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!
Managing Link Building by Effectively Managing Change
With 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!
Mobile-Friendly Websites are No Longer Optional
Google shook up the SEO world last month when it announced that “mobile-friendliness” will soon be added as a ranking factor in its mobile search algorithm. The change will be implemented worldwide on April 21, at which point websites with search-engine-friendly mobile versions will have a significant leg up on their search competition.
Like all Google search algorithm changes, the new ranking factor is intended to improve the search experience for users. Recent studies estimate that about half of all Google searches come from smartphones, and those searches account for nearly 40% of total website traffic across all industries. Those numbers are expected to continue climbing, which makes it easy to see why Google put an emphasis on rewarding high-quality mobile sites.
So what does this all mean for you and your website? Simply put, your mobile search visibility, rankings, and traffic will decrease starting April 21 if your site is not mobile friendly. You don’t want that to happen, so here’s what you need to do:
1. Visit Google’s mobile-friendly site checker and enter your homepage URL*. If your site passes, then you’re good to go!
*It’s important to note that this tool only checks the page entered. If your homepage passes the mobile-friendly test, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your whole website is mobile-friendly. To determine if your site is 100% mobile-friendly, you’ll have to check each individual page.
2. If your site fails, then you either have no mobile website or a poorly-designed mobile website.
No mobile website: If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, then the desktop version appears when accessed on a mobile device. For the most part, desktop websites are far too complex and crowded to be considered mobile-friendly by Google.
Poorly-designed mobile website: Just because there’s a mobile version of your website doesn’t mean Google will consider it mobile-friendly. To meet Google’s mobile design standards, be sure that your site…
- doesn’t use software unavailable on mobile devices.
- includes enough space between links for easy clicking.
- has text that’s readable without zooming.
- doesn’t require horizontal scrolling.
To fix these issues yourself, consult Google’s Mobile Guide for extensive information regarding mobile design, development, and usability.
3. If you don’t have in-house web development capabilities, then you’ll need to work with an outside web developer/designer. The company or professional that built your site can probably build you a mobile site as well, although you should do some research to make sure they know what they’re doing.
The clock is ticking – April 21 will be here sooner than you think! Start your site’s mobile-friendly conversion today or you’ll risk losing website visitors and potential customers.
At MLT Group, we design, build, and optimize websites for a wide variety of clients. Our responsive websites automatically adjust to be viewed on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Google loves our websites because they’re well-designed, user-friendly, and compatible with all browsers and devices.
Website Redesign Questionnaire: Is It Time for an Update?
In all honesty, it’s probably time for a website update. The rapid advancements in applications and technology have rendered websites designed five years ago as “behind the times.” You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Follow along with our website redesign questionnaire below to assess your own digital presence!
Is my site functioning like I need it to?
Broken forms, 404 errors, and complicated navigations are just a few of the problems that a user can experience on your website. A user-friendly design and a clear call-to-action keeps visitors on your page and encourages them to contact your business. Additionally, your site needs to be targeting the right market. Whether you provide services nationwide or just to your local community, your website and its content needs to express your intent and appeal to your target.
Are you keeping up with your competitors?
You shouldn’t necessarily copy your competitors, but you should ensure that the digital playing field is fair. It’s important to make sure you are keeping up with or surpassing the standard of your industry. One common advancement that all industries need to consider is a responsive design for their website – a design easily viewed and navigated across desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones alike.
Are all your services displayed?
Since your website was built, have you added services or expanded in any other way? Maybe you now serve a different area, or offer in-field services instead of customers visiting your store. Make sure your website reflects everything your business has to offer or consumers may miss your business entirely.
Do you have someone on staff with the skills to build a new website?
This article from Forbes hits the nail on the head when it comes to deciding whether to contract a project or not:
“At this point, your website is as much the face of your company as any brick-and-mortar office (if you even have one). So this isn’t the area to cut corners. If you happen to have someone on staff who possesses the skills to carry out this project, that’s great – you’ll save time and money. But if you don’t have someone already on your team who can genuinely do this job as well as it can possibly be done, don’t let your desire to save time and money force you into making sacrifices on the quality of the end product. There are a lot of brilliant web designers out there – it’s more than worth it to invest in working with one.”
