Checklist: How To Optimize Your Home Page for SEO
It goes without saying that the home page of a website is the most important page, (but since this is the opening sentence of our blog this week, we're going to say it anyway). However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to determine how to optimize the home page of your site for today's search engines. Which is why, as experts in our industry, we've put together a short list of best practices that will help evaluate the effectiveness of your home page, and guide you through the optimization process.
Your home page is naturally going to rank well for branded keywords, (i.e. our home page ranks well for the term "Foremost Media"). Since this is the case, you will want to focus on optimizing the other pages of your site for keywords that are specific to your products and services. For example, if your site has a social media marketing page, that page ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by on October 21, 2015
Do You Know How To Get Backlinks From News Sites To Boost Your SEO? You Should!
Backlinks have always been known to be a big part in SEO and they still play a major role in determining your rankings and the amount of traffic your site gets from search engines.
Keep in mind some backlinks are better than others. When figuring out how to get more backlinks, make sure that you are focusing on getting links from places that make sense. A recent study by Moz suggested that sites that have more links from "news" sites get more search traffic. Here is our advice on how to create "newsworthy" content and get news sites to publish it.
We suggest using the following methods to get a backlink from a news site:
Publish Press Releases
Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out
Engage in Industry Forums
Blog About Current Events
As a part of our regular SEO plan here at Foremost Media, ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by on September 24, 2015
Social Media Does Not Help Your SEO
I hear a lot of sales people always telling business owners that social media helps their SEO. Does it? It CAN, but most of the time it won't. Let me explain.
SEO, or search engine optimization, has become very technical in recent years. There are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines use to determine where to rank your website, and social media qualities are not one of them. Google is the largest search engine, and the only one for the most part that ever communicates anything about its ranking signals. Three months ago at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes from Google told us that social signals are not used at all as a ranking signal and that they would not be for the foreseeable future. In order to understand why this is, we must walk through 5 years of Google History and understand the technical aspects of social media and how it relates to SEO.
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on September 1, 2015
You Could Slash Your School's Website Budget in Half
What if you could slash your school district's current website budget in half or more?
If your school district is using a proprietary school content management system with large recurring fees each month, there is a better way. School districts across the country are migrating away from proprietary and expensive content management systems and choosing free open source based content management systems to power their district's online presence.
The School District of Newark New Jersey has over 40,000 students and 75 websites. According to their Sr. Manager of Website Technology, Cameron Barrett, when Newark Public Schools migrated away from a proprietary school website system vendor they were able to cut their yearly recurring costs from $59,000 per year to $7,200.00 per year.
The Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin has over 10,000 students and 27 school websites they maintain. In 2009, Foremost Media helped migrate the School District of Janesville to an open source content management system ...
Posted in: General, Web Development by Jon Ballard on August 27, 2015
Web Designer VS Web Developer: What's The Difference? [Infographic]
Companies looking for a website or a redesign of their existing site may become confused when the terms "Web Designer" and "Web Developer" get thrown out there.
Website design firms generally have dedicated designers that are able to tap into their creative energy to create the overall look and layout of a site. The designer then hands over the design files to a developer who builds everything from the ground up, keeping a website's experience on the cutting edge. Together, web designers and developers are working towards one goal - to produce a clean, fully functioning site that works in all browsers and devices.
To help understand the difference between a Web Designer vs a Web Developer, Foremost Media has created an infographic that breaks it all down.
More Design/Development Tips:
How To Compare Web Development Companies
Why Choose a DNN Website?
The Secret to Getting the Cheapest Website Possible
Posted in: Web Development by Online Marketing Team on August 19, 2015
7 Ways To Optimize Your Link Building And SEO With Twitter
We all know how important links are, especially for commercial websites. The problem is, sometimes we overlook the most obvious places to get them.
Twitter is an incredibly huge platform full of people who share in the same interests. Which means, it is an excellent opportunity for quality link building! Here are the top 7 ways to utilize Twitter for SEO to strengthen your backlink profile.
1) Take advantage of obvious connections.
Twitter makes it easy to find industry leaders and influencers in any market. The key is to observe these people and pay attention to the content they share. Tweet at them and begin to build a conversation. Over time, this turns into a connection and before you know it, a link back to your site! Acquiring links happens by making friends or making news. Utilize current relationships to build quick links and discover who your competitors are.
2) Draw them in ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on August 6, 2015
Looking to Choose a Web Development Company? Here's How!
