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JM Gives Back to CASA

Our web design and web marketing team is excited to announce that for the month of July, we are donating $250 to CASA for Douglas County for every website sold. CASA for Douglas Country is a JM customer, and after working to build its website and being moved by it’s cause, we can’t think of a better way to give back to the Omaha community.

JM and CASA partnership graphic

What is CASA?

CASA trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interest of victims of child abuse, neglect and severe domestic conflict. These volunteers are appointed by judges to be a voice for these children in court and in the community. In Omaha, over 1,300 children, at any one time, are entangled in the foster care system because they are victims of abuse or neglect. We want to partner with CASA to ensure the basic rights and needs of every child are met by providing a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.

How can you help?

JM cares deeply for children and for Omaha. We hope that our gift will help CASA continue their good and important work in the community, giving children a voice in the midst of brokenness.

You can visit CASA for Douglas County’s website to learn more about their mission and how you can make a difference by volunteering. You can also make a donation directly to CASA or give to specific needs through its website. CASA also has many other ways to serve and support its cause, through employee giving, Amazon Smile, item donations, among other things.

And, you can support CASA through JM. If you’re considering a new website, simply request a quote today for a chance to support CASA through your purchase.

Support CASA

Optimizing Google My Business for Multiple Locations

Google My Business has been around since 2014 and was intended to make local SEO efforts easier for local businesses. Recently, we wrote about the excellent FREE opportunity Google My Business provides to businesses amid a competitive Search Engine Result Page (SERP), and we provide a step-by-step guide for building a Google My Business page and how to optimize it.

In 2015 Google reduced the number of local results from 7 to 3, commonly referred to as the “3-pack” or “map-pack”, so it’s important to rank in the local Google My Business results. But competition is fierce.

google results 3-pack
The “3-pack” or “map-pack”

For businesses with multiple locations, how can you optimize for each location??

Optimizing each location

User proximity is the top local search ranking factor. This is often why results in the “3-pack” may have unclaimed pages.

Considering the number of searches that take place on mobile devices, and the visibility of the map on mobile search results, the value of multiple locations on Google My Business is clear. And the more locations you have, the more likely you’ll appear in results. But how can you get yourself positioned well for the “3-pack”?

You need to optimize for best results.

Verified listings: Each location must have its own verified and optimized Google My Business listing. Learn how to do that here. Each listing must link back to a corresponding location page, and not a main homepage. This means you need to have an optimized page for each location on your website.

Optimizing website pages: Each location of your business should have its own page. Each page should include the city and state of the location and contain unique content. Include a photo of the location with a good alt tag.

Gain reviews: For each location, gain reviews for increased online reputation. Unique reviews for each location will help you stand out, and positive reviews may help convert a prospect to a customer.

Consistency: Ensure your business name, address and phone number are an exact match, wherever they appear – including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.

Can we help?

Our SEO Omaha team highly values Google My Business as an excellent tool for local SEO efforts. And getting an optimized page for each location is only going to make you more visible and build credibility among users.

Don’t have time to create and optimize a Google My Business page for each of your business locations? Or don’t have time to optimize your website to assist in local SEO efforts? No problem. We can do it for you.

Get Help

Pay-Per-Click, SEO or Both?

In an ideal world, you would be focusing efforts on both SEO and paid advertising to increase website traffic and increase sales. Both can serve you more traffic and increased qualified leads. Maybe you’re not sold on Pay-Per-Click, or SEO is not going to give you the instant results you need, OR you just straight-up don’t have the budget to do everything. We get it.

So, this begs the question – which should you choose?

SEO and PPC are both efforts to place your website in front of quality customers above your competition, but through different means. So, before you have your mind made up about what’s best for your business, let our web marketing and SEO team give you some basics.

graphic comparing SEO and PPC services

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of visitors to your website through organic search engine results. So not only do you seek MORE traffic through SEO, but also users who are interested in your company/product. Organic results are results served without paying Google.

We recently wrote a post on quality website content that details how Google search works. Every search engine has a crawler that gathers information across the internet, brings back information and builds an index. This index goes through an algorithm that matches a search query with data.

There are many factors that play into SEO, and because of endless algorithm updates from Google and other search engines the factors are always changing. And while I won’t get into all the factors we consider when dealing with an SEO client, here are a few things you’ll want to consider about SEO to see if it’s a good fit for your business:

Long-term strategy: SEO is a long-term strategy. To gain a significant increase in traffic and quality leads can take up to a year or more. Depending on the equity your website already has in the search engines, you may be a tiny ant climbing up a huge mountain. The task is not impossible, but it will take time and money.

It’s not one-size-fits all: SEO strategies, and service costs, vary depending on where you are, where you want to be and how fast you want to get there.

