Tag Archives: How To

10 Tips for Mindfulness in the Workplace

10 Tips Mindfulness In The Workplace - Eminent SEO

First, let’s start with a quick definition of mindfulness before we get all gung-ho about it:

Mindfulness Definition - ESEO
So, basically, it’s being in the moment, focused on the here and now. That is not an easy feat with deadlines looming over your shoulder like a fasting vampire breathing on your neck. Now that you have that visual in your mind, let’s get back to the topic at hand: mindfulness in the workplace.

Deadlines, emails, phone calls, meetings, more emails, presentations … no, don’t run from your desk! Keep reading!

You must be asking yourself how can you possibly consider applying the principles of mindfulness so that you feel less zombie-like and more alive, as well as becoming more productive. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey to being mindful at work:

1. Be Consciously Present

Mindfulness Goggles - Eminent SEO More than anything, mindfulness is about being fully aware and awake (yes, go get ANOTHER cup of coffee), rather than just working on autopilot. When you are consciously present at work, you become aware of two things in your moment-to-moment activities:

  1. You notice what’s going on around you.
  2. You notice what’s going on within you.

Being mindful at work means to be aware of, at all times, in that moment, what you are doing while you are doing it. It also involves managing your mental and emotional state. If you are creating a proposal or a report for the big cheese or the little guy, mindfulness requires that you give it your full attention.

Each time your mind wanders to things like that funny cat video you watched or what you read on Facebook about the Kardashians, acknowledge the thoughts and then bring your mind back to the task at hand.

Here are a few tips to change mindlessness into mindfulness and increase your productivity:

    • Make a clear decision at the beginning of your workday: Begin with a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish.
    • Slow and steady wins the race: While you become used to the practice of mindfulness, you may find you work a little slower at first, but it will pay off in the long run.
    • Remember WHY you are doing this: Keeping the why in mind helps motivate you to keep going.
    • Give your undivided attention to every task: Yes, even the mundane, everyday tasks such as opening the door, pouring that third cup of coffee, or even breathing while you wait for a meeting to start.

2. Make Use of Short, Mindful Exercises

Check Yes Or No - Eminent SEOOK, stop everything. We need 30 minutes of your time to go over some mindfulness exercises. What? No time? Yeah, me neither. But, that doesn’t mean we cannot be mindful, as these exercises can be as short as time allows. Even taking 1 minute to sit back, clear your mind and refocus your attention on your senses is technically a mindfulness exercise. That’s it? Yep, that’s it.

No closing your eyes, no sitting down: just 60 seconds realigning your thoughts. Be creative and find time throughout your day to do these exercises. Have a few more minutes? Fantastic!

Barely have time to breathe between calls? That’s fine, too. These short exercises are important. They help you rebalance your nervous system, reduce your fight-or-flight response, and reinvigorate the “wise” part of your brain so on the next call you will be calm, clear and focused on winning that new client.

3. One Thing at a Time

Pencil And Checklist - Eminent SEOOh, you think you are a master tasker. You can multitask like no other? Well, I hate to break it to you, but no one is really a multitasker. Our brains just aren’t made to do it, try as we might.

Multitasking is really just switching back and forth really fast, and in most cases, losing data in the process. Multitasking is inefficient, and yet we continue to do it. In fact, there are studies that have shown the more you multitask, the more addicted to it you become.

So let’s kick that habit and become a mindfulness bad ass. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Try a Time Journal

Track what you are accomplishing in a block of time, and note when you were single-tasking or multitasking. Add what you achieved in that time frame and how mindful you were.

Try Categorizing Tasks

Group together your tasks to accomplish in one block of time. Put emails, phone calls, errands and meetings together. Rather than jumping around, use the dedicated time.

Remove Distractions

Silence the phone, log off email, remove Facebook pop-ups, mute your work chat. Now, set a timer and work undistracted. At the end of that time, check what you need to – emails, chat, etc. Do what works for you to focus on the single task for the allotted time.

Remember Your Mindfulness Exercises

Between tasks, get up, stretch, take deep breaths, go for a walk or listen to a guided breathing exercise, such as this.

4. Use Reminders and Alerts

Bullhorn Notifications - Eminent SEOEver driven home and realized you don’t remember the trip? Your brain was on autopilot. This is a state of low energy, one which is almost dreamy – very unmindful. In fact, the word mindful means to remember. Unfortunately, most people who see the benefits of mindfulness and even practice it  forget to be mindful!

Autopilot means you are not 100 percent present in the moment, and that you are barely aware that the moment is in front of you. You can’t be creative, plan or respond properly if you are operating on low power. You just can’t do it, Captain. You don’t have the power!

So let’s give you back the power! Try these tips:

  • Use alarms on your phone: Do this even if your phone is on vibrate so that it’s not driving your coworkers crazy.
  • Use your calendar: Set appointments with yourself.
  • Add some art: Keep a small note or a picture on your desk to remind you to be mindful.

5. Slow Down to Speed Up

Desk Clock - Eminent SEOI’m sure you’ve see the movie “Cars.” Doc Hudson tells Lightning McQueen he has to turn left to go right. Well, I am going to tell you to slow down to speed up.

Here is another way to look at it: You can no longer sleep; you need to work, because sleeping isn’t working and there is too much to do. So, just stop sleeping. After a while, you just don’t function any more and you are no longer living in the moment, but in the hallucinations of your sleep-deprived mind.

So, you can see how you need sleep to work, and sleep is rest. Rest is good. Your brain needs breaks to regroup and become more efficient.

That panicky rush to hit a deadline leads to mistakes, poor decisions and wasted energy. So, stop. Breathe deeply. Now, focus on listening. Walk, don’t run. And take your time to be mindful.

6. Stress is Your Friend … Really!

Stressing Out Wired - Eminent SEOIf you don’t think it is, you’d better change your mind! Researchers found that individuals with high stress who believed that stress was good for them had some of the lowest mortality rates. This is opposed to their stressed-out counterparts who believed stress would be the death of them – who also had the highest chance of dying. It’s what you put out into the universe!

So, if you are part of the second group, you should be going, “Holy cow, I gotta change my ways!” Mindfulness can help you change your views. When you encounter a stressful situation at work, take a moment to reflect on your reaction, your heart rate, your blood pressure, your attitude.

Having your pulse increase increases the oxygen in your blood, and gears you up for the challenge ahead. Treat it more like getting ready for an Ironman Challenge rather than the Dread Pirate Roberts. You aren’t going to your death: You are rising to the challenge and you will come out on top.

This change of view can LITERALLY add years to your life and improve your productivity in the workplace.

7. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Businessman On The Clock - Eminent SEOHuman nature is not all unicorns and rainbows. We tend to dwell on the negative, the things going wrong. Repeatedly focusing on this will eventually cause you to develop a negative and unbalanced way of thinking.

To counter this, you must develop an attitude of gratitude. Find your silver lining, however small it may be. This will lead to more silver linings, which will give way to silver clouds and then blue skies. To get there, practicing mindfulness in all aspects of life and work helps improve your resilience to the downward spiral that is negativity.

Not happy at work? Find something to be thankful for – maybe your paycheck. It may not be the paycheck you would like, but it’s better than no check. And, I am sure you like at least one person there, one person who makes you smile. If nothing else, the job gives you insight into what you are looking for in a career – things you want and don’t want. So, be grateful for the experiences and lessons the job teaches.

8. More Humble, Less Grumble

Heart In Hand - Eminent SEOHumility comes from the Latin term humilis, meaning grounded. Please don’t go around tooting your own horn over and over. You did it, congratulations. People who make the most noise grabbing our attention is what society seems to live for, but in reality, a humble person is way more attractive.

Don’t confuse humility with meekness or timidity. They are in no way the same thing. To be humble doesn’t mean that you see yourself as inferior, but rather you are aware of your natural dependence and your equity in those around you.

Humility and mindfulness work very closely together. You can even say they are intimate. Mindfulness is accepting who you are and being open to listening and learning from those around you. You are grateful for them and the lessons they share. And someone who is grateful for others is also naturally humble.

Need a little humility in your life? Try these:

  • Practice your mindful exercises.
  • Spend a few minutes every day thanking those who have helped you – even if it is silent, in your heart or prayer.
  • Show appreciation: Say thank you!
  • Value other people’s opinions.

9. Like the Serenity Prayer, Accept What You Cannot Change

No Change - Eminent SEOThe core belief of mindfulness is to be present in the moment. If you cannot accept yourself as you are right now, then you have some work to do. Acceptance is the driving force behind mindfulness. It doesn’t mean resignation or giving up. You can change. Everything can change. But, right now, accept what is.

At work, if you missed a deadline, accept it. It came and went, and you weren’t ready. As soon as you accept that, you can come to a solution, talk to the team, learn from the mistake and move on. Acceptance leads to change.

Personal acceptance is infinitely more powerful. Embrace your shortcomings, weaknesses, strong points, aspects you do and don’t admire: They make you who you are. This acceptance will lead to confidence, clarity and joy. No longer will you be stuck with energy draining self-criticism, but you will have set the stage for greater peace of mind, productivity and mindful moments.

