Category: Content Marketing

  • Do You Need Website Help?

    Working with clients of all sizes, I’ve learned they all share a common trait: there’s always more to do than hands to do the work. If you need website help, we have webmasters on staff who are ready to lend an extra set of hands.

    Businesses know their website is the digital front of their business and that they should update and maintain it. A few things get in the way. Sometimes there are too many tasks in the day or they haven’t logged in recently so they have to relearn the system each time. This makes a simple task of changing the hours on your site intimidating. 

    So when you hire someone to help you with your website, what can they help you with?

    1. Website Updates

    Do you consistently need content or graphics updated on your website? Every time a change comes up, instead of logging in and searching through your CMS to figure out how to update it, send us an email. Let us know what the content change is and where it needs to be changed on your site, and we’ll get that changed ASAP. So you can get back to doing what you do best, serving your customers.

    2. Website Help for Maintenance and Security

    For your WordPress site, you need to make sure your site is backed-up and the plugins are updated. Without this attention to detail, your site could be vulnerable to attacks. Maybe you’re looking for analytics on your site about what areas are performing well so you can build new products or services. We can provide monthly or quarterly reports. We’ll review with you and give you insight into how your site is performing and what is sparking interest with viewers.

    3. Content for Website Help

    Many of our clients are wanting to increase traffic to their site so more people are aware of their business. You can buy ads to send traffic, but that only offers consistent traffic for the length of time that your ads are running. (There is a time and place for advertising.) If our clients are looking to grow their search footprint, we always suggest a consistent addition of traffic. It’s not sexy; it’s the tortoise in the race. Slow and steady. We can develop a content calendar and work with a writer to create blog posts and articles. From there you can develop email marketing and social media strategies for your business. 

    A Website is Never Finished

    Launching a new website is a big deal for our clients. When we work with a client to launch their site, we work hard to make sure their site is set up to grow with them. In essence, a website is never finished. As the digital foundation for their website, if fed with the correct information, their site can become a salesman for them.

    If you need a webmaster to help you turn your website into a salesman I’m ready to help.

  • Local SEO and Why it is Important

    What is Local SEO?

    Simply put, Local SEO is the process of optimizing your search engine ranking around your local geographic area. This could be within a neighborhood, city, or region. Even though the internet is mostly ubiquitous around the world, local SEO is important. This is due to the rise of the smart phone and how it has impacted how we use use the internet over the last 15 years.

    Today, a mobile device is where many searches for local business, products, and events begin. Meaning they don’t necessarily start with the king of search, Google. While Google is still dominant, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Yelp, and Facebook Business are also driving the search for local goods and services. There has even been an increase in usage of the privacy-centric DuckDuckGo. On an iPhone you can still select the default search engine among Google, Yahoo, Bing & DuckDuckGo (settings->Safari->Search Engine).

    Local SEO – Did You Know
    According to Google, 76% of people who conduct a local search contact a business within 24 hours. 28% of those searches result in a purchase of a service.

    Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/micro-moments/purchase-decision-mobile-growth/

    Why is Local SEO Important?

    There has also been a second driving factor in local search. Google has shifted their algorithm over the years. They would provide results based on the search term. Now they provide results based on both the search terms, plus what they believe to be the user intent. Unless you have taken steps to remove the location data from your device, it is pretty easy for search engines to know roughly where you are located.

    Knowing that, let’s invent a hypothetical user in Omaha who is looking for a new patio set on Google. They type “patio furniture” into their search bar.

    Google, knowing the user is in Omaha, connects the search phrase with the user intent that they are searching for patio furniture near them. The first result (after the ads, which were removed for legibility) is a compact map location showing the three most relevant sources for Patio Furniture in Omaha.

    In SEO terms, this map search results is called the “Google Map Pack” or “Google Local Pack.” In terms of search results, this gives local business the clout they need to compete with larger, nationwide businesses. Almost every type of business is helped by this type of search result.

