory pricing are difficult to prove. The notorious predatory pricing case by Airtel against Reliance Jio in the Indian telecom industry should ring some bells.

Why does this happen?

Usually, market leaders with deep pockets practice this method to shut down their competition and capture the market completely. However, competitive pricing is a much better and more ethical route to take in the long run. Disrupting the market can have its own set of challenges for the future.

#2: Looking at short-term targets vs. long-term profitability

If you are pricing your product/service on the basis of next quarter’s sales targets, and not the profitability of the organization, then you are making this grievous mistake in pricing methods. You are essentially not looking beyond your nose. Many organizations are prone to this mistake because their sales and marketing teams are under pressure to achieve targets. This kind of pricing mistake is characterized by untimely discounts or sales when products are already underpriced.

Why does this happen?

Mid-sized organizations or new organizations that are looking to expand are most likely to fall prey to this kind of pricing strategy errors. It’s vital to understand that if you undervalue your own offerings, so will the consumer.

#3: Underestimating the competition’s ability to react your pricing strategy

Looking at the competitor’s pricing is a great place to begin when setting a price, right? While you can undercut your competitors, they can undercut you too. The competition is not a stagnant force; it is dynamic and subject to the same market forces that govern you. The error here is to assume that your pricing strategy will not be met with a reaction. Any organization, irrespective of size or turnover, is a candidate for this error in pricing methods.

#4: Choosing an over-complicated pricing model

Consumers don’t like hidden costs. It makes them feel like they have been taken for a ride, and it affects their relationship with the brand. Transparency is the best policy when it comes to pricing — the cleaner your cost break-up is, the more effective your sales will be. For instance, if you are selling a modular kitchen, don’t forget to mention the demolition charges for the existing kitchen. Surprising your clients is never a good idea.

Why does this happen?

Organizations that have a high-value product or service usually try to mask the price of their offerings by providing a complicated cost structure. The important thing to remember here is that you must be able to justify the cost of an offering based on its value. If it is a great product like an Apple phone, consumers will buy it despite the high price.

#5: Not trying out multiple price points across segments

It is true that a brand must target the relevant audience. However, it’s unwise to target different segments with a flat price. Most successful products have a range of offerings with varied price points.

Many brands fail to explore different price points to target different segments of the market. This is an error in pricing methods that can cost organizations a large portion of market share. For instance, if an UberGo costs you the same as an UberSUV, then you will be confused as the end user about what ride you should book.

Why does this happen?

Organizations that have niche offerings are often skeptical to diversify their products and explore different price points within a range.

#6: Not considering the customer’s value proposition in pricing strategy

It is not enough to price your offering as per cost or your assumption of its value. You cannot miss out on what the customer perceives to be the value of your offering. To be fair to marketers, the perceived value of a product/service may not coincide with its actual value. However, one must know the pulse of the customers to avoid costly pricing mistakes. There is no better example than the Netflix price surge debacle to illustrate this point.

Why does this happen?

Large and profitable organizations that grow overconfident about the value of their offerings tend to make this pricing error.

#7: Having the same pricing strategy across product lines

There are many different types of pricing strategies. Some products are priced based on the cost of production while others for their exclusivity. There is no glove here that fits every hand. Hence, applying the same pricing strategy to different product lines is a recipe for disaster. For instance, you cannot price a fast fashion brand in the same way you price a couture fashion label.

Why does this happen?

Brands that have multiple product lines or have newly ventured into a particular product line often make this pricing mistake.

#8: Not streamlining internal processes that affect the price

It is an unsaid rule in the market that the cost of producing a product cannot be more than its price. This is simply because the organization will, in that case, incur a loss. However, the cost of a product can sometimes shoot up due to lags within the production system. For instance, if you have a broken supply chain that is bleeding capital, you cannot make the end user pay for it.

#9: Having prices that are not dynamic Why does this happen?

Organizations that opt for sticky prices and have a traditional outlook to pricing make the mistake of not reacting quickly enough to the market.

#10: Not understanding the cultural context of pricing Why does this happen?