10. Think “Growth” in Everything

Rising Bar Chart - Eminent SEOA growth mindset changes the game from “this is all I got” to “I can do more.” People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their intelligence and talents are stuck – never able to change. Meanwhile, people with a growth mindset believe that they can improve these qualities with effort. These people thrive on learning and trying new things, and they usually have success in the workplace because of this.

Mindfulness is about developing a growth mindset. It’s about giving full attention to the moment right now – with no judgments – and being open to new possibilities. Your new mindfulness outlook will make receiving negative reviews easier: You will see them as an opportunity to grow, instead of as an attack. You will be willing to take on new responsibilities and challenges because you will be curious to see how you can handle it all.

Mindfulness in the Workplace Can Bring About a New You

Through this mindfulness journey, you will discover new things about yourself, your work and your attitude. Take baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will you master mindfulness in one go.

Want to Learn More Tips on Boosting Productivity at Work Through Mindfulness?

Read Our Previous Blog Post on Mindfulness in the Workplace:
More Mindfulness Tips

GIF Images Are Clever Tools in the Right Marketer’s Hands

Beginners Guide To GIF Images In Marketing - Eminent SEO

A Graphics Interchange Format image, better known as a GIF, consists of picture files compressed to decrease transfer rate. GIFs possess several pictures in one file to create an animated effect. GIFs are prevalent in modern day cyberspace because the images are quick to download and the animations are often entertaining. For marketers, animated GIFs can be incredibly useful for improving engagement online.

We’re not here to settle the GIF pronunciation debate: Does it sound like gift without the “t,” or should it be pronounced like the peanut butter brand Jif? Instead, we want to offer you a rundown of the types of GIFs available, how you can make your own, and the legal considerations involved in GIF sharing.

Prevalence of GIFs in Social Media

Although GIFs can be used in blog posts (such as this one) and in website content, people primarily think of these animated images in the context of social media conversations. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many GIFs are posted to different social media platforms, according to the New York Times:

  • Tumblr: An average of 23 million GIFs posted every day
  • Facebook Messenger: Roughly 5 million GIFS sent between users every day
  • Slack: More than 2 million GIFs sent between users each month
  • Twitter: More than 100 million GIFs shared in 2015

The Different Types of GIFs

Not all GIFs are created equal. Before you go attaching a GIF on a social media post or your website, it’s best to know the different types of GIF images and to make sure you’re using the right one for the right situation.

1. The Replay GIF

David Tyree Giants Super Bowl CatchThere was a time not too long ago when sports fans had only a couple  of opportunities to watch a replay of their favorite touchdown catch or slam dunk. It was either shortly after the play occurred via instant replay, or later during ESPN highlights. If you missed those windows of opportunity, your last option would have been hoping someone recorded it on VHS.

In the age of YouTube, those days are gone. GIFs, however, let fans replay highlights in a condensed format. The replay GIF changes the game by continuously looping virtually any notable footage – from last night’s game winning field goal to even a memorable scene from your favorite movie.

On Twitter, the official accounts for the NFL and NBA were recently using a high volume of Vine videos for replays. But with Vine supposedly on its way out the door, the NFL and NBA are slowly turning to GIFs and native Twitter video to highlight must-see moments.

Replay GIFs are not limited to entertainment. This style of GIFs can be helpful for the marketer who wants to share current company news or connect a current event to their business.

2. The Reaction GIF

Chris Pratt Andy Parks RecreationEmotions are studied on replay with the reaction GIF, which is arguably the most popular style on social media. Film and TV are the industries most responsible for content you’ll see in most reaction GIFs. Outside of Hollywood, reaction GIFs serve marketing industries by replacing textual replies with animations. For example, a creative GIF could be used as a social media reply.

Reaction GIFs are typically used to enhance whatever comment a user is making online. These looping images express whichever emotion the user is feeling or trying to convey at the time. No matter the emotion, reaction GIFs typically elicit a laugh out of the viewer, especially if the image is used in a clever way in reaction to a particular topic.

3. The Cinemagraph

Chicago Traffic CinemagraphThe cinemagraph is the black-tie affair GIF. More formal than its GIF relatives, the cinemagraph GIF is a still shot-animation hybrid. The viewer of this GIF doesn’t experience one event in a loop, but one event continuously progressing through time. In a cinemagraph, one element of the image is in motion while the rest stay still.

Because cinemagraph GIFs have a limited number of moving parts in the image, the viewer is left with a tranquil feeling. Travel and fashion companies gravitate toward the cinemagraph GIF because of its professional appearance and quiet tone. The visual benefits and complex consistency of the cinemagraph GIF demand advanced editing skills and usually begin with footage captured by a camera on a tripod.

4. Technical GIFs

Sea Level Pressure United StatesBrowsing through the internet for useful marketing data is no longer a painful chore thanks to technical GIFs. Technical GIFs transform boring figures into engaging content. These types of GIFs are especially useful for marketers who want to include statistics, diagrams or graphs for product summaries.

Technical GIFs are interactive, as opposed to a black-and-white graph on a PowerPoint slide. Video marketing combined with a technical GIF creates an even deeper animation experience.

5. The Perfect-Loop GIF

Max Monster Rainbow Loop - Eminent SEOWhereas the cinemagraph GIF is still and serene, the perfect-loop GIF is active and busy. This GIF consists of a seamlessly looped camcorder recording of an event. The final frame of the shot leads back to the initial frame without missing a beat. Even though the viewer relives the same 7-or-so seconds over and over, he or she can lose track of time due to the seamlessness of the GIF.

The perfect-loop GIF can be used to a company’s advantage. Since the loop is inherently nonstop, it can be used to market non-stop service. It can also be used to advertise a customer demonstration’s of a successful product.

How You Can Make GIFs Yourself

Creating a GIF doesn’t take a background in computer science, IT or engineering – nor is it limited to tech-savvy people. For example, if there’s a YouTube clip for which you can’t find a corresponding GIF, there’s an easy way to to turn that video into a looping image. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a YouTube clip to make a GIF out of.
  2. Type “gif” before the “youtube” portion of the URL. Press enter. This will transfer you to gifyoutube.com. You can use your originally selected YouTube video to make a new GIF.
  3. Pick the start and stop times and add a GIF title.
  4. Click “create GIF.”
  5. A preview of the GIF will appear. If pleased with the preview, use the new URL to share across the internet. If displeased with the preview, click “go back.”

If the looping image you’d like to create doesn’t have anything to do with YouTube, you can try one of these GIF-making online tools and see which one you find easiest to use:

  • Giphy Create Tool
  • GIFS.com
  • ScreenToGIF (lets you record a designated area of your computer screen)
  • RecordIT (similar function as ScreenToGIF)
  • GIF Toaster
  • GifBoom or GIF Me (for turning phone videos into GIFs)

And, of course, if you have reasonable skills in the Photoshop department, you can use that software to make a GIF out of original artwork, a series of still images, or any video file you’d like to upload into the program. Here’s Adobe’s guide on how to make GIF images with Photoshop.

Sharing GIFs: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind

Millions Of GIFs Posted To Slack Tumblr Facebook Messenger - ESEO

Legally, individual users are given a lot of slack when it comes to GIF creation and usage. Businesses, on the other hand, are not.

Companies must be aware of the legal restrictions of GIFs. Clashes over a GIF’s origin are judged according the doctrine of fair use. This doctrine allows copyrighted material to be edited and used for alternative purposes if the copy is derived from the original and does not compete financially for copyrighting rights.

The four factors considered in the doctrine of fair use for GIFs include:

  1. The intent of the GIF: Is it for profit or not for profit?
  2. The content of the GIF.
  3. The ratio of GIF used to copyright material.
  4. How the GIF would value the potential audience.

GIFs of well-known people – namely actors, celebrities and athletes – have strict publishing guidelines. Businesses intending to post a GIF of a celebrity should gain permission from everyone in the clip, the copyright owner, and the creator of the GIF.

If a business wishes to use an athletic GIF to show a game highlight or replay, there are high hurdles to clear. The MLB and NFL are fairly strict with their GIF policies. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA do not allow GIFs at all. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects social media sites that post GIFs if a reporting structure is in place to eliminate content suspected of copyright violation.

For marketing companies, it’s best to follow these GIF-sharing suggestions:

  1. Obtain a written release. Contact the copyright owner and actors/celebrities present in the GIF for permission to share the GIF.
  2. Provide hyperlinks. Content shared by another should have a link to the original site. This protects the company using an unoriginal GIF and places the original site with the liability responsibility. Give recognition to the creator.
  3. Make your own GIFs. Creating a GIF bypasses the legal trouble. Instead of asking others for permission and risking legal ramifications, you won’t have to ask anyone permission to create your original GIF, and you won’t be under the threat of impending legal action.

We’re not saying you can’t use existing GIFs that involve movie scenes, sports footage, etc., but you’ll run the risk of legal action if you use one of these images with your business’s name behind it, especially if you stand to profit off anything associated with that particular image. Therefore, we advise being prudent with what type of GIF image you plan to use as well as the platform on which you will use it.