In today's marketing landscape, businesses live and die by the success of their website. If your business has decided to build a new website, it is important to know how to choose a web development company to be your partner. This document outlines 12 things you must consider when selecting your next web development company:
You received a quote without much conversation- If you filled out a simple online request for a quote and received one back without an in-depth conversation about your goals, objectives and needed site functionality; throw away that quote. Good companies take the time to truly understand your project goals and objectives as well as fully grasp the functionality your website requires. This process often involves several conversations and an investment of time from both parties. The quote you receive should detail all the required work, and break out each piece on an ...
Posted in: General, Web Development, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on July 14, 2015
Update Your Business Hours NOW: Another Google Change
It may seem obvious that online business hours need to be up-to-date. However, Google has recently given local business another reason to keep their online hours updated. According to a recent article written by Barry Schwartz, Google is now notifying online searchers that they will not have enough time to get to a business before it closes.
Here's an example of the message that will be showing users.
The business hours that Google shows are pulled in from your business' Google+ page. If you already have a Google+ page, make sure that you have your hours up-to-date so you do not lose out on potential customers. If you do not currently have a Google+ page, create one and make sure you list your current store hours.
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by on June 18, 2015
9 Reasons You Should Redesign Your B2B Website Today
In today's marketing climate, your company's website is one of the most prominent and valuable marketing resources available. When done properly, a website redesign can show quick and significant return on investment for a company making you look like a marketing rock star. Below we have 9 reasons to help you justify a website redesign to your boss:
1. Google Penalizes Sites That Are Not Mobile Friendly. This is costing you traffic
If you are like many of our B2B clients, as much as 30% of the traffic to your site comes from mobile devices. On April 21st, 2015 Google begin to reduce search rankings for sites that are not "mobile-friendly." This update could already be having significant impact on your traffic as Google is giving priority to sites that are "mobile friendly" in their search results. In order to restore your mobile traffic, it is important to certify your website passes Google's Mobile Friendly test. ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Jon Ballard on June 16, 2015
Titles Still Matter in SEO
Every year, Searchmetrics publishes a correlation study of SEO ranking factors. I am a big fan. I love correlative studies. At the time of writing this post, their 2015 study is not out yet, but here is a link to their 2014 study if interested. I had the chance to hear their findings at SMX West this year. In short, the takeaway from the study was not to worry about title tags anymore. I do not agree.
Once again, I LOVE correlative studies, especially when they are well done, like Searchmetrics'. However, correlation does not always mean causation. Looking at over 15,000 keywords using the top 30 results, they found no correlation between keywords in the title tag and rankings. Your mind immediately jumps to, "title tags no longer matter." This struck me as odd. So, I decided to do some testing. Now, keep in mind that I did this on a small scale and ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on June 15, 2015
Facebook Announces New Bluetooth Beacon Program: Ideal For Local Businesses
Facebook just released the launch of their new Facebook Bluetooth Beacon Program.
In the beginning of 2015, Facebook introduced Place Tips. Local businesses use Place Tips for their brick and mortar locations to market to their visitors. Upon check-in or via activated location settings, visitors receive information from the business.
Restaurants use Place Tips as a great opportunity to display their current menu, signature drinks, reviews and more. Retailers are able to advertise specials, product locations and even business hours to customers as they enter their store. Facebook says local business' Facebook page traffic from Place Tips has been steadily growing from in-store visitors.
Rather than using WiFi, the new Beacon Program will utilize Bluetooth technology to signal the Facebook App on a visitor's phone. Businesses will receive their free beacon in the mail, turn it on and place it in a centralized location. As of right now, Facebook has only introduced this new feature ...
Posted in: Social Media by Online Marketing Team on June 10, 2015
Foremost Media, Inc. Places in Top International Award – 2015 Summit Creative Award
June 3, 2015 Janesville, WI – Out of more than 5,000 submissions from 24 countries, Foremost Media, Inc. is a Bronze winner in the B2B Product Website Category for MEC Inc. and Silver winner in the Travel/Tourism/Nature Website Category for its creative work for Rock County Tourism Council in the 2015 Summit Creative Award® competition.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the Foremost Media Team. Two awards from an international design contest for two of our clients based here in Wisconsin is incredible. Each year we continue to do new and amazing work. Congratulations everyone!” said Stephen Cardwell, Art Director of Foremost Media, Inc.
The Summit Creative Award (SCA) recognizes and celebrates the creative achievements of small and medium sized advertising agencies worldwide with annual billings under $30 million. Celebrating its 21st year, the SCA has firmly established itself as the premier arbiter of creative excellence for firms of this size and has become a coveted honor.
