Web Design and SEO Blog

Feb201721

When and How to Publish a Press Release

by Mira Brody in Marketing, Tools & Tips

When to publish a company press release.

An online press release is a short, compelling news story that targets members of the media and other publishers to provide your company with instant exposure. The primary goal of a press release is to grab their interest in hopes that they will write a full article on you or at least pass our information to someone who may be interested. Press releases can increase not only your businesses’ reputation and brand, but your website traffic as well.

When to write a press release.
Press releases aren’t like a blog post; you aren’t making company announcements just because you can. Press releases are formal and cover a special occasion. Here are some reasons businesses write press releases:
  • Grand opening
  • New product or service
  • Company anniversary
  • New location
  • Damage control/answer to accusations
  • Announcing an event

When NOT to write a press release.
Here are some examples of topics that are not press release-worthy:
  • Slander competition
  • To be humorous
  • Announcing a trade show booth
  • A change of telephone number
  • Expression of opinion
  • Here’s a fun list of BAD press releases.

What to include.
Press releases are short, sweet and to-the-point. They are written so that a journalist can get the who, what, when, where and why as quickly as possible. The release should be written in third person and include a location, website and contact information. SEO keywords will enhance the visibility of a publication once it is released and an image always helps as well. Because it is the first thing they will see, the title of your press release should read like a news headline: establish the who and what right away.

Most importantly, a press release should be written by someone who knows what they are doing — the composer should understand very clearly a press release’s purpose and carefully follow all of the formatting quirks it requires.

Distribution.
After you’ve decided on a topic you want to tell the world about, look into when and how you will distribute your press release. Studies show the best times to publish a press release are Monday-Thursday between 8AM and 10AM. Fridays, weekends and holidays are the worst times to distribute.

JTech both composes and distributes press releases for our clients. Our composition process is backed by thorough research, keyword integration and industry expertise. If you need advise or help with a company press release, please feel free to give us a call!
Feb201716

Make Sure Your Customers Can Call You From Their Browser

by Mira Brody in Google, Marketing, Optimization

Safari's click to call.
While searching for a business, 70% of customers place a phone call directly from the browser on their mobile device. To avoid missing out on these customers, business owners should check to make sure their phone number is available, both on their website, on social media and in browsers.

Check browsers.
Many browsers, including Google Chrome and Safari, have implemented a click-to-call icon, a phone icon that appears as a person is typing a business name into the search field. Safari most recently added their icon not only to search results, but in search suggestions — before you’re even finished typing out the full query.

This contact information is being drawn from Yelp, which is where Safari and Apple Maps draws their business info from whereas Google will pull your phone number from your business’s Google Places account.

Social media.
Take the time to check your social accounts for accuracy. As mentioned above, browsers will pull your information from various sources, such as Yelp and Google Places. In addition, Facebook allows you to add a “call now” button to your business account, offering convenience to customers who discover you there.

On a website.
Another way your customers can contact you is through your website directly. At JTech, we often add a phone number, not only on a client’s contact us page, but also in the footer. The number is then tagged as such:
<a href=“tel://1-406-586-7100”>406-586-7100>

This way, when they are browsing your site for contact information on their phone, tapping the phone number will place a call.

Because a majority of shoppers use their mobile devices to find and contact businesses, and because contact information is a search ranking consideration, listing your phone number is an important factor to consider. Ensuring it’s visibility across social media, browsers and your own website will keep you accessible to as many potential customers as possible. If you do not see your contact information appearing, or it is incorrect, simply contact us. We’d be glad to check it out for you.
Feb201713

5 Analytics You Should Be Watching

by Mira Brody in Google, Industry News, Marketing, Tools & Tips

5 Important Google Analytics.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Google website Analytics can be an intimidating tool. When you login, there is a column of confusing terms to your left and pages of different colored graphs displaying the activity on your website. Our Bozeman online marketing team has been helping clients establish and measure business goals and track their progress through Analytics for years now. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of five key performance metrics we feel are crucial to running any business.

