Create Videos for your Business With Just an iPad

February 25th, 2015 by jkardell No comments »

If you watched the Oscars on Sunday and actually sat through the commercials you would have seen the new ad Apple rolled out.  The one minute piece called “Make a film with iPad” showcases just how simple it is to make a video on iPad Air 2.  The video, voiced over by the legendary Martin Scorsese, shows footage of students from the LA County High School for the Arts writing, shooting and editing video projects.  The entire ad was shot on an iPad Air 2.  It was turned into a polished production by apps that were downloaded to the tablet – Final Draft Pro, FiLMic Pro, Garage Band, and VideoGrade – and an Apogee MiC.     If you thought that you can’t make a decent video on your own, think again.  You now have a cost effective, DIY way to create videos for your website and social media.  You can purchase an iPad Air 2 for as little as $499, Apogee MiC for $299,  and the apps for $50.  This is not the price of one video, but countless videos.

Shoot videos of your products and services, client testimonials, or a day-at-the-office.  Share them and get the word out about your business.  Remember to upload them to YouTube and give them a keyword rich title so they can be found on the search results pages.

That’s a wrap!

 

 

 

How the Expiring Apple-Google Deal Can Affect Your Website Traffic

February 10th, 2015 by jkardell No comments »

google mobile screenshotThe rumor is that Apple’s search deal with Google will be expiring soon.  Whether they will strike another deal, Apple will choose a new default search engine, or even power search themselves is anyone’s guess.  The result can potentially impact your web traffic.  If you solely focused on your Google rankings and an AdWords campaign, you might want to re-think your strategy.  According to StatCounter.com, desktop and mobile Safari serve as the source for about 26% of internet traffic in the United States.  A shift from Google to another search engine could pose a real hit on your visitor numbers.  Bing already powers Siri searches on mobile devices as well as Spotlight Search on Apple desktops.  So if a deal with Google was not reached, Bing seems like the likely choice.  Yahoo would also like to make a grab – they just became the default browser for Firefox.

Now is the time to take a look at your Bing and Yahoo visibility. How are you ranking?  Remember, don’t rely on simple searches.  Personalized search will artificially rank a site higher for you if you visit it often.  Make sure you use a rank checking program.  A search engine optimization professional can assist you with this.  If your rankings are not where you need them to be, now is the time to make some tweaks.

 

Now You Can Add Videos To Your Tweets

February 5th, 2015 by jkardell No comments »

photo (36)

Twitter users can now shoot, upload and share 30 second video clips.  Known for capturing the here and now, this new feature is a game changer for Twitter.  Users have been able to embed videos on Twitter for years using Cards technology.  The only other option was uploading a video to YouTube and then sharing the link.  Already popular on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter was lagging behind in the video department.  Now it’s as simple as point, shoot, share.

This new feature is a great marketing tool for your business.  Shoot videos of products.  Share a short clip from a trade show.  Tape a testimonial.  Embrace the ability to show more videos to your social media community.

To access the video camera, just tap the camera icon and select video.  You can record, reorder and even delete segments.  You have control over the final cut.  And with a 30 second time limit, you won’t have a video that might be too long of  a commitment for your followers.

Go get videoing!

Looks Like Google Is Rolling Out A New Algorithm

January 22nd, 2015 by jkardell No comments »

mobile friendly algorithmGoogle has been sending A LOT of notifications to webmasters with sites that apparently are not mobile friendly.  Have you or your web developer received an email like this?  If you are not sure, you better check.  The subject line says, “Fix mobile usability issues found on” and then the domain name.  The notification goes on to say how 100% of your pages contain critical mobile usability errors on 100% of your pages and that “these pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriate for smartphone users.”  What does this mean? Simply put, your site will not rank well in mobile search.

The mass notifications seem to be a clear sign that Google is getting ready to launch a new mobile ranking algorithm.  Preceding this letter, Google sent out some other signals that this algorithm change would be happening.  It recently launched a mobile friendly testing tool and mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools.  It also started showing mobile-friendly labels in the search results.  It seems something big is happening.

What should you do?  If you received this notification, talk to your web developer about making your website mobile friendly.  If you are not sure, even the more reason to reach out.  If you don’t have a relationship with a web developer, you better start one.  Something big is happening.  You don’t want to be hit after what appears to be a new pending algorithm is launched.

Businesses Continue To Need A Facebook Presence

January 12th, 2015 by jkardell No comments »

As most businesses have now recognized, the number of fans who see free company Facebook posts has dwindled.  But that doesn’t mean you should abandon Facebook marketing altogether.  Rather, you need to rethink your Facebook marketing strategy, which can include boosting posts as well as Facebook ads.  A recent study by Pew Research bolsters this thought.  It revealed that while rival social networks are catching up to Facebook in the number of U.S. users, Facebook still has the most engaged users, which is what a marketer needs to consider.

social media rankings

 

Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all gained new users over the past year.  23% of adults surveyed said they used Twitter, which was up from 18% the previous year, and  Instagram users grew from 17% to 26%.  Although the number of Facebook users did not increase, more people regularly logged onto Facebook than its rivals.  According to the survey, 70% of Facebook users log in daily.  That number is much higher than Instagram at 49%, Twitter at 36%, Pinterest at 17%, and LinkedIn at 13%.

