Why Looks Do Matter for Your Website- The Importance of Good Visuals

The visual elements are often forgotten during the arduous task of building a website, especially if you’ve tried to build it on your own. But not taking full advantage of the power of a strong visual design can be costly. The human brain is able to process images at amazing speeds, making visuals a powerful marketing too.

This visual is helping you retain the information in this blog!
This visual is helping you retain the information in this blog!


Why are Visuals So Important?

Strong visual content does more than make your website look good and professional. Visuals have a way of hacking into the brain and doing amazing things.

In a world of instant answers, consumers have short attention spans. Visuals increase the likelihood of a customer viewing your content. But what’s the point of reading the content if you can’t remember it? Well visuals help with that too!  When information is accompanied by a relevant image, 65% of readers are able to retain the information versus 10% when there were no images.  Visuals instantly communicate what would take paragraphs of text.

Using visuals also helps tell your company’s story. It communicates what you stand for, allows consumers to relate, and can create an emotional response in your customers.

How Can I Boost the Visuals on my Website?

 MLT Group provides all of the services your business needs to boost its visual impact.

  • Custom web design for computer, tablet, and mobile platforms
  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Logo and branding design

 Our experienced staff understands the importance of strong visuals and has a thorough understanding of SEO, web design, and branding. Check out examples of our custom web designs. To learn more about enhancing your web presence with a custom web design, please contact one of MLT Group’s versatile and dedicated staff members by calling 507.281.3490 or e-mailing us at sales@mltgroup.com.


The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Watch our latest Theo Talk about managing your online reputation.
Watch our latest Theo Talk about the basics of Search Engine Optimization

In an increasingly digital marketplace, business owners need to take advantage of the tools at their disposal. Everyone is using search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing to find goods and services. These search engines use algorithms that filter through websites to evaluate their relevance to the search terms input. If you want your website to rank favorably on search engines for terms relevant to your products and services, you need to employ search engine optimization (SEO). MLT Group’s Director of Operations, Theo St. Mane discusses the elements of SEO and its importance for your business in his latest Theo Talk video.

SEO is the use of strategies to help the search engines find your site and encourage them to rank it higher in organic and local search results. While SEO can be complex, even a basic understanding can improve your online visibility. Here are a few tips for enhancing your SEO.

Mobile Optimization

More searches are done on Google from mobile devices than from desk top computers, and Google has decreed that your site will not rank well in mobile search results if your site is not mobile optimized. This makes mobile optimization a ‘must have’ for every business website.

Image Descriptions

The search engine algorithm will only look for text, so it is important to include descriptions for the images on your website. Also, including descriptive words in the body text around the image can help boost your SEO.

Regularly Update Content

Bots look for websites that are up to date, so regularly performing site maintenance and updating its content keeps your site relevant. One way to keep your content fresh is to include a blog. Posting SEO’d blogs weekly can dramatically enhance your site’s attractiveness to search engines.


Search engines look for keywords in websites that relate to the searched terms. You need to make sure these keywords are strategically placed throughout your website. But how do you anticipate what keywords to use and where to put them? First, think of how someone would search for your services? For example, ‘carpet cleaning’, ‘tree removal’, or ‘teeth whitening’. But it’s a bit of a balancing act as including too many keywords could get your website flagged for spamming and harm your ranking. Keywords should be worked in naturally to appeal to human readers. The most important places to include keywords are in the page title and opening paragraph of each page.

Social Media

Being active on social media can help your SEO. Not surprisingly, having a well filled out Google+ page will help your rankings in Google searches. Sharing content from your website or blog on appropriate social media outlets helps direct traffic back to your website.

There’s no reason not to take advantage of SEO and develop a strategy that works best for your business. By implementing a few basic practices, you can enhance your rankings on search engines and drive more traffic to your website.

To take full advantage of what SEO can do for your business you need time and an intimate knowledge of SEO. Contact one of our professionals at sales@mltgroup.com or 507.281.3490 to see how we can develop and implement an SEO strategy for your business. Also, watch our latest Theo Talk video about SEO basics here.

Protect Your Business’ Online Reputation


Watch our latest Theo Talk about managing your online reputation.
Watch our latest Theo Talk about managing your online reputation.

