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5 Free SEO Tools To Boost Your Rankings

Search Engine Optimization can be an intimidating phrase to companies and individuals who aren’t familiar with everything it entails. From keyword strategies to fixing broken links, it can be overwhelming to try to accomplish everything at once, rather than take it one step at a time. Luckily, there are a number of tools to add more value to each effort. We have outlined five free tools that can help you the next time you want to tackle some digital marketing tasks.    

Google Keyword Planner

This tool addresses the most basic form of keyword research. It shows you what people are searching for and the volume of the search phrases. You simply type in one or more keywords, choose where you want to focus your search geographically and let Google take it from there. Along with search volumes for your phrases, Google’s Keyword Planner will also provide a long list of related keywords and phrases to guide you in the right direction. If you’re interested in a pay-per-click campaign, the Keyword Planner also provides you with the average cost-per-click price for each search phrase.  

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Keyword Finder

The Keyword Finder tool goes more in depth than Google’s Keyword Planner. Along with search volumes, this tool shows you the ranking score, or how difficult it is to organically rank, for particular search phrases. This helps you put together a thorough keyword strategy.  

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Check My Links

Broken links on a website can hinder any company’s organic search ranking efforts. Check My Links is a Google Chrome extension application that checks for broken links throughout your site. It can be installed directly into your web browser. Once installed, you will notice a small icon in the top right corner of your browser with a check mark. When selected, it will immediately activate and crawl the website you are currently viewing, searching for valid, invalid and questionable links. It will highlight where all of the links are located, making it easier to fix the broken ones.
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SEO Quake

SEO Quake  gives users the most on-page search engine optimization value. With the page analysis tool, you can see how the technical characteristics of your website compare to how Google and other search engines want them to look. Meta descriptions, headings and image tags are just a few of the things SEO Quake assesses. The tool also compares internal and external links on your website, as well as generates a keyword report showing the density of each individual phrase. SEO Quake is one of the best all-around search engine optimization tools for any company’s digital audit to improve their overall efforts.
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GTmetrix

One of the best pagespeed reporting tools, GTmetrix takes an in-depth look at how long it takes for your website to load. Simply type in a URL and wait for GTmetrix to work its magic. The dashboard will give you a pagespeed score, page load time and a variety of other technical aspects. Modern search engines have made pagespeed a top priority when it comes to organic rankings. Their ultimate goal is to give the user the best experience possible, and if a website takes too long to load, Google and other search engines are going to penalize it.  

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These five SEO tools can provide value to you as you modify your digital marketing practices. Search engine optimization doesn’t have to be a big scary monster that seems impossible to master. By taking it one step at a time and mastering the tools above, anyone can face it head on.

What SEO tools do you use?

 

 


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How A Sprint Team Can Help Your Agency’s Web Department

Ready, set, sprint! If you’re a marketing agency offering web development services, we have an idea for you. Sprint teams are a great way to alleviate frustrations and stresses with website projects. Clients’ busy schedules can make them hard to contact, timelines are often pushed back and the approval process can turn into a nightmare. All of these holdups create frustration for both parties, hindering the creative and production processes. In order to address these issues and move web projects into a shorter timeline, we came up with the idea of using a sprint team. Read three major advantages we found when using a sprint team for our web projects.

Bryan keeping his cool during a Candeo Creative sprint week marketing project

  1. More client involvement: One of the vital components of our sprint team strategy is our level of engagement with the client while we build their website. Since our sprint projects typically only last one work week, we encourage our clients to be as involved with the creative process as possible within the five days. Each day, the client comes to our office and spends about one hour collaborating with our creative team to keep everyone on the same page. By the time the site is ready to launch, both the client and our agency have a clear vision of the design and what the website will accomplish for their business.
  2. Increase in weekly productivity levels: Often, web projects can get backtracked and put on hold. Whether it’s time spent on approvals and changes or busy schedules getting in the way, it affects the entire process of the project. The more time you spend adjusting timelines, designs and page layouts, the less the team produces. With a sprint team, each member dedicates their entire week to one project only. In combination with heavy client involvement, which keeps everyone on the same page, the sprint team is able to spend a majority of their hours throughout the week in production, which will help the agency’s overall profit margins.
  3. Opportunity for more work: This one is fairly obvious. If your agency is able to crank out a website in a matter of a few days versus a few months, it opens up a variety of opportunities for more business. It also gives your sales team a reason to go out and win more business! If your agency is successfully completing web projects in one or even two weeks time, it’s a major selling point sales can use when conversing with potential clients, keeping in mind if the websites are small enough to fit production into one week.

Although our sprint team is a work in progress, the results we are seeing thus far have been positive for our agency. Employees are happier and more productive and the agency-client relationship is stronger. Does your company have a process similar to our sprints for certain projects or clients?


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How the New iPhone 7 Features Will Help Marketers

iPhone 7

Apple announced an array of new features for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in yesterday’s much tweeted about #AppleEvent. Many of the upgrades will help marketing and advertising professionals better manage administrative tasks, create content and deliver better products. We asked our team to answer how the new features will help or hinder their work. Read on for some of the real benefits we’ll see and the AirPod critiques making us LOL:

iOS 10

iPhone 7

The release date for iOS 10, Apple’s new operating system, is Sept. 13. MacWorld reports the new OS is heavy on 3-D touch for lock and notification changes. It will also enable live updates within the notifications, letting you continue a conversation within banner notifications on the lock screen. Faster, better communication? Yes!

iOS 10’s new Raise to Wake feature makes the iPhone light up and display the lock screen when you lift it up. This is great for quickly checking notifications and faster responses. You’ll be able to swipe right from the right side of the lock screen to quickly access the phone’s camera, perfect for quickly capturing photos for online content.

Siri is (supposedly) smarter and can also send payments and book reservations through third-party apps. You can also delete preinstalled apps, freeing up your phone for what you use more often. (Goodbye, Stocks.)

iMessages, Apple’s most used app, will display emojis three times larger than they are right now. It will also suggest emojis to replace text. (Cue hilarious autocorrects.) This, plus other new visual effects, aren’t super necessary for marketing and advertising professionals, but 😍.

Wi-Fi and Cellular Service

The iPhone 7’s LTE is three times faster than the iPhone 6 for data downloads. The 7 has worldwide roaming and also lets you to answer WhatsApp and third-party calls like a regular call. No matter if your job takes you all over your community, country or world, more reliable and faster service is always welcome.

Better Camera

The iPhone 7 has a f/1.8 lens to let in 50 percent more light than the one on the 6S, and it has a brighter flash. (Learn how this helps in one of our previous blogs) The new image sensor is faster and more efficient. The front-facing camera has seven megapixels and automatic image stabilization. The 7 Plus will have a dual-camera system, which Apple says will allow for digital zoom without a loss of image quality.

Marketing and advertising professionals can create better, higher-quality content on the go with these upgrades. You always have the option to post clear, interesting images to your social media pages if you have your phone with you. The front-facing camera improvement will also give you better clarity on the amount of food in your teeth when prepping for meetings with clients!

Longer-Lasting Battery

More battery power means one less worry and a thousand additional opportunities to catch up on emails or post to social media. More midnight emails without a charge! Your phone won’t die after using it to find a client’s business and also casting your online Prezi project because the client doesn’t have updated technology. We hate low battery and are all for this one!

AirPods

iPhone 7 AirPods

 

Apple calls them wireless, effortless and magical. We’re not so sure.

  • “Fingers crossed that these Apple AirPods are actually designed for human ears.”
  • “My ears have always been too small for Apple earbuds. Will they make more accommodating models? I hope third-party headphones catch up fast.”
  • “Spend more money? Lame.”
  • “No more tangles in my headphones – YAY! No more aux cord in the car – BOO.”
  • “I wonder if they built in a feature for Siri to find the AirPods when they inevitability get lost.”
  • “What the hell are Earpods? Is that what they call headphones now? When did that change?”

AirPods are available in late October 2016.

New Colors

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The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will debut jet black and black options.

  • “Can you imagine what they were thinking in a meeting about the new colors? Boss asks unprepared employee, ‘OK, Bob, what do you got for the new colors?’ ‘I was thinking Black.’ (Boss unimpressed) ‘Anddddddd Jet Black.’ Boss: ‘I like it!’”
  • “What the eff is the difference? Most people have covers anyway.”
  • “I will wait as long as it takes to get the jet black phone. Black just won’t cut it.”

Finally, in the words of one of our web developers …

“They don’t affect me. #Android4Lyfe”

Dancing Android mascot
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available Sept. 17. Which of the new features are you most looking forward to using? What features seem totally unnecessary to you? Let us know in the comments below!


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SEO Tactics For Family Owned Small Businesses

As marketing professionals we’re used to hearing the terms search engine optimization and SEO thrown around loosely. There are hundreds, if not thousands of companies who guarantee they can get your website on the first page of Google. Any digital marketing specialist will tell you these promises are more like myths in the real world.

SEO analytics

SEO tactics have come a long way over the years, mainly due to Google and other search engines regularly updating their algorithms. Even though it is more difficult to influence search rankings these days, there is still hope for many businesses. Companies who have a smaller target audience and target location have an advantage when it comes to ranking organically for their product or service. Google’s newest algorithm takes into account geographic locations, which gives local and small businesses a fighting chance to compete. Check out our tips to help small businesses to get started with successful SEO practices:

1. Start with the basics: First and foremost, take care of the tasks that are the most important from a local standpoint. Claim your business on Google, include your address on every page of your website and start acquiring reviews. Another strategy is to include your location and a keyword you want to rank for in different tags and titles. Doing all  these things will significantly help your website rank higher locally.

