Web Design and SEO Blog

Jun201924

Is Your Business Being Found Locally?

by Mira Brody in Google, Optimization, Social Media, Tools & Tips

Benefits to your business and important details to remember when submitting to directories.

JTech's GMB listing.
JTech's GMB listing.
If you are a business trying to build online visibility, it is important that you are listed in online directories such as Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, Apple Maps, and other well-known listings. Google’s search algorithm takes into account all of the different places your website is listed when determining your search ranking; they’re keen on consistency of information throughout your different listings. Submitting to directories should be a part of your digital marketing strategy, as it increases your site visibility for local searches and labels you as reputable online source for your products and services.

The Benefits of Online Directories
A business listing directory is an online list of businesses within a particular niche, location, or category. According to HubSpot, the top 10 online directories are:
  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Google My Business
  • LinkedIn Company Directory
  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Foursquare
  • MapQuest
  • HubSpot

What are some benefits? Having your business listed in online directories helps boost you to the top of search results and therefore increases the likelihood of users finding your business. It also strengthens your SEO by creating links back to your site that can help you to progress in rankings. It boots your online reputation — the more places users see your listings, the more you will be portrayed as an authority in your industry leading to users feeling more confident in your brand.

What to Remember When Submitting to Directories
A lot of times, businesses will hire a digital marketing agency to spend the time submitting their information into different directories — they’ll know which ones will serve your business best. If you are looking to do the work yourself, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Be accurate — Accuracy across all of your online listings will lead to more trust in your site from Google and conflicting information will confuse users.
  • Be picky — Be careful about what directories you join. Not all are reputable and directories with low authority may hurt your SEO.
  • Claim what’s yours — Make sure you have claimed your Google My Business profile and are actively using it. GMB profiles are becoming more important as they play a roll in your local search rankings. You can find more on this in our blog article here. Also set up a page for your business on Facebook.
  • Track progress — Keep track of your directory submissions in a spread sheet. This will make it easier to manage what directories you should be present in and manage your listings. This will also allow you to see what progress you’ve made.
  • Remember the details — Two important things to include in your listings are: your business hours, and images. This makes your listings more visually engaging to users.
  • Encourage feedback — Direct customers to your listings and solicit reviews after you’ve had a great experience with them. This will help you build credibility with your target audience as well as influence your rankings in local search results.

Cast a Wide Net
Online directories are the modern-day yellow pages — you’ll want to make sure you’re listed so that people using these sources can find you! If you have questions about submitting to directories or need help doing so, our Digital Marketing team would be happy to help you — just give us a call and we’ll help point you in the right direction.
Jun201921

The Pros and Cons of Infinite Scrolling

by Mira Brody in Design, UX

Infinite scrolling is a web design layout that allows a site to continuously load content as a user scrolls through the page, removing the need for a more complex page structure. Some popular examples of this include Reddit, Facebook and many ecommerce sites that have a lot of product to display. Infinite scrolling has seen a rise in popularity due to the experience it provides, but do the benefits come with a compromise? In this article we’ll be exploring the pros and cons of infinite scrolling.

What to Consider: motivations and content
Visitor motivation and amount of content are two factors that will help you determine if infinite scrolling would be a good option for you. Are your visitors going to browse for information, or look for something specific? While goal-oriented users will not benefit from infinite scrolling, it works great with discovery interfaces. This is when a user is navigating through a volume of content to find something they like, such as Pinterest, or engaging in a social feed, like Instagram.

Pros
Now that we’ve determined whether infinite scrolling will fill the needs of your audience and content, let’s go over the pros and cons. Infinite scrolling:
  • Keeps users engaged by removing the page function, so they don’t have to keep leaving the page to view more content — continuing to scroll is easier than clicking each time.
  • Provides a more efficient way of browsing large volumes of content.
  • Provides an easy and responsive experience for mobile browsers.
  • Leads users to discover content that they would have otherwise not been looking for.
  • Ease of use and navigation.

Cons
Like all good things, infinite scrolling isn’t for everyone. Here are a few drawbacks:
  • Makes finding specific content difficult.
  • Since there is no end to infinite scrolling, users will not have a sense of completion or be able to judge the amount of content present. When implemented incorrectly, this may cause frustration with your site.
  • Infinite scrolling can impact page load time, particularly if a user is on a poor internet connection. Slower load times can lead to losing users and dropping engagement.
  • Users cannot bookmark a specific point in the content stream to return to later. If the user leaves the page, they will lose what progress they've made scrolling through the content steam.
  • Browser scroll bars become irrelevant.
  • With infinite scrolling, there is no footer. Footers can be a great tool for your website containing navigation points, social links and contact info.
When to use Infinite Scrolling
Infinite scrolling is a great website feature that our team utilizes in many of our website projects. It is particularly useful for long products list on ecommerce sites, blog pages, list of data and other continuous streams of content. It can boost engagement and make the content on your site more user-friendly, when applied correctly. If you want to learn more about infinite scrolling, user experience or ways your site can increase engagement, feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to have conversation with you.
Jun20193

How to Increase Your Domain Authority

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Industry News, Optimization, Tools & Tips

Moz’s latest update — what you need to know

Domain Authority is a search metric developed by the company Moz to help businesses understand how well they are ranking on the internet. Domain Authority (DA for short) is a score ranging from 1 to 100, 100 being the best score. DA is used to predict how well a business’s site will rank within search engine results pages (SERPs) and is calculated by analyzing linking domains, the number of inbound links to a site, and other factors. It is useful measure over time in comparison to competitors to see how your website stands and how it has improved as your SEO efforts take effect.

Generally we see high ranking sites with a DA of 30 or more, which is typical of a small business website. In this article, we’ll talk about Moz’s latest update and how you can check and improve your score to increase your chances of being findable by your customers.

The Update 2.0
Starting March 5, 2019, Moz implemented Domain Authority 2.0. This update better correlates DA scores with search rankings so you can more accurately measure your sites standing within Google. This makes 2.0 more reliable than ever and will improve your ability to achieve success online.

A few new factors of 2.0 are:
  • Spam score
  • Link-quality patterns
  • Machine learning for Google’s algorithms

How to Improve Your Score
If you don’t already know your DA score, check it here: https://moz.com/link-explorer

If you’ve been monitoring it for a while, you may have noticed a large drop in this score after the update — this is no cause for panic. First check to see if your competitors DAs dropped as significantly as yours. If they did not experience the same drop, then you may have some room for improvement in your SEO — check out this blog article to find out what steps you can take to improve your SEO standing. There are a lot of different factors that effect your Domain Authority score, and at JTech, we have decades of experience helping sites achieve better search rankings online. If you are concerned about how your website is ranking, contact us for a preliminary analysis of how your site can be improved.
May201931

Be Found by Your Customers

by Mira Brody in Google, Optimization, SEO, Tools & Tips

Optimizing Your Business for Voice Search

Siri, your personal voice assistant.
Siri, your personal voice assistant.
Between Siri, Google, or one of the other voice search assistants available on your phone, 71% of respondents prefer using voice assist to search for something than typing their query. Somehow, it is more satisfying to speak the words “best hamburger near me” than it is to type. By 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches making optimization essential for businesses to be findable. Voice search and local visibility are becoming closely associated; 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.

What does this mean for you, a savvy business owner? Your online presence — particularly your website — must be optimized for all types of searching, voice included. In this article, we’ll provide some pointers about how to optimize your online business for those searching for your business verbally.

Optimizing for Voice Search
The most significant difference with voice as apposed to regular web searches is that the user will only receive one result, as opposed to a long list through which they can browse. This single result is dependent on what is called a “featured snippet.”

To earn a featured snippet, you have to first establish what topic you are trying to rank for. If you’re a yoga studio that specializes in hot yoga, make sure your site is ranking highly for keywords related to that topic, such as “bikram yoga” and “hot yoga.” Then, you need to have specific content on your site offering information on your targeted topic such as a blog or frequently asked questions page.

When optimizing content, put yourself in the shoes of your searcher and the specific questions they will ask into order to find your business. The closer you can match your content to user intent, the more likely it is that you will achieve a featured snippet. Since voice searchers will phrase their question as though they are talking to another person, make your tone more conversational.

You can also use structured data to help search engines better understand the topic of the content on your site. You can read more about how to use structured data in our blog post here. Having this data will help your content appear in featured snippets helping you be more findable through voice search.

Local Search & Voice Search
As smart devices gain more popularity, it makes sense that most people would use voice search while on the go. It’s easier to hold own the home button and ask Siri “where’s the nearest gas station” than it is to stop and type. The best way to be returned as an answer for these searches is to ensure your business listing is claimed on Google My Business and up to date. For more on how to optimize your Google My Business listing, read our previous blog article here.
May201930

What Can Reputation Management Do For Your Business?

by Mira Brody in Google, Social Media, Tools & Tips

Your reviews will appear for all of your customers to see.
Your reviews will appear for all of your customers to see.
Your business’s reputation is one of the most important parts of your brand — 90% of customers claim their buying decisions are based on online reviews. Online reputation management (ORM), is the act of influencing how online users see your brand, to show customers that you are listening when they give feedback and show that you care and are engaged with your customer base.

Why Reputation Management is Important
Reputation management takes time, effort, and resources but is worth the effort since a negative reputation will directly hurt your business. 88% of purchasers research products and brands online before making a purchase. When that many of your customers are going online to check on the reputation of your product or services, you’ll want to make sure that public feedback is positive. Your online reputation can also effect your rankings with Google. Google has stated that its search algorithms take reviews into account and de-rank sites who offer a bad experience to their customers. Customers are also looking for a company that is transparent and honest — a positive online reputation will show your business as an authority in your industry and inspire users to look deeper into your brand. Responding to criticism publicly shows that you care about what your customers think and are open about your brand. One of the goals of reputation management is to not only attract positive reviews to begin with, but also address negative experiences through response and engagement.

Once started, an ORM campaign has no end, its a continuous strategy that builds and maintains your reputation. This can have a serious impact overtime and lead to higher online traffic with more conversions.

Reputation Management Do’s & Don’ts

Don’t: Ignore customer reviews and comments, even if they are positive.
Don’t: Ignore negative PR.
Don’t: Produce web content that doesn’t provide value.
Don’t: Be invisible on social media.
Don’t: Create fake reviews.
Don’t: Respond to negative reviews defensively.

Do: Respond to negative reviews and online statements. Apologize to users. Respond professionally to negative reviews and look for a way to resolve the issue.
Do: Become well respected online.
Do: Monitor what is being said about you online.
Do: React quickly and professionally to negative reviews publicly. Empathize with the user and offer a solution.
Do: Be present and engaging on social media.
Do: Showcase positive customer reviews and user generated content.
Do: Be in control of your brand image. If something happens at your company, you want to be the one to bring it to the public.
Do: Respond to positive reviews. Acknowledge the user by name, show gratitude, offer to provide additional value if possible.
Do: Customize each one of your responses.

Where Reputation Management Happens

Social Media
When your customers find your brand on Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms, they are more likely to buy your product or contact you for a service if they see an active page with positive reviews and that is engaged with its users. Post regularly, respond to your social media reviews and engage followers by asking for their input.

Customer Review Sites
Sites like Yelp, Manta, and even TripAdvisor are specifically geared towards helping users voice their experiences with brands and direct other users to the best option. It is important that you have a positive reputation on these platforms to capture new users that may be looking for your product or service. There may also be less known sites or forums specific to your industry that offer user reviews. Be sure you are aware of these and include them in your ORM plan. Claim these pages if you business doesn’t not already manage them, update the information, and respond to reviews. For more information about managing Yelp and TripAdvisor, read our previous article on customer reviews.

Retailer Sites
Is your product sold on a site like Amazon, Etsy or eBay? Most of these sites offer a customer review section where customers will rate and review a product. Make sure your product has a positive rating or if there are issues, address them. Amazon allows for users to ask questions about a product and have the company answer. This is a great way to show transparency in your brand and have positive engagement with inline users.

Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is one of the most vital social platforms to be aware of when managing your reputation. Your company’s Google My Business (GMB) profile is what appears on the right side of a search engine results page when your products and services are being searched for, so it may be the first thing they see! This profile includes user ratings, reviews, and other company information and it plays a direct roll in your standing with Google and where you appear in results — lower-rated businesses will not rank as high as highly-regarded businesses. To learn more about how to optimize your GMB profile, read our previous blog article discussing this topic here.

Start Managing Your Reputation Today

Online Reputation Management is crucial for businesses big and small! If you have not yet considered managing the online reputation of your business, you should start by reviewing all of the above-mentioned sites and coming up with a game plan for responding to both positive and negative reviews. Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to where they shop, and they use online reviews to help them make those decisions. They want more transparency from brands and are more willing to engage with brands that are open and honest about their reputation. Positive reputation management can directly affect your sales and digital marketing efforts and lead to more conversions online.

If you need help with your online reputation management —whether you receive a negative review or are trying to get a head start before it happens — let us know how we can help! JTech’s digital marketing team is equipped with the experience to help you remain in good light online.
May201929

To Stock or Not to Stock?

by Mira Brody in Content, Design, Imagery, Tools & Tips

The pros and cons of stock versus custom photography for your website.

Imagery is one of the most important pieces of content on your businesses website. It can supplement is part of the visual representation of your brand, values, and is a clear way to show off your products and services. Your image choices can emote an emotion or feeling within the first few seconds when someone arrives on your site. In fact, websites with imagery get 94% more views than content that has none at all. Imagery with search-friendly metadata will also boost your SEO standing and gives search engines more content to index.

Because so much relies on imagery, it is important to take some time and explore the pros and cons of stock versus custom photography for your business. We’ve laid out a quick pros and cons list so you can determine the best choice for your company.

Stock Imagery --  Pros
  • Generally more affordable.
  • There is a large selection available from different sources.
  • Stock photography is generally high quality.

Stock Imagery -- Cons
  • It is harder to communicate your brands voice with stock photography.
  • You may not be able to find what you need or want.

Custom Imagery -- Pros
  • Custom photography is original providing a custom experience to the user.
  • Custom photography is more flexible allowing you to get exactly the images you want. 
  • A pro photographer will account for lighting and staging.
  • Custom photography allows you to use actual photos of your employees and business, giving a more personal feel to your brands content.
  • If you need product photography, a pro photographer will be able to deliver high quality unique photos of your products.

Custom Imagery -- Cons
  • Working with a professional photographer is generally more expensive.
  • It can take time to get all of the shots you need taken and processed.

If you need help determining what kind of imagery your business would benefit from, give us a call! Our team are experts at content strategy and can help you set up a custom photoshoot, or search for the best stock photography options for you.
May201928

TLC Services Takes Charge of Their Industry With a New Website

by Mira Brody in Announcements

We had the pleasure of designing and building a brand-new website for TLC Services, a septic and excavation company in Bozeman, MT.


TLC Services has deep roots in the Gallatin Valley — literally. They started out as a lawn and landscaping company over 30 years ago, and as need in their community grew, so did their company. They took on septic services, then porta-potty rental and excavation and gravel shooting services for construction jobs of all sizes. Because of their variety of expertise, their new site needed to be tuned to reach all of their potential customers. Our team worked to clearly display their services in the primary navigation of the site, and use the content to show off all of the equipment they own and the different jobs they are capable of taking on. We’ve also featured testimonials to show their positive reputation and lots of imagery of their employees and equipment at work around town.

We are excited to launch this new site for TLC Services and look forward to the many ways it will serve them well into the future of their already successful business. Check out their new website.
May201915

Livingston’s Business Community is Thriving

by Mira Brody in Announcements


Livingston is a hard-working town with a steadily-growing population and a great place to establish and grow a business. With a population just over 7,000 residents, this small community appreciates the quiet pace and close proximity to the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone National Park and the recreation it offers. Although their history is rooted in the mining and railroad industries, today Livingston’s entrepreneurial spirit is thriving and there is a growing demand for custom technology.