Organizations that venture into new geographies without sufficient market research are prone to such pricing strategy errors.

Pricing is a very sensitive part of product development and launch. There is no tangible way to measure its impact, but it can be the factor that makes or breaks your business. Organizations must opt for unique pricing strategies. However, you can break the rules when you know them well. A solid understanding of pricing is imperative for senior executives in any organization. Columbia Business School’s program for Pricing Methodologies is a great online course to get your basics right.

Emeritus is proud to partner with Columbia Business School and other top universities to offer high-quality online sales and marketing courses.

By Anwesha Barari

Write to [email protected] with your feedback.

You're reading 10 Wrong Pricing Strategies That Are Costing Your Brand Money

15+ Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses Worth Your Time & Money

As a small business owner, you don’t have time or money to waste on marketing strategies that aren’t suited to your needs, so let’s take a look at options that can (and can’t) get you the most bang for your buck.

Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses on Google 1. Get a Website

With 63% of consumers choosing to find or engage with brands via their website, and with around 70,000 searches per second per day on Google, your business website is the means by which you leverage the power of Google to grow your small business.

In order to make the most of your Google-related marketing efforts, you need to make sure your website can scale up with your business growth and easily adapt to changes in Google’s algorithm. At the end of the day, Google favors websites that its users favor, so make sure it satisfies and engages your ideal customers.

To get a return on the investment of time and money you put into your website:

Track page metrics to gather intel about your ideal customers. (Find out the top marketing metrics you should be tracking.)

Make the most important information available immediately to reduce bounce rate.

Create seamless navigation to increase time on page.

Make it easy to contact your business.

Educate site visitors about all of your offerings.

Read more about what an effective website needs to have here.

Want to know how your website performs? Try our website grader to get your online presence grade. 

2. Search Engine-Optimize Your Website

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The goal of SEO is to get your website to show up for searches your potential customers are performing, related to your products, services, and industry.

An effective SEO strategy for your website involves:

Publishing trustworthy, useful content that’s relevant to your target audience (and uses the right keywords).

Placing keywords in strategic spots on your webpages to help Google identify, categorize, and retrieve them more easily for relevant searches.

Maximizing the quality of that content so Google will rank you higher in search results and put you in front of a larger audience.

Improving your website SEO is technically free, but it does require time, effort, and expertise. There’s a lot that goes into SEO – both onsite and offsite in the front and back ends of your website to keep up with Google’s changing algorithm. Nevertheless, when done properly, it is arguably one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there.

3. Search Engine-Optimize Your Directory Listings

Your website isn’t the only online media that you can optimize for Google. With search results pages becoming richer and richer with answer snippets, drop-down boxes of related questions, and even answers directly in the search suggestions, it’s important to optimize your information in the online directories from which Google pulls to provide such convenient information.

Google provides answers before you can even press enter in a search.

Your listing optimization strategy for Google should include:

Getting registered on free business listing sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List…

…but most importantly, on Google My Business (see below).

Filling out all fields for each of these sites.

Selecting a category for your business (to help you get found for non-branded searches).

Making sure your information is identical across platforms.

Updating your hours and contact information to stay accurate.

Collecting positive online reviews.

4. Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google search results can provide the information your potential customers are seeking – before they even get to your website. The more quickly it can grab information and the more it can trust that information, the higher you can rank in search results.

That being said, it only makes sense that you optimize your information on one of Google’s own sources: Google  Business Profile.

Your Google Business Profile allows your business to appear in three different search results.

The first is Google Maps:

The second is the local results section for regular Google Search:

And the third is the Knowledge Panel, which shows up on the right-hand side of search results for branded searches:

Use our free business listings grader to see how your Google Business Profile and other listings really look.

5. Invest in Google Ads

Lead Generation & Brand Awareness Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

These marketing strategies can help your small business get in front of new audiences and build your brand. They require an investment on your part, but with the right marketing partner, you can bundle this into a marketing strategy that works for your small business — and your marketing budget.