You’ve worked hard to build your business and provide quality services. After all of the time and energy you’ve put into your business, it can be heartbreaking to see your business’ reputation under attack from online reviews. As our Director of Operations, Theo St. Mane, explains in our latest Theo Talk video, too many good businesses are marred by just a few negative reviews.

But how can just a few bad reviews have such a devastating impact? Imagine the last time you paid for a good or service and had a good experience. Did you feel compelled to write a positive review about it? Now imagine the last time you had a negative experience. You were probably more compelled to share the story. There is a psychological reason for this. Positive and negative experiences are processed differently in the brain. Negative experiences take more processing power, causing us to ruminate on them. This makes it more likely for consumers to share their negative experiences on review sites.

What Should You Do With Bad Reviews?

No matter how well your business operates, bad reviews happen, which is why it’s important to have a plan for how to handle them. First, deleting isn’t the answer. Most review sites such as Yelp and Google Business won’t allow businesses to delete reviews unless they can prove the review is false or attempting to inflict undue damages. If they did, these sites would lose all credibility. But if you can’t delete a bad review, what can you do?

  • Research the complaint– Who is the customer? Is their complaint valid? What were the circumstances surrounding their experience? This is information that will be helpful for understanding the complaint and how to respond.
  • Respond to the complaint– Sharing your side if the story can help repair your relationship with the dissatisfied customer and improve your image with potential customers reading the review. In responding make sure you sound reasonable and professional. The quality of your response can completely neutralize a negative review in the eyes of other consumers.

How to Receive Positive Reviews

If consumers are more likely to share negative reviews, how do you get consumers to share positive experiences about your business?

  • Make it easy – Include links to your business’ review profiles on your website, social media, emails, and newsletters. Customers aren’t going to spend time looking for your business on these sites, but if you make it easy for them they may take a few moments to leave a positive review.
  • Give incentives– Customers are more likely to leave reviews if they have some incentive. It is important, however, that you are not seen as paying for reviews or paying for good reviews. Monthly giveaways and other chances to win prizes are proven strategies for encouraging reviews.
  • Ask– It seems so obvious, but many businesses fail to ask their customers to write reviews. Make it part of your daily work practice for you and your employees to solicit reviews from customers.

Your business’ reputation is invaluable so make sure you protect it. To find out how MLT Group can help your business with its online reputation and SEO, contact one of our professionals at sales@mltgroup.com or 507.281.3490. Also, watch our latest Theo Talk video about managing your business’ online reputation here.

Are You Losing Customers? Claim Your Online Identity Now!


Watch the latest Theo Talk about online identity.
Watch the latest Theo Talk about online identity.

In his latest Theo Talk, our Director of Operations, Theo St. Mane asks a crucial question: are you in charge of your business’ online identity? There are dozens of online directories that scrape information from all corners of the internet in order to gather details on your business. However, this information isn’t always accurate, especially if your business has changed locations or phone numbers. If you don’t claim your business on each directory to ensure your information is accurate, customers may not be able to find your website.

Here are two different methods to effectively manage your business’ online identity.

Manually Claim your Business

Pick out some of the top directories that your customers may be using such as Google+, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yelp. Each of these directories has different processes for claiming your business or creating a listing for it. Once you have control of your business’ identity, you can edit the information at any time, which is helpful if your business changes locations or phone numbers. This option is free but can be time-consuming.

Directory Listing Tools

If you don’t want to manage your listings manually, there are tools that allow you to update your business’ information across multiple directories all from one platform. A few popular services such as Yext, Moz Local, and UBL are compared here. These tools allow you to control your business’ online identity all in one place. While convenient, these services are not free, ranging in price between a few dollars per citation to $500 a year.

Taking control of your business’ online identity is an important and often forgotten aspect in managing a business. Don’t wait! Make sure your customers can find your business today.

To learn more about online identity and  Theo Talks, visit MLT Group’s Youtube channel.

To find out how MLT Group can help your business with its online identity and SEO, contact one of our professionals at sales@mltgroup.com or 507.281.3490.

How to Bounce Back from Bad Reviews

There’s no denying how bad it feels when you receive a negative online review. It’s easy to write off a bad review as just an over critical or cranky customer that doesn’t deserve your attention but with 67% of consumers making their decisions based on online FrownyFacereviews, it’s not wise to ignore them. Here are a few tips on how to learn from bad reviews and to bounce back with grace to be better than ever.