    As you see in the next image, the first three organic search results are for large businesses.

    Local SEO is about optimizing the content and structure of your site, so that you capture the audience of local user intent.

    So how do you get there?

    How to Improve Your Local Results?

    First and foremost, start with consistency in Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) in your website and third party business listings.

    You should claim any business listings for your business that you can find. The most common would be: Google My Business, Facebook Business, Yelp, Bing Business, and LinkedIn. Add TripAdviser if your business touches tourism or place/things to do. There are several others out there, but let’s take care of the fundamentals.

    Each site has a different way to claim a business. It usually involves a postcard sent to the business address or a phone call to the listed business number. We do have a guide on editing your business on Google Maps, which shows the process more in depth. Once the locations are claimed, it is time to make sure the NAP information is correct and identical on all of the major platforms.

    Next, on your website, make sure your address is prominently listed in the site. The footer is a good place to do this. It provides space to include the business name (in text), the address, and a clickable phone number.

    Click to Call – Did You Know?
    A Google study shows that 70% of mobile searchers click-to-call a business from Google results.

    Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/click-to-call

    Keyword Research

    Now, it’s time to do some rough keyword research. Pro SEOs have many keyword tools at their disposal. But you don’t have to be pro to get some tips on what people are searching for to trigger local search results.

    Using the fictitious “Super Awesome Coffee” as a sample business, here are some searches that trigger local intent:

    • “coffee shops near me”
    • “super awesome coffee address”
    • “super awesome coffee phone”
    • “what time does super awesome coffee close”
    • “directions to super awesome coffee”

    If you need to find some other keyword ideas that might be trigger local SEO results, head over to Google and take advantage of Google Autocomplete:

    Once you have some rough keywords identifying user intent, you can measure how your site performs against those type of searches.

    You may need to modify your website structure to change the local SEO results. This could be as simple as content changes.

    As a small business owner, you may be too close to technical terminology in your business. You may specialize in selling Turboencabulators, but your customers only know them as Blue Widgets. Changing your website content to reflect “blue widgets” would likely have a positive impact in local SEO results.

  • Content Pruning for Fun and Traffic

    A best practice for your website to gain traffic in search results is by producing new content on a regular basis. Not only will this help you establish your authority in your industry, it can also help you engage with the right user at the right time. That blog post you wrote in April about coping with emergency air conditioner repairs could help that frustrated homeowner whose AC quit at 3:00am in middle of an August heat wave.

    Inevitably, as you begin to publish more content, your writing style will become smoother with practice. But what about those early blog posts? They may still be published on your site, but long forgotten by search engines by not being long enough flip the parameter of a quality post, or simply by changes to the algorithms that now favor different ranking factors.

    Content Pruning

    Starting with blogs; there isn’t a hard and fast rule for how long a blog post should be. However over time it easy to set benchmarks of 300-500 word minimum post. The former if you are publishing weekly or better, the latter if you are posting less frequently. The more, the better, especially if it is content that is engaging to the user. Periodically, you should revisit your old content.

    Step 1 – Scan for Broken Links

    Do a quick search for a broken link scanner. On the Mac, I use an app from the Mac App Store called Integrity ($free), but there are plenty available online, just a quick search away: [broken link scanner](https://www.google.com/search?q=broken+link+scanner). Scan your site and start cleaning up those broken links, both internal and external links. This includes removing a link if you can’t find a new destination for that link.

    Step 2 – Combining Old Blog/News Posts

    You may have written several old posts about a similar topic. Identify 3-4 of those old posts (and their URLs) and head over to Google Analytics. Go to Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages. Then give yourself a healthy date range of the last three months. Expand out your Show Rows to 250 or so. The first thing we want to identify is if any of those posts are getting any significant traffic. If so, identify the strongest URL. This will be where you combine those older posts into one longer post. If not, feel free to create a brand new post where you are combining the older posts.