6. Facebook Advertising

7. Referral Marketing

Turn your current customers into your brand evangelists with referral marketing. A referral program can be highly effective in attracting more customers to your business. Offer existing customers a discount, reward, or other special promotions in exchange for bringing new customers to your business. You could offer a smaller incentive for those who get the word out via email or social media and then a larger incentive for those who actually bring in new customers.

8. Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is an effective marketing strategy for small businesses because it helps bring people back to your website who have already expressed interest, increasing the chances that they will convert and also improving the amount of relevant traffic going to your website.

9. Email Marketing

Just about everyone has an email address, and just about everyone checks their email regularly. Until further notice, email marketing should always be a part of your small business marketing mix. Regular communication keeps you in front of your customers and top of mind so the next time they’re in the market for what you’ve got, they’ll head your way.

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To get the highest return on investment into your email marketing campaigns,

Segment your mailing list and target your messages appropriately. (This is easy with targeted email marketing.)

Keep your content diverse while remaining consistent in your language and formatting.

Avoid abusing your list. Too many emails can lead to unsubscribes.

Email marketing helps with brand awareness, lead nurturing, and website traffic, while also helping to build your brand voice and a community around your business.

Free & Worthwhile Content Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses 10. Reputation Management

Collecting online reviews is already mentioned above as an important part of optimizing your Google My Business and other directory listings. However, it’s worth mentioning again as a small business marketing strategy that yields returns.

As it turns out, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend, and 74% of consumers say that a positive review makes them trust a brand more. With more and more consumers conducting thorough research before making purchases, online reviews have become a crucial marketing strategy for small businesses.

To get online reviews to work for your business:

Ask for reviews. Start with loyal customers. Then try polls, email campaigns, and website calls to action.

Make it easy for customers to leave reviews such as by generating a Google review link.

Respond to all of your reviews, even the positive ones. Here are some examples.

Resolve negative reviews. It shows you care about your customers — and you can even turn some negative reviews into positive ones!

Taking the time to get a cadence of online reviews going is important and will have long-lasting effects on your business growth.

11. Blogging

To make blogging a worthwhile marketing strategy for your small business, populate your business blog with evergreen content that your potential customers are seeking. By providing free, useful information that they can come across on their own, you enable your target audience to build a relationship with your business over time. The more they see your blog posts as a resource, the more familiar with your brand they can get, the more they will learn to trust you, and the more likely they are to turn to you when they need your product or service.

Blogging also plays into your website SEO strategy since your blog posts can help you to get found on Google and increase traffic to your website. You can also leverage your blog traffic by inserting calls to action for offers that might move interested readers through your funnel.

12. Ebooks & Whitepapers

Speaking of…check out our guides and ebooks here.

13. Social Media Marketing

With its many users and the variety of media it supports, social media remains one of the most effective and free small business marketing channels. It’s also an ideal place to show off your brand’s personality. Be careful not to post the same thing across your social media profiles all the time, otherwise, your followers will know what to expect and not feel the need to visit all of your pages.

To make the most of the time and you put into social media marketing, be sure to:

Establish a presence only on the platforms that will appeal to your target audience.

Use location-based and other relevant hashtags to expand your reach.

Offer value: promote your useful blog posts and special offers.

Save time and effort with user-generated content.

Create groups where you can answer questions, invite feedback and opinions, and share newsworthy information on their common interests.

Like and share your followers’ posts, and ask them to like and share your posts as well.

Use chatbots to connect with users via messenger apps, give automatic responses to FAQ’s, or even help someone make a purchase.

Social media can support your SEO and website initiatives, as an active presence on these platforms drives traffic to your website and sends positive signals to Google.

14. Case Studies & Customer Testimonials

Case studies and customer testimonials are an especially effective marketing tool when your services are diverse or hard to explain. Outline a client’s problem, your business’s solution, and the results. The best case studies tell a story so that they are easy to follow and remember. They also use quantifiable results whenever possible to highlight the value your business brings to your clients.

Here’s an example of a case study for one of our clients.

Each of the above small business marketing strategies is free in terms of dollars spent, but they do require an investment of your time. If you create a content calendar and implementation plan around these strategies and allocate time each week to them, you can prevent yourself from spending hours on content and start seeing your efforts pay off.