1. Acquisition: Channels
The search acquisition menu helps you understand how you are acquiring the traffic coming to your website. Google provides you with the following default channels when you first set up an Analytics account:
  • Organic Search
  • Paid Search
  • Display
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Social
  • Email
  • (Other)

You can edit these existing channels or define additional ones through Custom Channel Grouping settings. For example, if your company has a specific newsletter they send out, you can add “Monthly Newsletter” as a channel to monitor how much traffic it is driving to your website. You can also watch specific paid advertisements to see which ad campaigns are paying off for you.

Ideally, you’ll want to see positive results from all channels you put effort into. Monitoring traffic channels allows you to see which are succeeding and which are falling behind so that you can react accordingly. For example, if your social media measurement is failing, but you throw a lot of resources at it, it may be time to reevaluate those efforts and try a new approach.

2. Acquisition: Referrals
Acquisition referrals display the external sites that feed traffic back to your site, excluding advertising and organic search. This data reveals which of your campaigns an content are paying off. Some common examples of external sites may be:
  • Press releases
  • Social media
  • Guest posts on external blogs
  • Business listings

Ideally, you should be putting effort into the sources that have a high return rate. If you’re paying a lot to appear in a business listing, for example, but it is not showing up in your referral Analytics, it may be time to redirect that cost somewhere else.

3. Behavior: All Pages
Behavior Analytics is a great visual tool with which to familiarize yourself. Under the behaviors tab, you can view the “journey” users are taking through your site, page by page, through a series of colorful nodes. You can draw some useful conclusions about your site through these visual nodes. For example, if users are landing on your home page, going to your product page and immediately to checkout, you have a well-oiled ecommerce machine. If you find that users are dropping off before a purchase, pinpoint where and uncover why this may be happening. Maybe a link is broken, or some copy is misleading, or your design is frustrating. Either way, tracking user behavior flow will reveal what does or does not work your site, page-by-page.

4. Conversions: Goals Overview
The conversions feature allows you to set specific goals you want users to complete on your site. Defining these goals is really up to you. Here are a few examples of goals:
  • A specific destination
  • Visit duration
  • Page visits
  • Downloads
  • Newsletter signups
  • Contact form submissions

Over time, as customers complete them, your overview page will fill with completion metrics and allow you to track the data most important to you.

5. Conversions: Ecommerce
If you run an online store you should enable ecommerce tracking. This will track specifics, such as:
  • Ecommerce conversation rate (total transactions divided by total website sessions)
  • Number of transactions
  • Revenue
  • Average order value
  • Unique purchases
  • Overall and average quantity
  • Average price
  • Average revenue
  • Per session value

In addition, every transaction that takes place, including SKU and transaction number is complied in an inventory list. Since this data can get massive, ecommerce Analytics includes a feature to track only specific products, and view reports with only the data that is important to your sales performance.

Google Analytics is a massive data collecting tool that can yield a ton of important information. Although this list barely scratches the surface of it capabilities, hopefully it has helped you gain some insight. If you have yet to set up Google Analytics or need help tracking or understanding any of these performance metrics, please give us a call. We have an experienced digital marketing team who will help you make the most of your efforts so that your business can thrive online.
Feb20178

A New Version of Google+ is Here

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Google, Industry News, Social Media

Google+ changes.
On January 24th, Google launched a new version of their social media platform, Google+. Over the last few years, Google has taken notes on customer feedback and recently revealed that the following changes have been included in this new update:

Fight against spam.
If you or your company uses Google+ on a regular basis, it should be no secret that it has some serious issues with spam and otherwise low-quality content. They plan to combat this by hiding what they deem “low-quality” comments on community pages. Whether spam or simply un-beneficial to the conversation, they can still be viewed under a hidden comments list, if needed. This focuses efforts and visibility on high-quality content and encourages useful conversation among Community members.

