Author Archive Apex Digital Media

ByApex Digital Media

Tips for Effective Medical Web Design

Medical Web Design

Medical Digital Technology

How is Medical Web Design Different from Standard Web Design?

As a business that’s located in Beverly Hills, CA we get a lot of inquiries from medical professionals about medical web design. So what separates it from standard web design? To start medical professionals need to project a professional image that showcases their practice and area’s of expertise. There are a few other major things you need to consider when building a medical website. Let’s walk through a few of them shall we?

Narrow Your Focus to Your Specialty

If you’re a doctor with multiple specialties it’s good to narrow your focus to one core specialty. This goes to a basic marketing principal “KISS” or “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” This is a big help to your overall site structure and navigation. It’s also a great booster for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The more focused your content and structure are, the better you will do in standard search results.

Medical Web Design for Sleep Disorders

Dr. Robert B. Shpiner

As an example, one of our clients Dr. Robert B Shpiner has multiple specialties. He cites pulmonary diseases, sleep apnea, second opinions and internal medicine as a few of his specialties. Rather than try to cram all these keywords into the title and other important parts of the site we narrowed the focus to “sleep disorders” and got him the domain “Valley Sleep Doctor.” This domain contains the keyword for “sleep” and “doctor” in the domain name which will also help greatly with SEO.

Branding is Important – Even in Medical Web Design

A lot of medical professionals may not see themselves as a “brand” but your brand is who you are.  So it’s important to create a brand for yourself if you don’t already have one. There are several steps to branding a medical practice here are three important ones to consider:

  • Narrow Your Focus: Not to be redundant here, but you need to start with identifying some of your practices best traits. Focus on your depth of experience in the field, the technology you use, convenience (offering evening and weekend appointments, etc.). Most importantly, stay true to your core areas of expertise. Don’€™t try and pretend to be something you are not. Consumers will quickly recognize this as false advertising and it will do more harm than good.
  • Create Video Content: Video is a key signal for search engine optimization. If yo
    medical web design for mobile

    Mobile Site Sample

    u have video content that speaks to your expertise you are much more likely to be visible to potential patients than with out it. Not only do Google, Bing & Yahoo rank video content higher in search, it’s also a convenient way to get your message through to a prospect. Most people won’t take the time to read a long blog article, but will watch a 2 minute video.

  • Share information: Part of good SEO is creating content, plain and simple. So the more content you have on your site that showcases your expertise the better. As an example, if you are a dermatologist 20 articles about different skin conditions you’ve encountered have a much better chance of being discovered than a single page outlining what you do in relation to dermatology. A few videos and infographics and you have a winning mix of information that is likely to be seen by prospective patients.

Your Biggest Audience is On Mobile Devices

By the latest measurements, roughly 65% of your audience is on some kind of tablet or mobile phone. Desktop computers are now a “secondary touchpoint” for most internet users. Knowing that more than half of your audience is on a mobile device it only makes sense.  Your mobile site should be your first priority.

device usage - web marketing

Mobile Design is Important

Create a Quick Video Introduction to Your Practice

The last, but most important tip is to create a video introduction to familiarize people with you and your practice. Digital video is the new normal and having a visible example of who you are and what you do will make people more comfortable about picking up the phone and making an appointment. The video we created for Dr. Shpiner has been an incredible tool for introducing the Dr. and familiarizing him with potential patients.

 

Most medical professionals don’t have the time or know how to do all this on their own. If you’re interested in discussing our rates and packages for medical web design, give us a call or send us an email: – We’d love to talk with you.

ByApex Digital Media

Local SEO Beverly Hills, CA Edition

We talk a lot about different types of SEO on the blog. More recently, local SEO has become the most important factor for small businesses. The reason for this is simple, Google is the new yellow pages. Local search is how people find your business. So it would only make sense that local SEO be an important item on a marketer’s check list.

Since Apex Digital Media is an SEO firm it would be easy for us to talk about one of our many client projects. However, we thought it would be best to focus on our own website and optimization. After all, if we’re really good at what we do – we should rank well for keywords we are targeting. So let’s take a look at the elements of effective local SEO at our location in – local SEO Beverly Hills Edition!

