Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG

www.graphicmatter.com

Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG - www.graphicmatter.com

Do You Speak SEO?

Search Engine Optimization continues to be a popular topic, so thought it was a good idea to revisit some of the fundamentals. Here are some commonly used SEO terms, their definitions and how they apply to a web page.

SEO-Search Engine Optimization; SEM-Search Engine Marketing

1. Title: official title of the page

The text that appears at the very top of the browser window
Most prominent information displayed in search results

tip: Use a different title on each page, typically a 40-60 character limit
tip: Title should be pleasantly readable, not awkwardely stuffed with keywords

2. HTML Page Name: aka file name

Appears at the end of the website name in the browser window

tip: Use words that related to the content of the page [keywords work well]
tip: Be specific to your company; it’s an opportunity to distinguish from your competition.
[i.e. use “nj-handmade-chocolate-services.html” instead of “services.html”]

3. Meta name “keywords” content: your keywords, phrases, best relevant words

Identifies the relevant keywords, phrases to search engines
Confirms for the search engines that the content of the site is relevant to the search phrase

tip: Include common variations, even common misspellings.

4. Meta name “description” content: describes what page is about

Typically the most prominent text displayed in search engine results

tip: Include search word or phrase most commonly used in content
tip: Use it multiple times, and include common variations, even common misspellings
tip: Should be concise yet pleasantly readable

Client Spotlight: Unette Corporation

Unette Website Refreshed

AFTER: Unette’s website Today

Graphic Matter just completed a sharp new website for Unette Corporation. These images show the dramatic transformation–read on for more project details of what we accomplished and how we did it.


A Typical Story

A leader in the flexible packaging industry since 1955, Unette’s growth as a company had far outpaced its branding and Internet presence. Carol Ann Hark, vice president of Unette, contacted Graphic Matter with specific, yet not unique, objectives for the website project: update the “look”, update the content, clarify the list of services, simplify the navigation and ability to edit content on select pages. These issues are very typical to what many businesses currently experience, and many savvy business owners who entered the Internet marketing arena early are finding it’s time to hit the “refresh” button.

Client-Creative communication is key to an effective design process–and optimal results

Unette supplied sample websites that represented the type of “look” and/or features they wanted. This jumpstarted a visual dialogue with our creative team, and the resulting site is one that will promote Unette’s products and services successfully for the foreseeable future.

Budgeting for the Long Haul

Giving clients the ability to edit content not only helps to keep the site’s content current, but also reduces the overall costs by allowing them to update or add information as often as the need arises.  And every update counts: Search engines LOVE new content; each time Unette updates their site, they also improve their search engine optimization results [SEO].

Removing the cost barrier puts site maintenance in different terms: when the update is desired or needed, not “when the budget allows.” Graphic Matter offers several self-administration options, which can be tailored to meet a variety of business needs.

Unette Corporation website BEFORE update

BEFORE: Unette website. circa 2005

A Happy Ending

The client loves the new site–isn’t that the best measure of project success?

Have you evaluated your Internet presence lately? Is it still an effective marketing tool for your business? Is it non-existent? Graphic Matter’s creative team can address a spectrum of objectives–typical to not-so-typical–to meet our clients’ business needs and budget. Call us—we can answer your questions and point you in the direction towards effective marketing.

 

 

How good is your reputation?

White Hat SEOYou carefully guard your personal and business reputations, but did you know that it’s important to monitor your online reputation as well? Knowing what people are saying about your business gives you the power to capitalize on successes or correct misrepresentations where they crop up.

Black Hat SEOHow do you know what’s being said, and what control can you have?

1. Own all variations of your domain name. Think of the most likely errors [misspelling, plural vs. singular, etc] someone might make when searching for you, and purchase those domains if you can. Also purchase domains for your own name [not your company]. They don’t cost much and it provides peace of mind. Have you ever misspelled a web address and reached an incorrect website — perhaps it belongs to a competing business, or even one that is a bit [eek] awkward?!

