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Author: admin

Custom WordPress Development, Google, SEO, Website Design, Website Design Canada, Website Design Vancouver, YOAST WP Plugin

Local SEO – Get found in your neighborhood.

I’m a big fan of YOAST and we integrated their plugin on every site we build, I also subscribe to their newsletter to stay up to date on the always changing SEO standards and any new releases of algorithms that google launches.

This week, it was all about the local SEO and how to get found in your neighborhood.  For most of my clients, ‘their’ neighborhood is the only one that matters.  The majority of our clients service the city in which they are in and perhaps some of the outlying areas but it is all about ‘their neighborhood’.

If you’re doing your own SEO, you can easily spend an hour or two and optimize your site for your local SEO.  The first (and most important) is to ensure you have setup your Google Business page.  If you haven’t done that, or aren’t sure how – please send us a note, we’ll guide you in the right direction or alternatively, we can do it for you.

Once you’ve properly set that, then you’re next steps are to follow some simple rules that are outlined in Yoast’s news this week.  Have a read, spend a couple hours and you’ll reap the benifits.

 

What is local SEO?

If you have a local business, like a shop, or have people visiting your office frequently, optimizing your website is also about making sure people are able to find you in real life. But even if your not actively getting visitors in your building, but are targeting an audience that is located in the same geographical area as you are, you need to optimize for that area. This is what we call “local SEO”.

Ground-rule these days is that it’s by far the easiest to optimize if you have a proper address in a region/city. The thing is that if you want to optimize for, for instance, a service area that you are not located in physically, your main tool for optimization is content. You should simply write a lot about that area. We found that oftentimes, this leads to forced articles or pages that have little to do with the business at hand, and are clearly there for SEO reasons.

Read their full article with all the tips here.

branding

Three Important Elements Of Branding

Three Important Elements Of Branding

Branding new businesses can be an exciting time. We get it and we were there once too!  Having said that, we also made some miss steps along the way and we’ve learned by trial and error  what really works and what doesn’t.  These three steps are critical to your startup and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

You simply have to understand that putting these in place when starting out will immediately assist you in developing your brand both online and off.

 

Branding New Businesses | Your Business Name and Logo – This is your companies baby – and it is the equivalent to naming your child (yes, we’re serious), getting the name and your logo correct is critical.  It sticks with you the length of your business and hopefully that means for decades to come!  Think of your market segment. Yes, if you are a bakery or a business geared to children, you can be fun and whimsical but we caution about going over the top with too many trendy colours or images (trends change, good brands do not).

Variations: A good logo will allow for variations and look just as good in black and white as it does in full colour.  This is important and often more whimsical logos don’t do as well in a stripped down version. Ensure you have several variation of your logo including positioning (ever tried to place a vertical logo in your square on Facebook? It doesn’t look great and it seldom fits).  We recommend a solid logo with a design element (or monogram) that connects to your brand.  A great example is Nike or Apple, both have formal logos and both incorporate a swish or apple as their symbol that is placed anywhere the entire logo does not fit.

 

Branding New Businesses | Colour is a great differentiation and we love using it as it can and does set the emotional tone of your brand.  Try to stay away from overly trendy colours if you’re not in the position to update your website and print material on the bi-annual basis.  Pick classic hues and you’ll find that you can still be ‘trendy’ without having the need to continuously reinvest in updating material.

Looking for inspiration, one of our absolute favorite tools is Adobe Kuler.  You can create, explore and see exactly how your colour choices come together.  We also recommend creating a pallet with 5 colours that can be intertwined for various market segments and will allow your graphic team a bit of movement and freedom in creating varying marketing material.  From the five, there are normally three chosen for primary purposes with the two remaining allowing for adjustments and variations in accent.

 

Branding New Businesses | Fonts this is often the forgotten lone wolf but it is incredibly important when building your brand.  While it may be appealing to you to have everything in a script, it is seldom easy to read and can often make people click off before they have even begun.  Serif is a great alternative and offers the curves that will appeal to a more artistic person but still allow readability online and in print.  If you do want script or more artistic fonts, make sure you use them sparingly in headers, titles and call outs.  Refrain from using them in your copy, blog posts or important information.

San Serif is modern, clean and does not carry the curves the Serif Fonts do.  We tend to use these types of fonts the most in our designs.

Whichever you choose, keep in mind your audience (i.e. corporate verse children’s books) and keep the fonts used in your online, print and any other media to a maximum of three to ensure consistency and recognition.

 

Once you have your design elements together, you can then move forward with putting those elements to work and building your vision and if you’re at a bit of a loss, find a designer or graphic company that you can work with.  A good branding company will walk you thru several questions to determine your objectives, messages and determine how to best present that to the world.

 

If you’d like to discuss your new business, or anything digital related – we’re here and talk is free! We’d love to chat with businesses and welcome your questions.

branding

HOW IMPORTANT IS BRANDING? DO I REALLY NEED IT?

We get this question a lot and I mean A LOT!  So many clients come to us and only want a ‘website’ to ‘start’ until they are making ‘money’, then they’ll invest in Branding and SEO.

Branding is your voice, it’s your presence and essence of who you are, how you want to be viewed with every connection you and your company makes.

 

IT IS SUPER, SUPER, SUPER IMPORTANT!

 

Branding has layers, it starts with the simplest things.  What do you want your business reputation to look like?  What do you want people to say and feel when they think or talk about your brand?  You should be focused on key phrases/words – don’t worry about having too many- the point is to start to determine adjectives that represent who you are.

From there, How do you rely those adjectives visually?  What colours do you use and just as important what Hue?  Colour influences us automatically, whether we realize it or not – it plays a critical role in your visual identity. Images, if using stock images – what type of images are you going to use?  Good visuals are critical – nothing says ‘unprofessional’ quicker than images and visuals that are pixilated or too small/large for the space they take up.

 

You are the PRODUCT.

 

Truer words were never spoken (or written for TV!).

Passion, excitement, commitment – we all feel it, we know it when we see it and we love how it makes us feel.  How you feel, How you relay that feeling about your business resonates with your market.  It’s critical to success.

 

We like to FEEL GOOD.

 

Branding makes you feel something. People own an Iphone, not because its the best but because it makes you feelaccomplished, accepted, cool.  People own BMW’s and Porsche because of how they feel in the car.  That pretty little blue and silver emblem means they did something ‘right’, they are ‘succeeding’.   People get behind new businesses/products because of how they feel.

Did we say this enough??  Are you getting it now?

Not every product can make a person feel good, we know that but no matter what your product/service/company is – you can make them feel safe, valued, in good hands and here’s another big one – Emotionally Understood

Good Branding + Good Story Telling = Leaving Your Client Feeling Emotionally Understood.

Not everyone can give off the feeling of a puppy dog playing in the rain feeling but market segments (Doctor’s, Lawyer’s, Accountant’s) can do far better by creating a visual emotional connection.

One of understanding, awareness of fears, apprehension and often intimidation.  Focusing on an emotional connection in terms of design/branding/delivery starts to eat away at the common folks apprehension, building a relationship, getting personal relationships and a feeling of – you guessed it, emotionally understood.

Once you have a solid Brand Strategy, it’s time to execute it.  That is were the development of your website starts to take shape (Not before).

Now you have the core pieces in place.  Colours/Font’s/Brand Message/Keywords, now a site can be developed that will last and be financially beneficial rather than having to go back and do it all again, or worse failing in your business endeavour because quiet frankly, no one knew you existed.

Google, SEO, Technology

Google and SEO

Google, SEO and SSL Certificates.  Google is the bank you deal with when your looking for credit (AKA: SEO) on the #1 search engine.  They are and will remain the top search engine and how they give SEO credit is constantly changing and updating.

I often explain SEO using the credit analogy.  When your starting out, you have little in terms of history (new domains) and little in terms of established back links (previous credit), this means Google takes time and is cautious to ensure:

1.You’re reputable

2.You are selling or showcasing what you are telling them you are selling or showcasing.

 

As the new comer, you must earn in your reputation, you do this by:

  • Creating quality content that benefits those who would be visiting your site.
  • You maintain your space by regularly updating.
  • You engage with your clients and with the community at large. Google does give you credit for social media connections and channels with YouTube being a primary channel that is often ignored.
  • You spend time/effort/resources on tools available to hone in on your specific market (keyword research and site audits).
  • You play by their rules.

The last bullet is where SSL certification comes in.  Google has been consistent with their dislike of non-encrypted sites ( HTTP sites) stating that quiet frankly they are unsecured.

Google Owns Chrome

Google, the owner of Chrome will be implementing key ways for users to know if they are on a ‘safe site’ (HTTPS) or a unsafe site (HTTP) and deducting seo credit on sites that are not deemed HTTPS (safe).

This affects any client who has spent time/money or effort on SEO and could potentially dissuade clients from staying on a URL that is deemed unsafe.

Firefox and MSN/Yahoo browser’s will not immediately be effected, however the last stats show over 70% of browsers are chrome, you can read the full list and breakout here.

With thanks to my client, I did investigate and it is my professional opinion that client’s should make the change (if you do not have a SSL certificate).  I also have godaddy partner rates that I am going to pass on to any client that wishes to make the update.  You’re welcome to enjoy my pricing in 1, 2, and 3 year terms until June 30th which will include setup.

 

Google, SEO and SSL Certificates can all be confusing, and we do understand that.  Chat with us and we’ll answer any questions you have!