2. Acquire inbound links from other local businesses: Network with surrounding companies and make an effort to getting your information sourced on their websites. Google and other search engines recognize these links and will raise your relevancy in the area you’re located. The more inbound links you have from quality websites, the higher relevancy Google will reward you with.

3. Keep it simple: I can’t stress this aspect enough. Too many times I see or encounter a small business owner who believes they need a website that will blow viewers out of their seat, yet a majority of the time this is simply not the case. Let’s map out an example to get a better understanding of what I mean. Say you own a local family owned restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that specializes in pizza and ice cream. Your business has been thriving in the community for a number of years and you have built up loyal customers. There are only a few aspects of your website that consumers are going to be interested in: menu, location and contact information. Think about it. What else do your customers really need to be persuaded to come to your restaurant? Sure enticing imagery can play a strong role, but the examples I just mentioned are what website visitors are going to be looking for first and foremost. Don’t feel like you always need to overdo it.

4. Don’t worry about being perfect from a technical perspective: If you’ve ever used an SEO tool that runs a page analysis, you’ve encountered the green checks and red x’s. The checks represent the technical aspects you have correct and the X’s point out what areas you need to fix. This is another area people spend too much time trying to correct. While Google does want you to make an effort to fix these issues, they should not be the bulk of your focus, especially for websites that only target local consumers. Just because your meta description for a page is two characters longer than what is recommended doesn’t mean search engines are going to drop you in the organic rankings. You will see more success if you focus on the intent of the user and the content they want to see when they arrive on your website.

Although the tactics outlined above are fairly broad, they are areas companies overlook when building and maintaining their websites. People tend to treat search engine optimization like it’s a big scary monster that cannot be defeated. From a local standpoint, it is much easier to rank organically, as long as you focus on the things that really matter.

What are some website optimization strategies you use?


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How To Analyze and Take Advantage of Twitter Analytics

Taylor Blog

As time goes on, more companies are allocating extra efforts to marketing on Twitter. With more than 500 million tweets published everyday, it’s safe to assume Twitter is becoming one of the most prominent places for companies to advertise. One way to measure success is to pay attention to your analytics, which will help you make better decisions in the future. Here are five Twitter analytics in your dashboard you should be checking on a regular basis.

Tweet Impressions:

Tweet impressions refer to the amount of times Twitter users are exposed to your content. These individuals can be followers, as well as followers of people who share your tweets. When you pay close attention to the number of impressions your tweets receive, you get an idea of how engaging and valuable your content is. It also gives you a better understanding of how many people are seeing your content. If that number isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, you will want to make a stronger effort in increasing your followers.

Profile Visits:

Profile visits refers to the number of times Twitter users land on your profile page. There are a few different ways you can go about looking at this metric. One important aspect is your profile picture. Having an image that entices people to want to learn more about you can help increase the amount of profile visits, which increases the likelihood that they follow you, too. Another vital aspect of your homepage is the description, or what you want people to know about you. The most important aspect of your profile is having a professional appearance and manner. Take the time to think about what you want people to know about you or what you want to be known for. The more effort you make with your profile information, the more successful you will be with your Twitter efforts.

Top Tweet:

In your Twitter analytics dashboard you will see a section that identifies your top tweet from each prior month. Impressions, likes, retweets and mentions are all taken into account when identifying what tweet was the most successful. Take a look at your “top tweet” from each month and look for patterns. Was there a picture? If so, what style of imagery was used? What was the messaging? Was there a specific call to action? Was it promotional or was it something more personal? These are all aspects of your content that can be analyzed so you have an idea of what people want to see, and how they engage with it. This will help you pinpoint what you should be focusing on when curating future content.  

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Top Follower:

As you begin to grow your follower base, the analytics dashboard will help you identify which followers have the greatest influence in the Twitter world. Each month, take some time to learn more about these individuals. Who are they? Where are they located? Do they share similar interests as you? After you’ve made an effort to do some research on them, reach out to them and start a conversation. The more personal you are, the more likely they are to respond positively. The key is to be genuine and not come off like a salesman. By taking a little time out of each month to engage with your top followers, you increase the likelihood of turning these followers into advocates and influencers.

Top Media Tweet:

It’s no secret that a majority, if not all, of your tweets should include some type of multimedia, whether it be a picture or video. According to Twitter’s blog, tweets with photos receive 313% more engagement than tweets that don’t include an image. Each month Twitter analytics will identify which of these images or videos was the most successful based off impressions and overall engagement. Remember the style of image you used for that particular piece of content and use that information for reference in the future.   

If you or your company are utilizing Twitter, take a little time every now and then to peak at your analytics dashboard. Knowing what content has been successful for you in the past will help you determine what will most likely be successful in the future.   

If you are looking for more expertise about Twitter or other social channels, contact us!

What Twitter posts get your page the most engagement?