Do you SEO, PPC, or go both ways?

As you may know customers can get to your website many different ways. This blog is about SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines are how your customers find stuff on the web. They pull out relevant information gathered from what you put in your search. Google alone accounts for 3,500,000,000 (3.5 Billion per day) that’s a lot of people looking for answers, products and services every hour of every day.
So how do you find which is the best way for you and your company to the first page on search engines? Both SEO and PPC work, but do you need both? To understand the difference between SEO and PPC, let’s take a look at them and see their strengths and weaknesses.

PPC (Pay Per Click)
Instead of organically and gradually ranking your way toward the top of search results, you pay the search engine to place your website on the top of page instantly. Every time a user clicks on your ad or website, the search engine charges a small fee. One thing to take note, it’s more than money that gets you to the top. It’s also “quality score”, location, relevance, and site functionality. But PPC search words are sold on the open marketing, meaning anyone can come along a take your spot if they want to pay more. Here are some of the top keyword costs per click:
Continue reading Do you SEO, PPC, or go both ways?

The Death of Flash and Why it’s Important for Your Business

Flash dissapearing
We got this image from an e-learning website article about the changeover to HTML5. Click on the image to see the article.

We have been getting a few clients asking us about enabling Flash on their browser. Why do you need to do this just to see what you want to see? Flash is going away. It is dying a slow death, and as with many tech deaths, it is taking people by surprise.

What is Flash?

I had to get a simple breakdown from our tech guy and well, here is my attempt to put it into un-techy language: Flash is a kind of “computery” language that enables computers and browsers to play back videos, animations, interactive media, advertisements, etc.

Why is it going away?

  1. It’s not very secure
    More than a few Zero Days have occurred last year in which hackers could target your computer. According to Norton Antivirus, “The term ‘zero-day’ refers to a software vulnerability that the developer is newly aware of, and thus an official patch or update to fix the issue has not been released. Essentially, ‘zero-day’ refers to the fact that the developers have “zero days” to fix the problem that has just been exposed—and perhaps already exploited by hackers.”
    This has led many users and many browsers to disable Flash automatically.
  2. It’s obsolete
    Developers have moved on already to HTML5, JavaScript, etc.
  3. It’s being dumped
    All major browsers block Flash by default. Firefox began blocking Flash in 2015 followed soon by Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is the only Flash enabled browser right now. That will soon be gone too, as IE is planning to disable Flash by 2019.
  4. …But there will be stragglers
    Just like obsolete font types are still being used, nobody can stop developers from using Flash. But it won’t be supported by browsers anymore, just like old fonts are not supported by new operating systems. It’s ability to work will be patchy without support.

What this means for your business

  •  Your websites will need to be updated to avoid using Flash by the drop dead year of 2020, though support in browsers will end before then.
  • Your animations using Flash can only be used on a computer with a compatible operating system that has Flash installed.
  • If you have interactive learning sites or proofing tools, you will need to make sure they have an HTML version.

What we are doing about it

  • We have already updated our website to not include Flash.
  • We are still going to use ProofHQ as our client proofing tool because they are developing an HTML version of the website that goes live in the next couple weeks. Currently, they have a beta version available. If you want to test out this platform right now, click this text in the bottom left hand side of your proof. It looks different but proofs still show accurately, and that is the important part to us and our clients. Of course, because it is in beta right now, you must have Flash enabled to access the button (go figure, right?).
    You can preview HTML on our proofing tool
    While you are in ProofHQ looking at your next proof from us, try out this feature.

Net Neutrality: Not Neutral Anymore

Net neutralityIf you aren’t familiar with net neutrality, you are not alone. Most Internet users don’t realize what it is or how they can be effected. Below is a quick overview.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality legislation was put into place to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against or showing favoritism toward certain websites. Let’s say you use your local cable and Internet comp for streaming video; without Net Neutrality they could now intentionally slow down the stream of competing services such as Netflix, giving themselves an unfair advantage.

How Will It Impact You?