Major Ranking Factors in Local SEO

To start let’s look at a breakdown of local SEO ranking factors from the good people at Moz.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Breakdown % of signals for local seo

As you can see the biggest factors are “on page signals” – so keyword and technical optimization on your site itself. Also – “Link Signals” which is basically back links to your site from other sources.

Type in Local SEO Beverly Hills – What Do YOU Get?

If I type in a search for “local seo beverly hills” my Google currently pulls up the following results:

Local SEO Beverly Hills SERP

No Apex Yet… 🙁

No visible sign of us there right now. Let’s look at why that is and what the competition is doing to be so visible.

Our Local SEO is Set for Los Angeles – Not Beverly Hills

A quick glance at the Apex website’s title tags will show that we’re titled for Los Angels, not Beverly Hills.

Apex Local SEO - Los Angeles, CA

Changing our title tags to “Apex Digital Media | Beverly Hills, CA” would help us ascend higher in the rankings for the local search term of beverly hills. However, we are currently targeting Los Angeles as a whole, since it’s a larger market.

We Don’t Have “local seo beverly hills” in our URL

A quick scroll down the page produces a result that is curious… basically another firm who is copying our name. “Apex Web Firm.” This site is likely ranking because they have the keyword “local seo beverly hills” in their domain. Something we will have once this blog post is live.

One thing this firm is doing right is including the keyword in the domain. They are a bit further down the page (and are obviously riding our coattails) but I’m impressed with their knowledge and ability to rank so quickly.

apexwebfirm-fake-spam

Here’s How Important Having Keywords in Your URL Can Be…

One company “Local Positions” is ranking in the 3rd or 4th slot for “local seo beverly hills” and they aren’t even located in beverly hills. A quick search or two turns up quite a bit of interesting information about this company.

First, they are located at: 30401 Agoura Road, Suite 201 Agoura Hills, California, 91301 – which is about 30 miles from Beverly Hills. They have /local-seo-beverly-hills-ca in their domain and obviously know how to create backlinks that give them lift.

beverly-hills-sign

Second, a deeper dig will reveal that “Local Positions” is actually – National Positions, a notoriously shady company who was called out for low brow tactics by Rand Fishkin a few years back. One valuable lesson we can learn from them is the importance of the keywords in the domain name. This is obviously a very important signal for local SEO because it’s helping to elevate them despite their lack of any visible location in Beverly Hills.

Local SEO is Important

One thing is certain, all of these factors are an important part of any business’ digital marketing strategy. If you aren’t visible in local search people can’t find you. The less people that can find you the less customers you have…  If you don’t have the time or expertise to perform local SEO on your own, consider hiring an agency like Apex Digital Media to do the heavy lifting for you.

Email us to discuss your Local SEO >>

ByApex Digital Media

How Digital Advertising Helped Trump Win the 2016 Election

 Digital Advertising for Obama - 2012

2008 Obama Ad

Here’s something that isn’t being talked about on Fox, CNN or MSNBC. Digital advertising, big data and retargeting have been key factors in winning the last several elections, including the most recent one.

Like it or not, traditional media is going the way of the dinosaur. Modern technology allows people to connect and consume information anywhere on handheld devices. It is now standard practice for the average person to browse the web, post on social media and watch TV shows & movies, all on their mobile devices. This gives marketers and political consultants a huge amount of personalization and targeting power. Make no mistake, this is a power can be used to make kings by those who wield it… Is this starting to sound like the opening to an episode of “Game of Thrones?”

Obama’s Team Won Twice Using Digital Advertising & Micro-targeting

President Obama had a top notch digital team and strategy. He was able to comfortably win in both 2008 and 2012 with the help of top notch digital talent. The Obama campaign employed a lot of young, intelligent and talented people. These people understood the digital landscape and how to leverage technology to micro-target voters across the country. By using modern digital advertising tools and data sets, they were able to target very specific political messaging to individual voters in different voting districts.

Hillary Clinton's Social Media

Hillary’s Twitter

The campaign also utilized a numerical scoring system for ranking voters. This system was created to gauge how likely a person was to vote and what types of issues would influence their decision. Armed with this information Obama’s digital marketing team could show these voters highly targeted ads that spoke to their politics. You can read the full story here.