Website design: To execute an SEO strategy your website needs to be optimized. This can be a large investment, but it includes a robust CMS, optimal site structure, valuable content, mobile friendly design and usability, among MANY other things. Without a solid foundation you cannot expect to see success in the search engines.

Build credibility: SEO strategies are often partnered with regular, valuable content. Investing in quality, relevant and consistent content as part of your SEO strategy not only builds credibility with the search engines, but with your customers and the community you’re serving. It’s also about about making yourself a valuable resource for the community your potential new customers come from.

Pay-Per-Click

PPC marketing through Google Ads offers advertisers two ways to reach people: 1. through Google Search Network and 2. through Google Display Network. Both use a PPC auction system, where advertisers bid to have their ads shown to matched audiences.

Google Search Network, or “search ads”, appear above organic results. The Google Search Network allows you to show your ads to users who are actively searching for the keywords that you’ve selected. So if you own a contractor business, for example, you bid to have this texted-based ad show up every time a user types in Windows Omaha.

PPC text ad example

Google Display Network shows ads to users who are searching for your product or service. These “display ads” are placed on websites you think your target will be on. These image-based ads work well for re-engagement campaigns, showing ads to visitors who have already been to your website, in hopes they will come back and purchase/convert. This is often called remarketing or retargeting. For instance, we purchased something from Williams Sonoma six months ago… and they are still retargeting us.

banner ad example

These Google search and display ads are a great opportunity to capture quality leads and is an excellent way to reach your target audience. So here are a few things you might want to consider about PPC advertising:

Long-term strategy: PPC, like SEO, is a long-term strategy. You’ll want to run ads and refine your reach/budget based on the data. These ads may bring much quicker results than trying to gain traction in organic rankings.

Cost: The cost is mostly dependent on your Google budget. If you’re in a highly competitive industry it can get pretty pricey.  If your AdWords campaigns are well-targeted, optimized correctly and have an appropriate CPC bid, you’ll be able to show your ads to a responsive audience, nearly guaranteeing a positive ROI. Many businesses can run successful AdWords campaigns for a reasonable cost relative to the amount of money you make with each conversion.

Remarketing: While retargeting is great for most businesses, it’s especially useful for eCommerce websites. You can create and target audiences of users who have already visited your website with tailored banner ads, including image and video ads. Through these dynamic ads, a product from your store can follow a prospect until they pull the trigger!

Target niche terms: PPC can provide an affordable way to advertise for a niche phrase. Often more specific keyword phrases can run much less expensive than a short keyword. So, for instance, instead of ‘tires’ consider ‘winter truck tires.’

Either/Or, or Both: You can choose to do text ads, or banner ads, or both. If you have little traffic to your website, you’ll want to consider text ads to drive quality traffic to your website. If you have a lot of traffic, but want to reengage that traffic, you’ll want to consider banner ads.

Assessing Your Marketing Goals

Your decision to invest in SEO and/or PPC Google AdWords should be based on your company’s marketing strategy. By assessing your long and short-term goals, your budget and your competition you should have a starting place for which service you should invest in.

Also, looking at the data can be difficult. Assessing where you are and where you want to be can be easier with the guidance of an experienced SEO and web marketing team. Let us know if we can help answer your questions, if you want to explore an SEO or PPC campaign for your business, or need help assessing your current SEO or PPC situation. We’re happy to help!

How to Handle Complaints on Social Media

The world of customer service has dramatically transformed from phone call support lines to a host of mediums including phone, email and social media communications. And, if you’re in the business of serving people you know that much of customer service is addressing complaints and making customers feel heard.

We’re in an age where many complaints are no longer handled one-on-one during a phone call, but publicly displayed for all to see. And the fact of the matter is, you probably feel like many of the complaints are not justified. And like many other businesses, you’ve tried to find ways to remove these unjust reviews and complaints as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) you likely cannot remove these reviews. Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, etc., are attempting to build a community where trust is built and people are heard – no matter the grievance. So whether the complaint is from a cranky customer, a disgruntled former employee or a troll… don’t let these haters taint your company’s credibility. Instead, use a complaint on social media to show everyone else how wrong these haters are!

F-E-A-R-S

Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert, wrote an article on Buffer outlining a framework for dealing with haters on social media.

FEARS acronym

Let us break it down for you…

Find All Mentions

You cannot address a complaint if you don’t know it exists. Social media listening tools will find customer feedback that’s not use @ to tag you. Baer says only about half of the people who complain on social expect to hear back from the company and more than 1/3 of all tweets to companies were about customer service issues. And only three percent tagged the company directly with the @ symbol.

A social media listening tool can assist in finding any mention of your business so you can address the comment or complaint.