Don’t Delete Them 

Most review and rating sites such as Yelp! will not remove negative reviews unless the business owner is able to prove that they are false or malicious. If they did, how could consumers be expected to trust reviews at all? Besides, leaving up negative reviews offers you opportunities to show potential customers how professionally you react to customer concerns.

Research the Complaint

If you can, look up the unhappy customer in your records. What project was done for them? When? Who was involved? Also, talk to your employees and get their side of the story. Did the customer appear unhappy and if so how did the staff work to correct the issue? This is all information you will want to know when addressing a bad review. However, this sometimes this isn’t possible as some review sites allow reviews to be posted anonymously.


Responding to a negative review is the perfect chance to not only possibly reconcile with a disgruntled customer, but to share your side of the story. While responding privately is an option, it is usually best to respond publicly so that other potential customers can see the response that balances the complaint. Providing a humble, reconciliatory and constructive response makes you look like the company consumers want to do business with.

Learn From It

While negative reviews sting, they are a great opportunity to better your product or services. Was there an issue with scheduling appointments? Ask yourself how you could make the process more efficient. Was there a miscommunication with an employee? Ask yourself how this can be prevented in the future.

The truth is that even if you do everything perfectly, your business will get bad reviews. But rather than ignoring them, make them work for your business. Maybe you’ll be able to turn that frown upside down.

For more information on digital marketing and website design, give us a call at 507-281-390.






CEO Uses Drone to Search for Missing Child


Mike Pruett of MLT Group Creative Solutions of Rochester, Minn. demonstrates how one of his three video equipped quad copter drones operates. Pruett is able to record not only video but still photographs with the drone.
Mike Pruett of MLT Group Creative Solutions of Rochester, Minn. demonstrates how one of his three video equipped quad copter drones operates. Pruett is able to record not only video but still photographs with the drone.

Around 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 7th, a 3-year-old from Byron, MN, was reported missing from her home. Along with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters, MLT Group CEO Mike Pruett was called in to aid in the search using one of MLT Group’s most advanced drones.

After receiving a call from Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, Mike responded immediately, bringing his drone to help search areas that were too difficult for the search party to reach. “They wanted to check this reservoir and they couldn’t get access to it,” Mike recalled.

Mike is certified through the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to use his drone for search and rescue. This was the first time he had been called in for this kind of search and the first time the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office has used a drone to aid in a search. “I had the opportunity to show the other deputies what the capabilities of the drone are.”

Fortunately, the child was found safe, sleeping in a Huggies® diaper box inside the home.

Mike has received an official exemption from the FAA and a certification for commercial use through MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) and uses the drones as part of MLT Group’s video production services.

Read the full ABC 6 News story and see Mike and his drone in action.

3 Major Changes to Google Local Search Display Explained

 In addition to its ubiquity, one of the hallmarks of Google is the near constant modifications to search algorithms and results displays. True to form, Google rolled out several new changes to the local search display in recent months in the name of a better experience for users.

Here is a breakdown of three of the biggest changes in the way search results are displayed:

1. More Ad Space Among Search Results

The typical search results page (SERP) has a hierarchical structure of ads, local map listings, and then organic search results. With the latest changes, there is an increase in ad space at the top and along the right side of the SERP, which pushes the map and organic results closer and closer to the edge of the fold. While this isn’t as worrisome on a large desktop screen, these ads take up most of the screen-space on a smartphone and organic results are firmly below the fold.

2. Fewer Local Map Listings

In a layout feature nicknamed “Snack Pack”, only three results identified on and listed beneath a large map. Previously, the top seven local results were shown on the map, making those first few spots even more valuable virtual real estate.

3. New Ad Format for Local Home Services
Instead of the usual banner ads, the new local home services ads tag local businesses as “qualified” or “trusted professionals” and place their listings top and center on the SERPs. Currently this format is only available for select industries in San Francisco, CA but if the beta-testing is successful, Google will probably expand the format to more areas and business categories. Potential customers could read this section as a vote of confidence, which could be a real plus for local businesses in the home service industry.

