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Four Reasons Why You Need to Pay More Attention to Local Reviews

Posted in Tips on 23 July 2014

Getting a recommendation from a friend or family member can end up being one of the most powerful driving factors when it comes to you making or not making a purchase. This same power of suggestion is alive and well in the form of online local reviews. If you manage a small business or have clients who want more exposure in their local market, it is vital to start paying more attention to local reviews. Even if you have been active with them previously, there is always room for improvement. They can end up being the difference between a thriving online presence and a barren shell of a Google+ profile. Here are four reasons you need to pay more attention to local business reviews.

Correcting Past Mistakes

I recently began work with a client who is looking to turn around their online reputation. This process began with a new website and fresh content to help improve search ranking. However, one of the most glaring issues was there were some less than flattering online reviews present on an old Google+ profile. One of my major short-term goals for them is to get some fresh reviews that reflect the changes that have been made with the company. The first, and best, way to deal with negative online reviews is to make sure you are aware of them and develop a strategy to get new positive reviews in place.

It Will Build Up Your Business or Client

If you are dealing with your own business, it can still be a great boost to see a positive review on your listing or on a consumer review site. Actual reviews from customers can be a great morale boost and proof that your online strategy is paying dividends.

If you are working with clients, online reviews can be a powerful tool for measuring the success of your campaign, and for developing a long-term relationship with your client. Bringing more visitors and even increasing sales for a website you manage is a very good and measurable goal. However, giving your client’s customers a good experience, and having them want to share it with other potential customers, can end up being a difference maker when you are sharing the results of a campaign. If you are managing the SEO or online marketing for a company that has seen their online reviews grow during their time with you, I can almost guarantee they will be much easier to retain over the long-term.

Search Engines Will Like You – A Two Minute Case Study

It is a well-known fact that Google and the other search engines do attach weight to user reviews, Google +1’s, and other signals that a company or website is providing a quality experience. However, just how important are these reviews when it comes to SERP display and online marketing?

Here is a quick example to showcase the power of this information when it comes to Google ranking. If you search Landscaping Minneapolis, the first result you see should be Dean Bjorkstrand Inc. This company is one of my clients that has a great number of high quality reviews from clients. Not only does he have the top spot for this search term, but he has the most attractive map result with 34 Google reviews and a 4.9 rating. It is no coincidence that his reviews have helped push him to the top of the list for local results.

Customers Will Like You – Minute Two of the Two Minute Case Study

Online reviews can end up being a great way to help with search rank, but their intended purpose has always been to allow customers to share their experience with one another. Continuing with my previous example, search for Dean Bjorkstrand in your browser. Depending on your search settings you should be able to locate the same company from before. You will see a greatly expanded Google listing preview next to the standard search results. This includes reviews and snippets from them directly on the search results page. Also listed are additional reviews from different sites on the web. What better way to sell a businesses’ service than by having customers share their positive experience right on the Google search results?

A recent survey has found that Yelp is among the most trusted resources for consumer reviews with a high percentage of consumers utilizing this site very far into the purchasing process. It is vital to get your business or client exposure on these important mediums. Admittedly I would like to continue to improve my client’s Google reputation, and build a much stronger presence on Yelp and some other local listing site.

What have been your strategies for creating positive reviews and driving local SEO results? Also, feel free to give me a quick review of this article in the comments! Good luck and thanks for reading!

The Future of SEO: A Theme Based Approach

Posted in Tips on 23 July 2014

What’s Your SEO Theme?

If you haven’t looked into it before, it might be time to consider theme-based SEO. Refined and officially launched in 2010, the general concept has been around for far longer and acts as a natural extension to how sites are organized when good design practices are implemented. To make this easier to follow, I’ll break into bite-sized sections.

What Is It?

Theme-based SEO allows you to focus your SEO efforts on an overall topic or “theme”. You can cover a lot more ground and have the optimization appear as truly organic and natural. This is helpful in your onsite SEO efforts and Meta tags but absolutely game-changing when it comes to offsite SEO – including link building.

How Does It Work?

Instead of targeting a list of very specific keywords, and risking serious backlash for what Google calls “over-optimization”, you target keyword topics or themes. This is made even simpler by the fact that this is how most sites are already organized. Take a plumbing site for example. The home page probably talks about everything, but most interior pages will place a major focus of one or two topics like “plumbers”, “plumbing repair/services”, “drain cleaning”, etc.

What are Its Main Advantages?

Aside from appearing far more natural, theme-based SEO provides a lot more bang for your buck because a typical theme package costs about as much as a common 10-keyword SEO package but usually provides 40, 50, or more useful keywords. Just keep your expectations realistic. All 50 keywords are not going to be block-busters. In general, however, most people find that theme-based SEO provides 1.5 to 3 times the return on investment over traditional keyword-based packages.