Traditional Marketing Strategies

Even though it may feel like the majority of us are online all the time — there are times when we’re actually not. So, your business needs a way to reach people when they’re spending time offline. That’s where these traditional marketing strategies come in.

15. Print Advertising

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Make sure your contact information is visible so customers can contact you.

Read More: How Print Ads Can Complement Your Digital Marketing Strategy

16. Events & Activities

Hosting an event doesn’t have to be a huge production and can really draw a crowd — especially if you’re in a high foot traffic area. If you’re looking to host an event on the low-key end, choose a fun holiday that coincides with your business (for instance, the third Thursday of every month is National Get to Know Your Customers Day), and set up a table outside your shop enticing passersby’s to stop in.

If you’re up for something more substantial, coordinate with complementary businesses in the area to host a joint event. Each business benefits from access to one another’s customers, you share the costs, and you create a fun activity for your clients helping to strengthen their loyalty to your brand.

With such varied options to throw into your marketing mix, you’re sure to find the perfect combination to suit your business, budget, and goals.

How to Get the Most Out of These Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

So which of the above channels are the right ones for you? They vary from business to business and will be a mix of paid and free strategies. The right strategies for your small business are those that yield a return on your investment.

Here’s how to ensure the strategies you choose for your business are worth your time and money.

Target Your Marketing

You may think that casting a wide net and marketing to anyone is your best bet, as it’s sure to bring in customers. But at what cost? Marketing like this will only waste your marketing dollars, and you’ll be racking your brain trying to come up with messaging that appeals to everyone. If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck with your marketing, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right people at the right time, on the right devices, and with the right content.

When you target your marketing, you can:

Refine your content to have maximum impact.

Gather accurate data as to what strategies are working best.

Ensure your time and money are being used wisely.

Increase the chances of getting a return on your investment.

Related: Get creative digital marketing ideas that work for your audience.

How to Effectively Target Your Audience

To appropriately target your audience with your marketing strategies, you must gather both demographic and psychographic information on your ideal customers.

Demographics describe the facts about your audience such as:



Household Income



Family Size


Psychographics, on the other hand, describe the behaviors and preferences of your audience, such as:

Shopping Habits

Preferred Websites & Devices

Interests & Hobbies

You might be targeting dual-income households with new parents who are working from home.

With both demographic and psychographic data, you’ll deepen your understanding of what is important to your target audience, what motivates them to buy, and what messages will resonate with them best — enabling you to enhance the impact of the time and money you spend on your marketing strategies.

When implementing your marketing strategies, ask these questions about your target audience:

Who is your target audience?

Where are they looking for your product or service?

What problems does your product or service solve?

What needs does your product or service meet?

Plan & Track Your Marketing

Prioritize Local SEO

Google is only getting more powerful in its ability to connect consumers with the specific products and services they’re seeking, closest to them. It’s imperative that you optimize your online properties to show up as high as possible in local search results for relevant searches. Thoroughly optimizing your website and listings and maintaining an active presence across the web will help you to align with Google and therefore with potential customers.

Get even more ideas for how to market your business here.

Kristen McCormick

Other posts by Kristen McCormick

Top 10 Tips To Future Proofing Your Personal Brand

One thing is certain as we near the end of 2023: The personal brand will be here to stay. Some might ask if personal brands are something that celebrities and influencers have.

It was once a luxury for celebrities and influencers, but today everyone is considered to have a personal brand. Only the difference is that everyone can access it online.

Potential investors also have more options if your brand is properly positioned, packaged, and promoted using the right channels and content that addresses the problem you solve.

It can be difficult for individuals to make their brand stand out amongst all the professionals in the online marketplace.

There are many opportunities out there, but you may not have the social proof to back your expertise and knowledge. Your ideal client might just opt for the next best thing online.

These are 10 tips you can take today to get a head start on 2023 when you have your own brand.