Posted in: News by Jon Ballard on June 4, 2015
Evaluating ROI For Your Website
The effectiveness of a website can vary greatly depending on the goals and purpose of that site. E-commerce sites for example are fairly easy to evaluate in terms of dollars and cents because at the end of the day you can track how much you have sold verses how much you spent on the site. With marketing or informational sites that calculation becomes a bit harder to track. Foremost Media recommends several key things for each website we build in order to track effectiveness or return on investment:
Clear calls to action on every page of your site are very important. Every page should have a purpose or response you want the user to complete. Register for an event, visiting another page for additional information, subscribing to a newsletter, in a properly designed website these goals should be identified and tracked throughout the site. Then, using web analytics and response forms, ...
Posted in: Online Advertising, Web Development by Jon Ballard on June 1, 2015
Google Releases Mobile Survey
Have you ever come across a satisfaction survey from Google when doing a search? It looks something like this:
Google has been pushing this survey on desktop now for the past few years in hopes of gaining insight as to what searchers expect on their SERP. (Search Engine Results Page). Just recently, they began displaying this survey on mobile searches as well.
The timing of this is not coincidental. Google just finished rolling out their mobile-friendly update, and they are looking for feedback. This is the perfect opportunity for searchers to let Google know if they are happy with the results received on any given mobile device, as well as a gentle reminder to businesses as to just how important a mobile-friendly site really is.
Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on May 27, 2015
The Secret to Maximizing Clicks in AdWords: Single Keyword Ad Groups
Managing costs in AdWords can be a difficult task. Most online marketers start out by creating two or three general Ad Groups with several keywords in each group. This can be a great way to start ad campaigns quickly. However, too many keywords in an Ad Group makes it difficult to control costs, conversions, click-through-rates, and other variables. So here's the big secret....The most effective way to reduce cost-per-click and increase conversions is to create single keyword Ad Groups. Single keyword Ad Groups will increase ad relevance, quality score, and conversion rate and decrease your cost-per-click. Here is the quickest way to get started. Find Your Top 5 Keywords The first step to decreasing cost-per-click and controlling your ads is to separate your keywords into several different Ad Groups. It is best to start by separating your highest traffic keywords into their own individual Ad Groups. You can do this by clicking on ...
Posted in: Online Advertising by on May 8, 2015
How To Use A/B Testing To Improve Your Email Marketing
You know your emails could perform better. You spend hours debating what subject line to use, what wording is best and even whom the email should appear to come from. You take your time constructing the perfect email, and then you painfully hit the send button to await your fate.
Slowly, the results come in. Your open rate and click through rate are both good, but you cannot help but be disappointed. You expected great, not good.
What happened? You followed all the best practices you read about in blog articles. You analyzed every element of the email, what should you have done differently?
With A/B testing you can now focus your efforts on improving your emails with actual data. A/B testing compares two elements against each other to determine which one performs better.
This simple test will take the guesswork out of your email marketing activities and allow continuous improvements to take your emails from good to ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on March 3, 2015
Foremost Media, Inc. Takes Home Silver Addy Award In The Category Of Websites Consumer Services
Foremost Media, Inc. takes home Silver Addy Award in the category of Websites Consumer Services - 2015 American Advertising Awards
February 20, 2015 Madison, WI - Foremost Media, Inc. is a Silver Award winner in the 2015 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) competition for their work with the Tallman Tours Website, Rock County Historical Society.
"It is always great when a client loves the website we have created for them, but there is another level of pride when a company is recognized by their peers for excellent work and creativity,” said Stephen Cardwell, Art Director, Foremost Media, Inc.
The 2015 American Advertising Awards competition evolved through a need to recognize and celebrate originality, innovation and those who are industry leaders pushing the bounds of creative excellence in all forms of advertising.
The American Advertising Federation-Madison is dedicated to the development of the advertising, marketing and communications community in the greater Madison area. Its members represent a wide range ...
Posted in: News by Jon Ballard on February 27, 2015
[Infographic] Where to Look For Your Target Market
Today, most of us are aware of the growing role that Social Media plays in bringing brands and customers closer together. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, online marketing is yet another contender in the battle for your customer's attention. Even if you have a Social Media strategy in place to try to reach your target market, it can still be especially difficult for B2B businesses to know where to start on Social Media. But as Mitch Joel, President of Mirum, wisely points out, "on the internet, you have to be where the customer is". So how can you know where your customers are? (After all, the internet is usually anything but straightforward). By taking a look at our handy new infographic, that's how!
Aptly named, "Where to Look for Your Target Market", it shows which age groups, genders, and industries use sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter the most. According to ...
Posted in: General, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on February 16, 2015
Do You Look As Good As You Think You Do?