GIF Images Have Staying Power on the Web

GIF Laptop Collage - Eminent SEOGIF images can be profoundly useful when used correctly. Clever use of these animations can undoubtedly help a business reach and advance its goals. These images also add a smile and a laugh to a monotonous work day.

The graphics interchange format has actually been available since the 1980s, and tech experts have continually predicted that the format will lose favor on the web soon. Yet, thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms, GIFs have only seemed to become more popular and ubiquitous in recent years.

With so many GIFs circulating the web and even making their way into other mediums, such as text messages, these looping images have been embraced as a new way to communicate. What’s your favorite particular GIF image or style of GIF?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

How to Survive in the Current Organic Search Results Landscape

Organic Search Results Landscape - Eminent SEO

Internet search is a field in constant motion, with Google constantly shifting and updating the landscape to provide a more sophisticated product. One significant recent amendment to the search goliath is its update to local listings and how these appear to users on the results pages. These changes, while seemingly minute, have powerful implications when it comes to how your business is represented.

Last year, Google rolled out a new local search format worldwide. The verdict is still out on whether it will be better for businesses or for consumers – or neither. It’s all so confusing! No need to fret: Here are a few changes we can be sure of:

Organic Still Crushes

Organic Results Keep Your Eye On The Ball - Eminent SEOThe SEO firm Nifty recently performed five different search studies of both desktop and mobile platforms with the new local listing setup implemented by Google. Across all studies, organic search results performed the best, receiving nearly 50 percent of all click throughs. Compare this to average click-through rates of 25 and 24 percent for paid ads and local packs, respectively.

If you caught our previous post, it should come as no surprise that it pays off for businesses to aim for high organic rankings rather than placing too much focus on paid search engine spots and other channels, such as social media.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Organic results remain the No. 1 way search users are likely to click through to your website. It makes sense, because when someone searches, “I’m looking for [service] in [location],” a keyword search matching the words they type seems to fulfill their search query much better than paid ads or local results, which are essentially suggestions from Google.

Nifty took the results of its study and implemented an SEO strategy that “moved away from a laser focus on maps and really focused on growing organic traffic for phrases that show map results and phrases that don’t.” Overall, the company claims to have had great increases of traffic across all clients since the shift.

Decrease in the Local Pack

Google’s local pack in the search results used to feature seven entries. Now, it’s down to three, although the resource is more visual than it used to be.

What does this mean? For starters, featuring fewer local businesses means that your business could receive less visibility. A keyword search for “plumbers in San Francisco” will yield paid advertisements, local listings and organic search results. Of the local results, your business may show up, or it may not.

The factors contributing to when and how your business show up include the internet provider of a given user and his or her relative location. For example, two people could search the exact same keywords next door to one another and receive two completely different sets of local results in their SERP (search engine results page).

Some have speculated that the new layout is simply a way to streamline the user experience, while others have argued that it’s foreshadowing a larger Google plan to monetize local packs. Searching for different keywords will yield an even wider variety of local listings.

How to Adjust to the New Organic Search Results Landscape

Positive Reviews On Yelp And Google - Eminent SEOSo, how can you keep your business and your website relevant given all the changes to Google’s search layout? Here are a couple of good places to start:

Fill Out Your Google My Business Page Properly

Even though a link to your Google My Business page is no longer available for searchers, you can still claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t yet.

Be sure to fill out the important details on your GMB page:

  • Add a unique, properly formatted description that includes links.
  • Choose the correct categories for your business.
  • Upload as many hi-resolution photos as possible.
  • Add a local phone number to your listing.

Earn Positive Reviews Within Google Maps

Even though they’re no longer called Google+ Reviews, the reviews on your Google My Business page are still used for local pack snippets. Users generally leave reviews by finding your location in Google Maps and then clicking on “Write a review.”

Your business card will not only include your overall review rating, but your negative reviews as well. This is especially crucial for businesses in the hospitality industry to pay attention to. Why? Because Google has added an option to filter searches to include only businesses above a certain rating, such as four stars or higher.

Pay Attention to Opening and Closing Hours

Since each local listing’s snippet now includes the business’s working hours, make sure to include correct opening hours on your Google My Business page.

Keep Earning Reviews Elsewhere

Business reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so you need to spend some time acquiring them. And these are not only Google reviews, but also reviews on your Yelp page and other local directory pages.

Optimize Your Storefront

At the end of the day, your spot on a search engine results page is your storefront. Getting people to see your storefront was already tough, but Google continues to keep raising the stakes.

You want to do everything in your power to get users to walk through your door. Are you getting seen? How does it look when users see you? Get started on finding out the answers to those two questions.

If you’re looking for some help on optimizing your website for search engines as well as filling out your Google My Business page properly, give Eminent SEO a try. We have several new marketing packages available to help your company rise to prominence on many fronts. Just call us today to learn more about our new offerings: 800.871.4130.

 

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

Fundamentals of Logo Design: 6 Questions to Ask When Designing a Company Logo

This entry was posted in Branding and tagged , , on by .

6 Questions To Ask Designing A Company Logo - Eminent SEOWhen starting a business, you want your logo to be legendary, memorable and to make a statement. You want it to create a buzz and help your brand become a household name.

All this is possible if you put in the time and effort as well as ask the right questions before, during and after the design phase. Here are some questions to get you started and push you in the right direction to create the perfect logo for your business.

What Is My Mission?

Any business that has the intent to be successful will first come up with a mission statement – the “why.” Company leaders will begin to refine the goal and the intention of the business, who it is looking to target, and why the business even exists.

It is imperative to revisit your company’s mission when designing a logo. Your logo should not only be memorable, but it should also convey the reason your business exists in the first place. Before you go to any graphic designer, whether in house or outsourced, you must go back to the basics and remind yourself “why” and make sure your mission is crystal clear.

What Type of Logo Do I Want?

There are a few different styles you can approach when your logo is in design. Whatever type you choose, you’ll want to make sure it reflects the personality of your business and is memorable to your audience.

Here are four main styles of logos that could help your company stand out:

1. Watermarks

Think Google, Coca-Cola or Absolut Vodka: All three logos are standalone lettering of the company’s name. All have distinctive lettering, color and graphics to represent the brand. You can probably recall each logo as you are reading this right now. In other cases, an abbreviation of a company’s name can work for this style of logo, too.

2. Letterform

Letterform logos are ones that use one or more letters that stand alone as a symbol of the brand. Some of the most famous letterform marks are McDonalds, Chanel and Honda.

3. Pictorial

Also known as iconic marks, pictorial marks are a personification of the brand. Think about it: You know where someone got their coffee from when you see a green Siren with a crown, or what type of computer a stranger is using when you see an apple on the back, and you know what channel you’re watching when you see the iconic peacock. Starbucks, Apple and NBC have all mastered the art of the pictorial.

4. Abstract

Swoosh. What comes to mind? Nike, of course! This is probably the most successful abstract logo out there. Nike has built such a strong visual identification that it is easily recognized around the world. Other prominent abstract designs include logos representing Chase Bank and Sprint.

Which Color(s) Best Represents My Brand?

Become A Know It All Color Psychology In Logos - Eminent SEOA bit of psychology goes into creating the perfect logo for your business. Human beings have a subconscious recognition of colors and their meaning. If you want to appeal to the senses, you must choose the right color that will mesh with a certain neuro-association of your potential customer.

For example, the color red is associated with:

  • Energy
  • Danger
  • Determination
  • Strength

Yellow represents:

  • Happiness
  • Joy
  • Cheerfulness.

This might be a time to refer back to your corporate mission and decide what exactly you want your customers to feel or take away when they see your logo.

In considering the color(s) of your design, take shape into account as well – whatever best represents your brand and works in tandem with the colors. Brand logos should produce emotion and communicate your message simultaneously.

How Much Is This Going to Cost Me?

There is a reason why cost was not one of the first questions listed to ask. The reason is that designing a logo isn’t a cut-and-dry process, and there are many questions and steps involved from both the clients’ end as well as the designer’s. Of course, you want to get it right the first time. This is not to say that you will never change your logo, but you should want to get it as perfect as you can the first time around so that as time goes on, you are only making minor tweaks.

If you choose to go with a professional design company, you will spend anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. Instead of one designer working on your project, you will have the benefit of multiple designers working with and for you, which means more creativity and ideas to bring your vision to life.

Don’t Let the Price Tag Discourage You!

If those price figures gave you a mild heart attack, don’t fret. There are options to cut your costs, especially if you are a small business with a small budget. Once you narrow down your options and get a bit more specific with what you want, you can take your ideas to a freelance designer or smaller company that can give you a more accurate quote for your budget.

Expect to pay a minimum of $250, even if you go with the more affordable designer. This is, of course, the lower end of the spectrum and would be for a simple design with two options and about two rounds of revisions. If your design is more complex and requires more detail, you should expect to pay a minimum of $400.

A good designer will include extra services like multiple design options for all merchandise, letterheads, business cards, etc. They will also allow as many revisions as needed to get the job done.