Yes, this is just a bunch of numbers based on a survey, but is should be enough to make you think about developing the right social media marketing strategy for your business.

 

Facebook Fan Page Marketing Strategy Changes Are Coming

December 9th, 2014 by jkardell No comments »

Facebook Strategy Changes

Small businesses need to gear up for the new Facebook changes coming next month.  The network will be increasing its efforts to filter out free promotional status update posts from user news feeds.  This effort has been going on for quite a while.  The reach of posts has been dwindling.  If you currently don’t pay to promote your post, you are only reaching a very small fraction of your fans.  Facebook has now formally announced that businesses which promote free marketing pitches in their status updates will see a “significant decrease in distribution.”  The push toward paid advertising is on.  One can only imagine what the percentage of fans who see those posts will drop to with the new year changes.

What does this mean for your business?  You need to rethink your Facebook fan page marketing strategy.

Facebook still needs to be an integral part of your marketing efforts.  It is an important tool for acquiring and maintaining customers and building brand awareness.  You need to think of Facebook as another pay to play marketing channel. With Facebook, there are two pay options:

Boosting. You can pay a nominal fee to boost your posts so that more people see them.  You can choose to boost it to people who already like your page and their friends, or, you can choose to have it shown to people who don’t yet know about or like your page.  If you choose the later, you can select the audience that you want to see your post.  You select the budget and how many days you want your post to run.

Ads. Your other option is Facebook advertising.  Create a graphic ad and choose an audience.  You can target your audience by location, demographics, interests, behavior and connections.  You can also create your own audience by bringing in a custom list.  As for ad pricing, you can choose from a daily budget, a lifetime budget, cost per thousand impressions, or cost per click bid.

New year, new changes.  Make sure your adjust your marketing budget accordingly so you don’t get lost in the minds of your Facebook fans, their friends, and new prospects.

Social Media Optimization Rules

February 9th, 2014 by jkardell No comments »

Social Media Optimization Rules

During the last years, Search Engine Optimization has reached such a high level of development that is it now regarded as a form of fine art. Everyone is struggling to use the best practices and enjoy the full value of SEO in order to boost the performance of a site when it comes to organic search listings. Social Media Optimization on the other hand revolves around the implementing of the necessary changes into a web site so it can be more easily linked to. Also, a higher rate of social media visibility when it comes to social media searches and the more frequent including in blogs, vlogs, and podcasts are critical factors SEM focuses on. Below you will find a series of general tips on how to perform good SEM on a site.  

 

Boost Your Linkability  

Increase the linkability of the site’s content by adding a blog to it. Use white papers or aggregate the content that is already to be found someplace else using the right format for the site. If you need a break from creating your new blog, look at the latest mega millions lottery numbers on the LotteryMaster site. Simplify the tagging and bookmarking processes. Add quick buttons to rapidly tag pages. Insert relevant tags lists into these pages, as well as suggested link notes and tag the pages on the most popular social bookmarking web sites.

Focus On Mashups

Use YouTube and other similar platform in order to provide code to cut, paste and imbed videos from a web site in order to encourage growth. Use RSS to help others give birth to useful mashups and get extra traffic and boost your content. Use inboud links  to rank higher in search results and general rankings. Offer clear rewards for these inbound links with the help of Permalinks.

 

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Bad SEO Companies – How To Spot And Avoid Them

February 8th, 2013 by jkardell No comments »
Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

“We do SEO.  Our services consist of creating a title tag and an alt image tag for each page.”  That is just what an SEO company recently told a web developer partner of mine.  Really, that’s it?  I shudder to think how many unknowing people they have ripped off.  So much more goes into SEO: description tags, heading tags, geo location tags, interlinking, keyword rich links, creation of backlinks, local SEO services.  The list goes on and on.  There is a wrong way and and right way to do SEO. Make sure you don’t enter into something you will regret.

I admit it.  I like to watch The Good Wife (must be the former attorney in me).  But both this season and last, they have bashed SEO.  It gets me frustrated. SEO is not bad and most SEO professionals are not the devil.  If you have a website, you need us to help you get found online.  That can be done ethically.  There does not have to be anything spammy about it.  But unfortunately, some so called SEO professionals (the bad SEO companies) are giving the rest of us an unjust rap – not only in the business community but also on television shows!

SEO is a comprehensive process.  It is not just a title tag and a keyword reference on a page.  It is so much more.  It is not just knowing what the right keywords are and where to place them, but also where not to place them and how not to be spammy.  Effective SEO professionals live and breathe SEO. They keep abreast of the latest algorithm changes, search engine platforms and more. They are involved in networks that share what is and is not working, what stumbling blocks are popping up and how you can get around them.  In a sum, these professionals are professionals.  So then why are these horrible SEO companies getting the work? Simple – price point and lack of consumer knowledge.

Bad SEO Companies Are Usually Cheap

And there is a reason they are so cheap.  SEO It is a time consuming, strategizing, constantly evolving process.  You probably get spam email from these companies all of the time promising great rankings and tons of backlinks for a crazy, affordable fee.  As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  One of my clients had another SEO company before coming to me.  They were cheap, they did the work. They even got the rankings. BUT those rankings tanked when their black hat SEO practices were caught.  That bad SEO company created irrelevant, spammy, horribly backlinks.  Google found them and the client went from the first page to the abyss.  I had warned them this would happen, they didn’t listen and coasted along.  In the end, they retained me to remove the backlinks and the rankings shot back up.

How to Avoid Bad SEO Companies? Be Knowledgeable.

Get the SEO company to spell out exactly what their services will entail – line by line.  Make sure it includes, at a minimum: keyword research and analysis, copy and navigation strategy, title and meta tags, keyword rich links and interlinking.  Ask about their backlink process.  Find out if they do local SEO, including local business listings.  Ask for references.  Call the references. Do your research.  And if it seems too good of a deal, it is!

Removing Bad Backlinks – New Year Resolution #1

January 7th, 2013 by jkardell No comments »
Backlinks2

Removing Bad Backlinks - Do It!

One of the most important website ranking factors is the number of backlinks you have.  A backlink is simply a link on another website to your website. In the past it seemed that he who had the most backlinks had the best rankings.  So, many questionable search engine optimization tactics included getting the most links you could – even if those links were basically spam.  This tactic seemed to work well for quite a while.  Then along came Google’s Penguin Update, which seeks to find spam and penalize those websites that rely upon it.  If you have questionable backlinks and have seemed to somehow skate by this update, consider yourself lucky – but beware.

A Case Study On Just What Might Happen If You Don’t Consider Removing Bad Backlinks

I had a client who was ranking very nicely for a well-searched keyword as a result of the services of their previous SEO company. They came to me because they also wanted to be found locally.  After reviewing their website, I was surprised that they were ranking so high as their site was not well optimized.  So I dug further and looked at their backlinks.  There lied the answer.  They had a tremendous number of backlinks, but 98% of them were spam.  Bad SEO practices were working.  I advised them that their backlinks were questionable at best and could pose problems in the future.  They decided, against my advice, to ride it out, not wanting to take the risk of a drop in rankings if the number of their backlinks dropped. So, I simply went ahead and optimized their site for the local markets, for which they also ended up having high rankings.

Those wonderful rankings lasted for 3 months!  In June, the Penguin Update caught up with them.  The client’s rankings tanked.  Nothing on their website changed.  No real new backlinks had been created.  No new competitor sites were launched.  I suggested that the decrease in rankings was Penguin related.  So, they retained me to get those backlinks removed.

How To Remove Backlinks

Unfortunately, there is no real quick fix. It is actually a very time consuming process, but one is this definitely necessary.  I started with a thorough backlink audit, identifying the good and bad links using a backlink check tool such as SEOMoz Open Site Explorer and good old hand done research.  I then went to each bad backlink website and manually requested that each of those bad backlinks be removed – either through contact boxes or direct email.  Unfortunately this is not as easy as you may think.  Some sites did not have contact information, so I had to do domain ownership searches.  I used a site called Domaintools.com.  To try and save time and money, I had the client reach out to their original SEO company for all of the contact information; however, the company insisted that they did nothing wrong and would not provide anything.  So I continued on.  When I finished I compiled an Excel spreadsheet highlighting the website address and date of my removal request.  I then used this information to file a reconsideration request with Google outlining all of my removal requests and any problems I had encountered.

The Benefit of Spending Time Removing Bad Backlinks

Wouldn’t you know it, within a single month the client’s rankings rose again – actually they were even better than they were before.  If you haven’t been hit by Penguin, lucky you.  If you are experiencing a drop in rankings, you may want to look into those backlinks.

Simple Thanks

November 21st, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

TurkeyAs I contemplate Thanksgiving this year, as always, I have so much to be thankful for:

  1. Weathering Sandy and her path of destruction – my heart and thoughts go out to all those it has so tragically affected.
  2. The wonderful clients who have sought out and selected Write On Point to meet their marketing needs.
  3. Amazing and supportive family, friends and colleagues.
  4. The list goes on and on . . .

What are you thankful for?

Wishing you a very happy, fun-filled Thanksgiving Day!