Our president, Josh Reynolds has been busy building his commitment to the community that has been so supportive in the 17 years he and his wife Nikki have been residents. In addition to joining the Livingston Chamber of Commerce and being selected to serve on their members board, he has also a recent graduate of Leadership 49, a Park County leadership development program. We’re excited to be involved in the community and encourage you to check out your local networking programs such as Network Live and many more that allow you to give back and network with likeminded business professionals.

The Livingston Chamber

The Livingston Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community since 1909, connecting businesses with visitors, residents and newcomers to encourage a thriving economy and positive growth. With over 350 members, the Chamber’s efforts have been successful in serving local residents as well as the 2 million tourists who travel through the country annually. We are proud to be able to contribute our time to such a great organization and are looking forward to the opportunities and people it will allow us to meet along the way.

“I’m excited to be participating in the community I’ve been living in for so long. Through my work with the Chamber, my hope is to meet new Livingston business owners and active community members and help them use technology to grow their business,” says Josh, commenting on the growth and marketing benefits getting online would provide the Montana town.

If you want to learn more about the Chamber and what they do for our surrounding communities, check out their website:
https://livingston-chamber.com

Leadership 49

Josh is also a graduate of Leadership 49, a skills and network development program for Park County residents. A leadership Montana Alumni, he attended a Leadership Montana event in downtown Livingston where he met Katie Weaver of Park County extension who runs Leadership 49. The program has been a great way to continue self-improvement and get more more involved at the same time.

“Leadership 49 has been inspirational and educational, and I’ve grown close to my many classmates and the program coordinators. It also reinforced a desire to participate more,” says Josh of the Leadership 49 Program. “This all came back to a desire to better participate in the community in which I live.”

We believe that everyone should benefit from the opportunity that technology has to offer, and particularly the small businesses and entrepreneurs residing in Livingston and the Paradise Valley. Josh is committed to participating in local business groups like Leadership 49 and the Chamber of commerce and hopes to provide the opportunity to reach more customers by getting online with a website and trusted, local guide.
Apr201930

Welcome to Our Two New Interns!

by Mira Brody in Announcements, SEM, SEO

We are happy to welcome Alyssa Lockwood and Scottie Crowe to the JTech team as our newest digital marketing interns!


Our successful relationship with Montana State University’s school of business continues — we have two interns for the spring semester who will be helping our digital marketing team with marketing efforts for our clients.

Alyssa is studying Marketing and Computer Science and will graduate next fall. Her favorite thing about studying marketing is learning how to combine the elements of data analysis, consumer behavior and design into a cohesive marketing plan.

“I hope to learn more about working with a team to create a successful digital marketing plan,” says Alyssa of her internship at JTech. “I am excited to work with a company that has such a great reputation in the Bozeman area.”

When not at work or school, Alyssa enjoys doing what any Northern Rockies-native does — skiing, rafting and seeking out the next best burger in town.

Scottie is studying Marketing, and is interested in learning front-end web development, UX principles, and design after he completes his degree this coming Spring. With his time at JTech, he hopes to learn more about Google Analytics, SEO practices, and building and deploying marketing campaigns.

In the six years he’s lived in Bozeman, Scottie enjoys the town’s culture, beauty, and its small-town vibe. In his free time, Scottie is usually hanging out with his two-year-old daughter, Rylee.

Welcome Scottie and Alyssa! We are excited to have two fresh pairs of eyes on our team so we can better assist our clients with their marketing campaigns.
Apr201926

Build it and they WON’T come: Why Your Website Needs SEO

by Mira Brody in Google, Optimization, SEO, UX

How to stay on top in organic search engine results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an area of marketing focused on increasing a websites visibility in search engine results, and crucial in keeping your business in view of your customers searching for you. Although a complex subject, SEO efforts are generally centered around the application of keywords you want your site to show for in search engine result pages (SERPs), otherwise known as ‘organic rankings’. Organic rankings are determined by search engine algorithms that match the most relevant results to the user’s search. In addition to keyword relevancy, organic rankings are also comprised from site performance and quality content.

