Web Design and SEO Blog


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.

JTech is Now Offering Photography Services!

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Content, Imagery

JTech offers photo services.
We are pleased to announce that JTech is now offering professional, custom photography services to customers in the Bozeman area!

The images on your website are powerful, providing the ability to convert visitors to customers and fostering a sense of trust when they do business with you. Outdated or stock photography can lessen the authenticity and personality of your services. Professional photography covers headshots, employee photos, product or a full store photoshoot. We recently provided a longtime customer, Price Rite Drug, with high-quality images of their brand-new Pharmacy. These shots included the facility as a whole, employees and imagery of medicine and their convenience items and medical products. They replaced older images and stock photos, greatly enhancing their website while showing off their new space.

If you are interested in updating the photography on your site, brochures, social media pages or other marketing materials, give us a call! We’d be pleased to help you update your content and improve your ability to attract customers.

Prepare Your Website for Google’s Mobile First Index

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

Google indexes puts mobile sites first.
Mobile-first. It’s a term we’ve been hearing and a concept Google has been pushing since Mobilegeddon back in September 2015 when the search engine started penalizing those without mobile-friendly websites. Now, they’ve taken it a step further.

With Google’s mobile-first index, they will now consider the mobile version of your website as a ranking factor before the desktop version of your site. Indexing your site is Google’s way of taking inventory of every page and using what it finds as consideration for your relevancy and positioning in search results. This means before even looking at your desktop site, Google will crawl every corner of your mobile site first.

Here are a few things you need to know about mobile-first index to ensure your business maintains a strong ranking in Google search results —

1. You should have a responsively-designed website. If you don’t, Google will opt to crawl your desktop only version instead, but it will not help your ranking (as Google favors responsive sites). Also, since internet traffic is predominantly on mobile devices (51% of it), your site will not provide an ideal user experience for the majority of those searching for you.

2. If your content varies between device sizes, reconsider your mobile content. If for some reason you do have to pare down on a phone or tablet breakpoint, ensure the content you do have is keyword-rich and sufficiently optimized.

3. Your mobile site needs to perform well. Speed is a huge factor in user experience and Google knows that — most users will leave a site if a webpage takes more than 2-3 seconds to load. If your mobile website performs poorly, Google will count that against you — even if it’s lightning fast on desktop.

Because mobile-local index is still in “experimentation mode,” you probably won’t see a huge difference right away. However, in order to best position yourself in front of potential customer, it is important to be proactive in light of this change. Talk to your digital marketer, or give us a call — we’d be happy to help.

Goin' Mobyle is live and on the road!

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

If traveling is your thing, this is a site you’ll want to check out. Goin’ Mobyle is a travel blog penned by Brian and Louise, with help from their cat Sassy, that documents their road trips across North America. Unlike your ordinary travel blog, Goin' Mobyle is navigated by use of an interactive map that pinpoints their various excursions. Their trips highlight not only routes and stopovers, but offer advice for fellow travelers, explore local flora, fauna and geography.

Both travelers have rich backgrounds: while Brian has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, an MBA in Engineering and Technology management and experience in the Absaroka/Beartooth National Forest, Louise has a Master’s in Library Science and is a botanist, specializing in native plants — skills that shine through in their writing.

This site also includes travel resources, with hotel, book and restaurant reviews, a contact form and integration with Fine Art America featuring Brian’s photography prints for purchase. Possible additions for the future include space to display sponsors and a more customized ecommerce store. Between the eloquent dictation and stunning photography, our team had a great time working on this project and are confidant that it is a site that will serve Brian and Louise well as they continue to fill its pages with more and more adventures.

Welcome to Silver Screen Insider

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

New website for Silver Screen Insider.
JTech has been working with the owners of Silver Screen Insider for nearly 15 years and are excited to announce the launch of their brand-new advanced website. A comprehensive source for movie theater owners and movie lovers alike, Silver Screen Insider provides up-to-date marketing tools, games, a movie database, industry news and a vendor directory.

It was a great experience for our team, working out the intricacies of these various databases so that they could be best utilized by industry members to streamline their business. The movie database includes advanced filters to easily locate both older films and new releases. Features vary by membership level; free users (or “Fans”) get the basics and paid “Insiders” gain access to more features geared toward keeping smaller theaters successful in their competitive market. As we know from Jack Nicolson, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” so membership with Silver Screen Insider also includes a game — Box Office Picks — where players guess weekly box office grosses to earn points toward their account and eventually trophies for their member trophy case.