This latest round of revisions to Google’s search results pages heighten the field of competition and places greater emphasis on paid advertising. While more ad space (i.e. revenue) is great for Google, unfortunately it’s tougher for small businesses who rely on organic search engine optimization to reach potential customers.

Keeping up with organic SEO is still important, since the ranking factors are yet unchanged and the basic principles of SEO will continue to benefit your site in the long term. Additionally, savvy internet users typically choose organic results for a sense of authenticity rather than participating in obvious ads.

However, if your business operates in tough markets or highly competitive industries, it may time to consider starting a pay per click campaign (PPC) or another form of online advertising to cut through the crowd. Contact us at sales@mltgroup.com or 507-281-3490 to discuss your best options for SEO and digital marketing strategies.

Goodbye Broadway Ave and Hello to MLT Group’s New Location along Hwy 14 in Rochester, MN

Office ExteriorTo say that we’re announcing a move to our new location is somewhat misleading given that we’ve been operating out of our new office space in the Plaza 14 West Center at 4481 North Frontage Road for several weeks now.

However, all possibility of returning to the downtown location was destroyed when the building formerly home to MLT Group and MLT Video was demolished to make way for new development opportunities in the downtown Rochester area. The old red brick building had stood on the lot for 140 years, and it had served as the main base for MLT Group for nearly 13 years.

Though it is a little sad to see that no trace of the previous building remains, our team has settled in nicely at our new office. Because the facility was unfinished at the time of purchase, we were able to custom build the interior to best suit our needs. Now, we have a dedicated conference room, three individual offices, and an open-floor work space for the production team.

Office Interior  Conference Room

The 4481 Frontage Road office is certainly a step up from our previous location, and we are pleased to provide a pleasant environment for our clients and employees alike. Come check out our new office and see for yourself!

5 SEO Trends to Watch in 2016

SEO TrendsThe field of search engine optimization (SEO) is always changing, and the best practices used even just a few years ago are not necessarily relevant in today’s SEO strategies. Even as the technological landscape evolves, so must businesses adapt to the developments in SEO and digital marketing. Here are 5 current SEO trends that experts predict will become even more important in 2016.

1. Quality Content Reigns Supreme

The phrase “content is king” has been tossed around for nearly two decades, but that in recent years that mantra has absorbed an important qualifier: the idea of “quality”. Quality content in SEO terms means longer texts that go in depth about a topic, rather short pages that only scratch the surface. This kind of “thick” content anticipates users’ questions and how they will use that information to guide their next steps, whether more research or a purchasing decision. Keywords are still an important part of crafting good SEO content, but they should occur quite naturally and often as you delve into the given topic.

2. Social Media Boosts Visibility

Data shows that having a robust social media presence and numerous social signals correlates to having higher organic traffic and ranking better. Despite Google’s avowal that social media is not a factor in their ranking algorithms, social media posts are beginning to show up among some search results, and this trend would indicate that social media will continue to play a role your SEO strategies for 2016.

3. Mobile Searches Outpace Desktop Use

Earlier this year, Google confirmed that more searches are performed on mobile devices than on desktop computers, and the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update in April 2015 eliminated the possibility that mobile is a passing fad. This means that if you aren’t taking mobile devices into account, your SEO optimization is only half-finished and you are losing out on customers.

4. Local SEO Becomes More Influential

Though online retailers warrant a watchful eye, the reality is that the average consumer still relies on local businesses in their day-to-day life for restaurants, auto repair, home cleaning services and many other industries. Additionally, as wearable technology becomes more mainstream and complements mobile devices, geographic-based searches and customer reviews will become increasingly influential in a user’s decision to visit your establishment or employ your services.

5. Long-tail Keywords Increase in Value

Search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable of processing long strings of words in search queries to help users find exactly what they are looking for. Often these “long-tail” search terms arise when people use natural language in their searches, a method that is not only more convenient for users but provides an enormous opportunity to capture the top ranking spots in a niche market. Few people target long-tail keywords, so you could significantly increase your organic search results if you emphasize your SEO efforts where the competition is sparse.

At MLT Group, we can help you develop a comprehensive optimization strategy based on industry best-practices. Contact us today at sales@mltgroup.com or call 507-281-3490, and position your business for SEO success in 2016!