Does my logo translate well on the web?
No matter how updated your website is, an old logo can easily send it back in to the 90s. There may even be technical issues associated with your logo, such as too many colors or gradients that don’t look as nice on a web page. If you and your customers aren’t extremely attached to a logo, consider upgrading it according to the Just Noticeable Difference theory. Every few years, update a small part of your logo to keep it modern and current, like so.
Is your website being found?
The most well-designed website won’t be much of an asset to your business if it isn’t found by consumers. On-site SEO for your recently designed website is key to making your online presence work for you. Digital marketing is not a separate item entirely, but a holistic approach to being found by consumers. Make sure your website is doing all that it can for your business!
If you answered no to any of the above questions, it’s time to update the design of your website to keep your business relevant and competitive. MLT Group offers advice like this, as well as web design and development, to businesses and organizations in Rochester, MN and beyond. An all-encompassing digital marketing strategy, starting with a website, will help bring more traffic to your business. Today is the day to start.
3 Reasons Why You Need a Responsive Website
Almost two years ago, Moz predicted that responsive websites were going to become the industry standard for website design. With increased smartphone internet searches and increased tablet use, it was no reach to make this claim. It used to be enough to just have a mobile version and a desktop version of your website, but now the various screen sizes that exist across all platforms have rendered this method inefficient.
There are 3 major reasons why responsive websites have become an industry norm. From a technical standpoint and from a user perspective, responsive websites are truly the standard for website design today.
1) Increases Usability and User Experience
Though this may seem like an arbitrary benefit, Google considers how user-friendly a website is within its ranking algorithm. A desktop version may have many utilities, loads of content, and great photos; this is perfect for stationary users, but it takes far too long to load on a mobile phone. This decreases the number of “Googlers”, something that the major search engine wants to avoid at all costs.
2) Updating is Faster and Easier Than Ever
In previous years, a change to your website meant both a change to the desktop version and the mobile version. This would take twice the time of either your employee or your website company. With a responsive design, the change only needs to be made once, keeping your website consistent across all platforms and efficiently using your time and money.
3) SEO, Link Building, and Campaigns are Streamlined
Similar to how updating is easier, SEO will only need to be done to one version of the site. In some cases, it’s beneficial to have a mobile SEO campaign and a desktop SEO campaign, but the majority of SEO looks the same across all platforms. Link building also becomes streamlined, as the URL structure remains the same.
If your website is outdated, or you’re looking for your first one, be sure to ask your web design company about responsive website designs. MLT Group provides individual mobile designs as well as responsive designs to meet the needs of every business. Contact MLT Group today or call our office at 507. 281.3490 for more information.
SEO: Why Your Website Needs It
Search engine optimization drives traffic to your site and creates lead opportunities.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of building and arranging your business’ website to be easily read by search engines, and, in turn, to rank well in organic search results when your products or services are looked for online. From content to site structure to meta tags, SEO is about balancing the interpretation of you site by individual people, while still making the site readable by the bots of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Websites need to take a holistic approach to SEO. This includes:
• Organized site structure
• Keyword or key phrase usage
• Location targeting
• Original content
• Appropriate title and meta tags
• Continuing SEO services and updates
MLT Group provides SEO services for both new websites and those that have already been established. By investing in search engine optimization, you can increase exposure of your site to potential customers and ensure it can be found by your existing customer base.
From web design and development through content creation and on to continuing SEO services, MLT Group provides the entire gamut of services that you need to establish a strong digital presence. Get started today! All you have to do is email email@example.com or call one of our friendly professionals at 507.281.3490.
Is Your Website Design Affecting Your Bottom Line?
Your online presence and website design can impact your brick and mortar business!
Having a credible looking website is extremely important. An outdated, cluttered website can create a negative customer experience and cause customers to spend their money elsewhere.
Your website design is a key part of your digital marketing strategy; its design is where real world marketing meets the internet. The impression you leave on your online customers translates into how they view your business in real life. Does your website make you look like a credible business or like you’re still doing business in the 90’s?