How Long Will This Process Take, and Is It Feasible with My Budget?

When considering cost, you must also be realistic about your budget. If you are spending every last cent of your logo budget on this project, it may be a good idea to hold off until you have more money.

What you pay a designer should be comparable to the time spent on the project. This means that clear communication is key. The more clearly you communicate your vision, the easier it will be to nail it the first go-round. Logo design projects can get extremely difficult when the client and designer have different interpretations of what the design should look like.

Remember, time is money. You certainly don’t want to get stuck with a design you don’t like as well as no money to have it corrected. You reap what you sow. Invest in your business first to enjoy the reward later.

Did I Cover All My Bases?

Many new small business owners make the mistake of not covering all of their bases and researching their competition. Originality matched with your key points and core values are what’s going to make your logo stand out from your competitors. Do your research!

It is imperative that you research the logos of other businesses, especially your competitors, to make sure that yours isn’t the least bit the same. You’ll want to avoid confusing your audience and, even worse, throwing away sales to your competition.

Also, it is wise to take time and consider every space, place, nook and cranny your logo could possibly appear. This could mean:

  • T-shirts
  • Letterheads
  • Pens
  • Windows
  • Billboards
  • Apps
  • Your website
  • Directories
  • Social media
  • Vehicles
  • Cellphone cases
  • Etc.

A photo posted by Eminent SEO (@eminentseo) on

It all depends on what works best for your industry, but you’ll want to consider all possibilities ahead of time. Your logo should translate across multiple avenues of marketing and communicate the same message.

Final Thoughts on Designing a Company Logo

At the end of the day, you want your employees and other to be proud to don your brand. You want your message to be strong and hope that it seeps into the subconscious of all those it comes in contact with. You want to become a household name and make a statement without saying a word.

Designing the perfect logo for your business can be a daunting task and it’s not for the faintest of hearts. Remaining close to your mission and your core values and remembering the “why” is what will help you keep a laser-like focus during the process. Authenticity and transparency are key if you want to create the trust needed to support your brand, so choose wisely.

Need a logo from scratch? Or an update of your current graphic? Eminent SEO can help. We can evaluate your current logo in comparison to your competition and then work closely with you produce a fresh, unique and relevant design. Just call 800.871.4130 to get started, or learn more about our Business Branding Services here.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Stand Out in the Job Search Process

This entry was posted in Workplace and tagged , , , , on by .

Social Media Can Help In Job Search Process - Eminent SEOWe live in an era of convenience where we have the ability to access information with the click of a button in a fraction of a second. Technology has allowed us to accomplish tasks and reach out to people we never thought was possible even 20 years ago.

Social media, in particular, is the beast that holds much power in our success or demise. It can single-handedly crumble a person’s reputation with a single tweet, or catapult a career with the sharing of a 20-second video. The bottom line is the user must navigate with savvy and caution.

Searching for the job you want can be exhausting. The whole process is time-consuming and impersonal, and it can difficult to show your full range of qualifications. Well, we’ve come up 10 ways you should leverage social media to stand out from the pack and look more desirable to potential employers while you’re in the job search phase.

1. Get On Board!

LinkedIn Most Popular Job Search Social Media - Eminent SEOLet’s start at the very beginning. If you do not have social media accounts and you are not close to retirement, get at least one now! LinkedIn is the most popular job search site, where an estimated 95 percent of recruiters search for candidates, and 79 percent of all employers hire based on contacts and referrals from this network.

Employers also look to social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get a more personal take on a candidate and make sure that they fit in with the culture of their company. They also look at candidates’ social profiles to gauge who might possess the type of character traits needed to thrive and be an asset for their team.

2. Maintain Your Account

Although keeping up with your social media accounts can be a job in itself, you need to do it! Don’t forget: You reap what you sow. You should set up a strong profile and use keywords that highlight skills that potential employers may search for.  As you develop new skills or complete certifications, let them know!

Potential employers want to see that you’re keep active on your profiles, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed trying to show your activity every single day on every single site. Just a little something every few days goes a long way.

3. Become a Social Butterfly

Like Share Comment Tweet Social Media - Eminent SEOIf you’ve spent any time on social media, you know how awkward it is to get a random “like” from someone you completely forgot you have a connection with. You know, the “creeper” who looks to see what everyone else is doing but never engages? Don’t be that guy! It’s social media, so don’t forget to be social!

Remember, you have a choice of what to entertain and engage in, so choose wisely. You don’t have to put your entire personal life out there just to be seen. In fact, that disposition has the potential to deter potential employers and only serves as a distraction. Instead, it’s best to like, share, comment, tweet and retweet relevant information in your field and follow sites that interest you professionally.

Get used to putting your name out there. The more you get your name in front of businesses, the more it’ll stick and show them that you are relevant and up to speed in the industry.

4. Use Discretion

As tempted as you may be to make a comment about certain political candidates or fire back at an internet troll, it’s usually in your best interest to refrain. By all means, be authentic, but if you desire to use social media as an avenue for potential employment, you must remember that once it’s out there, it stays out there. Photos, comments and posts can come back to haunt you with a vengeance, even if you delete them, so using the utmost discretion from the get-go will only help your cause.

Also, it’s important to be mindful of the persona you illustrate online. You may be someone who can compartmentalize your life and have a “work hard, play harder” mentality, but if “play” means posting pictures of you and your buddies passed out after a few rounds of beer pong, or you showing off your new bikini in a dressing room, you should just pass. Companies want someone who can represent them professionally at all times and not compromise their reputation. If you do post highly personal photos, you should keep your account private.

5. Make an Impact

You don’t have to filibuster your way through an interview to show that you have good ideas and can make an impact. Use your social media platform to gain followers by posting information that your audience will appreciate. Gaining followers will not only show employers that you have something to say and can influence the community, it will also give you the confidence to continue to make an impact, which can allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment.

6. Keep It Positive in the Job Search Process

It’s not easy being unemployed (or underemployed). It can take a toll on your self-confidence and your ability to land a new position, so why remind yourself of that?

You can rephrase your former employment status in your profile and avoid using the word “unemployed” and instead highlight what it is that you are looking for. Your profile will sound much more ambitious and will remind employers that they need you as much as you need them.

7. Read Between the Lines

Actually, employers are the ones that will read between the lines, so be sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Literally. Using the correct punctuation and grammar on your page and in your comments will show your potential employer how well you actually communicate.

Everyone loves to highlight their “excellent written and verbal communication skills” on a resume, then fail to proofread a comment left on a company Facebook page or description paragraph on their profile. If you say you are great communicator, do not pick and choose when to be great. Make sure to stay consistent with whom you describe yourself to be.

8. Get Endorsed

Ask For Recommendations Endorsements - Eminent SEOSince LinkedIn is one of the top job search engines, it is important to get endorsements from other professionals within the network. Your connections are allowed to endorse you, or legitimize your skill set. You can ask former bosses or coworkers to write recommendations for you, and you can certainly return the favor.

Creating several symbiotic professional relationships online can only help you. The more high-quality references you can get, the better. These endorsements show employers that you’re not the only one that thinks you’re great, because there are others in your field that give you a stamp of approval.

9. Keep It Simple

We know … you have so many awesome qualities it’s hard to narrow it down. But you have to. Simplicity is key in a great professional social media page. Try to narrow down your descriptors to what you want employers to know.

You may think you are offering a way to get to know you better, but all the extra words only serve as a distraction. Get down to the essentials and stick with it. There will be plenty of other ways for potential employers to get to know you.

10. Dress for Success

This seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall short with this one. Now, it’s not necessary to wear a tuxedo or red carpet dress in every photo, but your attire should lean toward the conservative, business casual side.

Social media has become a place of validation in our society, and many users look for approval from others in the looks department. Professionally, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Again, be authentic and be yourself, but if ever in doubt, err on the side of caution.

The Payoff

If leveraged correctly, social media has the power to distinguish you from your competition without having to even step foot outside of your home. You can make yourself the most sought after in your field, or you can get lost in the shuffle of mediocrity: The choice is yours.

If social media overwhelms you, it’s OK. You don’t have to do it all. Simply pick whichever social site works for you and stick with it. Something is better than nothing, and as with almost anything else, you get out what you put in.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

How to Reduce Stress and Boost Productivity in the Workplace

Happy Employees Are Productive Employees

Stress in the workplace is unavoidable. However, you don’t have to let it get the best of you. Instead, take control of it and watch your productivity soar. Find ways to create peace of mind and focus before, during and after each work day. You will find that not only will your work day become more enjoyable, but the balance of your life outside of work will also reap the benefits.

How To Reduce Stress Boost Productivity At Work - Eminent SEO

Not Another Meeting

Before you go into another “meeting about meetings,” ask yourself two things:

  1. What do I want to get out of this meeting?
  2. What do I want to contribute to it?

Having clear goals for yourself will help you stay on track and guide your colleagues down the path of achieving the original goal of the meeting. This keeps them short and sweet, so they don’t take up time needed for other projects.

