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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 To Analyze and Take Advantage of Twitter Analytics

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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?


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Our Golden Birthday: A Special Interview

There’s a melody in the air, and that melody is the tune of happy birthday! On May 4, Candeo Creative will be turning 4 years old! Zack Pawlosky, president and owner, and Sheng Riechers, director of operations, share memories and aspirations for the future in this special interview!

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Zack and Sheng at Candeo Creative’s first business expo.

Zack Pawlosky, President

How did Candeo Creative begin?

Candeo Creative started because of the need for a digitally strong agency in Oshkosh and the Fox Valley. I created Candeo Creative as a student and intern at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The company first started with social media marketing, then grew into an integrated marketing group. The main tactic was identifying the need of helping people, especially with the digital area, and pulling together a group of talented people to meet that need.

How has the company evolved over these 4 years?

The company has evolved tremendously and very quickly. It has not only evolved in being able to meet the client’s needs, but also the needs of the staff.

Why do you love working for Candeo?

I am energized everyday by the people I get to work with, both clients and employees. Early on, it was a risk for clients to go with a young and new group, and that they put a lot of trust into the company. The company’s passion and hard work really show what the agency is made of. Lastly, the positive, sharp and talented individuals are another reason I love this agency.

Where do you hope Candeo goes in the future?

The goals are big for Candeo Creative! I want to become the best in class for this industry and become an international marketing group. I hope to have the poise and power to continue to showcase what the company is made of and continue being unique and creative.

Sheng Riechers, Director of Operations

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How did you start working for Candeo Creative?

Zack and I met in college. I was interning at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh career services center, and he was with the integrated marketing communications department. We both collaborated for an event for diverse students, and hit it off from there. After I graduated, my supervisor from career services reached out asking if I wanted to help Zack with his social media marketing company. This is where it all began! After a number of meetings and interviews, I was hired and joined the company as a full-time employee.

How has the company evolved over these four years?

In terms of numbers and growth, our team has sextupoled in size! The company has grown exponentially, and the numbers and types of clients become more diverse on a daily basis. The culture has truly blossomed over these four years.

Why do you love working for Candeo Creative?

The people. Everyone is so different and very close. At this company, life long friendships are always being built, and people who are truly accepting and kind are hired to join our flourishing team.

Where do you hope Candeo Creative goes in the future?

Grow, grow, grow! I hope to continue seeing the company expand and continue taking on like-minded, passionate people. I’m excited about the growth of the clients, the different places the agency is going over the next few years, and the hope of having an international agency in the future.

Look out everyone, Candeo Creative has some big plans ahead!zack and sheng .jpg

We are very excited to be celebrating our Golden Birthday on May 4! If you’d like to join us in the celebration, come to our open house! It’s an open invite and we’d love to see you there! RSVP here.

 


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Work Resolutions For 2016

I imagine you made some kind of new year’s resolution last week regarding eating better, exercising more or saving money, but do not overlook the benefit of making resolutions for work as well.

Even the smallest improvement at your job can foster better relationships, work ethic and that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I’ve drawn up a very simple and achievable list of work resolutions that I think we’d all benefit from!

Stop Saying, “I Assumed …”

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One of my worst habits at work is responding to questions with something like, “Oh, I assumed so-and-so had taken care of that.” While I don’t mean to have ill intentions when I say this, it comes off as passive aggressively playing the blame game.

Instead I should be proactive and help the work flow move along smoothly. If “so-and-so” didn’t take care of it, then perhaps that is a sign I should have been checking in more instead of “assuming” they knew what they were supposed to do.

Saying, “I assumed” is pretty much the same as saying, “I didn’t bother to ask,” and that is, in essence, a communication failure. Communicate effectively this year and remove, “I assumed,” from your vocabulary!

Identify Your Weaknesses

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In this article, Justin Bariso asks, “what is your greatest weakness?” Taking time to think about where you could use some self-improvement takes awareness, courage, and insight, which are valuable qualities in the workplace. Plus, you’ll be taking steps to become a better employee, which has its own rewards.

Bariso suggests critically thinking about the following questions:

  • “What major troubles have I had in the past – both when I was younger and more recently? Which of my actions contributed to those troubles?
  • What situations make me uncomfortable? Why?
  • When people give me criticism, what are the common themes?”

Make a list of one or two weaknesses that are holding you back at your job. Then brainstorm the steps you can take to combat or overcome them this year.

Invest In Yourself

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Your skills are your most valuable commodity, and if you aren’t cultivating your skill set, then you aren’t cultivating your career. Make time this year to invest in yourself by attending seminars and conferences. Pick up a new marketing book or watch some online tutorials. Set small achievable goals for yourself, and then share what you’ve learned with your coworkers. Your self-driven work ethic will make your job easier and give your colleagues a reason to keep you around.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” – Henry Ford.

Best of luck with your resolutions and have a happy 2016!

image credit: http://www.andertoons.com