Broadband providers will be able to charge consumers and companies varying rates. You could be charged more for a package that allows unrestricted access to streaming sites than someone else who only uses their Internet for email and reading newspapers.

What Does This Mean for Web Searches?

Currently, websites all have an equal opportunity to be found and visited. Without legislation in place to keep it that way, the stage is being set for large, established companies to be able to push out the little guy much like with current TV stations.

In a pay to play environment, large companies could put their websites in an express lane of searches. This is of course bad for smaller or new companies and bad for us as consumers, because our freedom to evaluate two services on a level playing field is restricted. This gives larger payers an advantage over smaller, similar services.

Specific to SEO, without net neutrality, it could mean that sites that rank high may not get the traffic or customers they did in the past. Also consider how highly Google values website speed; sites that are paying for speed will have access to their sites, a clear advantage based on money not merit.

The Internet has become a very integral part of our everyday lives. Even though recent legislation protecting Internet equality has been killed, it will take months if not years to see the full impact of an unregulated Internet.
If you are a small business owner with a websites or and online store, don’t completely overhaul everything just yet, the SEO industry isn’t going away for quite some time.

And the Future Will Be?

Web searches as we know them will be changing in the next couple years. But changes and evolution are just part of the game, good changes will evolve and bad ones will disappear. Help keep the internet equal for everyone:

SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY

FYI your SEO and PPC work together

Before I explain the details, let’s take a look why it is important for your online business marketing. As you may know, Google, Bing  and other search engines are basically how people find stuff on the web. It pulls out relevant information it thinks people might find useful. That’s millions of people looking for answers to their real-life questions every hour of every day.
So how do you find your way to the first page on search engines? There are basically two ways to do that: SEO and PPC. Both of them work, but do you need both? To really understand what the difference between SEO and PPC is, let’s take a look at them individually and see what their strengths and weaknesses would be. Continue reading FYI your SEO and PPC work together

What can YOU build out of a pallet?

If you are on any social media platform you have most likely seen at least one project made out of a recycled pallets, especially if you follow us on social media! There are so many ways to take a plain wooden pallet and make it into something AMAZING and NEW! We ran a contest amongst our employees to see what they could make out of the pallets that our paper is delivered on. It was such a huge success and fun project that we decided to do it again, but this time we are inviting our customers, friends and family to build something.

We started this project because we like the idea of recycling. Here at APi-Marketing we do a lot of that, whether its pallets (our employees are always making stuff from them), 99% of all paper we use, press plates, or just soda cans. We try and let as little go to the landfill as we can.

Project time starts now! Come over to our shop and grab a pallet or two or ten and start building! We get new pallets almost every day so if we don’t have what you are looking for, check back again. Look on Pinterest, Google, any social media platform, or just something you have been contemplating in your head and find a fun, useful or extravagant project to build out of pallets. These projects will be displayed at our VIP Open house in Mid-October. There is a kicker, for those who want to be included in a silent auction on the projects, 100% of the money raised will be donated to a local non profit organization (to be determined prior to event).

How do I win and what do I get you ask? WELL, the winner will be determined by votes cast at the VIP Open House. The winner will receive $250 worth of gift cards to one or more of the following: Flyers Gas Stations, Old Town Pizza, Center for the Arts, Machado Orchards, or Local Heroes (or a combination of them).

Of course there are some rules….

  1. Has to be made mostly of pallets.
  2. Anything added on must be recycled from something else, not purchased new for this project. (Exceptions are anything used to fasten such as nails, glue or staples and anything used to decorate such as paint or stain)
  3. Must “RSVP” your project prior to or on September 11th, 2017 (whether or not it is finished) so we know how many projects to be expecting and to make sure you and a guest are on the list for an invitation to the Open House. http://bit.ly/palletRSVP
  4. Must be able to bring your project to APi-Marketing or arrange for us to pick-up for our VIP Open House in mid October.

That is all, now go have fun and create a new masterpiece!

“But I’m not ready for you to see my website!”

Cat with smily face placed over his mouth
Just fix it already

“I don’t like my website, I’m going to redo it soon” [like a year from now].