This new digital ecosystem allowed Obama’s team to rely heavily on forms of micro-targeting enabled by the digital advertising ecosystem. This network of DSP’s, exchanges and data providers has been used by digital brand marketers since the early 2000’s but was foreign to politics. Political consultants can now match up voter registration info with online data points. Some examples being – what a person reads, buys, where they get their news online, etc. Paring this data with voter registration roles allows political campaigns to show invidvidual voters ads with specific messages that have been directly tailored to appeal to their views.

Jim Walsh of DSPolitical said the company has so far aggregated more than 600 million cookies — or tags on Internet user IP addresses that track movements online — and has worked to match them against lists of some 250 million voters in the United States.
This all is aimed at helping them determine how someone might vote and then reaching them wherever they go online.
Digital Advertising for Donald Trump 20116

Trump – Pence Ad

Trump Spent Big and Early on Digital

This report from Bloomberg in July 2016 outlines the details of Donald Trump’s campaign spending more than $8 million dollars on digital marketing around this time. Clinton’s team by comparison spent only a fraction of that amount, somewhere around $132,000.

Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale runs a small firm in Texas, Giles – Parscale. Parscale was initially employed by Trump for website design. As a result of that relationship Parscale was tapped to manage the campaign’s digital marketing efforts. He says the majority of the money given to the firm by the Trump campaign was used to pay for advertising costs.

Around Sept. as the election was entering it’s final 60 days, Trump was spending $40 million plus on digital advertising efforts. Sources close to the campaign say they spent heavily on Facebook & Twitter. In another surprisingly deft move the Trump campaign also utilized Internet radio through the “I Heart Radio” app. It’s not clear how much of their strategy involved the type of micro-targeting Obama’s team used but they clearly invested heavily in digital marketing efforts – and it paid off.

Hillary’s Digital Strategy Looked More Like a Traditional Media Buy

In researching the Clinton team’s digital approach I found no evidence of a digital targeting strategy to match what Obama’s team had in 2008 and 2012. Most of the headlines read “Clinton Reserves Digital Ad Time” which sounds like a traditional TV ad blitz but through digital channels.

It also looks as if Hillary’s campaign only made a really big push towards digital advertising near the end of the election. Their goal with this push was not to target policy messages to voters but instead to “appeal to millennials.” who we all know use social media… Am I right old people?

While millenials definitely use the internet, so does everyone else in 2016. It was short sighted to focus only on millenials when using digital media and the detailed methods of targeting it offers.

Digital Advertising for Hillary Clinton

Hillary Campaign Ad

Instead of mirroring Obama’s intense data driven approach, the Clinton team relied heavily on celebrity endorsements and a big media blast that ran on YouTube and other digital platforms. These ads primarily focused on controversial statements made by Donald Trump rather than pushing detailed political messages to different voters with different views depending on the parts of the country they live in.

Politicians Can No Longer Ignore Digital Advertising

This season neither candidate had a targeting strategy that rivaled what Obama had. Unfortunately for Clinton, Trump’s digital strategy was strong enough that simply throwing money at YouTube near the end of the campaign did not produce the results needed for her to take the white house.

It’s evident that from here on out anyone with political aspirations is going to need to have a great digital marketing team and strategy if they intend to win!

ByApex Digital Media

Audience Development Techniques [The Digital Capitalist]

The term “audience development” is basically a friendly way of saying “advertising.” Essentially you’re taking steps to draw an audience. Your audience is what is going to make you money in most cases so it’s a valuable thing to develop.

There are a lot of different ways to do this, most of them cost money and if they don’t they cost time. If you’re a small business owner, time = money so one way or another you’re going to end up paying here. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though… the trade off is worth it in the end. Once you have a thriving digital presence that’s bringing you real world business you’ll be thanking yourself for the investment.

Organic Search Engine Optimization

search engine optimization

SEO

The first and best way to get real traffic is through optimizing your site for keyword searches. Today it’s basically making sure that your site is 100% technically sound and producing regular content. This is one of the reasons I’m writing this blog right now. Simply put, regularly writing or creating video about what you do is the best way to gain organic search ranking. Google is looking for fresh content relevant to the keywords people are searching by.

In an industry like digital marketing things are continually evolving and changing. So content is really the best way to show the search engine that we are aware of the changes in our industry. It’s a simple idea but one that is lost on a lot of people. Relevance – this is what Google thrives on and to dominate in organic search you need to have relevance. So a video that was made yesterday about best practices for Pay Per Click is going to take precedent over something that was produced 10 years ago… in most cases. There are exceptions here, especially when the content is poor, has holes in it or there is a massive amount of “social proof” for other content. That is users have shown an affinity to a particular piece of information that makes it still more relevant than your newer piece of information. Hopefully that makes sense.