Top 10 Tips to Future-Proofing Your Personal Brand 1. Clarity is key

Do some reflection on your brand journey. Do you know who you really are? What are your core values and beliefs? Are your goals aligned to the person you want to be?

2. Be a unicorn

Also read: How to Start An E-commerce Business From Scratch in 2023

3. Understanding your audience

Once you have clarity about yourself and a better understanding of your unique value, it is time to think about the problem that you are solving. You need to be very specific about who your product or service is for and where they live online.

4. Use the headline to hit them

A headline statement should be a powerful description of who you are, what your passions are, and how you can help others.

This should not exceed a sentence. It can be used on your online profiles or as an introduction to new people. This should communicate clearly your brand.

5. Make sure to update your online profile

Also read: 14 Best Webinar Software Tools in 2023 (Ultimate Guide for Free)

6. Siri, search for [insert name here]

Begin with a Google search using your name, followed by your brand name and then the keywords that are associated with your brand or name.

Take note of your Google rank and the links that appear for you. It is important to know what other people are seeing when trying to find you, so you can make necessary updates or changes.

7. Make a name for yourself

Consider what you want to be known as in your industry. What keywords would you like someone to use to locate you online? What would you choose to talk about if given the opportunity?

Also read: Top 10 Programming Languages for Kids to learn

8. Share and create content

List the top 10 questions that you are asked by clients or customers. This will serve as a starting point for creating content for your target audience. Each question should be broken down and you can decide the best format, audio, video, and image for your content.

9. Comment and collaborate

Also read: 10 Best Chrome Extensions For 2023

10. Select the right platform

Although I don’t know what will happen in 2023 I know that personal branding won’t be going away anytime soon.

With a growing demand from CEOs, employees, and entrepreneurs for strong personal branding, it’s becoming more important. Do not wait until 2023 to start building your personal brand. Get started today and let Google do all the talking.

Naomi Garrick

As a personal-branding coach and brand strategist, PR consultant, author and international speaker, Naomi Garrick helps individuals, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and CEOs position, package and promote their unique personal brands.

Are Brand Mentions Important To Google’s Algorithm?

Google’s John Mueller was asked if “unlinked brand mentions” were important in Google’s algorithm. It was apparent from John’s response that “brand mentions” is probably not a real thing in Google’s algorithm, but he also said that there may be value to site visitors who encounter them.

Brand Mentions

There is a longstanding idea in the SEO community that Google uses mentions of a website as a form of link.

The unlinked URL idea subsequently evolved into the idea that if a website mentions another site’s brand name,  that Google will also count that as a link. This is the “brand mentions” idea.

But there was never any evidence of that until around 2012 when Google published a patent called Ranking Search Results.

The patent was several pages long and buried deep in the middle of it was the mention of an “implied link” being used as a type of link, which was different from an “express link” which is described as a traditional hyperlink.

The phrase “implied links” only occurs a couple times in this one paragraph.

Google’s John Mueller Discussing Unlinked Brand Mentions

Two Main Ranking Factors Discussed in the Patent

To understand what the authors meant by an implied link you have to scroll up the page back to a section labeled “Background” where the authors explain what the patent is actually about.

These are the two most important factors discussed in the patent:

The authors explain they are using independent links to a website as  part of the ranking process. They call the site being linked to a”target resource.”

The authors also say that they are ranking search results by using search queries that contain a reference to a website, what they again call a “target resource.”

The patent explains without ambiguity that this second type of link is a search query that uses a brand name, what the SEO industry calls Branded Search Queries.

Where the patent makes a reference to a “group of resources,” it is referring to a group of web pages.

A resource is a web page or a website.

A group of resources is a group of web pages or websites.

One more time:

When the patent mentions a “resource” it’s talking about web pages or websites.

The patent states:

“A query can be classified as referring to a particular resource if the query includes a term that is recognized by the system as referring to the particular resource.

For example, a term that refers to a resource may be all of or a portion of a resource identifier, e.g., the URL, for the resource.

The above explanation defines what the authors call “reference queries.”

A reference query is what the SEO community refers to as branded search queries.