We welcome you to browse the many attractions this website has to offer at silverscreensinsider.com and hope you have as much fun exploring it as we did building it!

2016 Year in Review

by Mira Brody in Announcements

JTech's year in review.
For our team here at JTech, 2016 seemed to be a whirlwind of excitement: new employees, new clients and websites, in-house projects — even the arrival of twins in the family of one of our designers!

As with every year, we had the pleasure of working with a diverse crowd of clients resulting in beautiful, custom projects. Silver Screen Insider was an exiting one, and will serve as a movie database, marketing resource and entertainment source for theater owners and movie buffs alike. OnSite Energy is a Bozeman-local solar power installation company with a passion for renewable energy and Route 93 Pizza is a colorful display for a new eatery in Eureka, MT. One of our advanced web apps, My Shipping Post is a tool to streamline the parcel shipping industry and Goin' Mobyle serves as an interactive blog that follows the travels of a couple and their cat around the United States.

None of these website would have been possible without the clients behind them as well as each and every one of our team members. Together, we’ve compiled a short countdown of the year’s highlights to share:

5. Building a Library of Articles
Over the past couple years, we’ve been working to build up the literary resources we provide our clients and industry peers alike by publishing both technical and entertaining articles on our JTech Blog. This content is full of tips, tricks and advice that help you do business online — our personal contribution to the fine arts.

Because of how robust this inventory has become — and because its organization was costing the sanity of our copywriter — we re-launched the blog page with added features. Through the application of filters and a search field, visitors can more easily browse through topics of interest. This resource is for you — our clients. If there’s a topic you’re interested in or learning more about, we’d love to hear your ideas!

4. MSU Internship Program
JTech has held a longstanding relationship with Montana State University’s College of Business. We are continually impressed with the quality of the students we meet and are happy to have Mariah Schmidt on board with us as our newest marketing intern. With her background in Business Management and skill in customer relations, she has been a great addition working in the digital marketing trenches.

3. Our Production Manager
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that drives the quality of the projects we produce, and a lot of that work is carefully orchestrated by our Production Manager, Karen. She was promoted to this new position this year from Account Manager where she started two years ago. She is a key player in our workflow process, Scrum, collecting assets, communicating with clients and carefully directing the production queue to ensure we are efficiently producing the highest-quality products. We restrict her access to coffee, ensuring productivity is constrained to reasonable levels.

2. We Launched My JTech
On Thursday, May 12th, we officially launched My JTech, our state-of-the-art content management system (CMS). Websites we develop include access to My JTech, which is customized to fit each site’s specifications and administrative needs. Some of its notable features include: responsive design (works great on your phone!), automated image processing with drag-and-drop image upload and crop editor, innovative drawers providing a full-window view of data, the option to export data, share by email, print and much, much more!

All of our clients with new projects and rebuilds of existing sites will have use of My JTech, however, if you’re still in Control Center, you should consider moving to My JTech so you have access to all of its great features. Let us know if you are interested in simplifying your administrative needs and gaining access to more tools to help you do business.

1. Reached our 10th Team Member!
We’ve grown steadily over the years and we are excited to announce that we’ve added another Graphic Designer to our team this year, rounding us up to ten members! Brooke Benson joined us in October, survived our traditional “new employee hazing” ceremony, and has been hugely beneficial to our process. Having two designers has diversified our skill set, sped up our production queue and allows us to devote more time to designing our own tools — ultimately improving the services available to our customers.

Looking Forward…
In 2017, JTech will be entering our 20th year in business! Because we are nearly as old as our industry itself, we’re accustomed to the blistering rate of change and the delicate dance it requires — keeping our eyes on the horizon without losing our focus chasing trends. We take great joy in playing with new web technologies and approaches to making great things with the web — our love of experimentation and new ideas is one of the things that keeps it fun.

Domains Integration
In the coming year, we plan to launch an automatic domain renewal system within My JTech so that your domain names can all be self-managed in the same place you manage every other aspect of your website. This tool will be available to all current and new customers.