Don’t Get Stuck at Your Desk

We sit far too long from the ride to work, to our desk, back to the car, to the couch … maybe you’ve squeezed in a short walk or a trip to the gym. Therefore, it helps to set aside time for taking mindful walks every day that will increase brain functionality and spark creativity.

Try taking a walk for 10 minutes or turn it in to a “walk and talk” meeting. Keep the meeting to no more than three people. The change of scenery and fresh air will help the creative juices flow.

The best time to schedule these walks is around 2 or 3pm when everyone’s energy levels are dropping. This quick burst of activity will be the perfect pick-me-up to finish out your day.

Check Your Posture

Check Your PostureAt least three times a day, take notice of how you are sitting at your desk.  Are you slumped over your desk? Are both feet on the floor? Or do you tend to sit on one foot? Make adjustments to how you sit at your desk to reduce neck pain, eye strain and even backaches.

Try sitting on a ball or switch to a standing desk. At minimum, you should stand for five minutes for every hour you sit to boost your energy and productivity, as well as lower your risk for disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

Stay Organized

Before you leave write, down three “must-do’s” for the next day. I am sure your inbox is overflowing with things that need to be done yesterday – but narrow the field down to three items. When you come in next day, you will already know exactly what you need to focus on without having to stare blankly at the ever-growing count of unread emails in your inbox.

Clear Your Mind – Not Just Your Inbox

Clear Your Mind – Not Just Your Inbox

Take two minutes for some mindful meditation. Close your eyes, sit relaxed with both feet on the floor and focus on your breathing – in through your nose (notice how cool the air is) and out through your mouth – and remember: “At this moment, my job is to experience THIS moment as fully as I can. Everything else can wait.”

Yes, the client can wait for two minutes for that email response.

Lunch Break

Often times, we have our nose to the grindstone, so focused on work that we forget about essentials like food and water. Set a reminder or a timer to remind you to take those breaks and nourish your body and mind. Be mindful when you do eat: Rate your hunger level on a scale of 1-10 (1 = not hungry; 10 = ravenous). If you are over a 7, try drinking a glass of water. In many cases, our minds confuse hunger with thirst. When you have completed the meal, rate your hunger again and ask yourself:

  • Did I over do it?
  • Did I savor the meal?
  • Did the food get tastier with each bite?
  • Do I remember the taste?

Don’t forget to savor your drinks as well. Pick one drink a day to savor that isn’t water – maybe a soda or latte or an herbal tea. Then ask yourself:

  • Was it satisfying?
  • Did it taste good?
  • Did it leave me thirsty?
  • Am I now craving sugar?
  • Why did I chose that drink?

To Be or Not To Be: That is Your Question

To Be or Not To Be: That is Your Question

Start a “to-be” list. Focus on who you WANT to be: loving, present, calm, generous, creative, grateful, etc. Choose one quality a day to focus on and then ask yourself:

  • What is in my life that cultivates these qualities?
  • What activities bring me joy?
  • What makes me happy to be alive?

The activity doesn’t have to be work-related. It could be gardening, cooking or baking, playing sports or even listening to music. The goal is to identify what brings you joy and how to incorporate it more into your life both in and out of the workplace. Enjoy gardening? Add a plant to your desk. Enjoy cooking? Pack yourself an amazing lunch to look forward to.

Each morning, set an intention to focus on one quality from your list. Close your eyes and create the feeling of what that quality will feel like. How you will feel. How others will feel.

And make sure to dedicate at least 30 minutes a week to doing something that you love. Take a class. Create a group. Put it in your calendar. Just do it.

Create An Attitude Of Gratitude - Eminent SEO

Create an Attitude of Gratitude

Begin a gratitude journal: List three things every day that you are thankful for, that went well today or both. This will shift your outlook from, “Is today over yet?” to, “Thank you for today”. Changing your perspective will help you look forward to workday ahead of you. Thus, it will help you focus and increase your overall productivity.

Remember not to just focus on your own gratitude – but to be thankful of those around you. Get into the practice of “random acts of kindness” to your co-workers. If you are headed out for break, offer to pick something up for them or invite them along. And never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.”

The Little Engine That Could

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

In the story of the Little Engine, those words became, “I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could.”

Pick an affirmation every day that inspires you and repeat it three times throughout the day. Write it on a Post-it note, jot it on the napkin in your lunch box or set a reminder on your phone – however you can get that affirmation in front of your eyes again and again.

Spruce Up Your Space

Add items to your space that give you joy – pictures of family and friends, trinkets, postcards of travel experiences from the past and yet to be done. If you don’t like clutter on your desk, change out your desktop wallpaper and change your phone or tablet wallpaper too. Swap out your mouse pad or get pens that write in your favorite color. Keep your favorite mug at the office.

Life creates its own stress. The trick is learning how to redirect the bad stress into positive vibes and break through the roadblocks in our way.

Only I Will Remain Meditation Poem - Eminent SEO

Google’s Message Is Clear: Review and Clean Up Your Website’s Outbound Links

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , on by .

Sweep Bad Outbound Links Under Rug - Eminent SEO

Earlier this month, several reports stated that Google started issuing a specific warning to various webmasters. The message hit at one miscue: “unnatural” outbound links.

Google reportedly first started sending this message out on Saturday, April 9, via email and Google Search Console. While it probably took some webmasters aback, others likely knew they had it coming.

In either scenario, the webmaster is going to have to make some clear changes before submitting a “reconsideration request” to Google in order to get his or her rankings back.

Let’s look further at the heart of the issue plus what the best practices are when it comes to outbound linking.

What the Outbound Link Warning Said

Google warned certain webmasters that it detected a “pattern” of outbound links that is “either unnatural or irrelevant,” violating the search engine’s Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, the search engine applied a “manual spam action” to the website in question.

Google added that the unnatural links it detected appear to be trying to “artificially boost” other sites’ search engine rankings. Basically, to Google, it looked like the sites that were flagged were trying to pass so-called link juice to other websites, among other suspicious practices.

How Webmasters Were Directed to Fix It

Google’s stern warning about outbound links was essentially a penalty upon the sites that were flagged. Receiving a penalty either hurts a website’s search rankings or kills them altogether. The penalty won’t be lifted until Google does a manual review of the site.

For the websites that received this latest warning, the webmasters behind them were directed to either manually remove the links in question or add “nofollow” tags to each one. The piece of code for asking search engine crawlers to not follow a link, if you’re wondering, is rel=”nofollow”. Once the webmaster has sufficiently addressed the outbound linking issue, Google advised sending a reconsideration request.

What Is an Outbound Link?

Just to be clear about what an outbound link is, it’s any clickable link that takes the user to an external website, which is why it’s also called an external link.

In today’s SEO climate, it’s recommended to be very judicious about how frequently you include an outbound link on your website. Any link (internal or external) that you don’t add “nofollow” to will be taken into account by search engine crawlers, making it a “dofollow” link, effectively.

If you’re linking to a low-quality website, a dofollow link could actually hurt your SEO value. Also, too many links (whether internal or external) could lower the search rankings potential of that particular webpage. Therefore, it’s best to use nofollow tags every so often when you’ve got a webpage with an abundance of links and/or if you’re linking to sites with low domain authority.

When Google issues a manual spam action on a website, it can apply to either a site-wide match or a partial match. A site-wide match means Google detected an issue on every page of a website, likely in a sidebar, the header or the footer. A partial match means the issue applied to just a single webpage or a certain set of pages on the site in question.

How Certain Websites Ran into This Issue

For quite some time, a common website practice was to link to several other websites either through text or images placed on a sidebar or in the footer of a page. Granted, this was never an SEO best practice, but some webmasters did this either as a partnership with other websites or because they simply liked those sites and wanted to give a subtle shout-out to them.

These type of links could often be paid for as kind of a one-way means of drawing some SEO power from an authoritative website. In other cases, the two sites linked to each other in a type of affiliate marketing scheme.

Today, this practice is going by the wayside, and Google may have just delivered it its final blow with the recent penalization of sites with unnatural outbound links. For a good example, let’s look at the website behind the screenshot that seemingly every media site is featuring when reporting on Google’s outbound link warning: SammiTheBeautyBuff.com.

Sammi The Beauty Buff Homepage - ESEO

While nothing looks amiss when you first land on the homepage, if you scroll just a little ways down, you’ll see a right sidebar that features several logos that link to other websites – all under a section called “Memberships.” Inside each review, there are also several product links (or that may have been for undisclosed free samples – but more on that point later). At first glance, this area may be what earned the website a penalty from Google.

Sammi The Beauty Buff Membership Links - ESEO

The webmaster of this beauty products blog must have gotten the message, because if you dig into the source code of the homepage, these are all nofollow links. If they weren’t before, they are now.

Say Goodbye to Blogrolls

If you used WordPress to create a personal blog in the past, you were practically encouraged to add a blogroll to your site. Also known as a links menu, a blogroll is a way to list other blogs and sites you find valuable or that are relevant to your specific blog. The blogroll can be easily added using a widget in WordPress, and it will show up in the footer or sidebar of your blog or website, depending on the theme you use.