2. Set up Google Alerts for your business name and product names. This FREE and easy-to-set-up Google feature will advise you when there is any Internet mention of the terms you have specified, so you can see the good, and even the bad, of what’s being said. You can even have alerts for your competitors and target clients too. Unfortunately you can’t always change what’s out there, but again, knowledge is power.

3. Use only White Hat SEO. There are good SEO practices, and not so good ones. The good kind – White Hat SEO – search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, SEMconsists of the appropriate & ethical embedding of keywords and metadata into your copy and images. Black Hat SEO refers to sites where the SEO techniques are not in compliance with search engines’ guidelines for webmasters [Search Engine Optimization, An Hour a Day. Grappone and Couzin, 2008]. Search engines don’t like Black Hat SEO and you may find your rankings suffer as a result.

Your online reputation will say as much about you as your personal reputation does. Protect it and promote it accordingly. Want to know more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Internet marketing?

Google’s new Instant Preview in search results

Google recently introduced a new Instant Preview feature that seems to have replaced the thumbnail image typically shown in search engine results. This new feature displays a mini snapshot of the actual web page, and highlights the relevant search terms as they appear on the page. Previews allow the searcher to quickly compare results and to choose a page that best matches what they are looking for. [read more]

search engine optimization

Seeing this direct link between your search terms and Google’s search results demonstrates the importance of search engine optimization and the strategic use of “landing pages” throughout your website. How confident are you that your prospects can find you with a Google search? Contact Graphic Matter’s web team to be sure.

Auto-piloting your website

Once your website is up and running, it would be nice to think that it will happily function on autopilot, magically bringing new prospects to your door. It can do that… ALMOST. But just like an airplane’s autopilot function, you first need to set some “coordinates,” so to speak. These tips will help to guide your site to your target audiences.

Fresh content: Web crawlers love fresh content, so add it as often as you can. This can be in the form of company news, blogs posts, photos or video via mobile upload.
Keywords, metadata, SEO, SEM, search engine optimization

Relevant Design: Keep the design of your site current. Design trends, just like clothing trends, become outdated. No one wants to visit a dated site.

Online Community Participation: Is your business suited for a community forum– like a product rating by your customers [think Amazon, Target]? This fresh content will continue to work even when you’re not.

Directory Submissions: Once your site is up and running it’s important to submit it to the major search engine directories to jumpstart it’s online presence. Our team can help.

Email Signatures: Always include your web address in your business email signature. This is a quick & free way to get your web address out to your clients and make it easy for them to access your site. Suggest they bookmark it for future convenience!

Business Cards & Stationery: Your web address should be included on all of your company stationery and marketing collateral. If you don’t promote yourself, who will?

Press Releases: At Graphic Matter, we find that in the days following a press release Google Analytics shows a remarkable increase in traffic to our site. Press releases are a relatively inexpensive promotional tool that is often overlooked in the small-to-midsized business arena. Talk to our marketing professionals to get started!

SEO and PPC: You use words and images to speak to your customers; your website uses them to speak to the search engines – and it’s all going on behind the scenes. For more information about the powerful impact good SEO and can have on your web traffic look at our series of blog posts.

Blogs: Hosting a blog on your site is an easy way to generate fresh content and provides opportunities for new connections with your customer base. Your SEO advantage is super-charged if you host your blog on your custom domain rather than using free hosting by WordPress or blogger.

Newsletters: E-newsletters can carry your marketing message to your entire customer list with just a click. And while your customers are reading the words, the web crawlers are reading the strategically planted keywords and links. Be sure to create links back to your website.

Should you implement ALL of these items? ABSOLUTELY! Call our marketing experts to help you design the best Internet marketing strategy for your business’ needs and budget.

Graphic Matter’s Favorite Blog Posts of 2010

Over the past year, Graphic Matter has shared with you the many different ways you can promote your business and your brand. Let’s sum up our year of informational posts and share with you the ones that were our favorites.

Here they are:

1. How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Parts 1 – 3

2. Organic Marketing? Really?

3. Get Pushy with Your Marketing: The Difference Between SEO & SEM

4. Graphic Matter’s Fab 5 “Shout Out”

5. Graphic Matter Client Spotlight – NTSG, Inc.

We hope that you have enjoyed our blog posts and have shared them with friends. We look forward to hearing from YOU and invite you to share with us your favorite tips from 2010 as well as what questions you would like to see answered in 2011.

The team at Graphic Matter wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Implementing and Building Your Brand – Building a Brand Part 6

How Do I Do THAT?

In recent posts, we identified the main challenge to building your brand is to create awareness and recognition of your company and brand, and we broke it down into four areas:

1. Choice of font or typeface

2. Use of Color

3. Logo Design

4. Choosing a Designer

To complete the series, we are offering some ideas about how you can promote your brand consistently with everyday or off-the-shelf items. The most important tip we can give you is to be CONSISTENT about promoting your brand.

OFF-THE-SHELF ITEMS

Many office supply stores stock business supplies and accessories that you can purchase to reinforce your brand. Will you need binders, presentation folders, envelopes, boxes, or labels? See how many of these items you can get that are consistent with the colors that you have chosen for your logo or brand. Since you haven’t invested any money in these types of items at this point, you can adjust your color choices for them as necessary. For example, instead of bright blue, you might need to switch to a light blue or a grayish-blue. Make these decisions early, before you start to accumulate materials. Consider searching online — you might get a wider selection of colors. Companies like Paper Direct and Paper Access specialize in creating pre-printed materials for small business owners.

BUILD THE BRAND

Now that you have selected your basic elements, use them relentlessly. Find every opportunity to reinforce your brand.

When you select checks, include your font, color(s) and logo. Take a look at your email; create a standard signature that incorporates your complete business name, address, phone and Web address in the footer. Use your colors, your font and if you know how, add your logo. Evaluate all of your existing support materials – not just marketing materials. What do your invoices, estimates, and contracts look like? Do they reinforce your brand and the professionalism of your company? Pick up each piece and ask, “Does this help or hinder my brand in the eye of the client?” More importantly, if prospective clients see this support material before they meet you, will it encourage them to contact you or will it send a clear message to go elsewhere?

Thinking about how both prospective and existing clients view your business is very important. You want to make sure when they have a need they think of you first and ask you to help them fill it. By branding your business, and then building your brand, you create brand recognition, which turns into more sales for you!

For more information on how to build your brand, contact Graphic Matter!

Organic Marketing? Really?

In the Internet marketing world, there’s a lot you don’t have control over. However, Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and Search Engine Marketing [SEM] offer you a surprising bit of influence to draw the customers right to your virtual doorstep. To do this you need to identify these things:

Who are the customers you really want?

The ones who want you, of course! They’re the ones most likely to purchase your services or products.

How do they search for and find you?

Putting yourself in the role of your customer, generate a list of words and phrases you would use to search for your products or services. Layering these terms deep within your site will provide a path for the search engines and web crawlers to find you organically. Think of these keywords and keyword phrases as the “seeds” you will plant with the hope of a bountiful harvest [of purchasing customers, of course].

Are you ready to go organic? Graphic Matter can help you to find the hidden marketing opportunities in each and every page of your site. Give us a call – you may be surprised at the potential you have on your website right now!

SEO Unplugged

It seems like everyone is tossing the acronym SEO into marketing conversations.
And yet there are a lot of us hearing it that still don’t know what it means – and are afraid to ask.

Here’s what you really need to know:
Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is a multi-faceted process for improving a website’s ranking in the search engines.
Search Engine Optimization is THE essential tool for connecting you [via your website] with your target audience.

First Place in Google RankingsWhy should you care?
Higher rankings = more [quality] traffic to your website = more potential conversions [purchasing customers].
That’s why everyone wants to be Google’s #1 listing.

How can you be in that #1 spot – or at least closer to it?
By methodically “aligning” the key messages on your website, from the inside out.

For most industries, there’s a huge amount of competition for the #1 spot, and it’s dependent upon which keyword phrases you select. The good news is that placing on the first page in the search results is an attainable and notable accomplishment that will yield a marked increase in traffic to your website. Still confused about SEO? Call Graphic Matter to demystify SEO and begin your rise to the first page.