    Once you publish to new, longer post. You will want to institute a 301 redirect on the old URLs to the new URL. A 301 redirect simply tells the browser “Hey, what used to be here, is now permanently moved to this new URL, so I’m sending you over there now.” But the biggest benefit isn’t necessarily for the users. This also tells the search engines “Hey, that page you thought was valuable enough to show in your search results, we moved it to over here.” To search engines, they will soon give the new URL all of the same search value it gave the old URL. With the updated content, this should build upon the value of the page and improve its performance in search.

    Step 3 – Scan for Dated Content (And Analyze)

    In addition to those old blog posts, you might also find some dated content that is no longer relevant. Especially low value content like “Come see us at booth 34 at the 2004 Industry Trade Show.” Again, take note of the URLs and head back to Google Analytics to see if any of this old content is even generating traffic. You could even expand the date range to the last year and see what, if any, traffic these posts are getting.

    If any of these posts aren’t getting any traffic (0-24 over the last year), you can just delete them outright. If your traffic counts are higher to these individual URLs, we need to dig a little deeper. If this traffic is coming from inbound links (as opposed to search traffic) you could reach out and see if you could get the link changed to a more relevant page of content on your site. Or, if simply follow the 301 redirect method above to point the old page to a more relevant page of content on your site.

    If any of these old URLs are getting a lot of traffic, especially from search results, you have an evergreen page of content on your site and you should make a conscious effort to continuously improve this page, either as a jumping off point to other pages on your site to interlink or adding a Call to Action (CTA) to trigger some sort of user behavior.

    Step 4 – Apply to the Rest of your Site

    Both of the actions laid out in Steps 3 and 4 are also applicable to the rest of your site. Go through your services section. Do you have many pages that could be combined into one? Do you have content that applies to unique industries that you could build out a strong industry-focused page? Is some of your terminology dated or could your pages use some internal links or CTA?

    Step 5 – Schedule This Activity

    This isn’t a one-time fix. Make the time to scan your site for broken links periodically. Repurpose/combine old content at least on an annual basis. Revisit your dated content (like the trade show announcement example) and update that page after the conference to recap announcements that were made or links to documents (like Powerpoint Presentations) and thus adding depth to the content.

    A website shouldn’t remain static. Just like your yard, you should get in there once in a while and pull some weeds, trim up the tree branches and fertilize the garden.

  • What is RSS…And How Can You Use It?

    You’ve probably heard the terms RSS or RSS Feed or maybe you’ve seen the icon in use throughout the web.

    rss icon displayed on websites with rss feedsWhat is it? RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, although there is another common moniker Really Simple Syndication. In a nutshell RSS is structured data format based on XML. It displays information such as:

    • A website’s URL
    • The title of a piece of content
    • The date of the content
    • A summary of the content
    • The URL where this content permanently resides
    • The full text of the content
    • Information about the author
    Historical Use of RSS Feeds

    The history of the RSS feed coincided with the rise of blogging in the early 2000s. RSS quickly gained a foothold among tech-minded bloggers as a method of reading content in one place without the need to visit numerous sites daily.

    sample of an rss feed in xml format
    Using Feed Readers for RSS

    Through the use of a feed reader, a user could enter the URL of site’s RSS feed, along with any other sites they commonly visited. The feed reader would periodically visit the feed throughout the day to see if there was new content. If it detected something fresh, it would automatically pull it in.

    It made keeping up with the news and bloggers an easy task. Your news feed, right where you want it, in a streamlined format using Previous and Next navigation.

    Popular RSS Feed Readers

    Perhaps the most well known Feed Reader was Google Reader, which really opened the door to the use of RSS feeds. Sadly Google Reader closed down in 2013, despite heavy usage, as it appears Google was never able to find a way to monetize Google Reader.

    rss feed reader feedly.com

    Today Feedly.com is one of the most popular, along with NewsBlur.com, InoReader.com and Feedspot.com. Additionally, there are numerous application-based readers as well including NetNewsWire for Mac and iOS [netnewswireapp.com], and functionality within the browser like Safari, Firefox, and Chrome (via an extension).

    RSS Feeds Are Still Useful In 2017

    I’m subscribed to over 150 different RSS feeds. But using a feed reader, it takes me only a few minutes a day to scan through the headlines. If I see something of interest, I will open it in a new browser tab for later reading.

    I also have additional tools which allow me to share something I like to my Twitter account. The beauty of RSS is that it frees you from having to read everything you subscribe to. Using keyboard shortcuts you can easily skip over items that aren’t of interest.

    In today’s world, there are even more uses for RSS as well…

    Writing a new blog post for your website? Use an automation tool such as Zapier or IFTTT (If This, Then That) to automatically grab the information from your blog post and push it out to your social media accounts.

    Compiling news or press releases for a multi-location business? Set up a dashboard tool to bring in current headlines or display company news on esignage without the need for rewriting a news story.

    Adding support for Facebook Instant Articles for your brand or website? Facebook relies on a customized RSS to create lightweight pages that load fast for mobile readers on slower connections.

    Privacy Concerns and RSS Feeds

    For the privacy conscious people among us, RSS also provides a layer of anonymity. Since feed readers capture the data provided from an RSS feed. The websites you subscribe to will never see any personally identifiable data.

    What are you waiting for? Fire up a feed reader and subscribe to our feed.

  • A Guide to Video Metrics on Social Media

    content to drive engagements and keep users onsite longer. Doesn’t this sound like the type of content you want to be sharing?

    Identifying a goal for your video content is step one.

    If your brand is producing video content, it’s important to make sure you are prepared to measure the return on your investment (ROI)—whether that is in the form of reach, traffic, or sales is up to you. Having a clear goal in mind can make a tremendous difference in the direction and success of your content.

    Metrics can help you understand how your videos perform. But you have to understand the metrics first.

    Whether you are running a paid advertisement or just publishing to your feed, measuring the success of your video content on social media is made easy with detailed metrics. However, not all platforms handle video metrics the same way. It’s important to understand the subtle differences if you are managing your brand’s presence on multiple platforms.

    Facebook Video Metrics

    facebook video metrics page insights Video has exploded on Facebook. This is partly due to its auto-play feature but also because brands are simply creating and producing more of it. Understanding the platform-specific nature of Facebook’s video metrics can help your brand produce the best video content possible on Facebook.
    Video Retention
    Facebook’s audience retention graph shows your audience’s interest over time. This section also includes data like average view duration, total video views for the first 28 days and the number of people who watched your video for at least 30 seconds. Facebook’s definition of what constitutes a video “view” has garnered some criticism from the advertising community. If a user watches a video for at least 3 seconds, this is counted as a view. facebook video average watch time metric When you consider how easy it is to stumble onto a video in your news feed that automatically plays for a few seconds, especially on mobile, you can begin to understand marketers’ frustrations with how this metric is defined. Don’t be fooled by inflated view counts. Look for more meaningful metrics like engagement and clicks to understand the true value of your video content.
    Video Engagement
    facebook video engagement metrics Facebook admits that engagement is typically the best measure of how much your video resonates with your audience. This section includes the video’s 28-day breakdown of all likes, comments, and shares on the original post.
    Clicks on your Video
    Facebook also provides metrics about user engagement with your video post. Click data is divided into three categories:
    • Clicks to Play: How many times a video started after someone clicked it.
    • Link Clicks: How many times someone clicked a link in a post to a video.
    • Other Clicks: How many times someone clicked other elements of a post (Page title, “See More”, or a CTA).
    Learn more about Facebook Page Insights

    Twitter Video Metrics

    In recent years, Twitter has made a big push to provide users and brands with more data about the content they are sharing and the ads they are paying for. With the rollout of the Tweet Activity Dashboard, you can now evaluate metrics in real-time and for all your tweets dating back to October 2013. tweet activity dashboard video metrics While not as segmented as the Page Insights data on Facebook, Twitter still offers some basic measurements that can help gauge the engagement of your video content. Twitter’s metrics for video content do not offer much more insight than the metrics you will see for a basic tweet, but here is a look at the kind of data that is available to you:
    • Views: Counted when a video is 100% in-view on the user’s device, and has been watched for at least 3 seconds.
    • Detail expands: Clicks on the Tweet to view more details
    • Embedded media clicks: Clicks to view a photo or video in the Tweet
    • Engagements: Total number of times a user interacted with a Tweet (Clicks anywhere on the Tweet).
    • Engagement rate: Number of engagements divided by impressions
    • Follows: Times a user followed you directly from the Tweet
    • Hashtag clicks: Clicks on hashtag(s) in the Tweet
    • Impressions: Times a user is served a Tweet in timeline or search results
    • Leads submitted: Times a user submitted his/her info via Lead Generation Card in the Tweet
    • Likes: Times a user liked the Tweet
    • Link clicks: Clicks on a URL or Card in the Tweet
    • Permalink clicks: Clicks on the Tweet permalink (desktop only)
    • Replies: Times a user replied to the Tweet
    • Retweets: Times a user retweeted the Tweet
    • Shared via email: Times a user emailed the Tweet to someone
    • User profile clicks: Clicks on the name, @handle, or profile photo of the Tweet author

    YouTube Video Metrics

    As the second largest search engine on the internet, YouTube serves video content to a diverse audience of over one billion children and adults. YouTube boasts a number of design features that Facebook does not, although the platforms are starting to function more and more like each other each day with the introduction of video playlists and live video on Facebook. youtube video metrics overview As a general rule of thumb, we advise our clients to publish video content to both Facebook and YouTube for a greater reach and to broaden that target audience. Look for these core metrics when analyzing the results of your video content on YouTube:
    View & Watch Time metrics
    • Views: The number of times that a video was viewed. In a playlist report, the metric indicates the number of times that a video was viewed in the context of a playlist. Views of any duration are counted until the viewcount reaches 300. From 301, only views lasting “about 30 seconds” are counted.
    • Estimated Minutes Watched: The number of minutes that users watched videos for the specified channel, content owner, video, or playlist.
    • Average View Duration: The average length, in seconds, of video playbacks. In a playlist report, the metric indicates the average length, in seconds, of video playbacks that occurred in the context of a playlist.
    Engagement metrics
    • Comments: The number of times that users commented on a video. See the YouTube Help Center for more information.
    • Likes: The number of times that users indicated that they liked a video by giving it a positive rating.
    • Dislikes: The number of times that users indicated that they disliked a video by giving it a negative rating.
    • Shares: The number of times that users shared a video through the Share button. See the YouTube Help Center for more information.
    • Subscribers Gained: The number of times that users subscribed to a channel.
    • Subscribers Lost: The number of times that users unsubscribed from a channel.
    Annotations metrics
    • Annotation Close Rate: The ratio of annotations that viewers closed to the total number of annotation impressions.
    • Annotation Click-Through Rate (CTR): The ratio of annotations that viewers clicked to the total number of clickable annotation impressions.
    Looking for new ways to connect with your audience online? Improve your brand’s reach on social media to increase site traffic and grow your business! 

  • 5 Takeaways for Internet Marketing Success

    SEO or Social Media, or Content Marketing. Can you guys do this?” Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions about your online business:

    1. What is the number one goal of your company website?
    2. What have you done in the last 6 months to make your website achieve that goal?
    3. Do you know what your conversion rate is?
    4. Are you considered an expert in your line of work? Do your clients and prospects know this?
    5. Do you know the demographics of your prospective clients?

    Identify Your Business Goals

    The simple fact of the matter is that most businesses are hard pressed to come up with an answer to the first question. Despite the commercial web being nearly 20 years old, you would be surprised how many times I hear the answer “I don’t know; everyone told me I needed a website.” Would you hire a new employee and just expect him or her to just sit there? Usually there is a full blown job description listing the responsibilities of the job that lays out what is expected of a new hire. You should take this same step when thinking about developing (or rebuilding) your website. Whether or not you become a Corporate 3 Design client, being able to talk to your web developer and say “the goal of our site is this: _________________” you immediately define an expectation of success and give your web developer the ability to be razor focused on the project before them. Here are some sample goals to get you started:
    • “I need this website to be a bridge between my existing clients and myself, automating many of our shared tasks to make us all more efficient.”
    • “I make blue widgets, and I need this site to sell x amount of widgets every month.”
    • “Our company isn’t well known, but we are experts in our field. I need our site to help expose our credentials, get the word out to a larger audience, and get them to fill out our contact form.”
    • “We are a restaurant but need help reaching our customers. We want to grow our email list so that 1) we know who our customers are so we can market to a similar demographic and 2) build a better relationship with them by offering rewards via email.”

    Feed Your Site With Original Content

    When was the last time you added something new to your site? The simple fact of the matter is that for a website to successfully reach its goals, it needs to be fed. It doesn’t have to happen all at once; in fact, it would be better if didn’t. Taking the analogy of treating your website like an employee again, it needs to be treated as a living entity. Launching the website was step one, now you need to expand the size and depth of your site by: It doesn’t have to be done daily or even weekly, but take the time to put together a content calendar that gives you an outline and time-line for when you should be adding new content to your site.

    Find fresh content for your website

    Do you blog? Do you have dynamic individuals on staff that could be the focus of video? Do you have talent on staff that could maintain a podcast? Content can come from anywhere. Look to your staff for the people who are already doing it. Here’s a tip, if you have more than a few employees, I’ll bet that you have someone on staff who is already blogging on their own time, and more often than not, blogging about your industry.

    Make Sense of Your Conversion Rates

    What do you think is the better opportunity: Thousands of web visitors a day or a small handful? Do you know your conversion rate – those who complete an action on your site that fits with your site’s goal? If you don’t, you may be surprised on the correct answer. More traffic isn’t always the pathway to success. Now let me ask you this: Would you rather have 15,000 daily visitors that results in 10 people completing your goal action or would you rather have 100 visitors and 30 completing the goal action? Want to change your answer to the first question now? The simple fact of the matter is that in most cases, going after more traffic is often a wasted effort. But unless you know your conversion rate, you can’t be sure. Google Analytics is a great place to start!

    Leverage Your Thought Leaders

    Somewhere in your company you most likely have someone who is a thought leader in your industry. These types of people can be invaluable to bringing the spotlight to both your company and your website. Thought Leaders are ideal as blog authors, press interviews, podcast and video interviews and more. These people are also ideal on social media networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Putting a face to the knowledge and making them available, is a key method of getting in front of new prospects. They should also have some sort of featured element on your website, so don’t forget them when planning a new site architecture.

    Use Demographics For Targeting

    Do you know the demographics of your customers and prospects? Learn how to find your audience with the help of social media or analytics. If not, how can you begin to plan on how to reach them. Nothing sends a worse message than expending your resources in one direction only to find out your prospects aren’t even there. For example, companies who, even to this day, insist on having huge, complex sites filled with technology that breaks where it is needed most. I’m looking squarely at you restaurants. These days, most visitors to restaurant sites are visiting on a mobile device, and they want one of three things:
    1. The Phone Number
    2. The address
    3. The menu
    Yet I still see it on weekly basis, a restaurant sitting there with a website built in Flash, completely unusable in the mobile space. The next time you go down the path of designing or developing your web presence I hope you take the time to ask yourself these questions. Regardless if you ever become a Corporate 3 Client or not, having an answer to these questions can determine if your new site will be a success or a failure. Unsure about your company website’s performance? Contact us today for a FREE website assessment to discover your potential for growth on the web!