What makes your website look credible to users?
1) Make sure your website is arranged in a user-friendly format
2) Place the most important information “above the fold”
3) Ensure your design looks like quality, professional work
4) Leverage a blog to show expertise in your field
Don’t get stuck in the past! If you need a website redesign to keep up with technological advancements, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MLT Group office at 507.281.3490. We’d be happy to provide you with a quote or more information about our many traditional and digital marketing services.
MLT Group Team Member Attends Forbes Under 30 Summit
MLT Group – Creative Solutions provides innovative SEO, web design, and video production services in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, MN and throughout the Midwest
This past October, one of MLT Group’s team members, Tori Utley, was invited to attend the first ever Forbes Under 30 Summit, a gathering of 1,000 hand-selected entrepreneurs, game changers, and innovators from all around the world who are under 30 years old. We were very excited to have had one of our staff members attending and wanted to share a few of the takeaways she learned from the exciting event.
1. Millennials are Unstoppable
With the many breakthrough products, services, and ideas that the Forbes Under 30 Summit participants brought to the gathering, it was apparent that this is a generation that won’t settle. Millennials want the best – whether they create it or use it. How does this tie into digital marketing strategy? It shows that your strategy, website, and product matter. So long are the days where black hat digital marketing and SEO was truly effective – Google has become much more sophisticated and complex and will judge a site based on its quality, just like the millennials of the Forbes under 30.
2. Limits? What Limits?
If there was one underlying theme of the Forbes Under 30 Summit, it was the absence of limits on what a person can and cannot do to innovate in their industry. Although there are limits on what you can and can’t do to get ahead in the eyes of search engines, there are no limits on what you can do to exceed your customer’s expectations. Write great content, have a great web design, sharp graphic design, and more – these areas of your site are limitless concerning how innovative and creative you can be. All of these factors ultimately lead to greater search rankings, so go past the limits of traditional sites and see the reward follow.
3. Collaboration Matters
The participants of the Forbes Under 30 are secure in the fact that collaboration and teamwork are essential to success. In digital marketing, collaboration and teamwork come full circle in the practice of link building strategies. Just like in the real world of business, collaboration and link building cannot be cheated or faked. True link building that holds validity will be a collaboration between sites, all revolving around the generation of great content, a relevant site, and quality information for consumers.
Although there were many themes represented at the Forbes Under 30 Summit, we can all learn something from the members of the Forbes Under 30. In your website design, video production, SEO, or overall digital marketing strategy in Rochester, Minneapolis, or throughout the United States, remember – you have the opportunity to create unstoppable, limitless, and truly collaborative experiences for your consumers. As it has been said, content is king, and so is the quality you bring to the digital marketplace. Thank you, Forbes Under 30, for continuing to drive home these important concepts!
Google My Business: How Does it Fit Into Your SEO Strategy?
MLT Group provides SEO services and strategy in Rochester, St. Paul, and Minneapolis, MN, as well as throughout the United States.
In the world of digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), you’ve heard of Google+ and the many ways it can be a benefit to SEO campaigns and marketing strategies. This year, Google announced the integrated Google+ platform to transition Google Places to the new “Google My Business.” Don’t forget this important new component in your SEO strategy. Contact MLT Group for SEO in Rochester, MN and throughout the United States!
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an integrated platform for businesses, both local and national, to gather information, promote reviews, and interact with consumers. This platform utilizes components of social media, directory listings, and traditional SEO to allow business owners to use a “one stop shop” for all digital marketing needs. Although there is still a place for these components individually, Google My Business is a unique and intriguing product that brings these digital marketing disciplines together in a way that will continue to evolve and impress search engines and users.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of Google My Business are endless. From a user perspective, this platform provides extensive information about anything from business hours to service offerings to direct interaction with customers. Having an integrated platform on the web provides the ability for businesses to remain organized in their efforts to establish greater brand positioning and overall web presence – all factors that correlate to a strong SEO strategy. Also, one of the greatest benefits is the ability to combine preexisting Google+ accounts on a central dashboard for ease of use and the ability to transfer accounts. This change was highly demanded by marketers, and is much appreciated now that the launch is complete.