How Do You Begin?

First you will want to research your products and/or services to select your keyword themes. If you have a Google AdWords account (even one with no funds) you can use the freely provided Google Keyword Planner tool at https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

If this is not an option, just Google “SEO keyword suggestions” and you will get plenty of options to help you find the best opportunities available. Worst case; stick to the biggest “core keywords” you already know and go from there.

What are Core Keywords?

A core keyword can be thought of as the lowest common denominator keyword grouping. Let’s say you are optimizing a site for a plumber in Indianapolis, Indiana. Your core keywords might include: plumbers Indianapolis (590), Indianapolis plumbers (320), plumber Indianapolis (320), Indianapolis plumber (170), plumbers Indianapolis IN (40), plumber Indianapolis IN (30) – and a few more.

What Kind of Search Volume can I Expect?

Before we go any further, let’s look at the numbers within the parentheses following each core keyword. This is the number of exact match searches performed on Google, per month, on average (total yearly search volume divided by 12). If you add these up, it’s 1,470 EXACT Match searches performed per month on average. That’s huge and it’s only 6 keywords!

What does “Exact Match” Mean and Why is This Important?

“Exact match” means that the person typing in the search query typed only those exact characters with nothing before, after, or in-between.

Do Long-Tail Keywords Count?

Absolutely! One example might be “plumbers in Indianapolis” (just adding the word “in” to the middle). That’s what we call a long-tail or “focused keyword” (using traditional theme-based SEO terminology). I’ll grab a dozen common ones and get a search volume count…

plumbers in Indianapolis (90), emergency plumber Indianapolis (50), 24 hour plumber Indianapolis (30), best plumbers in Indianapolis (30), plumber in Indianapolis (30), plumbers Indianapolis Indiana, (30), Indianapolis IN plumber (20), plumber Indianapolis Indiana (20), plumbers in Indianapolis IN (20), Indianapolis IN plumbers (10), plumber in Indianapolis IN (10), plumbers in Indianapolis Indiana (10)

How Does This Impact My Potential Target Market?

That’s another 350 exact match searches, which brings your potential up to 1,820. That’s at least 1,820 searches per month being done for your exact service in your exact location. And with another ten minutes of research you can easily find 30 additional focused keywords adding up to another 550. I just did it. That’s 2,370 potential searches per month (28,440 per year!) – in a single SEO theme.

You probably would not spend the money for a traditional SEO company’s 50 keyword pack to get all of these, but since you can get all of these as potential keywords in a single SEO theme – why not? The cost or time and effort investment is about the same as that original 10 pack traditional SEO package and the focus and rankings will fluctuate organically, which is what it’s all about.

Let’s do This! What’s Step 2?

Once you have your SEO themes figured out, it’s time to start optimizing. The trick here is to consider using multiple variations of your core and long-tail keywords as organically as possible. In other words; be natural. Just place the words in your text naturally, and don’t worry about using exact keyword phrases. In fact, say you have 500 words of text on the page – you will do better by having just a few mentions of “plumber”/ “plumbers” and a single mention of “repair”, “service”, “emergency”, “affordable” or any other focused keyword descriptor.

What’s Next?

Once your text is written, refine it a bit to make sure you have not included any keywords too often. Most of all; make sure the text reads naturally and is meant for human readers. And keep in mind that humans want quick answers so put the main ideas toward the beginning of the page. I might start with:

“Need a reliable, affordable plumber in Indianapolis? Trust Jack’s Mechanical for all of your plumbing needs; both residential and commercial. Proudly serving Central Indiana since 1999, we…”

That’s less than 30 words; all carefully placed to answer the question the visitor has top of mind – and best of all it’s totally natural sounding and will pass Google’s natural text algorithm test with flying colors.

H Tags

Next you should carefully consider what you want as your H1 tag (main heading). While it’s tempting to use something obvious like “Plumbers Indianapolis, IN”, it’s not very natural sounding. You can actually get more from an even simpler tag such as “Your Indianapolis Plumbers Since 1999″. It’s short and sweet and looks like a tagline you might find on a business card or letterhead. It’s natural sounding as a tagline.

Meta Tags

On the back-end we have the Title and Description to think about (Don’t bother with the “keywords” tag). These should also appear natural – but don’t waste space with empty characters! Google has reduced its recommended character count in the title tag from 64 down to a maximum of 56 (including spaces) in order to better accommodate tablet devices and smart-phones.

Title Tag

For your page Title, keep it simple by separating topics with pipes (|) or dashes (-). Make sure you get the business name in as well as the main geography. Here’s an example:

Indianapolis Plumbers | Jacks Mechanical Plumbing Repair

By removing the apostrophe in Jack’s and adding “Plumbing Repair” to the company name, we stayed within 56 characters and included: 2 themes and the main geography. But this is just one possibility. It might have been more like this:

Jacks Mechanical – Plumbers Indianapolis, IN – Plumbing

You might even try using a more common name for the company. If you are locally known as “ack’s Plumbing”, use that…

Jacks Plumbing Indianapolis, IN | Emergency Plumbers

Spend some time deciding what aspects of the theme are most important to you (repair, emergency, cheap, fast, etc.) and work around that. The title is a very important aspect of your on-site SEO.

Description Tag

Ready for a shortcut? We already did this; well – mostly. Feel free to use the first 160 characters of your page text. That’s what Google will grab if you don’t have a title anyway. I would, however, suggest you make slight changes to get the most you can. For example:

“Need a reliable, affordable plumber in Indianapolis, IN? Trust Jack’s Mechanical for all your plumbing needs. From leaky pipes to drain cleaning, we do it all.”

You will see subtle changes in the first part and an entirely different second part. Bottom line… It’s all totally organic and naturally flowing text that Google LOVES.

Link Building

Unfortunately, a “how to” on link building is an article (or book) in itself. What I can tell you here is that the anchor text (clickable words) used in theme-based SEO can be far less obvious than in traditional keyword-based SEO.

For example: Instead of the traditional “plumbers Indianapolis” we are used to seeing; theme-based SEO gets great results for multiple keywords at once, with something like “fast and affordable Indianapolis plumbers”.

That’s just one example. And, of course, the first example is almost always a paid link (and Google knows it) while the second is much more likely organic because people link like they speak.

Good luck!

A 10 Point Checklist for Choosing Your Domain Name

Posted in Tips on 23 July 2014
When getting started with a new online business one of the first things you need to do is choose a domain name.  This step is much more important than you might realize.  An appropriate and effective domain could decide your website’s fate.
 
Unfortunately many people will be so involved in the design and set-up of the website they will overlook the importance of selecting the proper domain name.  Your domain name will be your website’s identity and it will also be the doorway for people to purchase your products and/or services.
 
The following checklist will guide you and help you keep in mind some of the things you need to consider when choosing your domain.
 
1. Keep It Short and Simple — Keeping your domain name short, simple and easy to remember will make it easier for people to get to your site.  Choose a domain that is easy to spell and type.  Don’t use big fancy words or commonly misspelled words such as believe, amateur or collectible.  You can find lists of the most commonly misspelled words and, if they are in your domain, consider using a thesaurus to find an alternative.
 
2. Use Your Name — In my opinion, it is a good choice to use your name in your domain.  This will be a binding agent for your website your business and you.  If your last name is long and hard to spell, consider using your first name.  This way if people do not remember your entire URL, they will be likely to remember your name and can still find you.  I have had many people who did not remember my specific URL search for me by using my name.
 
3. Don’t Try to Be Cute and Clever — Cutesy and fun work with some things but it is not appropriate for your domain.  Don’t use puns or a “clever” play on words.  For example: Flickr.  Using this trendy name probably sounded like a good idea at the time but it finally had to purchase the correct spelling domain flicker.com Doing this will just make your domain hard to remember and/or it will more than likely get typed incorrectly and you lose the traffic.
 
4. Hyphens and Numbers — There are actually a couple of advantages to using hyphens but, in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.  Hyphens actually make it easier for the search engines to distinguish your keywords.  Hyphens could also make it possible for you to get the domain you want if the regular version is already taken.  But, hyphens will more than likely cause you to lose traffic because people will not always realize your URL contains hyphens.  If your domain is beautiful-jewelry.com and you tell people to check out your site, Beautiful Jewelry, you will lose traffic.  It is easy to lose the hyphen when spreading the word about your site.  And it will make it more complicated for people to remember. It’s the same with numbers.  BeautifulJewelry1.com will be much less remembered and found then BeautifulJewelry.com
 
5. Make It Keyword Rich — Do some keyword research and choose one or two of the most relevant keywords for your site.  Using relevant keywords will help with the search engines but, more importantly, it will be much easier for people to find your site.
 
6. Stay Away from Slang — Using slang words for your domain is not a good idea for much the same reasons as using a trendy play on words.  It is just too easy for people to forget or misspell your domain and end up somewhere else.
 
7. Match Your Domain to Your Website Name — If your website name is All Auto Parts and you choose the domain carparts.com you may lose traffic to whomever owns allautoparts.com. If your website name and domain match, people will be more likely to remember both.
 
8. Beware of Copyrights — Never use a domain if part of it is already in use.  Always check your choice at whois.net to see if anyone is using that domain and with copyright.gov to be sure you are not infringing on someone else’s copyright.
 
9. Don’t Use Word Strings – These types of domains are extremely hard to remember and making a mistake while typing them can be very easy.  Don’t try to put everything you sell in your domain.  For example: chairstablesbedssofasandmore.com I have seen domains like this and it is nearly impossible to remember everything so it just gets lost and forgotten.  Something much more appropriate would be AllFurniture.com
 
10. Use .Com — Although there are many domain extensions available, it is always best to go with .com if possible.  Most people will assume you have a .com URL so unless you stress your .net or .org extension at all times, it is best to use .com.  This is the choice people will make when typing in your domain.
 
Remember that your domain is not just where your site “lives.”  It is a crucial step in becoming an online business owner. Take the time to really think it through, do the research and choose a domain that will help bring you success.
 
 

Source

Microsoft Figures Show Growth But Profit Loss

Posted in News on 23 July 2014
The numbers were mixed for Microsoft when the computer giant issued its fourth-quarter financial results.
 
While the company saw an increase of 17 percent growth in revenue — higher than predicted by most — a seven percent drop in profit somewhat marred the positive news. That decrease was attributed to Microsoft taking over Nokia.
Microsoft’s chief executive officer, Satya Nadella, downplayed any loss in a press release pointing to a positive revenue where the cloud is involved.
 
“We are galvanized around our core as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, and we are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution,” he said. “I’m proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off – our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4-billion annual run rate.”
 
Analyst Daniel Ives, with FBR Capital Markets, told Reuters the numbers reflect a positive direction for the company.
 
“These results are good enough for the Street and this is another step in the right direction,” Ives said. “Nokia was a bit worse than the Street was expecting but that is not totally surprising given the massive growth challenges that business faces in the field.”
 
The numbers didn’t seem to worry Wall Street, though, as shares rose 0.3 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday.
 
Tuesday’s report wasn’t all dollars and cents, either — Microsoft reported some impressive figures when it comes to user growth. Office 365 Home and personal subscribers grew to more than 5.6 million, that’s a gain of more than one million users in the quarter.
 
Amy Hood, executive vice-president and chief financial officer for Microsoft, is already looking to the future.
 
“As we enter fiscal 2015, we are focused on aligning our resources to strategic investments that we believe will deliver the next wave of innovation, growth, and long-term shareholder value,” she stated in the company’s release.
 
 

Source

Apple Records Revenue, Profit Growth

Posted in News on 23 July 2014
Apple’s chief executive officer pointed to “strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem” as the reason behind strong third-quarter figures.
 
The company issued a release Tuesday noting quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share.
 
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said this showed the company’s highest growth rate in the past seven quarters.
 
The numbers are up from the same quarter last year. In 2013, third quarter figures for Apple showed revenue of $35.3 billion and net profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share.
 
“We generated $10.3 billion in cash flow from operations and returned over $8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the June quarter,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, in the release. “We have now taken action on over $74 billion of our $130 billion capital return program with six quarters remaining to its completion.”
 
However, the company also noted tablet sales — once again — dropped. The decrease was nicely offset, though, by a 12.7 percent increase in iPhone sales from one year-ago. In the third quarter alone, Apple reported iPhone sales of 35.2 million units.
 
That increase, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, is largely attributed to Apple gaining a better foothold in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
 
Cook hinted the final quarter, and 2015, could see even more impressive numbers as Apple is on the cusp of releasing new products for consumers.
 
“We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce,” he stated.
 

Source

Pinterest Top Social Network, Google No. 1 Search Engine: Report

Posted in News on 23 July 2014

Social Media Sites, Search Engines Ranked According to User Satisfaction

Pinterest

Social media users continue to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
 
While a large share of Americans continue to use the social network, satisfaction with the site remains unimpressive, although rates have improved since last year.
 
According to the newly-released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Facebook gained eight percent to come in at a 67 percent satisfaction rate — but that was recorded before the news broke that the social network was manipulating users’ news feeds as part of a mood experiment.
 
LinkedIn satisfaction rates also increased by eight percent to 67— the site’s highest score to date— tying it with Facebook while Twitter’s rates climbed six percent to hit 69 — a gain ACSI attributed to users’ response to its updated site design and better integration of photos and videos.
 
It was Pinterest, however, that topped the social media list with a 76 percent satisfaction rate. The site has steadily gained the approval of its pinners over the past three years due to its improved features and search functions.
 
Just behind Pinterest was Wikipedia, down five percent to 74. YouTube rose three percent to 73 while Google+ remains unchanged at 71 after plummeting nine percent a year ago.
 
“Even with improvements across the board, e-business—and social media in particular—doesn’t do well in terms of user satisfaction,” ACSI chairman and founder Claes Fornell said in a press release. “It is rare to see strong growth in an industry with such low customer satisfaction. However, several of the major players seem to have realized that their long-term prospects may be in jeopardy unless they do better.”
 
When it comes to search engines, Google topped the list with an eight percent jump to an ACSI score of 83.
 
“Google has some of the most satisfied customers in all of ACSI, and given its enormous lead in search engines, it is unlikely that the competition is going to dislodge Google’s very loyal customer base,” said ACSI director David VanAmburg.
 
Bing dropped four percent to 73 and tying MSN, which decreased by one percent. Yahoo plummeted seven percent to 71, its lowest score yet and its third consecutive decline. AOL came in last with a 70 percent rate, a decrease of one percent over last year.
 

Source

Event Coordinator

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Seeking a highly organised Event Coordinator to join their dynamic Multi National Business in Sandyford!
 
This is a fabulous opportunity for someone who has 2/3 years administration coordiantion experience and would like exposure in a top MultiNational!
 
Must be availabe to start on the 4th of August!
 
The role:
- Create consolidated plan of schedule for each training
- Work with and follow up with vendors to book location and catering
- Fill out briefing on Event Administration Service share to have the event set up in the registration tools
- Have trainings set up in PLC (Partner Learning Center) and communicate registration link to staff.
- Promote training through Training Dashboard, HQ Newsletter and Social media
- Create invitation with registration links and send to fields
- Send staff regular registration updates before the event
- Coordinate cancellations/rescheduling through Event Administration Service team
- Collect attendee lists and partner surveys post event (entered into system through Event Administration Service team)
- Mangage all reports for attendees Lists, Survey summary reports, matching of attendees to target list of partners.
 
Key Qualities
- Organisational skills
- Good prioritisation and time management skills
- Able to balance multiple tasks and still meet deadlines
- Previous use of Sharepoint
 
 

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Java Developer

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Experience & skills required: 
 
- Passion for software
- 4+ years’ experience in JEE environment.
- Good knowledge of design patterns
- Good knowledge of Spring and Hibernate
- Familiarity with Java annotations and dependency injection
- Good knowledge of RESTful API
- Very good knowledge of SQL including stored procedures
- Good knowledge of JavaScript frameworks (AngularJS, ExtJS, jQuery)
- Knowledge of web technologies (HTML5, CSS, CSS3)
- MongoDB knowledge
 
Excellent opportunity to join a technology driven company, and work in a cross functional and collaborative environment, in a role that will allow you to have a great deal of influence. As a JAVA Developer with our client you have a strong passion for software technology, an ability to directly contribute to product development, and will make sure that the delivered product is highly reliable and of good quality. 
 
 

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Junior Java Developer

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Location: Galway
 
A major software company in Galway is seeking a junior to mid-level programmer for their cloud services department.
 
The right candidate will become an expert for various integration scenarios for the company financial service solutions, liaise with customers and clients to map requirements to technical implementations.
 
You have:
 
- 3+ years' post-grad experience in SW development
- Strong OOP programming skills
- Excellent Java knowledge and perhaps experience with C/C++ 
- Knowledge of the software development life cycle
- Knowledge of a second language would be a plus
 
 

Source

Digital Marketing Communications Executive

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Applicants are invited to apply for a fantastic opportunity to join an amazing organisation and work with a highly innovative, young and dynamic marketing team.
 
This is a unique marketing role offering the integration of digital marketing i.e. social media, content management, e-zines and campaign management with BTL Communications - PR, DM, Promotions and Collateral - all targeted to B2B & B2C segments.
 
Reporting into the Head of Marketing you will play a central role in the marketing team working cross-functionally with the Website Manager, PR Agency, and Marketing communications teams.
 
Responsibilities:
* Implementation of the digital marketing strategy.
* Agency management.
* Content management for both online and collateral.
* Planning, creation and measurement of customer marketing activity.
 
 
Requirements:
* This role requires you to have an inherent passion for digital marketing communications.
* This is a young creative organisation which requires you to bring innovation and creativity to your work.
* Exceptional writing skills (if you write a blog, even better) and experience in content management.
* B2B Marketing communications experience is an advantage.
* Experience working in a highly autonomous role with excellent communications skills and agency management.
* At least 2 years' experience in a similar position
 

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