Thank You!
Thanks to all our clients, who make it possible for us to do work we love. Thank you for working with us to refine the way you do business, to create bold and effective tools, for making us your partner in business. Thanks also to everyone on the JTech team — we're all in this together, and it can be a remarkable feeling to all pull together solving an interesting problem.

Integrating UTMs into Your Digital Marketing Strategy

by Mira Brody in SEM, SEO, Social Media, Tools & Tips

Using UTM tags.
What are UTMs?
UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are pieces of code attached to the end of a URL to provide specific parameters about where that traffic is coming from. When clicked, these details are tracked in Google Analytics allowing you to better understand how your individual marketing campaigns are performing. They allow you to determine not only that people HAVE arrived at your site, but WHY.

Most importantly, UTMs reveal where your marketing efforts are paying off and where they may be wasting resources so your organization can run as economically as possible.

Elements of a UTM
At first, a UTM link can look a little frightening; a smattering of characters that add volume to your URL:

If we break it down, however, we can start to recognize the different key elements that power this marketing tool:

Campaign — This is the Analytics campaign this UTM is tied back to so that it can easily be tracked.
If your business is tracking the performance of its blog content, this would be the label for your campaign tag.

Source — Your source is to which website your content is being posted
So, if you posted one of your blogs to Facebook, your tag would be “Facebook.”

Medium — What marketing medium is this content being posted to.
Some examples of medium tags could be “external-publisher” or “social-media.”

Content — The content tag differentiates types of content in the same campaign, medium or source by specifying its purpose or placement.
If you launched a Pay Per Click ad campaign and had multiple ads with the same UTM, you would see where they were placed to see which got more attention with tags such as “header,” or “sidebar.”

Term — Term tags are used in Pay Per Click ad campaigns to specify the keywords you paid for in that particular ad.

What Can You Tag?
Now that you are familiar with the elements of a UTM, what should you use them for? Here are some content types we’ve started tagging:
  • Social posts, with a UTM tag for each platform. So, one for Facebook, one for LinkedIn, etc.
  • Email campaigns, such as newsletters. We insert a tag for each of our articles in our monthly Dispatch as well as one for the website link in the footer.

Additional uses include a/b testing different calls to action to see which gets more hits or tagging the share icons on your website to receive more precise data about who is interacting.

UTM Management
UTMs are most helpful if you manage them carefully. This will ensure all of your employees are using the right ones for each campaign and they are easily scheduled and tracked in Analytics over time.

If you use Google Analytics set up for your website already, your UTM campaigns will be tracked automatically under the Audience section.

Building a UTM Tag
There are tools that can help you properly build effective UTM tags, such as Google’s URL builder and similar. If you have minimal experience, however, we recommend you contact your digital marketing specialist, or give us a call. We’d love to review your marketing strategy and reveal if UTMs would benefit your business.

Domain Scams and How to Avoid Them Pt. 2

by Mira Brody in Tools & Tips

Avoiding malware scams.
A few weeks back, we talked about fake domain name expiration letters and how to spot and avoid this common scam. Today, we will cover a similar, new scam to keep your eyes out for: the Domain Abuse Notice.

“Our system has detected…your domain is being used for spamming and spreading malware…take action in 24 hours to avoid immediate suspension…”

Different variations of the above email are being sent out to domain owners threatening to take action if they do not click and link, download instructions, and follow “simple steps for prevention.”

What to do if you receive this scam notice.
Delete or ignore it. Chances are, if you do not recognize the name in the from field, it isn’t your domain registrar and you are not obligated to answer to them. These phishing scams, malware or virus attempts are easy to spot because domain registrar rarely ever send these types of messages out at all. If JTech happens to be your registrar, you can contact us at domains@jtechcommunications.com for verification or if you have any further concerns. As your domain registrar, JTech’s domain registration services include an auto-renew feature and we always work directly with you to ensure the upmost domain security.

Website domain names are a valuable piece of property, so scams are unfortunately very common. As the owner, the best thing you can do to protect your domain is to keep your eyes open for these common scams and never download or pay for anything you are unsure about.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from JTech!

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Merry Christmas from JTech.
As the 2016 holiday season comes to crescendo and the year ends, we would like to take a moment to thank you for your loyalty over the years and for making our job a joyful and exciting experience.

Please note that JTech’s Bozeman office will be closed Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd so that our staff can enjoy the holidays with their loved ones. We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year!