What are the costs?
Although it is free to sign up for Google My Business, the service isn’t entirely free. Using Google My Business requires time – to post regularly, create new content, edit outdated information, interact with customers, and more. This can be incredibly time consuming, but efforts will not go unnoticed to Google. Using this platform further ensures the signal to Google that your company truly desires to merge real word marketing with digital marketing – to provide customers with the information they’re looking for and unparalleled service no matter the platform.
If you feel a Google My Business account is the right option for your business or if you would like to talk with a sales representative regarding an SEO strategy or web development services in Rochester, Minneapolis, or St, Paul, MN, call us today! We’re ready and willing to help you in your digital marketing needs, so leave the tough tasks to our group of highly competent digital marketing specialists. Contact MLT Group – Creative Solutions today!
FAQs About Web Hosting, Servers, and Other Website Services
MLT Group offers domain hosting and a variety of other website services, but what does it all mean?
When you first begin the process of a custom website design, it’s easy to get caught up in the design, color preferences, and functionality. But soon, the project manager will begin using terms that are unfamiliar to you. Worse yet, the terms may be familiar, but you’re unsure of the correct answers to her questions. The internet and all of it’s nuances can be a confusing place! Don’t worry though; MLT Group is here with a brief guide into hosting and service terms to help your website design and build out go smoothly.
To simplify things, we’ll be associating each part of hosting and web services with a familiar household item or service. At MLT Group, we love a good analogy!
Let’s start with the easiest part of a website: the domain name. The domain name (and URL) of a website is a unique name that identifies an item on the internet, like your website. For example, the URL for MLT Group is www.mltgroup.com, and the domain name is mltgroup.com. Essentially, the domain name is what is found after the www.
Think of a domain as a contact name in the phone book.
The next essential part is the IP address of your website. Also known as the Internet Protocol Address, this part of hosting has two purposes: 1) to host identification and location addressing and 2) to identify where the website is located. Because computers read in only code and numbers, the IP address is the number that your computer “dials” to reach your domain. For example, an IP address would look something like this: 184.108.40.206.
Think of an IP address as the phone number in the phone book.
Website hosting is much less complicated than it sounds. Your website host is where your website files are kept. It is similar to renting out a building for your business. Without a host, your domain becomes disconnected, like a phone number without a phone company to support it. Additionally, the web host translates the code of your web files into the visual images that appear on your website. So it is essential to the user experience of your website to have your website published with a web hosting service.
Think of web hosting as the drawer in which you keep a phone book.
Contrastingly, the DNS, or Domain Name System, is a more complicated aspect of web hosting and development. The DNS houses the information for each domain name and IP address of all websites. It is the main database of the internet, and the internet would fail to work without the DNS. It translates the information easily between the domain name and the IP address. Additionally, the DNS records must be pointed at the host of the website.
Think of DNS as the phone book itself.
A name server is usually taken care of by the web host of your domain, as well as other domains that may be hosted there. A name server has DNS software installed on it so that all of the address and location information is easily available. The name server is where requests from your local computer are processed and translated from human language to computer code.
Think of the name server as your location, such as a house, where the phone book is kept.
A domain registrar keeps track of who owns what domain name. This can be different or the same as your hosting company. You renew your domain with a registrar so that you and only you have permission to use that domain or web address.
Think of a domain registrar as a landlord.
An A Record is completely different from a DNS record. What an A Record does is attach a domain name to an IP Address, making the dialing process simplified for both the user and the computer.
Think of A Records as speed dial.
Also associated with web services is an MX record. A mail exchanger record (MX record) is a resource with the DNS that tells senders how to send an email to your domain. Email operates by another set of rules, just as complex as hosting and other web services.
Think of an MX record as a post office.
So there you have it! The most commonly asked about aspects of web hosting and other website services. Luckily for you, we can take care of them all!
When you need a custom website design in Rochester, Minneapolis, St. Paul, or anywhere else nation wide, just call on MLT Group. With design, optimization, video and traditional marketing services, we can help you handle all of your marketing needs. Contact us today!