So, why is it important for your business to put in the effort to be at the top of organic results? Studies show that the top three results receive over 60% of clicks — you’ll want to appear in those top organic three results. (Keep in mind that there are results that will appear above the organic results — these are paid advertisements, which you can read more about here).

Optimizing your site. SEO is a moving target. Search engines are continually updating their algorithms to better match results to searches and improve user experience. Google rules supreme in the SEO world and currently owns 70% of the search engine market. Because of this, you will want to make sure your site is optimized to perform well in Google SERPs.

The first step in starting an SEO campaign is to establish a list of keywords that your customers are using to find businesses online. There are two kinds of keywords: long tail and short tail. Short tail keywords are three words or less and and less specific, therefore they generate a much larger amount of traffic. Because they cast a wider net, they require more time and optimization on your part for them to be effective. Long tail keywords are more than 3 words and are more specific to the type of traffic you want to your website. While this brings a lower traffic volume, it results in less competition to rank and higher conversion rates.

Next is on-page optimization — optimizing the content that customers see on your site. On-page optimization is working your established keywords into your site in the metadata as well as page copy and meta tags. Optimizing your metadata helps to tell search engines what each page of your site is about and this is some of the information that will show in your search result listing and attract people to visit your site.
Optimizing page copy can be a balancing act — the idea is to include keywords as much as possible for Google, but without ruining the quality or readability of the content for humans. While you may be tempted to keyword-stuff to rise in search results, over-optimized content will drive off paying customers and diminish your search visibility.

Content marketing is producing quality content on an ongoing basis. Your website is the perfect place to offer value through quality content on a blog or news page, or even through downloadable resources with tips and tricks to make your client’s more successful. Content marketing is a major player in SEO affecting your link profile, through link building. Link building is the act of pursuing other sites to give a link from their site to yours, which establishes a vote of confidence, informing search engines that your site offers value in some way. There are several ways to gain links, but the best is to create high quality, informative and authoritative content that will be valuable to your industry.

One last important area of optimization is technical SEO. Technical SEO involves: index status, crawl errors, internal links, sitemaps, redirects, broken links, and pretty much all of the technical functionality of your site. Search engines want to give users the best possible experience, this means they want the sites that they are referring searchers to to be technically sound and perform well. If you site has a fair amount of broken links, images or slow loading time, it will no doubt affect your search ranking. While sometimes fixing these issues are simple, larger issues need to be addressed by a web developer.

Patience is key. If you’re launching a brand-new website, Google will give you a small boost in the beginning, but your site will NOT continue to see positive results if you don’t implement a long-term SEO plan. When implementing SEO whether on a new site or old, it can can take a few months to recognize real results. A good rule of thumb is to think about the long-term benefits of an SEO program and be patient with your progress, working with your marketing team over time to measure and improve results. The game is long and that is why it’s crucial to your search visibility and businesses success to start an SEO program as soon as possible.

The benefits SEO are numerous. The most beneficial result of a properly executed SEO campaign is that your site will begin to gain more qualified traffic that is more likely to convert visitors into paying customers and longtime clients. A well-optimized site will rank for user searches already targeting products or services in your industry, meaning you will gain traffic that is worth something to you, and increase the efficiency of your business. Additionally, a site containing informative and valuable content for users in your market is more valuable to your customers, creating a mutually beneficial relationship and building trust in your audience. All of these benefits lead to one primary goal — to improve your business’s bottom line.

With an authoritative SEO campaign, you can develop your site to be more informative, more technically sound, and more effective in converting online users into customers. Our digital marketing team at JTech have many years of SEO and content marketing experience and have helped many customers achieve and maintain high rankings in search engines. We work as your digital strategist to make you successful online. We’re here to help you stand out from competition, improve visibility and ultimately improve your bottom line.