Here’s an example of a blogroll in somebody’s sidebar, without calling out the site that is using it:

Wordpress Blogroll Example - ESEO

WordPress itself still has a support page that talks all about the blogroll, but given the direction of Google’s search algorithm, it’s likely this feature is going to be de-emphasized or abandoned in the near future.

WordPress is far from the only content management system or website builder that features a blogroll option. But, no matter which content management system you use, a blogroll or links menu is a feature you’re going to want to ignore going forward – if you care at all about search rankings.

A More Recent Development: Penalties for Exchanging Links for Free Products

After Google started issuing outbound link warnings, the tech giant eventually clarified why it was handing out penalties. According to Search Engine Land, the penalty appeared to be targeting free product reviews. This is because companies that provide product reviewers free merchandise are often looking for a dofollow link from the reviewer’s website to theirs.

So, Google has effectively put the kibosh on this practice. Can product reviewers still receive free stuff and write about it on their blog or website? Certainly. Google just asks that they disclose when they receive free items and then nofollow any links to the company that provided the product. This explains why the aforementioned Sammi “The Beauty Buff” was called out by Google earlier this month.

If, in fact, only free product reviews were the target of Google’s recent penalties, then most of these penalties would likely be classified as partial matches. An individual product review is generally going to take up only one webpage, rather than resulting in a site-wide external link just for the free item(s) provided.

Did Google’s Recent Warning Apply to Inbound Links?

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land reported that he only saw a “few inbound link notification penalties” on the weekend when Google started warning certain webmasters of unnatural outbound links.

So, for the most part, websites weren’t getting penalized for having another site link to them, no matter how spammy or irrelevant the backlink appears to be. Instead, the sites hosting such a suspicious link are the ones that primarily landed on Google’s radar.

What to Do About Your Outbound Links

Even if you’re not a product reviewer, now is as good a time as any to review your website’s outbound links, since Google will certainly continue to target suspicious linking practices.

If your website has a static, site-wide sidebar, are there any external links featured? You can ask the same about the footer. It’s time to nofollow those links or contemplate if they even need to be there in the first place.

Other than those areas, you can also go through some of the individual pages of the site and the blog to see if there’s any area where someone happened to link to a plethora of external sites. You need to go in and nofollow most of those links, if they aren’t already, and consider if each and every link is even helpful for the user in the first place. If not, remove as necessary.

If your website has a partnership with another in the form of a dofollow site-wide link to theirs, tell them that current SEO best practices call for you to get rid of the link. Or, perhaps, you can compromise with them and turn it into a nofollow link – and maybe decrease the number of pages it shows up on.

Are ‘Nofollow’ Links Still Helpful?

Perhaps your site has scored a link on an authoritative website, but their webmaster wants to remove it in light of recent SEO events. See if they can just nofollow the link to your site instead.

Yes, the link juice goes away when someone adds a nofollow tag, but that doesn’t mean the link can’t still have value in a different way. If the hosting site draws tons and tons of visitors, some of them are eventually going to see and click the link to your domain, resulting in increased traffic for you. The number of clicks on your link per visitor is probably going to be pretty small, but it’s still better to give them that option than to not have it there at all, right?

But What if I’m Linking Back and Forth Between Several Interconnected Sites?

If you have a main website and a few microsites, or just several “sister” sites, it doesn’t hurt to feature links to all related sites in the footer of each one of the properties. Google is pretty savvy at understanding when sites are related. You don’t even have to nofollow the links in this case.

However, if we’re talking about dozens of websites, no matter how well they go together, you should avoid interlinking them, even with nofollow tags. In a 2014 Search Engine Watch article, Google engineer and video personality Matt Cutts was quoted as recommending only up to five links in the footer to other related websites. He added that if you operate 50 to 100 related websites and are thinking about interlinking them all, don’t do it – or, at best, only link to the four or five most relevant sister sites.

Internal and External Linking Strategies with Eminent SEO

Need help with evaluating which links to remove from your site and then actually getting it done? Eminent SEO can clean up not only your outbound linking strategy, but we can optimize your site’s internal linking strategy as well. We also can remove and disavow spammy or low-quality links that lead to your site, as well as help you recover from any search engine penalties you may have suffered.

We have been helping clients with their internal and outbound linking strategies for more than 11 years, and we’ve been updating our processes with every step of Google’s evolution. To learn more about optimizing your website with proper linking practices, contact Eminent SEO today at 800.871.4130.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

How to Find a Qualified Content Marketer to Add to Your Team

This entry was posted in Productivity and tagged , , on by .

Qualified Content Marketer - Eminent SEO

Effective content marketing can take your entire company to another level. It can spread awareness of your brand, as well as create a following that’s hooked on the material you release and eager to consume your future offerings.

Content marketing that is done well should lead indirectly to more sales for the company that produces it. However, many businesses are lagging behind when it comes to actualizing the power of this type of marketing.

According to a recent Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs survey, although 88 percent of the business-to-business companies that were surveyed said they use content marketing, only 30 percent of them considered their organization effective at it. Additionally, only 44 percent thought their company was clear on what a successful content marketing program looks like.

The same survey revealed that companies that excel the most at content marketing use an average of 42 percent of their total marketing budget on this particular strategy, which is much higher than the current norm. These proficient companies also use a higher number of content marketing tactics and social media platforms on average than businesses that are struggling with this discipline.

One of the most critical steps in boosting your company’s content marketing game is to find a competent and qualified content marketer. This means looking for someone who can bring more to the table than just copywriting competence. Hiring a qualified content marketer can be a time-intensive process, but it will be worth it if you find the right individual.

Before we get into how to find a qualified content marketer, let’s back up a bit and make sure we’re on the same page about what content marketing is.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing aims to educate or entertain consumers in hopes of retaining customers or attracting new ones. This type of content eschews a sales pitch and makes little-to-no mention of the company behind it. It also has the potential to change or enhance consumer behavior, according to the Content Marketing Institute. This material hasn’t always been free to the consumer, but as it has reared its head in the online world, it more commonly appears at no cost to the public – or even to its subscribers.

Content marketing was actually known as “branded content” for several years before marketers started to glom onto the newer term. What we now know as content marketing has existed since before the 20th century. Its origins are often traced to John Deere’s creation of “The Furrow” agricultural journal for consumers.

Other Non-Digital Examples of Content Marketing

Did you know soap opera got its name from the soap manufacturers such as Proctor & Gamble that used to exclusively sponsor this type of radio and television content?

Content marketing really started taking off in the 1980s, led by Hasbro and Marvel’s creation of a “G.I. Joe” comic book. LEGO launched what is now known as the “LEGO Club” magazine a few years after. These were indirect methods of trying to boost the sales of certain action figures and kids toys.

Other industries have followed suit, such as Red Bull launching “The Red Bulletin” magazine roughly 10 years ago. Meanwhile, beer manufacturer Leinenkugel’s has included a self-published newspaper in every 12-pack of its product for several years now.

There are countless other examples across almost every industry. For an example local to us here at Eminent SEO, the renowned “Arizona Highways” magazine is actually operated by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

What are the Main Channels for Content Marketing Distribution?

Mail Notification - Eminent SEOContent marketing online is generally cheaper to produce than past print- and TV-based material, and the barriers to entry are lower than they used to be. However, this content has to be released at a much faster rate than before. Online content marketing material almost always involves some amount of writing, but it goes well beyond just the company’s blog.

The most common digital content marketing channels include:

  • Social media
  • Blogs and other website articles
  • Videos
  • Email
  • White papers and eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Webinars, webcasts and podcasts
  • Online presentations, such as through SlideShare
  • Research reports

Many businesses that are committed to content marketing have also cited in-person events as an effective outlet for expanding their message.

According to the aforementioned Content Marketing Institute-MarketingProfs survey, the most effective social media platforms for B2B content marketers are (in order):

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • SlideShare
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+

What it Takes to Find and Hire a Qualified Content Marketer

Now that we’re clear on what content marketing is, let’s explore the process you should put in place in order to find a highly qualified content marketer. The right candidate is going to need a mix of skills that goes beyond copywriting. You should probably establish this process as more of an audition rather than a series of interviews.

Start by Writing a Targeted Job Posting

Help Wanted Sign - Max - Eminent SEOGet the ball rolling by writing a strong job ad. This posting needs to catch a content marketer’s eye, and it needs to be clear and specific to the open position.

Using boilerplate language about your company will hurt your chances of finding the perfect candidate. You need to tailor the job posting to the specific tasks involved as well as the skills and qualities you’re looking for.

Don’t overwhelm the job seeker by listing every minute responsibility they would have. Nonetheless, you still don’t want your posting to be overly open-ended regarding which tasks they would be doing and which programs they need to know.

