competitive advantage, keeping up with trends, mission statement, SEO, social media, staying current, Uncategorized

SEO Is Not for Sissies

With the increase in the number of forms of social media and the use, by both consumer and business professionals, of mobile devices to access Web sites, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a more complex task than ever for marketers. Since 90+% of individuals conduct internet searches via Google, and Google regularly changes its algorithm for organically ranking Web sites, individuals charged with keeping their organization’s Web site at the top of search engine listings must regularly take courses, like the Basic SEO course from Yoast that we just completed, as well as read everything they can get their hands on, to ensure they are up-to-speed on optimizing their site for search.

We like how Yoast encourages marketers to take a “holistic approach” to SEO. Marketers need to keep in mind that both “on-site” and “off-site” activities influence results ranking. To help you in your quest to have your site appear before your key competitors in search engine results, and preferably on the first or second pages of listings, we’re sharing some of the less-complex-to-implement and less-technical takeaways from the recent “refresher” we underwent to ensure both our own and our clients’ Web sites are well-positioned for SEO.

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  • Link internally – Google’s “spiders” that search the internet and your site hop from link to link to link to index information and to determine the credibility of your site. Help the spiders take their journey by posting links throughout your site pages to appropriate content on other pages of the site. Share links frequently throughout your site to your most valuable internal content – what you want site visitors to be most aware of/know most about your organization, its services, and mission.
  • Link externally – Share links to relevant external sites via your site, and most importantly, where appropriate, ask those external sites to share a link to your site on their site. This will reinforce the trustworthiness of your site with Google, and help improve both organizations’ rankings.
  • Don’t overthink – Google recognizes when sites are overusing certain “keywords” (phrases or individual words) throughout their site because they are the search terms which they hope or think searchers will use to find their site. Google will actually penalize you if it believes you are trying to “game” them in this fashion, and it will take some time, even after you make adjustments to reduce the overuse of certain terms, for Google to re-index your site. Don’t try to beat Google at its own game.
  • Do tag and title appropriatelyWhile we mentioned above to not overuse “keywords”, you do want to make sure your pages are appropriately titled and tagged with relevant keywords. Just don’t tag a page with certain keywords if your page doesn’t contain content relevant to those keywords. Also, be cognizant to not “over-tag” or “under-tag”.
  • Aim for the best site and user experience – By focusing on having the best Web site possible – one that makes it obvious to visitors what you do and why you do it – and on providing the best user experience (UX), your site should be well-positioned to receive higher search results rankings than competitors. Google wants internet searchers to land on the sites that best meet their needs and provide for the best possible experience. As Yoast shares, just make an “awesome” Web site, one with high-quality writing/content, and good, intuitive site structure and navigation.
  • Be socialBe sure to have a strong presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Google+; while Google can’t “read” a lot of Facebook content, it can read the aforementioned social media sites, and does take your social media presence and content into consideration when indexing and ranking your site.
  • Be responsive – “Responsive” sites respond to the vehicle on which they are being viewed, e.g., desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc. If your site isn’t “mobile-ready” or “mobile-friendly”, Google isn’t going to rank it high in search results that it presents to a user entering relevant search terms on a mobile phone.
  • Be authentic – In keeping with not “overthinking” and providing the best UX, be real and be honest about who your organization is and the services your offer. While, as mentioned, you want external organizations to link to your site, don’t offer compensation for sites to do so. Google recognizes when the connection between organizations is forced vs. real and natural. In addition, don’t just write for SEO. Tell a good story, get people talking about you, be newsworthy, etc. Write about the things that matter most to you and your customers.
  • Be strong and be well – Regularly review your site to check for and fix “broken” links. “404” error messages that visitors receive when clicking on non-functional links to internal or external content send a red flag to visitors that your organization is not minding their Web site shop and/or doesn’t care enough or have the manpower to regularly make sure any site links still point to appropriate pages. Don’t let something so small and unnecessary as a broken link influence visitors’ first, second or tenth impression of you! In keeping with being viewed as “strong and well”, make sure the speed with which your site loads does not cause visitors to abandon it. If you need to eliminate large images or other media that may be contributing to slow site load, do so. Faster site load is more important to Google and your visitors than a pretty picture.
  • Look outward – As you title and tag pages and content, and even write content, use terminology you believe prospective clients and clients would use and understand. That may differ significantly from the terms and acronyms you use within your organization.

We’ll continue to stay abreast of what’s new and different on the SEO front and provide our thoughts about how to improve your site’s ranking. We’re always welcome and ready for a conversation on immediate and longer-term steps to improve your site’s SEO.

brand promise, marketing consultant, mission statement

Keeping Up the Fight

As I’ve expressed to friends and family members, I want my new venture, “Results Communications and Research” to be about so much more than making money. Having known some really strong fighters — several are no longer with us, but many are — I want to offer as well as be a source of inspiration to those who find themselves having to fight hard to stay emotionally and physically well.  I want to “pay it forward” to thank all those who inspired and supported me when I needed it most — through my battle with cancer and subsequent health issues resulting from cancer surgeries and treatment — and be a light in the darkness to those who need it.fighter girl

(image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

In keeping (hah, hah) with the above, I have created a “Keep Up the Fight” page here at allintheresults.com where I plan to share inspirational words and music, and honor inspirational people and organizations  — individuals and teams of individuals that refuse to let life’s challenges beat them or beat down the vulnerable populations they serve.

I hope you’ll visit this page when you find yourself in need of inspiration. Maybe you’re struggling with the demands of caring for an elderly parent or a sick loved one, maybe you’re feeling ill yourself, maybe you find yourself in a difficult employment situation, or maybe you just need some inspiration to keep up with the financial and physical demands of 21st century lifestyles. Regardless, I hope you’ll visit this page regularly, make suggestions for additions to the page — whether they be quotes, songs, people, or organizations you admire or that inspire — and that you’ll share this page with others who may need it.

I’ve already made a couple of additions this week based on items that friends told me inspire them.  Thank you!

I’ll look forward to learning more about what inspires you when you need it most, so please do share it with me at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com.

brand promise, community involvement, good will creation, marketing consultant, mission statement, public relations

Why Goodwill Is, Well, Good

During my thirty years of working for various sized organizations in a variety of industries, there’s been one activity that has worked consistently well regardless of industry or company size to both create awareness and effect sales growth, and that is the creation of goodwill.  But, what I really love as both a marketing professional as well, as the decent human being that I believe myself to be, is that goodwill is good for all.  While it helps organizations succeed, it helps the communities that the organization serves prosper, so everybody wins.

good·will

 noun \ˌgd-ˈwil\

: a kind, helpful, or friendly feeling or attitude

business : the amount of value that a company’s good reputation adds to its overall value

As the above definition from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary supports, I believe creating goodwill is all about being helpful.  Since there are many ways to be helpful, there are many ways to create goodwill.  I’ve listed below some of the more common examples of how businesses (and, of course individuals themselves) can be helpful, but any organization that really understands and fully participates in the communities it serves, can think of lots of other innovative and unique activities.

  • organize a group of employees to volunteer their time to assist with a community event — whether it be helping with preparations for or promotion of the event, or simply helping to staff the event
  • solicit a group of employees to pitch in on manual tasks that need to be done at a particular location operated by a non-profit/community organization — such as a homeless shelter, park, or school
  • purchase a table/booth at a community event such as a health or street fair, or purchase a table at a breakfast, lunch, or dinner event which senior leaders at your organization can attend to show their support
  • donate tangible new or used goods that are on the “wish list” of a particular organization such as new gloves and socks for a homeless shelter or used coats for a coat drive
  • donate $$ that can be used as needed by the non-profit/community organization; sometimes, these donations will be reciprocated by the non-profit/community organization via the opportunity to have a display table of informational and promotional items at an event and/or a program booklet ad, or to be listed as a key sponsor on any event promotional materials the community organization produces

I’m sure you’ve found, as I have, that most individuals want to make a difference in their communities.  By providing employees with an opportunity to donate or volunteer, you are likely to enhance their engagement — another of the many reasons why goodwill is “good”.   And, most non-profit/community organizations are more than willing to share via a press release, an announcement at the podium, their web site, and/or some other activity your organization’s contribution to their success.

I’m always glad to brainstorm with you about what type of goodwill creation activity might be the most effective for your organization as well as best serve the communities in which your organization operates.

Make today the day you do some “Goodwill Hunting” by starting to research upcoming community activities you or your organization might support.