Best Practices

A big ranking factor is making sure your site is aligned with best practices. This was hinted at earlier but to explain in more detail, Google has good reasoning behind a lot of their rules and regulations. The goal is to have a search engine that succeeds at their mission:

PROVIDE THE USER WITH THE BEST AND MOST RELEVANT SEARCH RESULTS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY

Simply stated, that’s the goal of Google and if you play by their rules they will elevate your website naturally.

A great example of this type of practice is the character limit on title tags and meta descriptions. These limitations are not simply arbitrary. They are designed to assure that when a user gets a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) it is clean and easy to navigate with accurate descriptions of each link displayed. As more and more people search, Google’s algorithms begin to note the links that get the most clicks and elevate those organically based on this and many other factors.

Finding and Using Keywords

This is a simple process that we hammer on quite a bit if you read our blogs but it’s an important one. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: “If I was looking for my website what would I type in?” – the answer to this question contains the words you will optimize your website and future content around.

This is probably the single most important aspect of how you word and layout your website. It’s also very simple and often neglected so by taking it seriously you instantly put yourself ahead of a lot of your competition. It’s also not something you should generalize with as people can find you in a variety of situations. For example, if you sell auto parts you would want to optimize your homepage around the keyword “auto parts” but a typical user may find you while searching for an oil filter for a 1978 Chevy Nova. For this reason like it or not the bigger and more vast your website is the better chances you have of netting organic search traffic.

Social Media

social media marketing

social media

When you think about where people go online these days a large portion of the hot spots are social media
networks. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. All of these can produce traffic for a business due to the discovery engines that drive them. We have written page upon page about social media marketing so I won’t go into a ton of detail here but just mention that it’s extremely important to have a social presence if you are serious about growing your audience.

Pay Per Click Advertising

There are a lot of different advertising methods you can use to get traffic to your site but Google AdWords Pay Per Click is probably the most efficient and best quality source of purchased traffic. The reason being is that search has real intent behind it. You can buy traffic from Facebook to run to your auto parts store but when I go to Facebook I don’t go there looking to buy auto parts. So advertising in an environment like Facebook is going to be less effective for sales but a good avenue for branding. Google AdWords on the other hand allows you to buy into keyword searches that have real intent. If you’re bidding on the keyword “Buy Auto Parts” in Google it’s a safe bet that most of those searches are actually people looking to buy auto parts. Other than maybe Amazon, there aren’t a ton of places you can buy that kind of traffic. Pay Per Click is the best way to get visible instantly if you have a budget to spend.

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

ByApex Digital Media

Producing Content For Your Business or Brand [Digital Capitalist]

One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is content for your business. The old cliche “content is king” holds true still today in the internet age. I would even argue that the single most important thing you can be doing to promote your business online is creating content.

Make Yourself an Authority

The first thing you want to do is become an authority in your industry. If you are good at what you do, chances are you already ARE an authority which makes content creation simple. All you really have to do is talk about what you do, blog about what you do, make videos about what you do. Share your expertise.

Joe Pulizzi is an authority on content marketing. He formed the CMI (Content Marketing Institute) and wrote the book ‘ Epic Content Marketing‘ He suggests that finding a niche within your industry is the biggest factor in becoming an authority. He cites the example of a pet store owner. The “Pet Supplies” marketplace is vast and dominated by well funded players like Petco, PetSmart, etc. So a more lean and nimble organization might begin producing content specifically about “Pet Travel Advice” that will help them to dominate a niche within the “Pet Supplies” industry.

Quality backlinks are a huge part of organic search optimization and the best way to get them is by producing quality content that is shared and quoted.

content for your business

Content for Businesses

Evergreen Content for Your Business

A long term marketing strategy is one of those things that never really seems like it’s necessary until you have used one. One of the biggest issues with digital content is the speed with which it is consumed and forgotten. With that in mind what’s best is to create a solid “pillar” theme and then develop small branches off from this.

Content Pillars

Essentially you want to create one large piece of “authoritative” work that can then be broken down into several other more detailed and in-depth pieces. As you do this each piece feeds into the greater pillar and becomes a pathway for a new user to discover your larger body of work.

