Jack, the Jack Russel terrier that owned the shop, quickly became the face of the brand and was successfully incorporated across all social channels.
Local SEO Grows Austin Plumbing Contractor’s Business
Locally focused social media marketing and local SEO is the great equalizer that enables independent retailers and service providers to compete against major national brands and regional franchises. The reality, though, is that for many, using Google to gain advantage all too often ends up being occasional posts to a personal Facebook page.
Projects included the design and implementation of an original brand identity, a website, a self-hosted blog, several social channels that were maintained with both created and curated content, publicity and promotion, and one-off design projects.
Last spring a 10-year relationship with Austin, TX plumbing contractor Wilson Plumbing came to an end. During that time, a company with no prior social footprint, no internet presence, and no paid marketing or advertising, grew to over $2M in sales, all derived from a narrowly defined by zip code local market of a relatively few square miles.
Animated GIF featured a seasonal banner to promote services, upgrades, and remodels.
The initial goal was to become locally visible to Google in every way possible, so that whenever any Austinite—we weren’t concerned with hits from Chicago—Googled “plumber” Wilson Plumbing would turn up early on SERP, ideally page one. Continue reading →
While listing the usual suspects – controlled messaging, precise targeting, detailed facts and contact information – the article also makes the very good point that press releases are first and foremost an announcement, not to be confused with the offhanded SEO role far too many assign them.
SEO – Yes and No
Stuffing a press release with nothing but keywords – a practice Google has for some time now disavowed as effective, and in some cases of overuse even destructive when it comes to SERP rank – is attractive only if you’re a bot, as opposed to a real person looking for relevant info.
While many make the case for text only press releases, utilizing the same information as part of a properly prepared PDF can pay lasting dividends well into the future.
Knowing how to optimize a document as a PDF file is underappreciated and an enormously powerful part of SEO and SMM. When a press release is processed using Acrobat Pro, the amount of metadata a PDF is capable of storing is like getting free money at the bank.
The article concludes with the observation that traditional press releases should work with, and not be excluded from, a client’s social media marketing plan. I agree with this approach, as well as the opportunity it presents for a well-designed release to be launched strategically for years of lasting benefit.
It’s not a heavy lift to reach that fundamental conclusion. It’s the how that usually ends up badly, as simple lip-service from the aesthetically challenged on what constitutes professional graphic design begins from a standpoint of basic ignorance of the subject.
Real guidance on achieving that lofty goal gets murky real fast. There’s very seldom a follow-up discussion on how compelling art is actually created, or how to make the subjective design judgements that are the essential DNA of an art or creative director’s job description.
It’s as if those great visuals so easily referenced as the mother’s milk of social media marketing are created with the wave of an intern’s magic kittens and string GIF wand, or by HR invoking a binding PNG spell, aided and abetted by Word’s draw extension.
The reality? Effective art isn’t an off-the-shelf commodity. It’s specialized talent that knows there’s never, ever a time to use Comic Sans if the goal is to be taken seriously. Or that Bevel and Emboss with Texture, added to a logotype of sorts sourced from an obscure MS Office font, doesn’t so much sing gloriously about brand originality as it cries out in all to painfully obvious embarrassment to everyone about the creator’s shortcomings.
Invest in Original Graphic Design for Great Results
Your friends won’t tell you, but I will: ugly doesn’t improve with time.
Within the context of social media, visuals are usually derived from photographs, illustrations, or a combination of the two. They can be used as is or modified, combined, or sampled and combined with type elements and shapes. This series of PRSA event promos I designed illustrates the point.
Colors can be shifted, shapes and objects distorted. The best visuals are unique to their specific environment, not warmed over leftovers. From social cover art and profile badges to press release supplements and web site assets, creative visual is not only desirable, but essential.
The Difference? Superior Engagement Versus Abandonment
And where are the sources for that exceptional visual content everyone is looking for? Begin with a creative director for concepts and execution. Art directors turn an idea into a finished product using various visuals, distinctive styles, and element arrangements. Pick a copywriter for a well turned phrase or snappy tagline that can catapult a campaign. Graphic designers. Illustrators. Photographers. Typographers. All play a strategic role in creating effective content of value.
So while everyone pretty much understands the role of visual content and what it brings to a message, greatness is achieved through actual talent and training, not just by proclaiming the task done and hoping for the best.
Annual Gathering Introduced Major Digital Upgrades
donuts — the key to endurance
Dawn had barely broken when the digital cognescetti began descinding on the registration desks outside the University of South Florida’s School of Business Administration for the daylong techno conference known as Barcamp. Dawn of the dead, more like it.
Veterans of previous Barcamp events came prepared to deal with the Endless Donut Buffet lest the sugar blues overtake them halfway through a .js preso. Antidote: coffee pipeline direct injection.
First timers – including a non-profit wondering where he might find technology mentors for the inner city youth he counseled – tried to interpret the deliberate disorganization that is the hallmark of Barcamp, with varying degrees of success.
The 2013 edition, while perhaps not as feature rich as previous years, nonetheless offered nearly 800 attendees a broad and varied palette of back end, front end, and outside the lines content, much of it from an entrepreneurial perspective.
apps, plugins, hardware and plenty of code
Apps were big on the agenda this year, including the primo EXMO iOS/Android event scheduler. EXMO is one of those things that having used it once now seems like an essential for any multisession event, conference or seminar.
Still in beta, the little app that could kept up with an on-the-fly schedule update that’s the hallmark of Barcamp, letting attendees focus on what was happening instead of where. It’s the digital solution to the sometimes frustrating analog scheduler Barcamp uses, a bulletin board and post-it notes for attendees to schedule and presenters to signup for sessions.
This year there were some 15 tracks in hour-long chunks that began at 9 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., in a nearly constant state of flux. That’s a lot of speakers to try and keep track of, and EXMO did a great job without the slightest hiccup, subject only to the 10-minute window needed for updating.
Blogging seemed a popular topic this year. My first session was an introduction to SEOslides, a dandy WordPress plugin that, as the name implies, allows bloggers to create a presentation within WordPress that is SEO friendly for every page and which – bonus round – links directly to your blog.
So take that Slideshare. Frame driven, this plugin is easily shareable and that’s a big plus when it comes to stats. A/B testing? Yep, and that’s just the beginning. It easily imports your PDF presentation, so authoring can be done with a variety of applications.
Still in beta, and as might be imagined the free version comes with a few key features disabled. If presentations are a big part of your workflow, the annual buy in is $200 and comes with a ton of extras.
quadcopters ready for takeoff
I’m still not sure what quadcopters had to do with web tech, but if I didn’t know anything about them before I sure do now thanks to Greg Wilson, Adobe’s head of CC outreach.
Greg rounded up a fleet – well, two – of these four-bladed oddities from DJI for a show and tell that included in the classroom hovering and an outdoor flight well above 800 feet.
Fundamentals of flight, advantages for aerial photographers, and a look at the possibilities made for a fun session that makes owning one of these devices tempting indeed.
By the time the last speaker in the last classroom turned out the lights, you could measure the knowledge dished out in tonnage. Barcamp is a rare altruistic opportunity to sample trends and techniques in the most informal of environments while allowing developers, site opperators, and anyone with a passion for digital and a viewpoint a forum to pitch their opinion.
Dozens of major social channels have been categorized under 26 distinct headings representing social’s broad range of interests. The list includes the best known, not every social channel on the web.
It’s an eye-opening experience trying to comprehend the near limitless opportunities he presents while deciding on priorities. To get an idea of how far digital media has come, you might want to compare his prism to my web universe sketched only four years ago.
how successful your rank is depends a lot on where you publish
Blogs are dynamic, while publishing as a straight html web page tends to be more cumbersome even though it allows greater flexibility. It’s a trade-off that should be considered with an eye towards time management, creative skills, and frequency.
Social sites are also widely used for content, but are restricted in one form or another as to length and type of content. To put all your eggs in one basket, i.e. Facebook, places the cart before the horse. Pinterest, SlideShare, YouTube, Behance, and others offer a wide variety of options as well as optimized content management. But none offer the overall flexibility of a native domain. Further, crawling and indexing social sites may not be as optimal as a dedicated site.
using only social media has its limitations
Publishing Content Management System (CMS) web site or blog usually means a one-look theme that’s template based. I publish to both platforms: HTML material to my site, and this blog for short updates like this. What this means is that my dot-com web platform maintains a consistent look with the option of inserting one-off pages if desired.
Most small businesses should find blogging only very well suited to establishing a reputation for customized content, especially if that blog is self-hosted.
Once you’ve decided on a workflow and have begun publishing, the next step is promoting that quality content. Today, that means social media and email.
While it’s obviously impossible to cover the entire spectrum of social media, the trick is to focus on a half-dozen or fewer sites and make sure they’re well integrated into your prime channel.
Cute names aside, Google’s algorithms known as Panda, Penguin and who knows what’s next, are getting smarter. That’s good news for site operators who value creativity in their quest for SERP rank.
It’s important to keep Google’s goals in the proper context: their consumer is the person who enters a search term and expects to find a quality site in return. Google’s concern is not about individual sites, or the size of those sites.
Attention is focused on the individual consumer and how satisfied they are with the results of their inquiry – in short, how well does the search result match up with the consumer’s anticipated result.
there is no magic formula for success – but quality content is a key element
My own site, Siebenthalercreative.com, has been well received by Google for a number of years for search relating to powersports marketing. The SERP results are fairly consistent, and seem to support the general consensus that quality content is recognized and rewarded by Google.
My site is nowhere near the largest nor the most active within the power and motorsports community.
It also doesn’t get any advantage from having a sought after search term – in this case, “powersports” – in the domain or page URLs, or even in site directories. If that’s been the major thrust of your search strategy, Google has indicated it may not be enough in the future.
My goal since launching the site back in 2002 has been to create an easily navigable property within which is stored a variety of generalized information and industry specific updates, using a combination of individual pages and self-hosted blog posts.
concentrate on content for the best long term strategy
The result, after trying to pay attention to the hints and suggestions Google shares with their audience of webmasters, is consistently ranking on page one for searches involving the main marketing functions within the powersports community, including social media.
seo strategy a must as sophisticated algorithms become more selective
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
Trying to achieve page rank by relying on a domain name stuffed with keywords just got a lot harder. In an update unrelated to Panda, which puts more emphasis on well designed and written quality content, Google’s latest algorithm begins to make the practice of keyword-defined URLs obsolete and thus encouraging (forcing?) content managers to develop rank organically by adding meaningful content.
New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.
siebenthaler creative consistently earns page one rank
It works for me. Googling “powersports (advertising – marketing – pr)” usually results in page one rank for Siebenthaler Creative. In September 2012 screen grab below Siebenthaler Creative is the only SERP that doesn’t have “powersports” in the URL. This query returned two of my pages based on “powersports advertising,” more on subsequent SERPs. Bottom line: if the goal is to be seen by as many as possible, you need a strategy that doesn’t depend on shortcuts, and one that can survive and adapt over time.
The gap in spending between online search and online display is closing, and quickly, according to this June, 2011 forecast by online marketing firm eMarketer.
While search captured the early sweepstakes as the category offering the best ROI, that out-of-the-gate lead is narrowing. The prediction now is that sometime in mid-2014 the advantage will shift to display as the favored category, coupled with analysis that shows overall growth slowing from a 2011 high of 20.2% ($31.3B) to a 2015 assumption of 8.8% ($49.5B), nearly doubling today’s spending.
Technology, opportunity, metrics and platforms are all reasons for this growth. The opportunities presented by mobile coupled with the emergence of HTML5 and a host of other visual solutions likely account for the change in velocity.
Two aspects of internet strategy have consistently made headlines in the year just passed: social media and search engine optimization.
We’ve been working hard in both areas and we’re pleased to see our efforts pay off with an earned number three page one ranking for the search term “powersports advertising” (minus the quotes). This is significant because neither “powersports” or “advertising” are part of the site URL.
What’s it mean? That anyone looking for powersports advertising help online will see us in the top five. Meanwhile we’ve just rebuilt the site and are looking forward to adding new content and interactivity over the next few months. And we’re taking aim on the top spot.