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The latest Google update has been dubbed “Pigeon” because, as far as they can tell, this New Google Search Algorithm Update Targets Local Search Queries. Eric Sornoso of Search Engine Journal has put together all that can be found so far on the update, and over at Search Engine Land they decided to call it “Pigeon”, which does fit in well with the previous Google updates called Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin.

Why Pigeon? Pigeons tend to fly in local patterns, and this seems to be only impacting local search queries in the United States that are made in English. It also looks like preference is given to local businesses instead of brands, even if it’s a franchise. To quote Search Engine Journal:

 ”For example, someone looking for pizza restaurants in Boise will now see a Google SERP that truly lists local restaurants, and the quality of the search experience is enhanced when the searcher clicks on Google Maps. Before Pigeon, there was a strong chance that searching for pizza restaurants in Boise will return listings for major brands such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut towards the top of the SERP. In the post-Pigeon era, search results that are authoritatively local will be more prominently featured on the SERP, and they will be enhanced with relevant content. Pizza restaurants in Boise that have a verified presence on Google’s own social network, Google Plus (G+), will benefit from having their menus, reviews, and photographs shown on the SERP. To this end, local business owners will definitely want to ensure that they are doing their share of content marketing and social media engagement on G+.”

Every time there’s an update in an algorithm on a search engine it affects SERP and SEO. It’s important to be aware and to be ready to adapt in order to be found by your customers when they search for the products or services you offer. For more on SEO, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php.

It’s no secret that being a business and having a presence on Facebook has been challenging, particularly for the smaller business. Many of the changes in Facebook’s algorithms are supposed to allow the higher-quality content of a smaller business page to show up on more newsfeeds, similar to the way Google attempted to bring higher-quality content to light in its recent algorithm changes. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and a recent announcement on the Developers blog lifts the curtain again for a glimpse:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

This basically means that the common practice of making someone “like” your page in order to get some things is going to be bad…but in other cases it will still be okay. Look for a lot of discussion to begin on various forums as business owners try to figure out how to optimize their Facebook presence without incentivizing people the wrong way.

For more information on social media optimization, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php.

Tommy Landry knows a lot about search marketing, and has just given us some advice on Search Engine Journal with 10 Ways To Breathe New Life Into A Floundering Google AdWords Campaign. This isn’t a formula for a magic fix, it’s just a good look at how a professional team will go about analyzing and improving an AdWords campaign that might just need a tweak to make it work well.

Here are his suggestions:

  1. Re-evaluate the keyword targeting strategy.
  2. Restructure ad groups using tighter themes.
  3. Amp up your negative keywords to avoid bad clicks.
  4. Get more aggressive with budget and/or max bids.
  5. Step up your ad text testing approach.
  6. Consider deploying a bid automation solution.
  7. Build a custom landing page for each ad group.
  8. A/B test landing pages to improve conversion rate.
  9. Try out dynamic search ads.
  10. Automate schedules and budgets to improve ROI.

In addition to looking at a campaign professionally, it’s a good idea to look at that campaign from the customer’s perspective. How well does it translate to a mobile device? Are keywords actually based on what your targeted audience would use? Getting to know your customer personas will greatly aid analysis and strategy.

The way a professional tweaks an AdWords campaign is worth understanding because they will have a good reason for the way they make changes. Adjusting a campaign according to a predetermined formula without understanding why it has become a strategy is like saying magic words and hoping there’s a good result. You can learn more about PPC management at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php.

 

Google has announced that it will begin using HTTPS as a ranking signal. This is a welcome move because security is an increasing concern for internet sites and the effort to make the internet a safer place is one we all should share. Customers are concerned about things like security on the sites they use to make purchases, and every news item about changing your passwords again because of a new security breach keeps the concerns alive.

Right now, the use of HTTPS is what Google calls “a very lightweight signal” that affects fewer than 1% of global queries. But it’s clear that this will be part of what affects your search rankings in the future, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to their warning.

To directly quote Google’s basic tips to get started:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

If your site already uses HTTPS and you want to make sure your security level and configuration is adequate, use the Qualys Lab tool to see how it fares.  There’s also more information on web design and SEO at  http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php

Paige O’Neill asked the question, “Have marketing channels become irrelevant?” on Marketing Pilgrim recently. She makes some good points about the way that people are increasingly expecting their experience with a business to move seamlessly from one channel to another without a hitch. For example, a customer may use a cellphone to search for the hours a store is open, walk in and examine a product, then go home and decide to order it from the store website using their desktop.