Positioning Content For Your Business

The best place to source content for your business is from your own daily interactions and experiences. If there’s a question you get a lot you can answer in a simple blog post do it. Chances are people asking this question in Google will find you and use your business for other needs out of gratitude. This of course isn’t always the place but this is more and more the type of ecosystem you’re going to be playing in so it’s a good perspective to have. I’m not advising you to give away the farm, but you can maybe take a couple fence posts out and let people play on your lawn. That’s how you build trust among people who aren’t already your customers.

Make Yourself Useful

When you create content that responds to the needs of your prospective customers they are much more likely find you. A wise person recently told me: “Cold calling & old school sales is dead because everything we want is right at our fingertips” – I don’t think anything sums it up better than that. If you want to get customers you have to make yourself visible to the people searching for what you do. Creating content that is useful is the best way to do that, so get out there and make yourself useful!

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

ByApex Digital Media

Generating Revenue With Digital Content (Digital Capitalist)

As more and more commerce and business moves into the digital realm it becomes easier to earn revenue online. The key is of course, deciding what your business model is and then working daily to build that out and garner an audience or following around it. So how does one go about this? The truth is that it’s a lot more simple than you probably realize and just requires a few core elements and consistent effort… So let’s get started.

A Responsive Website

By the most recent estimations roughly 63% of your digital traffic is going to be viewing you on a mobile device. This is hugely important and is also a ranking factor for organic SEO. Since the majority of web traffic is now mobile and Google values “user experience” over just about everything – it only makes sense. You need to make sure that your website is built to accomodate mobile users. When we get design jobs we now start with the mobile version of the site – desktop design is now secondary.

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

Social Media Pages

Social Media is no longer just a buzz word. It’s now a big part of our every day digital life. One reason we advise clients to create social media pages on as many platforms as possible is that, again it is helpful with organic search. If you are having daily interactions with customers, fans, etc. on social media channels that is relevant to search crawls. If you want to own the front page of Google for the name of your business having 6 – 8 social channels can be HUGE. If you do a Google search for the term “Holistic Wellbeing Expert” you will get one of our former clients Randi Ragan. She owns this SERP largely because of the way we keyword optimized her website & social media channels. At the time this article was published (June 27, 2016) She was the first 8 listings on page 1 of Google for the term “Holistic Wellbeing Expert” – The point is that Social Media channels are important to how you rank so create them and use them.

Content Is Still King

The tired old cliche’ “Content is King” exists for a reason – it’s true. The internet ecosystem models the television ecosystem in a lot of ways. Think about it like this – in order to have free content online, you have to have ads. There are also “paid subscription” or “premium content providers” where you pay a fee so that you have unfettered access to that content without ads – kind of what cable used to be – or premium cable like HBO & Showtime still is.

The point is that no matter what you do there is content to be made. If you’re a body shop that does great body work – have a blog and show before & after pictures of your work. If you run a gym, film daily segments of your training sessions and share them on Facebook. Google is essentially a content library and if you want to be found there you’re going to have to provide good content. The point I’m getting at is that if you run a daily business in most cases this content will create itself. Thanks to social “snippet” content it doesn’t have to be anything grand or epic. A 30 second clip of you punching a heavy bag will share on Instagram with the right hashtags and no doubt net you a few new likes & followers. As a wise brand once said: “Just Do It.”

Organic Traffic

The all important life blood of the internet is traffic – it’s like digital oil. Pretty much every terrible or great thing being done online is done to get traffic, increase audience, gain visibility. Everything we have just outlined in this post is designed to help you gain traffic and essentially, sales, ad views, etc. Whatever is going to make you more money online. Of course there are ways to buy traffic and advertising is a huge part of that but that is a whole other article.

Creating content around your business or service and sharing it daily on social media through a responsive website works. If you consistently do this each day, you will see growth. As you build out a web of content you will begin to see new traffic trickle in from the differnt keyword searches you are now beginnign to appear in and it spirals out from there.

Digital Farming

As a final thought I want to leave you with this – it’s something I heard from a Stephen Covey course and I think it’s important. Content & Social Media work is like farming – it’s something you have to do every day consistently to see results. It’s not like cramming for an exam where you can wait until the last minute and then hurry and do a bunch of posts. It’s a daily incremental and consistent effort to stay visible in these different channels and build out that web of content. If you stick to it you will see results!