A branded search query is a search someone performs on Google using a keyword plus the brand name, the domain of a website or even a URL, which is exactly what the patent defines as reference queries.

What the algorithm described in the patent does with those “reference queries” (branded search queries) is to use them like links.

The algorithm generates what’s called a “modification factor” which modifies (re-ranks) the search results according to this additional data.

The additional data is:

1. A re-count of inbound links using only “independent” links (links not associated with the site being ranked.)

2. Reference queries (branded search queries) are used as a type of link.

Here is what the patent states:

“The system generates a modification factor for the group of resources from the count of independent links and the count of reference queries…”

What the patent is doing is it is filtering out some hyperlinks in order to only use independent links and also to use branded search queries as another type of link,  what can be defined as an implied link.

How the Idea of Brand Mentions Was Born

Some in the SEO community took one paragraph out of context in order to build their “brand mentions” idea.

The paragraph begins by talking about using independent links for ranking search results, just as is described in the background section of the patent.

“The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302).

A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target.”

The above statement matches exactly what the entire patent talks about, independent links.

The next section is the part about “implied links” that has confused the search industry for the past ten years.

Two things to note in order to more easily understand what is written:

 A “source resource” is the source of a link, the page that is linking out.

A “target resource” is what is being linked to (and ranked).

This is what the patent says:

“Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both.

An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource.

An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource.

Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”

The key to what an “implied link” is contained in the very first mention of the phrase, implied link.

Here it is again, with my emphasis:

“An implied link is a reference to a target resource…”

Clearly, the use of the words “reference” is the second part of what the patent talks about, reference queries.

The patent talks about reference queries (aka branded search queries) from the beginning to the end.

In retrospect it was a mistake for some in the SEO industry to build an entire theory about brand mentions from a single paragraph that was removed from the context of the entire patent.

It’s clear that “implied links” are not about brand mentions.

But that’s background information on how “brand mentions” was popularized.

John Mueller on Unlinked Brand Mentions and Google’s Algorithm

Question About Unlinked Brand Mentions

The question about brand mentions had a lot of background information to unpack. So thanks for sticking around for that because knowing it is helpful to understanding the question and John Mueller’s answer.

Here is the question that was asked:

“In some articles I see people are speaking about unlinked brand mention.

I want to know your opinion in this case.

Do you think it’s also important for algorithm, unlinked brand mention?”

Are Brand Mentions Important to Google’s Algorithm?

The concept of “brand mentions” appeared to be  unclear to John Mueller.

So Mueller, asked a follow up question:

“How do you mean, “brand mentions?”

The person asking the question elaborated on what he meant:

“It’s like another website and article speaking about my website brand, but it doesn’t link to me.”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know.

I think that’s kind of tricky because we don’t really know what the context is there.

I mean, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, just for users.

Because if they can find your website through that mention, then that’s always a good thing.

But I wouldn’t assume that there’s like some… I don’t know… SEO factor that is trying to figure out where someone is mentioning your website name.”

Brand Mentions Are Not an SEO Factor

John Mueller confirmed that brand mentions are not a search engine optimization factor.

Given that the foundation of the “brand mentions” idea is built on one paragraph of a patent that’s been taken out of context, I would hope the SEO community will set aside the idea that “brand mentions” are an SEO factor.

Mueller did say that brand mentions can be useful for helping users become aware of a website. And I agree that’s a good way to think about brand mentions as a way to get the word out about a website.

But brand mentions are not an SEO factor.

Just Because it’s in a Patent Doesn’t Mean it’s in Use

One last note about the patent that mentions “reference queries.”

It’s important to understand that something isn’t necessarily in use by Google just because it appears in a patent or a research paper.

Google could be using it or maybe not. Another consideration is that this is an older patent and Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing.

Citations Read the Patent from 2012

Ranking Search Results

Watch Google’s John Mueller Answer About Brand Mentions

Watch at 12:01 minute mark:

10 Healthy Foods That Are Great Sources Of Iron

Why does the Human Body Require Iron?