Show Empathy

Of course, when someone attacks us our defenses go up and we attack (or retreat). Neither of these options are good. So instead, take a minute and breathe. Assess the situation and respond with empathy. Like… real empathy. Not a canned response like we’ve ALL received from the customer service line of our internet company.

“I’m sorry that happened to you, ma’am.”

No. No you’re not.

Baer says inserting empathy in your response “…doesn’t mean the customer is always right.” But “It does mean the customer is always heard…”

Answer Publicly

I know many times you’d rather message the “accuser” directly to address the problem. Or even pick up the phone to call. BUT, a public response can gain trust from on-lookers. All the spectators sitting in front of their computer shoveling popcorn in their face waiting for the mic to drop want to see how you respond. And when you respond, and respond well, it shows your good character.

Reply Only Twice

This can be SO hard to do. Especially if the hater is raving and endless in their responses and attacks. Here’s Baer’s example of a fictional hater “Chad” and what a two reply response should look like:

Chad: “You guys are the absolute worst. I can’t believe you actually have the guts to accept American currency for your terrible product!”

Business: “We seem to have fallen short in your eyes, Chad. Can you tell me more about what happened, and I’ll do whatever I can to assist?”

Chad: “It won’t matter. It’s not like an idiot like you can fix all that’s wrong with this ridiculous company.”

Business: “I’m sorry you’re unhappy, and would like to help if possible. Please contact me via private message if you’d like me to give it a try.”

If a hater keeps complaining, at this point it will look like just that… complaining. And if you need only one reply to address a complaint, that’s great!

online customer service icon

 

Switch Channels

It’s likely that you cannot fully address an issue through Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, etc.. Notice in the example above they ask to continue the conversation via a private message. A complaint may require research to resolve, or private information that cannot be shared on a public forum.

It’s also pretty likely, depending on your customers and industry, that the hater may not want to pick up the phone to resolve the issue. Because for a lot of people, talking on the phone is archaic. So take advantage of the behind the scenes messaging systems most social channels provide.

 

For more information on how to handle complaints on social media, and for a more in-depth take on customer service in a time of public complaints, check out Jay Baer’s new book, Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers Happy.

Employee Spotlight: Stephanie Effken

True to the industry, our web design and web marketing team team has changed and grown over the last year. And while we are still a small company who works closely with its customers, there are many people working on the front lines and behind the scenes for the success of its customers and for JM. So, we are taking time to highlight each team member; and up next is Stephanie Effken.

Stephanie has been with JM for 9.5 years and is JM’s third longest-running employee, after JM’s CEO Jonathan and his wife Megan. Stephanie started as JM’s Account Manager, transitioned into project management, then returned to account management after passing the PM job off to her husband, and is now the Brand and Marketing Coordinator. Here’s more about Stephanie…

Stephanie Effken, JM Branding & Marketing Coordinator

 

In Her Career

How do you balance your career at JM and family?

Jonathan has made it very easy for me to be a mom and wife first, and an employee of JM second. Because of the flexibility I have been afforded through JM I have been able to transition to a part-time position to raise my two kids, and serve JM in various capacities during naps and evenings.

How has JM helped you in your career development?

JM gave me a shot 9.5 years ago! I previously worked as a reporter for a small town paper as my first job out of college. My husband and I moved to Omaha and I applied for (what seemed like) 50 jobs. I didn’t get any of them. I was waitressing and boldly asked an Omaha Chamber of Commerce employee who I was serving if I could send her my resume to pass out. It ended up at JM… and well, the rest is history.

I went from only being able to check my email and Facebook 9.5 years ago, to writing website specifications and physically building out WordPress websites. And because of JM’s devotion to me and my family, I will likely never work anywhere else.

What are 3 words to describe JM?

Honest, Family-Focused (yeah, I know that’s 2 words) and Innovative

What do you find the most challenging at JM?

I’ve worked remotely from Denver, CO, for the last 7 years so I find it challenging to keep up with personal relationships. I wish we could come and visit the office more often, but in the season of small children, it’s really difficult to travel too much.

What has been your favorite project at JM?

About 8 years ago we built and launched the Cupcake Island website while I was account manager. It was super fun to oversee the photography and creative vision for the website… and eat all the cupcakes, of course.

What is your favorite part about working for JM?

My co-workers. We’ve grown a lot over the last 1.5 years, but the team we have is extremely solid. They are dedicated and work VERY hard… often working on their own time to continue their education to serve JM’s customers better. These are the kind of people you want to work with. And, of course, Jonathan and Megan have loved my family very well. They work and sacrifice for the good of the JM team and I have personally witnessed their devotion over the last 9.5 years. It’s incredible.