As far as where you should post your job ad, here are a few ideas:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Inbound.org
  • Glassdoor
  • We Work Remotely (if it’s OK for the marketer to not come into your office every day)
  • Your own blog or eNewsletter

What to Ask For

For your job posting’s submission requests, here’s what you should ask for:

  • A resume (not a C.V.)
  • Three links to exemplary online writing samples
  • A sample pitch email for three topics that would mesh with your company’s existing blog

On your end, the resume doesn’t need to have as much emphasis as it would for most other positions. However, it’s still important to receive one so you can see if the candidate’s history of achievement in academia and the workforce translates well to your open content marketing position.

With your candidates’ writing samples, you need to look for someone whose writing isn’t dull and who can handle relaying high-brow or technical information in an engaging way. You also want to see if they can handle writing longer pieces, such as 1,000-1,500 words or more. And finally, if the samples they gave you have social signals, take a look at those to make sure the writer has been able to reach a sizeable audience.

In the pitch email, the candidate should feature three ideas for your company’s blog. In this email, you should also look for an engaging hook, and an overallmessage that’s concise and in line with the style of communication in your industry.

Going Beyond the Resume: Putting Their Writing to the Test

For the candidates that pass your initial assessment, you should put their writing to the test with an assignment. This will give both parties an idea of what it’s like to work with each other.

Choose one pitch for each candidate and ask them to begin bringing the idea to fruition. It’s best to pick one of the pitches that’s a little out of the candidate’s wheelhouse – judging by their resume – so that they have to do some research in order to return with the first draft. Give the candidates a few days (maybe even a week) and ask for about 1,000 words.

For each applicant, if you see potential in their first draft, give them feedback and suggested revisions. Once they have acknowledged receiving your suggestions, give them two hours to return with a revised piece. This step is crucial to see if they can work on deadline. If the applicant has incorporated your suggestions to your liking and the piece meets your company standards, then he or she gets to move on to the final evaluation.

Interviewing In-Person or via Webcam

Webcam Interview - Eminent SEONo, you don’t need to wait until this far into the process to conduct the first interview. You can actually do it right before the revision deadline if you want, as it will be clear when the two-hour deadline starts – when the interview concludes or as soon as they get home. Otherwise, you can just schedule the interview sometime after the applicant submits his or her revised written assignment.

You should block out an hour for the interview, at minimum. Ideally, an interview for a qualified content marketer would last 2 to 2.5 hours. The first half should consist of you asking them questions, while the second half should be their questions for you. As you’re probably aware, if the candidate isn’t asking very many questions about the job or the company, he or she will have a harder time earning the job offer.

As you interview the applicant, you’ll get a better idea if his or her personality will mesh with your company’s culture, which will be important in a position that usually involves a lot of collaboration. You’ll also want to ask about which platforms and digital tools the candidate is comfortable with, as well as what ideas he or she has for raising brand awareness beyond simply writing a good blog post.

Making Your Final Decision

A qualified content marketer will not only be able to write for various platforms, but will also need to possess the following qualities:

  • Networking skills (online and in person)
  • Research skills
  • Basic design knowledge (image and web page)
  • An idea of which topics can generate interest
  • Basic SEO knowledge
  • Familiarity with multiple digital tools
  • Willingness to learn new programs, platforms and methods
  • Forward-thinking ideas on how to boost your marketing efforts

Interview Candidate Checklist - Eminent SEOIt can be hard to gauge each candidate’s competence in those areas based on their writing samples, the writing exercise and an interview, but you should be able to come pretty close. Some of these skills can be acquired along the way if you find an applicant who is flexible and astute enough. Once you’ve aligned all of the variables and decided on the right person, try to make your offer within a couple of days.

Also, don’t forget to notify the candidates who didn’t make the cut. They longer they made it through your process, the more detailed of an email they should receive. Tell them where they impressed you and where they could have improved. The ones who went through the ringer to land a job with your company deserve at least that much.

Now That You Have Your New Content Marketer

With your new content marketer on board, make sure to give the individual the support they need and be open to hearing their ideas on where to go next. As you read earlier, effective content marketing involves allocating a reasonable portion of your marketing budget to this area.

Even great content marketers won’t succeed if the company doesn’t have a solid strategy in place. The B2B companies that excel the most at content marketing meet weekly to discuss their strategy (not daily, not monthly, etc.), according to the CMI-MarketingProfs survey.

What are your goals with content marketing: Brand awareness? Lead generation? Engagement Boost? Customer Retention? It’s going to differ by the industry you’re in and the existing resources you have within your company. No matter what your strategy is, it’s going be much more successful if you’ve chosen the most motivated and proficient content marketer that replied to your job listing.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

How to Market During the Holidays: 2015 Edition

Market During The Holidays - Eminent SEO

If your company is going about its marketing efforts this holiday season in the same manner as it does the rest of the year, you’re doing it wrong. Not only are shoppers in a frenzy searching for presents for loved ones, but there are several days during the season that are designed to encourage consumers to open up their wallets.

If you’re the owner of a business or at the helm of a marketing team, you’re about to receive several ideas on how to tap into the holiday spending craze and make your company’s products or services stand out. Before we get to those suggestions, let’s rewind a bit and take a look at just how big the holiday season is when it comes to how much money is being tossed around.

Looking Back at the 2014 and Previous Holiday Seasons

Marketing and retail experts now consider the holiday shopping season to stretch from before Halloween to after New Year’s Day. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of shoppers begin their search for holiday presents before Halloween. However, when it comes to measuring retail dollars during the holiday season, the standard window is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

Analytics firm comScore has been keeping a very close eye on U.S. holiday spending in recent years. In 2014, comScore found the total amount in retail sales during November and December was $838.9 billion, about 3.5 percent growth over the previous holiday season. Shoppers are expected to drop $885.7 billion during 2015’s holiday season, which would be a jump of about 5.7 percent from the same time frame in 2014.

Holiday Transactions via Desktop

To the surprise of almost no one, online sales are on the rise during the holiday season – although transactions at brick-and-mortar stores are still significant. In 2014, consumers spent just under $70 billion online during the holiday season. That was up almost $10 billion over the holiday period in 2013.

Shoppers used their home or work desktop computers to spend $53.3 billion during the 2014 holiday season.

The following chart illustrates the steady growth in desktop holiday transactions since 2010:

When you look at the hottest days for holiday purchases via desktop in 2014, all but one of the top 10 days fell in December. Cyber Monday won the individual day battle for the fifth straight year, according to comScore. The day after Cyber Monday (sometimes called Cyber Tuesday) came in second. Black Friday finished in just fourth place, one spot behind Green Monday (a term coined by eBay for a day that is one week after Cyber Monday).

The 2015 holiday season will have a bit of a wrinkle, however. As two of the hottest online shopping days should fall in November. Cyber Monday lands on Nov. 30 this year, with Black Friday coming on Nov. 27.

Mobile Holiday Season Sales

As you’re probably well aware, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with making a purchase with just a couple of button presses on their mobile devices. According to an IBM report, mobiles sales constituted more than 22 percent of all online transactions during the holiday season in 2014. That was a jump of about 27 percent over the 2013 holiday period. Mobile holiday season sales are projected to surpass $36 billion in 2015 and skyrocket to more than $60 billion by 2019.

As you can see, it is ever so critical to make sure your business’s website is mobile-friendly. Every online asset that belongs to your company needs to be optimized for mobile. If some assets aren’t, you need to get somebody on the job, pronto. Don’t let your website sit with clunky mobile navigation and slow-loading pages this holiday season. That will ensure you miss out on your proper share of the billions of dollars that get poured into online purchases this time of the year.

Your Holiday Season Marketing Strategy

Now’s the time to bring your holiday-themed products to the forefront. If you don’t have any holiday-themed items, dig into your numbers and see which types of products or services tended to be more popular last holiday season. People are ready to spend money this time of the year, so you and your team have to prepare a consistent blitz on every channel available to you, including social media, email, digital ads and more.

Shoppers love specials, so now’s the time to mark down prices of your some of your products or services, and then you have to let online users know about it. At the very least, plan to slash some of your prices on the major spending days, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. You should have all promotions for those two days pinpointed at least the week before Black Friday, and be ready to send midnight emails on the day of those two shopping holidays. It’s also helpful to tease your promotions with an email or two starting exactly one week before Black Friday.

As for your website, you should benefit greatly from creating a dedicated landing page of holiday content, including the items that either pertain to the holidays or are going to be on discount during this time. You also might want to consider adding site-wide holiday design accents to show your celebration of the season, with sidebar or horizontal banners that take your visitors to either your holiday landing page or certain holiday-themed products or services. You may even want add holiday language to the meta data of certain pages on your site, specifically the ones of products or services that you’re really pushing during the season.

‘Tis the Season to not be Stingy

Shoppers are dropping some big bucks during the holiday season, so your business should too as you market during the holidays, especially if you’re trying to reel in some of those ready-to-spend consumers. Even if you’re not one to throw money at Facebook and Twitter ads, you’re definitely going to want to try it on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and perhaps a few of the other top shopping days listed above. Make it clear what good or service you have on special, and be sure to stress the urgency of the promotion.

If you want to go even further, set up pay-per-click campaigns through Google AdWords that lead to certain pages on your website (especially if you’ve created a holiday landing page). Banner display ads are also worth exploring, particularly if you have a talented graphic designer on staff who can deliver creatives that pertain to specific promotions you’re running during the season.