Iron is one of the prime modules of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in the blood, and it helps red blood cells to carry oxygen to the lungs. Hence, if there is a lack of iron, it becomes tough for the red blood cells to transport oxygen, leading to fatigue. Besides being an essential part of hemoglobin, it is also significant in myoglobin. Myoglobin is also a protein that transports oxygen to the human body’s muscles. Iron is an important part of children’s brain development, and it also helps in a child’s growth.

How Much Iron do You All Need?

Iron deficiency can lead to many health hazards. If there is excess or too low iron in your diet, you can suffer from several problems like heart damage, anemia, liver problems, etc. It is tough to measure the portion of iron that you should consume every day. Consumption of iron entirely depends on gender and age. Kids up to 13 years of age need to drink at least 0.27 mg of iron daily.

Teenagers should consume iron at least 15 mg of per day, whereas adult males should consume 8 mg of iron per day. An adult woman should consume iron at 1 to 3 grams daily.

Food with a Great Source of Iron

Men and women both need to consume foods that are rich in iron. Lack of iron in the body can cause several health hazards. Hence doctors always suggest maintaining a healthy diet for a proper supply of iron. All need to know the foods rich in iron that can keep you healthy for a long time.


Shellfish is an excellent iron source and contains many nutritional values. It is also rich in many dietary values like protein and Fat. Consumption of this food may also lead to weight loss. Shellfish contain home iron that the human body can easily consume. Consumption of shellfish is also suitable for increasing heart health.


The best part of Spinach is that it has essential health benefits and is low in iron. If you consume 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of Spinach, your body will get 2.7 mg of iron. Spinach comes with non-home iron, and the normal human body cannot absorb non-home iron easily. But, Spinach also contains Vitamin C, which helps in iron absorption. This food is also rich in carotenoid antioxidants, which will help reduce the risk of cancer.

Liver and Other Organ Meat

Red meat and liver are considered excellent sources of iron. Organ meats are highly nutritious. It has been noticed that 100 grams of organic meat can cause 6.5 mg of iron. These meats are also high in protein, vitamins, copper, and selenium.

Pumpkin Seeds Red Meat

Red meat is always considered a good source of iron and necessary vitamin. The consumption of red meat is essential for producing red blood cells in the body. Red meat is high in protein and helps build muscles and bones. However, regular consumption of red meat can lead to digestion problems and other heart problems.


The nutritional benefits of broccoli must always be addressed. One hundred grams of broccoli gives the human body 34 calories, protein 2.8g of, iron 3% of the body’s total requirement, Dietary Fiber 2.6g of, and more. Besides, broccoli contains other plant compounds like Sulforaphane, Carotenoids, etc. Broccoli is rich in several health benefits. Eating broccoli can prevent cancer, lower cholesterol levels, enhance eye health, etc. It also works as a blood thinner and is good at resolving thyroid problems.

Oat Cereal

Oat cereal is always considered an excellent food that is rich in different types of nutritional value. One cup of oat cereal contains 5.3 grams of Fat, sugar 0.8 grams of, protein 10.7 grams of, and iron.

One hundred grams of oats give the human body 19.8 mg of iron. Oat consumption helps your body get essential antioxidants, fiber, etc.

It helps in reducing cholesterol levels and maintaining blood sugar levels. Oats help supports digestive health and enhance the immune system.


Beetroot has been considered a superfood in recent times. Doctors often suggest beetroot to those who are suffering from iron deficiency. Beetroot has several nutritional values, like 58.5 calories, 13 g of carbohydrates, 2.19 g of protein, etc. Consumption of beetroot is good for improving blood flow, low blood pressure, etc. It can also be considered an excellent way to detoxify your liver.

Strawberries Dates

For people suffering from iron deficiency, dates seem the best food option. 100 grams of dates serve 5% iron of the total requirement of the human body. Besides, it contains other nutritional values like 277 calories, carbs 75 grams of magnesium 13%, protein 2%, etc. Dates are high in fiber and hence maintain the overall health of any person. Women are suggested to consume dates during their pregnancy period.


Are Private Email Services Worth The Money?

