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
screenshot
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!

MLT Group Observes Thanksgiving Holiday

MLT Group will be closed on November 26, 2015 in observance of Thanksgiving. We are thankful for the relationships we build with our clients, the new members of our digital marketing team, and another year as part of the Rochester, MN community. We wish you all a wonderful holiday celebration with friends and family!

happy thanksgiving banner

The Sky is No Limit: MLT Group Offers Aerial Videography in Rochester, MN

Mike Pruett of MLT Group Creative Solutions of Rochester, Minn<span style=
犀利士
. 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.” width=”350″ height=”536″ /> 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. i

Since unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones, burst onto the market in the early 2000s, it’s become easier than ever for amateurs and professionals to capture powerful video and photo images from a bird’s-eye-view. CEO Mike Pruett has been interested in RC technology for many years, and he purchased MLT Group’s first quadcopter in 2013.

Quadcopters and other UAVs offer three major benefits for aerial videography:

  • Safety: No need to carry crew or passengers nor do it require flammable fuels
  • Cost: Provide the same breath-taking aerial views as traditional planes or helicopters at a fraction of the cost
  • Use at Lower Altitudes: Can hover quite close to the ground while larger aircraft require special permissions to fly below 1,000ft and 500ft in populated and unpopulated areas, respectively

For these reasons, more and more people have been experimenting with quadcopters and other UAVs, and the technology has becomes quite the media buzzword in recent years. Now that buzz has reached the Department of Transportation, which has decided to begin implementing mandatory registration of drones starting in December. This means that many commercial drone operators may come into conflict with the FAA restrictions registration unless they have an exemption. MLT Group is the only video production company in Rochester, MN that possesses such an exemption.

Just recently, our videography team used quadcopters to capture footage for promotional video for McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing and to film a commercial for the local business Virgil’s Auto Clinic. They’ve also been recording the construction process of the new Rochester Civic Center. These are just a few examples of how aerial drone vehicles can be used commercially, and MLT Group’s Section 333 exemption gives our videography team permission to also use quad-copters for:

  • Training videos
  • Structure inspections
  • Real estate and land surveys
  • Search and rescue missions

Given that aerial drone vehicles are so versatile and are becoming increasingly affordable, they are likely to become more and more widely used commercially by a wide range of industry professionals. However, don’t expect to see UAVs flying all over Rochester anytime soon.

The exemption process is a time-consuming and complicated process. It took 8 months and an attorney’s help for MLT Group to receive our Section 333 exemption status. While the FAA’s new registration requirements for drone may help normalize the use of drones, they probably won’t make the process operating commercial drones legally any easier for those who are new to UAV videography.

MLT Group is excited about the future of aerial videography and is proud to offer our clients high-quality video from unique perspectives at affordable prices. If you want to take your next promotional video or TV commercial to the skies, contact MLT Group and ask about our aerial video services!

MLT Group Says That’s a Wrap on Aerial Video Shoot for McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing

When McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing, Inc, an Oshkosh Corporation Company, needed new video footage of their Dodge Center corporate headquarters, they knew just who to call: MLT Group. MLT Group has a long history of working with McNeilus, and over the last 28 years we’ve helped them develop numerous safety, surveillance and promotional videos. The shoot completed on October 15 and 16 was for a new promotional video and featured a lot of aerial footage.

Using a 4K (super HD) aerial camera mounted on our state-of-the-art quad-copter, MLT Group’s aerial videography team captured bird’s-eye images of the facilities and truck fleets across the sprawling 150-acre complex in just three hours. The only reason it became a two-day shoot was that the wind was too strong to navigate and get steady footage. MLT Group CEO Mike Pruett reported, “The first day the wind was about 45 mph, but the second day was a great day for flying! The wind was only about 20 mph and we got some great shots to finish up the project.”

MLT Group uses aerial camera

Mike and his team also used the aerial quad-copter to take several still photos of the complex so McNelius could update the large photo of the facility framed in the headquarters lobby. When the original photo was taken decades ago, McNelius had to rent a plane and fly a photographer over the complex, but today MLT Group can get the same effect for a fraction of the cost and in half the time. Clearly, the quad-copter’s 4K camera is more than able to capture views that inspire and impress.

an aerial view of the McNeilus Truck complex

If you would like to learn more about MLT Group’s aerial video services, email us at sales@mltgroup.com or call 507-281-3490.

We’re All Smiles About Gentling Dental’s New Banner

Dr. Melissa in front of Gentling Dental Banner
Dr. Melissa doing a ‘Vanna White’ with the new Gentling Dental banner.

MLT Group recently designed a banner for one of our favorite clients, Gentling Dental. The big beautiful banner, featuring the company’s four partners and promoting “smiles and savings” at gentlingdental.com, was a fun project that will be seen by motorists traveling a busy Rochester roadway. Our team loves these kinds of projects because they represent a challenge in conveying a meaningful message with just the right imagery and very few words. After all, the experienced writer will say, “I’d have written less if I’d had more time”. Brevity is a beautiful thing, and a necessity when it comes to signage, banners and billboards.

Managing Link Building by Effectively Managing Change

link buildingWith evolving search algorithms and digital environments, SEOs and digital marketing companies are required to adjust their methods based on the change being presented. Change management tells the digital marketing industry that we cannot stay in the past; we must adapt to the changing digital world. Change management is incredibly applicable when concerning link building and other methods commonly becoming dubbed as “dead” or “black hat” SEO strategies. Link building, a common practice among SEO, is not dead – it’s evolving.

Environment: What changed?
Following the Google Penguin algorithm update, link building practices changed significantly. In the past two years, both Google and SEOs have released statements about the changes – the decline of paid directories, articles, authorship, and guest blogging. Although these strategies have definitely declined in algorithm importance, we need to be careful to forfeit old strategies abruptly without a replacement solution.

Adhering to the practice of change management, begin change with a strategy. Formulate a strategy by means of brainstorming and questioning: How will we replace old methods? What can we learn? What needs to stay and what needs to go? Do we have data to support these decisions? Once a strategy for change has been formulated, put a plan in place to innovate your strategies based on data, empirical research, and the knowledge that a new practice must be implemented to maintain the power of links on your website.

Industry: How do we change?
Once a strategy is in place and you’ve come up with a plan for change, you can begin to implement your plan towards digital innovation and change. Again, you must have a strategy and plan in place, or you may risk your rankings, your SEO’s morale, and your understanding of the change at hand. Changes that have been common in the recent year have revolved around the parallel between link building and PR. Many digital specialists say link building is digital PR. Rather than paying for links, using reciprocal links, and guest blogging, reach out to real companies, agencies, and sources on the web and begin to build REAL relationships. Along with building relationships, keep pushing out great content. And by great content, we mean GREAT content – no spammy advertising articles, no duplicated content, but real stories that will grab the attention of your customers and will hold the potential to be linkable, sharable, and hopefully viral content.

Change is necessary. Though it is not pleasant in digital marketing, if the integrity of the web is to be maintained, digital strategies must continue evolving to uphold the quality of the way we search and the way we find great content. Now is the time to adapt and adjust – set a plan for change and innovate your link building practices to yield the best results possible!