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

ByApex Digital Media

Creating Your Digital Brand

Your Digital Brand is an Opportunity

If you run a business you have a digital brand. It doesn’t matter what your business is, whether you’re a plumber or a multi-national soft drink – you are a brand and in 2016 you have a digital face. Knowing that you are a brand can be scary because with that power comes great responsibility (ha) but it’s also a great opportunity. Remember that perception is reality and once you acknowledge that you have a brand you can begin to position it for yourself, create and manage that perception.

Click here to read - download "The DIgital Capitalist" e-Book

Click here to read – download “The Digital Capitalist” e-Book

The digital landscape presents an incredible opportunity for businesses. By simply claiming your business name on social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter you can begin to own and forge your own public perception.

While we don’t recommend that a lot of businesses rely on a platform like Facebook as a source of lead-gen or a way to drive substantial online revenue, what it is great for is brand positioning. By simply having a presence on Facebook and interacting with users through it you can begin to create more familiarity and loyalty with your brand whatever it may be.

This applies to all interactions. Don’t be afraid to take an irate customer head on through a platform like Twitter and Facebook. Most people will look at a system like Yelp and realize that if you’ve been in business for a long time you most likely will have a few detractors. But if you keep it honest and keep your overall responses positive you can establish yourself as a trusted business and this will almost always translate into additional customers.

Do Whatever It Takes to Leverage Video

One of the quickest ways to develop a following and win traffic from organic search is to create video. Even Entrepreneur’s digital writers recommend it as one of the first things to think about in relation to Digital Branding.

Your content on YouTube does not have to be complicated. It can be simple things like a quick tour of your store, maybe some video testimonials from customers. If you’re a contractor or do any kind of custom work you can show footage of completed jobs, etc. etc.

Video content is also more heavily favored by organic search. The reason is the user experience, if you are hurriedly searching Google for tips on how to fix a leaking toilet chances are you need the information fast. Google understands this and will try to show their users the quickest most efficient path to that information. If you do anything service based and create “tutorial” content or anything that is instructional and helpful is going to be elevated in search.

Something is Better Than Nothing

At the end of the day – do anything. Even if your video is a photo with a voice over getting that content out there is key. You can spend weeks thinking about what to say, what to show, how to show it, etc. but action is how you win the users. We live in a time where things move at lightning speed so don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. So what are you waiting for, get out there and start creating your digital brand!

ByApex Digital Media

Easy SEO for WordPress – The Yoast Plugin

WordPress is probably the most widely used blogging / CMS platform out today for a variety of reasons. Number one is probably the ease of use a close second is that it’s mostly free. If you run a website on WordPress and aren’t being found in search engines, the Yoast plugin provides easy SEO for WordPress. Yoast is really nothing special development wise. That is to say it’s not some revolutionary new algorithm or technology. What it is and what it does well is guide the average person through the process of Search Engine Optimization. Here’s a quickstart intro for you…

Simple SEO For WordPress

SEO has become something of a pariah over the past couple years. This is largely because there was a cottage industry built around backlinking. Several companies developed deep (and mostly shady) back channels for links that helped people’s sites pop. The problem was that these sites weren’t always the best content to answer the users search – so Google killed the part of its algorithm that weighted those types of backlinks heavily… and chaos ensued.

The good news is SEO is simple. Make good content and tell the engines what your pages are about. If you do this and people like your page you will win the organic search game.

What Yoast does for WordPress users is simplify the process of making an SEO’ed content post. Rather than continue to type though, let’s walk you through the process I went through while optimizing this very post here!! (*CUE TWILIGHT ZONE MUSIC*)

Step 1 – Create Your Content

This seems like a no brainer, but write your article first. It’s much easier to SEO a piece of content that’s already been created. You’ll see why in the next step.

 

yoast-keyword-seo-for-wordpressStep 2 – Choose Your Focus Keyword

Once you install Yoast, you will see it in a panel below the edit screen in your posts. After you have created your article you should think about what a person searching for this type of content would type into Google. In the case of this article I chose “SEO for WordPress” but you can go with something more simple or more specific than that, I could’ve used something like – the best tool when doing SEO for WordPress, or Need quick SEO for WordPress?. SEO would be a good shorter, broader choice as another example. However, the more broadly you target the less chance you have of dominating that search term, so try to be specific and creative.

 

yoast-green-light-ratingStep 3 – Check Your Score

The next step is to take a look at the rating that Yoast gives you right away. In my case it’s green light because I’ve been doing this for years and chose a keyword I know was repeated everywhere in my content and header. Take a look at this… the next step is a bit more involved.

 

Step 4 – Make Adjustments Based on Yoast’s Recommendations

yoast-seo-factors-scoreMy traffic light score in Yoast is now a yellow light. It’s not terrible but it’s not fantastic either. There are a few things I can now do to improve my SEO for WordPress articles and get Yoast to give me the green light again.

Underneath the field where you write your focus keyword is a list of items Yoast relates to the SEO of your page and scores you on. As you can see I scored well on things like the amount of characters in the page title, coming up with a new and original focus keyword for my blog, creating easy to read copy, etc. But I also lost points for having no meta description and not using my focus keyword in the first paragraph of my article. My next step is to go back to my article and make adjustments based on the recommendations that Yoast has given. Let’s do that and see what we get.

Step 5 – Add a Meta Description with Your Keyword

yoast-meta-description-w-keywordFinally you will want to write a quick meta description that repeats your keyword. In my case that keyword was SEO for WordPress, so the sample image shows you how I created a statement that used this keyword but also helps to describe what the post is about. Just stuffing a keyword into text that is out of context will actually hurt your rankings, so don’t do that.

Think of the meta description as kind of a “preview” or byline of your content that a Google (or Bing) user will see in their search results. Google is focused on creating a good user experience so the more you do to help aid this process the better you will rank.

That’s our quick start guide for the Yoast SEO plugin. If you need more advice on effective SEO for WordPress we recommend you read the full Yoast tutorial on their website here.

ByApex Digital Media

Quote of the Day – Frank Zappa

This is such a profound statement… it had to be shared.

frank_zappa-art_making_selling

 

ByApex Digital Media

Beginners Guide to Creating Content & Blogging For Your Business

Blogging for your business

Be An Industry Thought Leader

The “blogosphere” remember that buzz word? It’s not one you hear a lot anymore, however it is more important than ever that you or someone you pay be creating content or blogging for your business.

Creating content that speaks to what you offer as a business is the best way to gain visibility on social media sites and in search engines. Additionally, it’s a way for you to showcase your expertise and earn the trust and awareness of potential customers.

It can also be profitable. According to Technorati (a popular blog network) blogs with 100,000 or more monthly unique visitors can earn on average around $75,000 annually.

So if you are not already doing it – it’s probably time to get started. At Apex Digital Media we offer basic business website packages that are reasonably priced and will enable you for blogging. You don’t have to go with us of course, we’ve also written a lot about how to pick the best design / marketing firm for your needs.

If you’re wading into the fray inexperienced and alone – we are here to help. Here are a list of important things to consider before you start cranking out content.

Decide What Your Purpose Is

There are several reasons to own a website for your business but to be clear there are about 4 that stand out:

Building a Brand: Unless you are spending heavily on advertising, your website is likely the first impression a prospective customer will have of you. Make sure it looks professional and accurately represents your brand.

Generating Leads: Your business might not exist solely online. You may want to use it to drive consumer traffic to your store, you may want to use it to capture email addresses in the form of a mailing list. If you are looking to generate leads, make sure your site is set up accordingly with a clear call to action (ie. “sign up for our mailing list!” )

Generating Direct Sales: A fairly simple concept. Whether people buy on your website or its used to drive them to your store, direct sales are the goal.

Generating Advertising Revenue: On the other hand maybe what you are blogging for your business is extremely popular and your site gets a ton of traffic. If that’s the case placing ads and making revenue from them never hurts. It can however be difficult to try and run a site focused on direct sales while simultaneously trying to make money from advertising. Ad placements can cause the page load times to decrease and there is a chance a consumer could see an ad from a competitor and click off to somewhere else. Whichever of these items is your focus, be sure to keep everything you create geared towards it.

typical-bloggerWhat Are You Trying to Accomplish?