Comparing private paid email services like Proton Mail and free services like Gmail, for those concerned about privacy and disturbed by Google’s giant database of deeply personal information, are private email services worth the money?

What Free Email Services Do With Your Email Encrypted Email vs. Private Email

Encryption is one feature you’ll want to look for, but it’s not the same as private email. Technically, a cleartext email server with no encryption could be called “private,” provided they protect their users’ privacy and don’t dig into their email messages. But those messages could be easily read by anyone else with access to the files. Encrypted emails, on the other hand, are secure behind a cryptographic lock and key. Modern encryption algorithms used by such sites are immune to modern decrypting strategies.

Signatures are another component of a secure email chain, and that’s not just the sign-off at the bottom of your email. The signature is a cryptographic tag uniquely associated with the sender, confirming that the email was authentically sent by the named sender and that the message wasn’t changed between composition and receipt. Services that send encrypted emails can’t be read by third parties, even if your emails do fall into devious hands.

Why Private Email Services Are Worth Paying For

Private email services are worth spending money on because paid services are the most private. With free services, companies are encouraged to make money by selling the users data. In fact, it’s often the only sensible way for such a service to make money. As a result, companies like Google cannot be trusted to keep your best interests at heart because their interest by definition runs counter to your interest in privacy. And as good as their intentions may be, companies will always act in the best interest of themselves and their investors.

When you pay for a service, you remove that incentive. No longer is it important for the company to try and make money with your data. You’re paying them; you’re the one they want to keep happy. As a result, you know that your interests and their interests are aligned. That alignment of commercial interest is essential for a relationship you can believe in over the long term.

Furthermore, private email services are typically situated outside of Five Eyes countries, meaning they’re less vulnerable to snooping by government agencies. Not only are they more private by design, they’re legally less vulnerable to interception than companies located in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

What About Self-Hosting?

Self-hosting a server is always the most private option. This way, no service can see your data at all. However, that doesn’t make self-hosting the best option for all privacy-concerned users. Running an email server is a major commitment, requiring consistent uptime and careful monitoring of security patches to avoid losing your data to attackers. There’s a reason that government officials aren’t supposed to run private email servers: it offers another point of vulnerability, and they’re rarely as well-secured as commercial operations. If you’re not certain you’re up to the task of administering your own server, you’ll want to consider a private email service.

Private Emails Services that Are Worth the Money

A good private email service will have strong data privacy policies and a viable business plan. Services that offer free “private” email services can’t be trusted to do the right thing with their unbridled access to your data. Encryption is also a must, since it protects your data from access by anyone, regardless of their intentions. Like with any software purchase, seek out services with good reviews, apps on multiple devices, and a track record of protecting their users whenever possible. We’ve considered all those attributes in selecting the email services listed below.

Here are three private email services that are worth trusting.

Proton Mail provides secure communications through a web interface and the ProtonMail mobile app. All emails are encrypted using end-to-end encryption, ensuring that any message in your inbox can only be read by you. Only paid users can send encrypted emails to external sources, but every tier locks down all messages on the ProtonMail server, preventing both third- and first-party snooping for any reason. And since those servers are located in Switzerland, the U.S. government cannot compel the service to release information. Swiss companies are not subject to the U.S. justice system in the same way that U.S.-based tech companies are. There’s even a free tier for you to give the service a test drive.

HushMail is as close as you can get to encrypted Gmail. The interface for both the mobile and desktop apps are strikingly similar. The service is highly secured, meeting standards like privacy standards for healthcare providers and law enforcement. Hushmail includes email alongside secure web forms, making them a great choice for small business with a single point of contact and a need for collecting and storing data securely. There’s a fourteen-day free trial you can use to get started with the service.

CounterMail supports IMAP, so you can use your own email client instead of a web app. But it offers limited storage space and can’t send encrypted emails to non-users. Servers are based in Sweden, putting them outside the reach of Five Eyes law enforcement organizations. But even if they were in their jurisdiction, CounterMail doesn’t even store emails on the server, instead storing them on removable storage.

Back to you, do you think private email services are worth the money?

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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