But What if I’m a Service Company?

If your company doesn’t offer tangible products and instead provides business-to-business and/or business-to-consumer services, it’s still possible to tap into the holiday shopping craze, even if you don’t have any offerings that directly apply to the season. If you’ve analyzed your sales over last year’s holiday season and even the ones before that, then you should arrive at a specific set of services that you want to feature and even mark down this time around.

Consider offering a gift card (even if it’s digital only) on your website. Even if a few of your website visitors during the holiday season decide they don’t need your services, they may have someone in mind that does. Thus, a gift card will come in handy. You may also want to look into going through an eCommerce marketplace like Groupon in order to offer one of your targeted services at an enticing rate to a large audience of consumers. On the days of the major shopping bursts, you obviously don’t have to promise your services on the same day, but you can lock in customers at a discounted rate for service you’ll provide later.

As a service provider, you might have to be a little more creative than retail stores and eCommerce sites are during the holiday season, but there’s no reason why your sales can’t spike during these two months in comparison to the rest of year. A focused marketing effort will put your company on the path to holiday success.

Don’t Stop at Christmas

As mentioned before, the holiday season doesn’t really stop once Christmas Day passes. Keep up your marketing push not only through New Year’s Day, which falls on a Friday in 2016, but through the weekend that follows. Use social media and email to stress that time is running out on select goods and services at special holiday rates.

You now know the hottest holiday shopping days, and hopefully you now have some ideas in mind on how you draw consumers to your business this season. Ultimately, your marketing plan will succeed if you understand, “What products or services do I have that will appeal to buyers this holiday season,” and “How can I best direct attention to these offerings.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but hopefully you’ll figure out which tactics work best for your business. Best of luck to you and your team on making this holiday season shine brightest of all!

Need Help?

Do the suggested steps to succeed during holidays seem outside of your team’s capabilities internally? Eminent SEO can help your company excel this holiday season through our wide range of digital services, including custom email and social media campaigns, website improvements, mobile upgrades, landing page creation and more.

To find out more or get started today, just call: 800.871.4130.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

How to Earn Backlinks with Valuable Website Content

Earn Backlinks with Linkbait

In order for any website to obtain any sort of search engine rankings, high quality backlinks are still necessary. Back in the day before Google updated its algorithm to get rid of spammy, manipulative link building practices, website owners could easily place their site in low quality directories or participate in some sort of link scheme to gain high rankings on Google.

Today’s link building has to be much more strategic, and you have to have content that webmasters want to link to on your site. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours because they aren’t going to link to just any site. It needs to provide their readers with something valuable. In short, the strategy for gaining highly authoritative, .edu, or .gov backlinks is to create content that’s meaningful and considered “link bait.”

What is Link Bait?

Link bait can be characterized as creating content on your website that encourages web users to share or link to, also known as viral content. Since a lot of websites are competing for the top positions in search engines, many websites are beginning to see the importance of content marketing, even for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.

Examples of what link bait can entail:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • How to’s
  • Stories
  • FAQs
  • Landing pages
  • Apps
  • Interactive websites or features
  • Product giveaways
  • Lists
  • Visuals

How to Create Link Bait That Encourages Users to Link to You

Creating link bait can be simpler than you think. Don’t overthink the situation. What you must understand first is your target audience. Ask yourself these primary questions to help you understand your audience and how you can develop content that will speak to that audience:

  • What is their primary problem?
  • What is the solution to their problem?
  • How can you help nurture them to reach that solution?
  • What educational content can you develop to help them potentially solve their problem?
  • What statistics can you provide to help sell your customer into learning more?
  • What is your final offer?

Create Useful Content

Now that you have those questions answered, you should have a pretty clear understanding of what kind of content can be developed on your website that would speak to your ideal audience. It’s important to keep in mind that only useful content is going to gain any sort of visibility online. You have a lot of competition that has already been creating useful content.

If you’re still stuck on the type of content that’s going to attract the right users and be shareable for their networks, think about creating content that is educational and entertaining, such as ways you can add humor to it. Keep the content highly relevant to your industry, but non-promotional. The last thing users are going to want to share is a page on your website talking about your product or your company.

Valuable Content for Backlinks

Create a Plan of Action for Your Content

Once you’ve developed a list of ideas for content, there needs to be a plan in place to promote this content so that it can start to receive the visibility it deserves. For example, if your link bait piece is an eBook, there are several things that need to be thought out in order for the promotion to be successful. Here is some additional collateral that can go into eBook promotion:

  • Dedicated landing page with quality content and optimization. This will most likely be what your users will link to, so make sure this landing page is fully optimized and speaks to them.
  • Where the content will be promoted throughout the website. If the eBook is relevant to a specific service or product you offer, promote the eBook on those relevant pages with a CTA.
  • Create link bait with other forms of link bait. Think about other content that is going to promote this offer and where to promote it. If you’re a B2B business, think about B2B social networks that would find your eBook most valuable. Create a meme or statistic graphic to give users something enticing to click on and share when sharing the link to your eBook landing page. Consider other educational content that could be turned into a blog post, and, at the end of the blog post, have the eBook be the final CTA. Do you have email contacts stored that can be segmented into lists? Send an email to those contacts and show off your eBook.
  • Promote your content in the right places. If you’re strictly targeting other business owners, think about where those business owners would spend their time online. What social networks might they be part of? What big brands might they be following? Make sure you have link bait visible to your audience in the right places online.
  • Develop the right messaging for the eBook. You want people to link to your eBook, but you have to create the right message for users to want to link to you. What do you want people to take away from this eBook? This is where those statistics can be a big help with enticing users to share and learn more. Also, this is the perfect time to add a little humor to your message, because humor can really catch someone’s attention.
  • Outreach to the right websites. Develop a list of websites that are relevant, have high authority in Google, and have trusted backlinks. Don’t be generic with your outreach approach, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you: trying to get a link. Don’t be naive and think these websites are just going to link to you when you approach them with a generic email. Be creative with the approach and have some key talking points ready about their website and EXACTLY where you see a fit for your eBook to be promoted. Whether you think a guest post would suffice or if there’s already a blog post on their site relevant to your eBook messaging, have an idea of how you’d like to promote your content on THEIR website. Being thoughtful goes a long way.

Include a Call to Action as a Final Message in the Content

Since the content shouldn’t be about your product or service, you can lead to a final CTA in your content. Every piece of content on your website should have an end goal, which is your final CTA. Make that CTA clear and concise so users are not only sharing your awesome content, but know how to reach an industry expert if they need more help. This works together with your sales funnel, nurturing website users to become qualified leads. Boom.

Boom Backlinks

Creative Link Bait Campaign Examples

There are so many ways to create link bait on your website, and existing brands have already established pieces of content that have gone viral. Some examples of existing link bait from other brands include:

Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors

This content piece went viral because of the visual content developed by Moz’s team to showcase different Google algorithm ranking factors. This spiked the interest of many other SEO companies who have used this content in their own blog posts and articles as a valuable source for understanding Google’s ranking factors.

Moz Search Ranking Factors Backlink Analysis

By developing this valuable piece of content, Moz has boosted the Page Authority, increased social indicators, and increased the total inbound links. You can say this content was pretty successful.

RSS Tutorial

Every blog needs to have a RSS feed. The following How To tutorial walks you through how to set up a RSS feed and why these steps are so important for websites.

Rss Tutorial Link Bait Backlinks

The success of this content lead to 2,403 backlinks, increased social indicators, and a domain authority of 74/100.

Psychology of Color Infographic

Understanding color psychology is important for any website designer or digital marketer to understand in order for websites to convert at a higher rate. showcases different colors and how they can effect moods, emotions, and more in a nutshell.

This specific infographic did better socially by creating more than 2,100 likes, more than 2,300 tweets, and more than 780 Google+1s.

100+ Ways to Conserve Water Interactive Landing Page

This page shows more than 100 tips on how to conserve water usage to help educate the world about excess water consumption.

Water Conservation Link Bait Backlinks

By creating an interactive way to educate the audience, the page authority alone is a 76/100 with more than 4,500 natural backlinks. That doesn’t even count the number of social indicators happening here. There are more than 7,900 Facebook likes, 8,240 Twitter tweets, and more than 5,500 Facebook shares.

Takeaways

Creating viral link bait is not an easy process. It definitely takes a lot of creativity, optimization, content marketing, and strategy development in order to attract natural backlinks. Many times, there is a lot of trial and error that goes into developing the right piece of content in the right form that’s going to attract the right audience. Once you’ve established the type of content users are going to share naturally and webmasters are going to link to without any issues, you can develop out your content marketing strategy to include this type of content more on your website, which leads to more backlinks and higher search rankings. The key takeaway is to create valuable content that users are going to share and want to interact with.

Don’t have time to create a content link bait strategy? Our digital marketing experts can help by developing out a viral marketing campaign tailored to your audience.
Learn More About Our Expert Viral Marketing Services Here

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus