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Tuesday, 12 February 2013 20:57

Using Video to Boost Your SEO Ranking

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Building your Search Engine Optimization ranking can be achieved in many ways. Although the text content and keywords you supply on your website are very helpful, you should also include video on your website to take full advantage of the all the potential that the web has to offer you.

Internet users love video – it is easier and more exciting to consume than reading pages full of text. In fact, the average Internet user will watch nearly 200 hours of video online this year. You probably haven’t noticed yet, as it is so all-encompassing, but all of your favorite websites likely include video in one dimension or another.

So, if you haven’t included video on your website yet, or you only have a few, you should reconsider your current approach. Here are a few tips when it comes to creating your videos, and how to use the power of websites such as YouTube to drive traffic to your site. (fyi and coming soon....you can wait for our upcoming blog post in two weeks specifically addressing this issue or take a Internet tour for a few moments/hours of Google Panda and Penguin algorithms)

Create a YouTube channel
Creating a YouTube channel isn’t very difficult, and as you post videos to it, you will drive more traffic to your website. Every video that you post has the ability to be tagged and indexed, so it is more likely that your content will appear in the search results in which you want them to appear. Once you create the channel and upload the video, embed your video into your blog post, website, and cross post to FB and Twitter.

Title your video the same title as the blog post in which it will appear
After creating your video, save the file you will upload to YouTube with the same name as the blog post in which it will appear. Let’s say the title of your blog post is “How to prevent your puppy from contracting heartworm infection.” After producing your video, save the file name with hyphens between each word, such as “how-to-prevent-your-puppy-from-contracting-heartworm-infection.” (or underscores) Although it may not seem relevant, doing this will boost the rankings of the video, and therefore those of your website.


Include the keywords or key phrase twice in the title
When you upload the file, you will have the opportunity to provide the title of the video that will appear on search results. This is where you want to include the keywords or key phrases at least twice to boost SEO results. Keep the keywords as close to the beginning as you can. So, using the previous example, you might want to title your video something like this: “Heartworm infection: How to help prevent your puppy from contracting heartworm infection.”

Provide a backlink back to your website in the video description
Search engines love it when there are backlinks to your website, especially coming from popular, high-traffic websites such as YouTube, and other social media. After including the link back to your website (specifically, the blog in which you’re going to embed the video), write a carefully constructed paragraph that includes your keywords and key phrases again.

Continuing with the previous example, the description could go something like this: “http://www.yourvet.com" – In this video, “Heartworm infection: how to prevent your puppy from contracting heartworm infection,” we discuss not only how to prevent your puppy from contracting heartworm infection, but also signs to look out for if you think your puppy may have heartworm infection.”

The video description is important because the wording is what will be displayed in Google results. Also, your keywords and key phrases will help Google determine when and where your video should show up. 

Provide between 10 and 15 different tags for the video
You should include many different tags that deal directly with the topic of your video. When it is a key phrase, as opposed to just one word, put them in double quotation marks. For example:

“heartworm infection”, “Minneapolis”, veterinarian, dog, puppy, prevent, (and so on).

It is true that Video SEO can be difficult, and perhaps even time consuming. Establishing the content, the script, filming, editing, and publishing a short video of even a few minutes can seem like a daunting task to anyone. However, the more video you add to your blog posts and website, the more value you are getting out of the Internet, and the higher your SEO ranking will be.

 

 

 

Monday, 04 February 2013 07:03

Logo Design – Is it important?

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This week we're featuring a guest blogger--Sarah Shattuck of Four Seasons Design Company.  Sarah has done some fabulous logo work for us and we'd asked her about her insights on the importance of logo design...........

You’ve always heard the popular saying Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is true in most cases. Don’t judge people before you get to know them, try a new dish before you decide if you like it and so on and so on. As with everything there are the exceptions, in this case, I’m referring to your logo.

Your business’ logo is the often times the very first impression you make on your consumers. They judge, oh let me tell you, they judge. With just a glance your logo reveals to your consumers what you want to put in front of them and possibly your deepest, darkest secrets. Let me explain. You run around all day, every day wearing many hats and barely have time to sit down and take a deep breath. Chances are your logo has a lot going on as well. Too many colors, too many fonts, too many images or a really long tagline. No? Maybe you are extremely organized, clock in and out at exactly the same time each day, have your pencils neatly organized in the top left drawer and your lunch neatly packed next to your desk each day. I can only guess that your logo is extremely clean line, crisp and simple.

When creating a logo you must think both intentional AND unintentional. In the first scenario, yes! do have a logo that shows that your capable of multitasking, on the go and keep busy but not so much it feels you don’t have time for each customer or that they’ll be rushed. Take it down a notch. Choose three colors instead of the rainbow, Select a nice sturdy font and contrast it with a more whimsical one. Simplify your tag line to a punch line and maybe loose the image all together or pare down to something more simplistic. And for Mr. Simple, add some flare! Choose a more vibrant color instead of sticking with the muted version to stand out amongst your peers. Maybe it’s one tiny square but in a bright blue. Add a fluidness with a curved icon to match up against your competitors sharp angles. Go out on a limb and use both the upper and lower cases for your company name and switch to all caps for the tagline. Don’t go to crazy though, maybe just stick with one font.

All right, you catch my drift? Here are the three key concepts to consider while assessing or creating your logo.

Clarity. This one’s easy, can you tell by just glancing at it what the name of the company is and what they may do or offer? I don’t mean by carefully studying it either. Just at a glance.

Quality. It’s extremely important that your logo have clean sharp lines if it was intended to; that a photo or image is clear and not pixelated or that the colors appear as they should. You took the time to create it yourself or paid a Graphic Designer to create one for you. It should be of utmost quality. If you settle for less with your own image, where else do you settle for less?

Branding. This is key and where you stand out amongst your competition. Your logo should represent your company’s feel and direction with it’s carefully chosen colors, fonts, images or icons. This is what everyone stores to memory and searches for in their mental roll-a-dex when needing a florist, a dentist, a lawyer, a photographer and so on. It also is kind to your bank account. When done well, branding over all increases revenue. It’s true!

I urge you, take a few seconds, look at your own logo and ask yourself these quick questions:

1.  Is my logo clear: easy to read and understand?

2.  Does the quality of my logo measure up to the level of my work?

3.  Is there something distinctive, memorable about my logo?

If you didn’t answer yes to all three questions it may be time to revamp or recreate your business’ logo.

Sarah A. Shattuck

Four Seasons Design Company

www.fsdesigncompany.com

Monday, 28 January 2013 18:14

The Art to Writing a Catchy Short Article

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Knowing how to whip out a fast and entertaining short article is a valuable skill to possess. Visitors (or readers, depending on your platform) stop returning when it becomes apparent there’s never anything new to read. (Remember the museum analogy we used last week?) Once you learn how simple and expedient adding fresh content can be you’ll help ensure your visitors make more frequent trips to your side of the web world.

An engaging article needs to be no more than 400-600 words in length. Learning to use correct structure and style will help you to produce engaging articles in no time. Since we're talking about how to compose a quick article, let’s get straight to the point.  Grab your espresso and a pen........(iPad, Surface, Laptop, ....)

1.  Catchy Titles Catch the Reader

Web users are skim readers, and quite frankly, often impulsive. An average person may spend hours reading a Sunday newspaper cover-to-cover. However, that very same person will speed-scroll through a website’s content and quickly move another site if nothing jumps out at first glance.

The title is where you grab readers by the collar and drag them to read your article. The title needs to be succinct and snappy. Inform readers what your article is about. Tell them what they’ll gain by reading it. 

Web users fixate on headings and subheadings. You are wasting your time composing elegant, informative, and helpful content if your headings are bland and uninspiring. Dull headings won’t encourage anyone to stop and appreciate your literary talent.

 

2.  Keep Them Hooked: The Opening Paragraph

Thanks to your catchy heading you have grabbed readers’ attention. Don’t loosen your grip. The opening few sentences need to convince people they made the right choice to continue past the heading. You have a very short space of text to entice readers to your main content.

The opening paragraph should be brief. No more than 3-5 short sharp sentences. Explain the problem. Tell them you can fix it. State how better things will be once they’ve read your article.

There is no need to get any more complicated than that. Moving on…

 

3.  Body Beautiful

The key to fast-paced articles: Action verbs and colorful nouns.

There’s no time to take the reader on a wild fanciful trip through your creative genius. You got straight to the point in the opening paragraph. Now stick to it and progress the article.

You’re looking at 4-6 paragraphs for your main subject matter. You’ve made a promise to teach a reader something. This is where you fulfill your promise. No time for waffling, meandering or magical mystery tours.  Keep your sentences short and punchy.

400-600 words are not a lot to work with. You may disagree when staring at a blank page. It’s easy to get distracted and abandon brevity and clarity. Every sentence you write should flow. Transgress logically from sentence-to-sentence. Ensure each paragraph progresses the article.

The body should be a self-contained unit. When the body has said its piece the final paragraph takes over.

 

4.  Make Your Point and End In Style

The article has to end without leaving a reader bewildered or confused. Provide a natural end to your article. The closing paragraph is simply a short summary. Remind the reader what was taught and follow this with a final sentence to reinforce lessons learned or action to be taken.

It’s as simple as that. For example, a final paragraph for this article could be:

“Remember: Catchy title, quick opener, informative body, and a wrap-up. To help you stay on topic, use short paragraphs made up of 4-6 short sentences. This will also help you to maintain concentration. Practice this technique. You’ll be shocked how fast you can write a quality article.”

 

5.  Don't Forget About the Comments!

After you go through the trouble of writing your smashing article, don't forget to enable comments on whichever venue you're posting.  Everyone has an opinion these days and this is a great opportunity to engage in conversation.....with moderating tools and CAPTCHA, you can cut down on spam or those inappropriate bots that can find their way to your blog. We want the comments, but not the comment spam sent by non-humans.

 

Still a daunting task?  Too much time?  We have content writers that would love to write for your website, presentation, blog or even social media purposes.  Let us know what you're working on and we can get the content together for you.

--Happy writing!
Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 09:27

Benefits of updating your website consistently

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The importance held by the Internet within our daily lives has constantly increased during the last decades. Nowadays almost every home is equipped with a computer and an Internet connection. Internet users belong to all age groups and to all social layers. The Web has gradually accumulated various roles that range from an information billboard to an advertising platform, and from a cheap and effective means of communication to the preferred place for hanging out or for shopping.

Faced with such a dynamic context, webmasters deal with a real challenge: keeping up with this rapid pace. Constantly and consistently updating your website’s content is the only way to maintain your competitive edge. Let’s take a deeper look into the main benefits fresh content brings along:

1. Better position in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

When talking about search engines, we usually refer to Google. This does not mean that other players like Bing or Yahoo don’t count, but it seems that the Mountain View giant has been establishing the rules of the game for quite some time already. Just have a chat with webmasters from any field you want, ask about their objectives, and you will immediately hear something about higher SERP or Google ranking. What is their action plan? All of them will explain to you how important it is to observe search trends and to update your website’s content accordingly.

Indeed, the latest changes Google made to its search algorithm focus on novelty and originality. During the early days of the Internet, simply copying some articles from various sources was enough to drive traffic to your website. Nowadays, you have to come up with a new wording and this is not always enough. The age of evergreen web content is long gone. Google has set its sensors on updated content, pushing the old stories to the bottom of its SERP.

2. Returning visitors and low bounce rate

Other desiderata on any webmaster’s list refer to increasing the percentage of returning visitors and to decreasing their website’s bounce rate. What does this mean? Well, the first parameter indicates the number of people coming back to the website a second and third time. The second one quantifies those who “bounce back” to the search engine page or to the referral one in very short time after landing on your website.

Now, what have these factors got to do with updated content? It is very easy. Let’s imagine the following scenario: you go to a museum or art gallery; there is no original exhibit and a thick layer of dust covers everything. Isn’t your first impulse to get out of there? Will you ever return? The same thing is true about a website. Why would people keep browsing pages that haven’t been updated in ages? They offer no incentive to stay or to come back.

3. Improving your website’s performance

Although Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a much talked about subject nowadays, there is no sure recipe for a website’s success. SEO experts observe the trends, make experiments and track the results. If you don’t make any changes, there is nothing to track; hence, no opportunity for improvement. Even if its results are negative, an experiment is still considered a step forward as it teaches you what to do and what not to do. Constantly implementing changes and updating your website’s content is the only way you can increase its performance.

 

Need help updating because you are in the thick of managing YOUR business?  We offer maintenance packages or work by the hour to assist many companies in accomplishing this very task.  Give us a shout, and we'll find a solution for you!

--Sandra

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