If your goal is generating leads you need to have your page & posts optimized to push people to fill out a form or make a phone call. If you are trying to make money from advertising you will need to do everything you can to drive traffic. There are a myriad of reasons to create content around your business but make sure you have complete clarity on why YOU are doing it. Also, set benchmarks for yourself and goals to achieve. If you are doing lead gen ask yourself “How many leads do I want per month?” If you are trying to make revenue from advertising you will need to find ways to push traffic to your site. (Hint: Social Media is a great place to start)

Once you have a goal set and have answered the “why” you can start to think about creating content for your business or the “how.” If you sell cars maybe you want to write about which new models on your lot have the highest consumer favorability ratings. If you are a restaurant you might want to talk about how your ingredients are sourced from organic local farms. Do your best to find your niche and run with it.

Best Practices When Creating Content For Your Business

Frequency – Will you post Daily? Weekly? Monthly? The more frequently you create content and share it on social media channels the better visibility you will have. Google loves “fresh” so your chances of being seen by a large audience is much better if you crank out the content daily or even several times a day. Weekly is adequate too but think of how you feel when you look at a brand’s Facebook page or blog and it hasn’t been updated in a month. It seems like the lights are off.

Creating Content Ahead of Time –  If you are a busy business owner, chances are good you aren’t going to have a couple hours to sit down and compose a new blog each day. You have a couple of options here. Create 5 – 10 posts in advance and then schedule them. If you can stay ahead of this schedule you will be able to continually have fresh content each day. The second option is to hire someone to do the writing for you. If you are bootstrapped there are plenty of college kids and people who will write for you at a reasonable rate or even for free. Never hurts to check your options.

Include a Call to Action – If you are doing this to drive new business, don’t forget to include a call to action! Most people aren’t just going to magically sign up for your mailing list or download your e-book without being asked to. If they are interested in what you’re doing though, the chances are good if you dangle that carrot in front of them they will go after it. Here are a few examples of worthwhile calls to action:

• Join my email list
• Download my ebook
• Buy my product
• Sign up for my service
• Call or email me for a consultation
• Buy advertising on this blog
• Connect with me on various social sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace etc.)
• Visit my store or office
• Come meet me at this live event

These are just samples – depending on the nature of your business you will want to come up with something that fits best with your site or blog.

Professionally Design Your Blog & Pages

As mentioned earlier, Apex Digital Media offers small business website packages at reasonable rates. If you are working with a smaller budget of less than $3 – $5,000, we can help! If you are intrepid and self-motivated you can also save money doing it yourself. Wordpress has free options for blogging as do several other platforms. Of course, if this is for a professional business using http://wordpress.mybusinessname.com might not have the professional sheen you’re looking for. So keep that in mind, your website is your first impression – having a professional design reflects upon your business. Think about it – if you go to a company’s website and it looks like it was designed in 1998 and is not mobile responsive you think less of them. Don’t be that business.

Marketing Content You Create For Your Business

Social Media is hands down the best way to advertise content you create for your business. Here’s why: Relevant audience. Facebook gives you the ability to directly target users by all sorts of data points including “Likes” – so if you’re a website targeting comic book fans, Facebook will allow you to target people who have “liked” Marvel or DC’s fan pages. That’s only the beginning though – you can also add additional layers of targeting in the form of gender, age, zip code and more.

marketing-strategy-blog

marketing strategy

If you don’t have a budget to pay for advertising – social is still the answer. We have found that simply by tweeting out content or sharing it on Linked In & Facebook we have generated a lot of new business. This also goes back to frequency. If you are frequently posting / sharing content on social platforms the relevant audience will find you. Think of platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram as “Discovery Engines” – a theme we will cover in more detail in a later post. Discovery engines allow users who are interested in a particular theme to easily find you. Take advantage of this!

Analyze & Optimize

There are so many free online tools for analytics it’s ridiculous – the pinnacle of course being Google Analytics. Make sure you install Google Analytics and scour your data regularly. You will see which pieces of content are being read by viewing the “Time Spent” metric. If users on average are spending 5 – 1o minutes on a page, it’s a good sign they are engaged and reading. You can then use this data to create additional content in a similar vein that users will enjoy.

Quantcast is another fantastic benchmarking tool that will allow you to see how you rank with other similar content creators. It also has in-depth statistics on the types of audience that likes your content and frequently visits your pages.

(source: http://www.inc.com/guides/10-step-guide-to-blogging.html)