On a Personal Note

Are you messy or organized?

I’m an organized mess… like my desktop…

Do you have a favorite newspaper, blog?

I love to listen to NPR because I don’t really have time to read the news.

I like reading Neil Patel’s blog about content marketing.

Against All Grain is my current go-to food blog.

RisenMotherhood has been a great blog and podcast for me, in the midst of raising littles.

If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

Jen Wilkin, because she is brilliant. But only for a day, because she lives in Texas and I don’t like Texas.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

A lactation consultant, visiting new mamas and their babies.

If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?

Phone, a way to change my phone with solar energy and a water bottle with filter.

What does true leadership mean to you?

A person who sacrifices for the good of the team.

What is an ability you wish you had?

I wish I could better understand technical documentation. I am highly social and it’s really difficult for me to have the attention to read technical stuff and for my brain to comprehend it.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

City O’City in Denver. It’s a crazy vegan hipster place with fabulous cocktails, the BEST seitan buffalo wings and an awesome vibe. And no, I am not vegan or a hipster.

You’re happiest when?

It’s Friday night, my kids are in bed, I have a cocktail in my hand and my hubs by my side.

Avoiding or Correcting Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is any substantial portion of content that appears anywhere on the Internet more than once. Content is considered duplicate when it appears on your website AND someone else’s website. It’s also duplicate when it appears more than once on the same website URL.

Sometimes duplicate content is deceptive, meaning it is deliberately duplicated on different URLs to manipulate the search engines. One of the main reasons Google does not favor this is because it can result in a poor user experience, and Google updates it’s algorithms regularly mostly because of its dedication to enhanced user experience. If Google thinks duplicate content is malicious, ranking will drop for all URLs with this content or a website could be removed entirely from the Google index.

copy cut paste icons

How does duplicate content happen?

Many times duplicate content is not intended to deceive the search engines. Here are some examples of non-malicious duplicate content:

Printer-friendly website pages: These pages are often a duplicate of an already existing page. It’s also common to use an alternative version of a URL in these instances. For instance, http://www.exampleurl.com/product and http://www.exampleurl.com/print/product. URL variations, like this, cause duplicate content issues.

HTTP vs HTTPS: If your site maintains versions at both http:// and https:// they are both live, visible and indexable to the search engines.

Copied Content: Some people will copy blog posts from other websites. Other times it’s less obvious… like duplicating large portions of content for each service page on your website, or for eCommerce websites it can exist in product information.

These few examples are among the most common causes of duplicate content.

Help me find duplicate content

Why should you care?

Duplicate content really cannot provide you any benefit. The only thing it can provide is decreased rankings and traffic loss. Consider that Google will rarely show duplicate content in it’s search results, reducing the chances that a page will be served. And if whether you are competing for local or national SEO success, duplicate content will not benefit you.

Duplicate content will only be acted upon (punished) by Google if a review indicates that you engaged in deceptive practices. But, if your website does suffer from duplicate content issues then Google will select a version of the content itself to show in the results.

How can you address duplicate content?

While Google can do a decent job of addressing and ranking pages with non-malicious duplicate content itself, there are a few steps you can take for best SEO practice to ensure your website is indexed and ranked appropriately and fairly, despite having the same content in more than one place.

Nonindex meta tag: This is particularly useful for those printer-friendly webpages. You can block the printer-friendly version of the page using the nonindex meta tag and Google will not index it.View Post

301 redirects: We’ve discussed this previously, but if you’ve restructured your website or launched a new one with a new page structure, use 301 redirects to redirect users and Googlebot.

Consolidate Duplicate URLs: A page accessible by multiple URLs or different pages with similar content can be considered duplicate content/duplicate pages. Google will choose one as the canonical version, but you can tell Google which URL is the canonical version. Consider doing this if you have a mobile and a desktop version of your website.

Use Google Search Console: Here you can indicate how you wish Google to index your site and select a preferred domain. An example of this is HTTP vs HTTPS or WWW vs no WWW

Minimize your duplicate content: Review your website content and see where it’s repetitive. Take action yourself to reduce the words being duplicated on multiple pages. You can provide unique and valuable content on every page and then link to another with the content you need to be repeated. If you have an eCommerce website, take care to rewrite your product descriptions so they’re different than the manufacturer, or create ONE product with variations instead of 6 of the same product – the size being the only difference.

Need help?

If you have repetitive content across your website, but aren’t how to rewrite it, we can help. If you switched to https:// recently and are questioning if you have duplicate content issues as a result, we can help. If you need assistance implementing redirects after a website restructure, we can help. If you copied website content from your competitor and put it on your website… and now you’re a bit worried, we can help with that, too.

Help me review my content