Google Events.
Google brought back a previously-removed feature: events. Google+ users can once again create and add events to their calendar that same way you had in the past. Once you’ve created an event, you have the ability to invite friends, post photos and send out notifications to those attending.

New design.
An updated design doesn’t offer any major changes, but Google claims they’ve eliminated some whitespace to focus attention instead on the content, making room for more posts and comments. You can also now zoom in on images, a bonus for those using Google+ to display their artwork or photography.

“We believe the new Google+ is really your Google+— designed around your suggestions, requests and needs,” stated Product Manager, Danielle Buckley in a recent Google+ blog post. They will continue to work on this new version, catering its usability to its members and encourage feedback from users. If you haven’t yet, check it out!
Feb20176

The Latest on Top Level Domains

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Google, Industry News, SEO, Tools & Tips

an update on top level domains.
About a year ago, we introduced the concept of new top level domains (TLDs), and how they were going to pave the way to a more organized internet. Although most of us are familiar with .com, .net or .biz, custom top level domains have gained momentum, allowing for industry specific options. JTech has helped acquire a variety of these, including oohshiny.jewelry, route93.pizza and rem.solutions.

When you have an industry term directly in your domain, it provides an extra level of brand protection and hopefully return more relevant searches for better positioning in search results. If you are in the market for a new domain, and are considering one of these new, industry specific options, here are a few updates you should be aware of:

More availability. Although it seemed off to a slow start, thousands of TLDs are now available for purchase. Some of the most popular domains right now include —

.news at 75,480
.pub at 65,990
.design at 54,165
.photography at 49,154
.blog at 45,009
.gallery at 18,129
.run at 16,997
.beer at 10,327
.cafe at 8,113
.tools at 7,805

Cost. Pricing for domain names based on the new top level domain names varies tremendously depending on demand, ranging from $13.00 for domains using .club and .futbol to domains at .cars, which are currently going for $2,099.00.

Maintain site ranking history. Although Google still hasn’t taken a concrete stance about whether they will favor these specific TLDs over the generic ones, they have maintained that the process of moving your site to one is the same as any there domain name transfer and that no additional search ranking history will be lost.

The time to obtain the perfect domain name for your business is now. An early jump will ensure that you get a relevant, memorable domain that will boost the authority of your online business. We will continue to update you as more information unfolds, and if you want more information or help securing a specific domain for your business, give us a call and we’d be happy to help.
Feb20172

Google to Penalize the Use of Intrusive Ads

by Mira Brody in Content, Google, Industry News, Marketing

Google has sometimes joked that their mission statement could be summarized by the phrase, “don’t be evil.” Internet ‘evil’ can manifest in a variety of ways, but studies show that popup online advertisements are a users’ most hated form of advertisement, second only to telemarketers.

For those who agree, Google’s latest aim at intrusive interstitials will offer some relief. Starting on January 10th, Google began penalizing websites that use advertising tactics that obscure page content on mobile devices. Google’s thinking is that the challenges faced when viewing content on a smaller screen is exacerbated by advertising that blocks a part of their screen. Some examples of advertisements that will be hit by this penalty are:
  • Any intrusive popup ad that covers part of, or the whole screen.
  • An interstitial a user has to close before they can access the content behind.
  • When the page appears similar to a standalone ad, but the original content has been hidden under the fold.

Exceptions include:
  • Warnings about cookies, or other legal disclaimers.
  • Dialogs informing users of a paywall.
  • Banners that take up minimal room and are easily dismissible.

While this may favor users and overall content accessibility, it frustrates the publishers who gain revenue from these advertising strategies. Google Product Manager Doantam Phan, explained on a webmaster’s blog that while this change is new, it is one of many signals Google uses to rank websites and that a site with compelling, relevant content may still rank well, even with some intrusive interstitials, and it will take up to a year for publishers to start seeing any changes. If anything, the hope is to challenge these publishers to find ways to make revenue without resorting to obnoxious, intrusive advertising and encourage a better experience for the user.
Jan201730

JTech Celebrates its 20th Year

by Mira Brody in Acknowledgments, Announcements, Google, Industry News, Montana News

JTech's 20th Anniversary.
JTech Communications is proud to announce our 20th year in business! Back in 1997, we opened our doors to customers in Montana and across the country with custom web solutions for their businesses. We’ve grown a lot since then: our office in Downtown Bozeman hosts a talented team of ten employees, an intern and a cat. Our services have expanded as well: we offer custom web design, website development, digital marketing and SEO, copywriting, and ongoing site maintenance — everything you need to thrive doing business online.

As far as the internet is concerned, we're old as dirt:
A timeline of the internet.
Much has changed in the internet world since we started — to give you an idea, we were in business a year before the official launch of google.com. Our first website came in two varieties: Plain HTML and a version animated in Adobe Flash. Since then, Flash has been almost entirely abandoned in wake of the mobile revolution. Today, advanced web apps can manage entire business operations, allowing people to carry out tasks on their computers that were unimaginable 20 years ago. With the passing of the last two decades, we’ve learned from and adapted to a quickly-changing industry, finding joy in its challenges and the solutions we’ve developed for our clients.

We’d like to thank all of our clients for your ongoing business and loyalty — we’ve enjoyed every project you’ve brought to us and hope to continue working with you for another 20!
Jan201726

Should I Allow Comments on My Blog?

by Mira Brody in Social Media, Tools & Tips

Allowing commenting on your blog.
Everyone likes a conversation starter, right? Unfortunately, allowing readers to leave comments on your blog is sometimes more work than it may initially sound. Whether you directly contribute to or manage a personal or business blog, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of allowing the public to comment on your writing.

Benefits
Initiates conversation. Many believe blogs are a two way street, making visitor comments integral to fostering conversation. You can allow the ability for conversation by integrating programs such as Disqus, Jetpack or having guests post through their personal Google+ or Facebook accounts. This provides a venue for readers to provide constructive feedback and has the potential to build a network of industry peers and fans. A good example is on the travel blog, Goin' Mobyle. Visitors are encouraged to comment on photos and journal entires and have the ability to reply to each other.

Boosts ranking. From a digital marketing standpoint, user-generated content can help your search ranking through the opportunity for additional keyword phrases.

Drawbacks
Jerry King comics of the week on WebDesigner Depot.
Comic by Jerry King, published on WebDesigner Depot "Comics of the Week."

Requires effort. As you can imagine, not all blog commenters are friendly. In fact, many popular companies have chosen to remove the option all together, such as Search Engine Journal, Vice, Popular Science and Motherboard due to its liability. Depending on how your blog is built, you can view and approve comments before they go live, but this is effective only with low-volume traffic. With higher-volume traffic, you can recruit additional administrators from the community to help you monitor comments but this requires a concerted effort — one many companies are unwilling to sacrifice. Even with moderation and other settings in place such as Disqus’ filters, nofollow attributes and captchas, comment spam infiltrates and it can ruin your reputation and drain your time.

Attracts internet trolls. The anonymity provided by a lot of commenting platforms attracts internet trolls. Negative comments, even if fictitious, can ruin the community feel of a blog and even sway a reader’s mind about your credibility.

Security threat. Spam isn’t only a nuisance; it can cause security problems as well. Malware distributors sometimes use comment forums to infect site visitors by inserting malicious links. Most often, the spammed link redirects users to a page telling them their computers are infected by a virus, prompting them to download fake antivirus software.

Alternatives
Social refers. If blog comments seem too risky for your public content, there are alternatives. Refer people to comment on your Twitter, Facebook or other social media page. This removes anonymity, provides accountability and circulates your article onto additional platforms.

Letter to the editor. Letters to the editor encourage something at least moderately well-written, discouraging trolls and petty arguments on your site.