Were you aware that studies show a staggering 40% of visitors will choose a different search result if the first one is not mobile-friendly? And with a majority of people researching and shopping online with a smart phone or tablet, this traffic is significant! Have you taken the time to see how potential customers are viewing your site?
Until now this process has been time consuming to say the least. Typically a staff member would be forced to borrow coworkers' electronics to see how the business website looked on a variety of devices. This is no longer the case!
We have created a responsive tool that allows you to easily view your site on a variety of devices. Check it out!
View Your Site Live
Simply enter your url in the top left, and click the options to see how your site looks to others.
A responsive site has become a necessity for both users and search engines. Contact ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on January 14, 2015
Seeing forum.topicxxxxxxx.darodar.com In Your Analytics?
There is a simple reason that your website is receiving a lot of referring traffic from the darodor.com domain, and the exact URL usually looks something like this "forum.topicxxxxxxx.darodar.com". Ask yourself, what did you do when you saw that? What was your gut instinct? That is correct, you copied it, and pasted it in your browser bar. Then what happened? It took you to an aliexpress page (a company owned by Alibaba) that is pitching holiday items for sale. Now, it is starting to make sense. Let's explore this further.
When I click on my particular "referrer" in webmaster tools, it first brings me to darodar.com, then redirects me to a russian domain called iloveitaly.ru. Next I am redirected to an aliexpress subdomain that has a very specific string at the end of it "aff_platform=aaf&sk=YNRjYvfmq%3A&cpt=1420754856013&null". Do you know what this means? It means that I am being tracked because the person that sent me to ...
Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on January 8, 2015
How To Choose The Right Marketing Automation System
The marketing automation industry is booming and with expectations of reaching $1.9 billion by 2020, there is no end in sight. Fast adoption rates have led to an influx of providers touting their systems as the best option for organizations looking to take the leap. With 78% of successful marketers citing marketing automation as being most responsible for improving revenue contribution, the focus is more on the industry as a whole, rather than specific platforms.
Many people assume that the majority of marketing automation systems are the same. Vendors are capitalizing on the lack of knowledge by consumers and overwhelming them with high costs, justified only by an exhausting list of features and statistics that all but guarantee a positive return on their investment. Marketers who believe the system itself will automatically generate more leads, without any additional effort on their end, will end up disappointed. Even the most feature-rich marketing automation system is useless ...
Posted in: Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on December 19, 2014
Why Your International Website Isn't Optimized For Search
Recently at Foremost Media we have been getting more and more questions about how search engines work as it relates to ranking for international markets. In order to answer the question, it is important to explain how the search engines work, particularly Google.
Google is the most popular search engine Worldwide. So, we will focus on them for this post. If you work inside of the Russian or Chinese markets however, we will want to target different engines in addition to Google. So, contact me if this is the case and we can discuss (contact information below). Now, back to Google. Think of Google as having multiple companies, one for each country it serves. Google.com is the American search engine, whereas Google.de is the German engine, Google.in is the engine for India and so on.
The first thing Google does when reviewing your site is determine which one of their engines you belong in. ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development, Website Hosting by Online Marketing Team on December 3, 2014
Google Penalizes Sites That Are Not Mobile-Friendly
In June of 2013, Google began penalizing sites that were not mobile-friendly. This was part of Google's efforts to create the ultimate user experience. Starting this week they are taking things a step further.
"By 2017, 90% of users will be accessing the internet through their phones." Click to Tweet.
Not only is Google penalizing these sites, they just announced they are giving a ranking boost to sites that have put forth the effort to make their sites mobile-friendly, aka responsive. This boost comes in correlation with a mobile-friendly label. When a search is done on Google, at the beginning of the result with have a label if Google has verified the site as mobile-friendly, or responsive. The label looks like this:
In order for a site to be considered mobile--friendly, it must have the following attributes:
It does not use Flash or other software that is not common on mobile devices.
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on November 21, 2014
This week Microsoft announced a vulnerability that they are comparing to the recent Heart Bleed attack. What they found was that this vulnerability allows hackers to steal private data and information from remote locations. This is the biggest threat to a website's security as they completely bypass the data center security protocols.
Microsoft discovered the problem before any known security breaches took place; however, they expect the potential development of an exploit soon. This increases the urgency to apply the necessary patch as soon as possible, which Microsoft released Tuesday morning.
This patch (update) shuts down the server your site is sitting on and takes roughly 30 minutes to install. Once the site is back up, the server will have continuous work performed for 3 days. We are highly suggesting a content freeze during this time. By a content freeze, we mean that there should not be any updates/edits made to your site.
We do ...
Posted in: Website Hosting by Online Marketing Team on November 14, 2014