Does this sound familiar? Or how about “I’m going to invest in social media when I am ready for large orders.” But you aren’t ready for large orders because of several reasons, including not having a proper website for clients to view and/or place orders.

It’s 2017 and 39% of small business owners don’t have a website, and many that do are unhappy with the way it performs or looks. While there are several reasons that a website can do a poor job at generating leads, there are a few reasons that are unashamedly staring us all in the face.

Continue reading “But I’m not ready for you to see my website!”

Strategic Use of Animated GIFs

Do you remember when people were just learning about the joys of animated GIFs and websites were littered with bouncing sheep, rainbow glitter, or even the more recent explosion and decline of Nyan Cat? If you don’t remember this, take a look at these fine specimens.

For a couple of years, designers and business owners have stayed away from animated GIFs for the same reason that they currently avoid fonts such as Comic Sans and Papyrus; GIFs were overdone. Too popular, too annoying, too much neon, too intrusive. But what about now?

Things have come a long way since mankind first decided to make an image that plays frame by frame actions in a never-ending loop. Now we have an opportunity to use them tastefully and for the right reasons. So, what are some reasons to use them?

Continue reading Strategic Use of Animated GIFs

Battle the Cyber Monsters

Computer viruses are no new concept. We’ve all heard not to open attachments from strangers, not to click on ads, not to type text that is not a website URL into the browser. Well, gone are the days of our computers slowing down when they have viruses. Computers are way more efficient and attackers way more sneaky. You may not even have to click on anything, just load a webpage with ads and a little snippet of something will sit in your computer, waiting for a command from its leader.

One of the growing malware categories is Ransomware. This kind of malware encrypts (or claims to encrypt) your files and hold them for a ransom of hundreds of dollars. One of the most recent variants, CryptoLocker, is getting some attention for it’s seemingly professional assistance in coaching the victim step by step on how to pay the ransom and receive a key to unlock the files (hopefully).

you won't want to see this screen, neither do we!

Thankfully, we have an excellent staff on hand to tell us the latest and greatest scams out there and this helps us make decisions that are safer and more streamlined.

One of the improvements we have made is to stop sending PDF proofs via email. So much malware is sent using attachments in emails that are meant to look like they are coming from somebody in your own office! Be mindful of the language the person in each email with an attachment is using. If you sense something out of character, it is better to call them and see what’s up before going any further. Get verbal confirmation first, open the attachment later.

  Continue reading Battle the Cyber Monsters

Web Designers and SEO Can do Wonders

Yes if you have been into the field of SEO, you know how important it is to have a good web design that can enhance user experience. Therefore SEO professionals and web designers should work in close association with each other.
If you study the web sites over the web for SEO compliance, you will find that a majority of them do not even have basic optimization done. Although a web designer is not required to learn completely but he/she must be aware of basic
concepts and its benefits. A fancy design may look wow from one side but are your targeted visitors able to find you? Why you should design web sites which should be search engine friendly? What are the advantages of doing it? These are some of the questions that an SEO needs to prepare to convince web designers for expected changes.
 

Continue reading Web Designers and SEO Can do Wonders

Establishing an Online Marketing Priority List

As a marketer and even more so as an entrepreneur, I find all of our options and opportunities to shine in online marketing daunting. Not daunting in the sense that “this new stuff scares me,” as that would be quite a thing to say based on
what I do for a living (i.e., educate on best practices of online marketing). But enormously daunting in the sheer number of opportunities to do great things during this huge transformational time. Opportunities are boundless and the ideas are gushing over at a pace and volume that feels like the Amazonian waterfalls I’ve seen on the Discovery Channel.
The breadth, amount, and rapidity of such, simply blow me away on Sunday mornings like this. So, I find myself becoming introspective and thinking, “Hey dude, why don’t you just go after one idea and see it all the way through to the
very last detail?” Asking myself, “Are you ADD?” or “Do you lack the discipline or interest?” The answer is yes and no.

Continue reading Establishing an Online Marketing Priority List