Build a custom blog platform. If you do find value in public comments, you may want to consider building a customized blog that is a native part of your website. It would include features that will help you easily manage it with minimal effort. Those who are allowed to comment, for example, may be paid users, adding another level of accountability or customized moderation settings that provide added security against trolls and spam.

Whether you already have a comment forum or are considering the addition of one and are concerned about the various risks it may pose, we would be happy to review your options and possibly build you something custom to meet your needs.
Jan201724

Real Time Data in Google Places

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

Google Places real time.
Ever wondered how busy a store, restaurant or other public place is without having to leave your own home? With Google’s latest update, now you can.
Google Places for business has long been the tool that allows you to control which information Google displays when you appear as a search result. This includes address, hours of operation, customer reviews and images. A recent update to this feature introduces a couple changes that may help your business attract more customers.

Google displays Costco's hours by department.
Google displays Costco's hours by department.
Live Visit Data
In addition to business hours, there is a “popular times” graph showing how busy the store is on average throughout the day. The most notable change to this graph is the “live visit data,” or the pulsing red bar, showing approximately how busy a business is at that exact moment in time. Google determines how busy a location is the same way they collect real-time traffic data for Google Maps. Those who have opted-in to storing location data on a Google device or application are anonymously tracked and that data is used to provide visitor information to Google Places.

Hours By Department
Another welcome change is the ability to add different hours of operation for multiple departments. This will help our own clients such as Price Rite Drug, who have two departments: a pharmacy and a medical equipment store. Because both departments have distinct hours that vary by weekday, they can now communicate to customers specifically when each is open.

These changes provide your customers with the information they need in order to control their ideal shopping experience. Shoppers who prefer to spend time in a calm environment can now choose that time to spend money at your business while avoiding frustrations caused during peak hours.

If you need help changing any of the information on the Google Places account, such as updating your department hours or address, or have any further questions about how these updates can help you, please give us a call! We’re here to help.
Jan201719

What Penguin 4.0 Means For You

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Content, Google, Industry News

Penguin is real time.
Penguin is a Google search ranking algorithm designed to penalize sites spamming search results to boost their rankings, whether by buying links or getting them though link networks. This fall, Google updated this important algorithm, the first update since 3.0 back in 2014. Here are a couple changes that are important to note:

Real-Time Data
Google is constantly crawling and reindexing web pages, and as it does, all of your site’s content is assessed by the Penguin filter. This was done periodically and websites were caught and freed over time — for some, upwards of two years. Penalized sites would only be released after a webmaster had made improvements, when Penguin had re-crawled and refreshed their site.

Penguin is now in real-time, meaning all results are visible as soon as changes are made to a site, typically directly after the next reindex.

Penguin is Granular
In the past, Penguin only reviewed the website as a whole. Now, they crawl each page individually, providing more granular results. Pages with disavow links or that appear spammy will be penalized individually instead of affecting the site as a whole.

What Does This Mean?
These changes are a part of Google’s core algorithm, who’s purpose is to filter out unfavorable content. Manipulation will be much harder for those spamming Google’s search results; this includes companies that rely on slander, fake reviews and other types of dark reputation management will be easier to quickly spot and penalize. A few things you can do to make sure Penguin isn’t wrongfully disadvantaging you:

  • Web content should be unique and well-written. This means as much as you utilize the right keywords, also write everything for a human to read. Your content should vary between pages and never be plagiarized from another site.
  • Perform your own site crawl. There are a variety of tools you can use to do this, and all of them will help you understand where you rank with Google, alerting you to any red flags that may hurt your rankings.
  • Contact a professional digital marketer. Our team can help you identify potential issues and correct content on your site so you remain in good standing with Penguin.

To best position yourself in front of potential customers, search ranking is crucial. If you believe you are being wrongfully penalized by the Penguin update, or are concerned about any changes it may have caused your ranking, we are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.