It’s still important to measure all the activity on all the channels a customer uses for accessing a business, because that’s how marketers get the data used to plan wisely. But Paige O’Neill poses another challenge:

“I’d like you to think about how your marketing strategy might change if you thought less about channels and more about the overall customer experience you’re delivering.”

Marketing Channel vs Customer Experience

The challenge lies in integrating the message into a single, omnichannel engagement whenever and wherever the customer chooses to connect. That is truly a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. It does mean that marketers need to do some things:

  • Connect the silos by creating a communications asset inventory, identifying all touch points along the customer journey.
  • Focus on consistency by getting all your relevant departments on the same page, collaborating internally.
  • Develop relevancy by fine-tuning your message along the touch points to reach each customer as a unique individual.
  • Take the long-term view by focusing on the overall customer experience instead of one sale or channel.

This idea may be a paradigm shift for many marketers, but with the increasing power a customer has via digital devices, it is true that internet marketing is evolving and we have to change, too. For more insights on internet marketing, visit  http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/internet-marketing-services.php#1.

Funny videos get shared — the humorous clip is most apt to go viral. But creating a funny video that doesn’t stray over the line of what viewers think is offensive is a difficult task. Lisa Lacy just gave us Creating Funny Videos: A How-To for Brands on Mashable. In the article, Caleb Hanson(vice president of product for interactive video firm Rapt Media) says that humor is based on a harmless violation but,  ”A joke can be too benign, and come off as lame, or be too much of a violation and come off as offensive. Either way, the brand suffers, and with video being so shareable, a misstep can have immense reach.”

The Challenge of Humor For Branded Videos

So the challenge to a business is creating videos that don’t violate topics that people consider important but still have that “humorous” poke at the world as we know it — and we recognize ourselves in the video without being offended. Here is the list of best practices:

  • make it relatable
  • don’t rely entirely on big names
  • don’t be long-winded
  • don’t focus on a single product
  • create a distribution strategy
  • reinforce the brand benefit

The Value of Humor in Branded Videos

Humor can increase the engagement a viewer has with a brand IF a key brand benefit or value is reinforced. To quote Caleb Hanson:

 ”…something interactive that pulls the user in and engages them has better results than something that’s a passive experience. In a sense, the interactions can work as minor conversions. Once the viewer has invested in the video experience, they’re already a user, and you’ve broken down the barrier between the video and the website. Going a little further to convert the user into a lead or a customer is easier once they’ve already gone over the first hurdle.”

Funny videos are a tricky endeavor since they must be done with a thorough understanding of your audience. But they can become memorable assets for a business if done right. There’s a lot more about video production at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/video-production.php.

 

Marketing is increasingly being recognized as an integrated function of a business entity — not really separable from the rest of the way the enterprise operates. In Mike Volpe’s post on Mashable, The 6 Mistakes Most Marketers Make Daily, it’s clear that marketing is something you have to think about as a habit.

6 Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

  1. Marketing without a content strategy (or with a boring one) — instead, focus on providing content and inspiration they won’t find anywhere else. Think about what your reader wants and write that.
  2. Offering content without context — instead, get to know your audience using technology to coordinate and target your message. See that your business is an entity, not a product.
  3. Thinking slow and steady wins the race — instead, recognize that a slow web site costs you money because you just lost customers who didn’t wait for it to load.
  4. Talking (or tweeting) about yourself non-stop — instead, realize that social media is a conversation and you need to hear what your customers are saying before you decide what the answer is.
  5. Not knowing the numbers — instead, use technology to have all the data in easily read format so you can show what works and what doesn’t and figure out why.
  6. Death by word count — instead, use visuals to get your message across to readers who don’t want to spend their time on long blocks of type. Use lists, white space, pictures, infographics…see?

Everyday decisions that a business makes affect the way that business interacts, particularly on social media. Since social media marketing is an increasing part of how customers expect to connect with a business, it’s a good idea to pay attention to mistakes that you could be making and avoid them.

For more on social media marketing, see http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php.

Matt Umbro at PPC Hero has three reasons Why Website Redesigns Impact PPC More Than You Think. In many ways, redesigning a site is similar to a Rubik’s Cube, because changes made in one part will always affect other parts of the whole. It is common for SEO factors to be carefully considered when redesigning a site, and similar consideration should be given to PPC at the same time.

These three areas directly affect PPC:

  • Ineffective URL structure — one site-wide remarketing code makes PPC efficient
  • Lack of unique URL thank you pages — place the code on one thank you page and avoid having to customize solutions every time
  • Poorly written page titles — Dynamic Search Ads, target inclusions and inclusions rely on consistently written titles for results

Redesigning a web page is a good idea as long as the underlying structure is also included in the assessment and reconstruction being done. A web site is the persona of the business it represents and a valuable asset for that business if it is done right. If the redesign is done haphazardly and without consideration of things like PPC there will be complications.

Just like the famous Rubik’s Cube illustrates the way everything works together, a website design and all the internet marketing factors work together, too. Changes in one area affect all other areas to some extent and it takes attention to detail to solve the puzzle.

There’s a lot to learn about web design and you will find more insights at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php.

 

Site speed is important because people don’t like to wait long when they can click and switch to another site that loads faster. Albert Costill of Search Engine Journal(SEJ) looks at the issue in their ongoing series SEO 101: How Important is Site Speed in 2014? The answer to the rhetorical question is “yes, site speed is important,” and here is why:

  • Google’s algorithms take site speed into consideration when ranking results (and other search engines do, too)
  • People buy more if the site loads in two seconds or less (and leave if it doesn’t)

Many studies have been done on customer behavior and site speed, and most of the results are not surprising. People won’t stand in line to make a purchase unless they have no other alternative and online shopping provides many alternatives to the internet equivalent of standing in line.

Speed Things Up On Your Site

SEJ has some very practical advice for getting your web site out of the slow lane. Their first suggestion is making sure you have a host that is capable of providing the professional service you need for a business site. After that’s taken care of, there’s a checklist of possible problems that will slow down the load speed on a site:

  • unoptomized images
  • too many widgets/plugins
  • incompatibility issues
  • too many ads
  • bulky code
  • weighty design themes
  • external embedded media

There are many tools available to assess site speed and the article lists some of the ones considered most helpful. If your site is loading slow and you address some of the above issues there should be a pickup in speed that is immediate and measurable. Site speed continues to be important in 2014 and it will remain important as long as people dislike waiting in line.

For more insights into the effect web design has on site speed, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php.

 

Yelp has been around for ten years now, and they’ve got a decade’s worth of data compiled in the reviews and searches they are famous for. What have they done to celebrate? They’ve invited the world to their idea of a party, in the form of Yelp Trends. Why would this be a good thing for search engine optimization? To quote Yelp:

Our massive wealth of data and the high quality reviews contributed by the Yelp community are what allow us to surface consumer trends and behavior based on ten years of experiences shared by locals around the world.

Marketing is all about trends, and search engine optimization is essentially the art of figuring out the way to latch on to those trends and have the keywords and phrases that people are using to find what they want on the internet. If you could see what is trending, or has trended on Yelp, it could give insight into your own market. It’s interesting, too.

Plug in the words you are interested in and you can see a ten year graph of interest in those words in 98 cities (that’s 20 countries) all over the globe. It definitely can be a springboard for some brainstorming, and Yelp is right — it is fun. It’s also got the potential to be another insight into your local region’s search history if you are near one of the targeted areas.

What could you do with ten years of data? Probably a lot. For more information on search engine optimization and the ways it can affect your business, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php.

 

Fraud lurks in shadows of changing digital advertising landscape warns a recent article in the Gulf News. It’s not new news, because there have always been criminals looking for ways to turn a dishonest profit in every money-making platform. It is a timely reminder, however, that honest advertisers must be vigilant about the quality of what they are buying. According to the article:

The uncomfortable truth about the $120 billion (Dh440.76 billion) digital advertising market is that the fastest-growing and most innovative part of the sector — open exchanges — is increasingly being exploited by criminals.

With concern among its clients mounting, WPP, the world’s biggest ad agency, last month said it would stop buying ad slots through such exchanges. These technology platforms, operated by Google, Facebook, AOL and Yahoo, allow marketers to place ads on hundreds of thousands of sites across the internet. But in doing so they have left the industry vulnerable to fraudsters.

Other ad agencies and marketing experts disagree with WPP’s choice to stop using ad exchanges, comparing it to refusing to surf the internet for fear of catching a virus. What does this mean to the average company owner who would like to take advantage of the promise that digital advertising offers but is wary of fraudulent clicks?

The answer is very similar to the way we use the internet: wisely and carefully. There will always be someone trying to game the system, and there will always be honest business people working to prevent abuse. Consistent monitoring referring links and other traffic is part of a professional strategy to win the fight against click fraud.

For more insights on digital marketing and PPC management visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php.

 

Competitive Intelligence often seems like it belongs in one of the vintage “Spy vs Spy” comic strips from Mad Magazine with implied meanings and vague application. This isn’t true, because competitive intelligence actually can help you focus your strategies and learn from your competitors.

Bill Sebald’s post in the Moz Blog is a good look at Building Better Content By Improving Upon Your Competitors and the comments actually improve upon the original post by carrying the discussion further. The article “lifts the hood” on creating content with common SEO tools and an analysis of the topics a competitor’s website is targeting and figuring out their URL, Title Tag, Meta Description, H1, and Meta Keyword data. With Screaming Frog or similar tools it is possible to look at any site in many enlightening ways.

This is the launchpad of the brainstorming session, keeping track of all the rabbit trails and ideas that might be developed into something better. To quote Bill Sebald:

“At this point you should be taking notes, jotting down ideas, observations, potential content titles, and questions you want to research. Whether in a spreadsheet or the back of a napkin, you’re now brainstorming with light research. Let your brain-juice flow. You should also be looking for connections between the posts you are finding. Why were they written? How do they link together? What funnels are the calls-to-action suggesting? Take notes on everything, Sherlock!”

Utilizing the competition for inspiration is one thing, but moving your brainstorming to action that is effective takes inspiration into reality. Creating new funnels with fresh metrics, off-page content for SEO, or some focused emphasis content all are possibilities worth looking into. Figuring out how to focus your strategies by getting inspiration from the competition is one way that competitive intelligence can really pay off.

For more insight into competitive intelligence, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/competitive-intelligence.php#2.

 

 

One of the biggest challenges when analyzing data is recognizing the difference between correlation and causation. According to the Merriem-Webster Dictionary, the differences occur when you answer the question “Why?”

  • correlation is “the relationship between things that happen or change together”
  • causation is “the act or process of causing something to happen or exist”

To say it like a statistician,  post hoc ergo propter hoc (after it and therefore because of it). 

The problem is, when a statistician says this, they are being sarcastic and pointing out a fallacy. Tyler Vigen has a popular website of Spurious Correlations full of charts showing the problems with connecting data that correlates for no apparent reason. One example shows the coincidental correlation between per capita consumption of mozzarella cheese and civil engineering doctorates awarded in the US.

Why Should We Always Ask Why?

It is very easy to look at correlations in data analysis and assume there is causation. But closer analysis may show a factor that changes the way you develop your strategy. For instance, when Google changes an algorithm it has an effect on your results, but you need to do more thoughtful research and analysis to figure out which factors are actually causing the dynamic.

The ability to filter out the spurious correlations and isolate the real cause takes experience and a human analysis. This is vital when dealing with the huge waves of data in PPC management. There are many correlations that show up, but deciding which ones are connected, how they connect, and why they happen takes an expert. Without expert analysis, you might end up wondering if eating mozzarella cheese will help your civil engineering career.

For more help on analysis and PPC management, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php.

“The bulk of online video advertising today is simply repurposed television spots, yet the devices where consumers spend the most time are completely interactive with just a swipe or tap,” said Doron Wesly, Head of Market Strategy at Tremor Video. “We want to help marketers realize the opportunity in front of them: the potential for a consumer to spend nearly a minute with a 15 second ad.”

A recent study of mobile video advertising has identified areas that can definitely be improved in this growing field. “Crème de la Crème: A Guide to Creating Successful Mobile Video Advertising Units” takes a look at over 300 interactive video campaigns, examines the results of 20 outliers and identifies trends. Here is a quick look at the foundational suggestions researchers have made:

  1. Entice and Intrigue by giving a taste of your brand and encouraging interaction to get more.
  2. Bring Them In with visual appeal that aligns design, technology, and medium instead of encouraging “tap-out”.
  3. Symphony Not Noise means the ad should sing and flow like a story, simple to follow and consistent.
  4. Make Them Feel _______ enhance the emotional connections already present with mobile devices.
  5. Catch the Moment reminds marketers that mobile is a first-screen experience for most users so plan for it.

The overall message is that video and mobile devices blend in a far more interactive way than television ads ever could. This potential has not been fully explored and savvy marketers are already looking for ways to create video that builds on these five suggestions and open up new frontiers.

For more information on video production, see http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/video-production.php.

Twitter just issued another report on the way key US audiences connect on the platform. This segment, Four insights about millennials on Twitter, looks at weekly users who are 18 to 34 years old. It is always interesting to see how social media changes the way relationships work–and relationships between business & customer are included in the mindset of most millennials. The fuzzy line between social and business interactions generally is located at the point of money exchange, so tweets that don’t feel like ads can encourage connection without crossing that line. Twitter’s insights each include a tip for applying that information in your business.

Millennials Check Twitter To Stay In The Loop

The majority (80%) of millennial users use a mobile device to check Twitter and keep track of celebrities, friends, and fads. 81% check once a day at least, and 15% check more than ten times a day. 60% will tweet at least one time during the day to join a conversation.

It’s suggested that businesses tweet at least once a day with information that engages the user, and experimenting with formats like a GIF, for instance, can boost interest in the topic.

Millennials Use Twitter To Have Fun

60% are “more entertained” by Twitter, with nearly half (47%) equating it to “laughing” or “a cure for boredom.” This really shows up in the fact that 82% will share a tweet if they think it is funny.

The need to know your audience is really important when it comes to humor. Funny tweets are good, but offensive tweets are like time bombs. The line between funny and offensive is easily crossed if you don’t recognize the difference.

Millennials Think Twitter Makes Live Events Better

Most millennials will tweet during an event to be part of a running commentary on the experience. 71% think it makes it more fun, 70% enjoy reading tweets while watching an event on TV, and 67% would follow and contribute to a hashtag created for that event.

Businesses should utilize this ready-made engagement potential by having a trusted representative covering their handle during the event, tweeting and responding to tweets in real time. It’s a good idea to keep track of upcoming live events that your customers will be tweeting about and join in.

Millennials Want Twitter To Tell Their Own Story

Over half of millennials (56%) want to use Twitter to document what is going on in their lives in real time. Most will tweet random thoughts (67%), but 57% tweet about fun activities. 53% share about current events, 46% pass on jokes or funny stuff, and 42% use Twitter to share photos.

If you can figure out how to combine your brand with a way to personalize a tweet, you stand a good chance of getting a millennial to take the opportunity to share.

Twitter and other social media are good ways to connect with your customer. For more information on the subject, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php

 

When it comes to online reputation management, some businesses will ignore the whole issue. This is the strategy that a once-popular restaurant embraced in Wired’s article, How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy A Business At Will. The restaurant owner had no interest in computers or the internet because he was busy running his restaurant.

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

In early 2012, business suddenly dropped off — 75% of the weekend traffic was no longer there. Eventually, one of his customers asked why he was closed on weekends, and it was discovered that someone had changed the local listing on Google Maps to “closed on weekends.” By the time a web consultant was brought in to fix it, the restaurant couldn’t recover, and now the owner is attempting to sue Google for letting its crowd-sourced site post inaccurate information.

In this case, ignoring what was happening to his business information online led to bigger problems, not the mythical “bliss.” The business owner simply did not appreciate the value of what was being said online. His lawsuit will probably not lead to any satisfactory conclusion because there are too many variables in the case.

Attention Leads To Action

Later on in the article, a couple of examples of businesses with a different strategy are mentioned. In one, a rival jeweler tried to take out the local competition by changing listings to “permanently closed” and spamming negative reviews. In the other, a small interior designer’s business number was changed by a competitor. In both cases, inaccurate information on Google’s sites was noted and addressed immediately with corrective action. The nature of the internet is real-time fluctuations, so comments and crowd-sourcing issues have to be monitored before problems escalate.

Whether the false information is from malicious intent or ignorant mistake, the longer that false information is allowed to be presented as the truth it will be seen by an increasing number of people and probably passed on.

Online reputation management is an important strategy to cultivate. You will find more information at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/online-reputation-management.php#4.

There’s been a growing emphasis on the mobile market since the late 90s and many business people have been ignoring the trend as a fad rather than a change in marketing. Those people are changing their minds, and Dr. Peter J. Meyers was one of the skeptics who has now decided that there’s a reason Why Mobile Matters – Now. His article on Moz looks at the factors that seem to have influenced Google and examines some findings in Mary Meeker’s annual state of the internet report.

Do Your Customers Use Mobile?

According to the findings, more are using mobile devices to access the internet now than ever before. There really doesn’t seem to be a trend away from mobile, the movement is clearly more than a fad. But it has serious implications for marketing to that increasing segment of your business audience who look for information on a smaller screen.

According to Dr. Meyers, “Google is designing a SERP that’s not only “mobile first”, but can be broken into fragments (like answer boxes and Google Now “cards”) that can be mixed-and-matched across any device or screen-size. Search volume across non-desktop devices will increase, and mobile in all its forms may become the first stop for the majority of consumer searches.” This means a change in the way we design web pages and optimize search results or those potential customers will not even see what we have to offer.

Mobile Matters Because People Are Using It

The challenge of marketing is always catching the attention and engaging the customer with the goal of a tangible result. Mobile marketing and the change it makes in the underlying structure of our internet offerings are just the latest in the ongoing challenge we face. As long as technology keeps changing, marketing tools will change, but the people we are targeting are still people. The customer is still the gauge by which all our efforts should be measured.

For information on marketing, web design and more, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php.

Recently, the YouMoz Blog had a post called Seven Videos To Kickstart Your Video Strategy. Their seven examples are grouped into three categories of intent: conversion, authority & social proof, and acquisition. It’s a good idea to look at your intent when making videos, because the purpose of a video may determine the best production formats for that clip.

Conversion

Is the purpose of the video to motivate an immediate response, like clicking on a link or buying a product?

Explain exactly what the benefits are with a video showing a product’s attributes, or how to use it to accomplish a benefit.

Short product demos, answering common questions, can be hugely effective in convincing a viewer that this is the product they are looking for. A well-made video that clearly answers questions is like an expert salesman always on call.

Authority & Social Proof

Both authority and social proof are commonly needed for respect in our society. Videos that showcase a company profile, for instance, build authority for your company by providing the background information that show why you have experience and knowledge in an area.

Social proof, in the form of testimonials, are witnesses to the authority you are claiming. In both cases, a well-made video will communicate without distractions from your message.

Acquisition

The information you have gathered to present on your site or online are representative of your message. Videos that are helpful to your customers, interviews with experts on related subjects, and ads placed elsewhere to link back to your site all come under this category.

Much of the population prefers getting their information from a short, clear video. Take advantage of the fact and enhance your site with this form of communication, and watch what happens. It’s important that the words are easy to understand and that the quality of your videos be high so that your message is not hindered by distractions like awkward pauses, static, or camera angles.

For help with video production, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/video-production.php.

Your brand, if you are a business, is probably the result of some very intensive research, many discussions, careful design, and a lot of your money. It’s worth every dollar and hour of development because your brand becomes your business identity and affects every aspect of your future success.

Your brand reflects your business from all the angles of logo, color, design, wording, etc. on every surface you put that brand across. It is the message that reminds people who you are and what you do as a business. Every person who is connected with your brand is a representative, too — because people do see boss and employees as extensions of your business philosophy. There are a lot of facets to a business, and every facet is like the angled surface of a diamond that either reflects the light or dulls it.

Search Engine Journal’s John Rampton is the author of a recent post titled “How To Protect Your Brand’s Identity.” It is a good overview of the main ways a business can monitor their reputation and protect that all-important brand. There are static tactics like purchasing a domain name and patents, copyrights, and trademarks. There are active tactics like maintaining legal advice, monitoring your brand’s online reputation, and making sure everyone associated with your brand is on the same page with things like social media and/or your brand’s values.

Protecting your brand is one of the important things you must do to keep your business on track. Your brand has an identity in the minds of the rest of the world. Make sure that identity is accurate and positive. For more insights on online reputation management, go to http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/online-reputation-management.php#3.

Google penalizes web sites that have “thin” content, low-quality pages that are merely designed to build traffic by having keywords, duplicate content, lots of images or links, and other space-filling methods. They’ve been trying to weed out sites that are identified as thin sites, but sometimes a legitimate site (like yours?) has some pages that get caught in the effort and penalized.

Adrienne Erin has a good overview of How To Avoid Google Thin Content Penalties on SiteProNews. It starts with a clear definition of what is considered undesirable, then has some practical suggestions for screening your site to see if there is content that needs attention. Then she suggests you become ruthless and either improve it or eliminate it. Her tips for improving thin content are pretty straightforward:

  • rewrite it — go into greater detail about what makes this thing unique
  • merge some pages — take two or more “thin” pages and make them one good one
  • add interactive content — quizzes, surveys, imbedded maps, etc.
  • decrease internal links — a page full of useful information might just be too full of links, so unlink some things
  • go into greater detail to highlight differences in similar pages — regional offerings may have a lot of the same information that looks like duplicate content. Adding more detail improves SEO, too.

The less “filler” content on your site, the more legitimate it will be in the eyes of the search engines. What’s more important, it also will have more authority for your readers. For more information on quality web design, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php.