Google Ends their Authorship Program

Most small businesses have limited advertising budgets compared to their big-box competitors, but Google has done a great job of leveling that playing field by offering products like Google+ and Google Maps.

Just simply claiming your Google+ and maps listing, being consistent with your address and making sure all categories are checked off correctly, gives you an edge in local search results. It also helps to be SEO-savvy by verifying your listings or claiming your business on all popular network sites and platforms like Yelp, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

We’ve always preached that the bottom line in achieving optimal SEO juice is to show Google some love. Since the end of 2011, Google+ profiles were being used as Google’s universal identity platform for connecting authors with their content through the authorship program.

Then, on Thursday, August 28, 2014 Google Authorship for search results came to an end. You can view John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announcement here.

In case you’re not familiar with Google’s Authorship project, it basically encouraged authors to connect or link their web content with their Google+ profiles. This verified link earned the author special recognition in search results by showing their profile photo and possibly affecting rank factor. What author or content creator wouldn’t want that?

Tested data collected from three years of Google Authorship convinced Google that showing Authorship results in search was not returning enough value compared to the resources it took to process the data. So, Google ended it, but their true success is in their ability to maintain enthusiasm in spite of the inevitable technology setbacks.

Authorship is over but we will still continue to show Google any and all the lovin’ they want and I would advise […]

By |September 5th, 2014|Categories: Google, Organic Reach, SEO, Social Media|Tags: |0 Comments

Organic Reach on Facebook

The drop in organic Facebook reach is depressing for those of us who have worked hard to entice people to like our business page. But what can we do?

The simple fact is that every Page on Facebook wants everything they post shown to everyone. Unfortunately, people can only read so many News Feeds per day and the competition among Pages is fierce. The typical Facebook user Liked twice as many pages this year as last.

That’s pretty staggering when you think about it. I guess it’s put Facebook in the position of filtering our News Feeds which upsets and angers most businesses including ours. With fewer and fewer of our fans seeing our posts, we feel cheated! We’ve worked hard over the years, paid for ads and run special promotions just to pull in more Likes.

On the other hand, if we had to sift through all those feeds, we’d be more connected to Facebook than we already are! Especially when you think about the numbers of new friends we add on Facebook each year and the more Pages we like.

Maybe I don’t want to see that many News Feeds each day. After all, I can’t be on Facebook all day. If every business page was treated equally, I probably couldn’t stay on Facebook long enough to see everyone’s posts. The overwhelming number of business feeds might mean users would abandon Facebook in droves.

So, Facebook decided it would start choosing our content for us to guarantee users would return. They basically make money by showing people what they believe to be the most engaging posts.

The more likes, comments and shares a post receives, the higher the ranking Facebook places on its reach. Business Pages will need […]

Flush the Text Out of Websites!

We’ve written several articles on the importance of responsive web design and for many years have been offering it exclusively to our clients. We saw early on the direction mobile technology was taking and pride ourselves on always being able to quickly learn while delivering innovative, proven website solutions.

It seems that no one likes to read anymore and instead of telling a story in a many words, the trend now is to visually communicate a message.

One only needs to consider the popularity of the visually focused social media channels like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to understand the shift to visual media. Photography, icons and infographics are the best way to communicate a message so it will be noticed and digested.

For years, SEO copywriting was one of the reasons websites were so text heavy. Google’s ever changing algorithms altered the playing field. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and writing copy which focuses only on keywords. Those practices will get you penalized under Google’s new guidelines!

Finding the right combination of content and visuals to tell a story is the best formula to keep website viewers engaged. After all, the end user and their experience while viewing your website should be most important. At Charene Creative, our web design style tends to be clean and open so we’re glad to see heavy text websites disappear.

The hard part about these kind of trends is convincing the client to jump on board. We still are explaining and convincing clients that responsive web design is the future and WordPress is the BEST CMS format to use.

Conclusion: A Picture is really worth a thousand words! At Charene Creative we are passionate about finding solutions for our clients, and are […]

Brand Makeovers: Rebranding vs. Brand Refresh

Charene Creative is in the process of helping several companies rebrand their corporate identities. I’ve advised each about the do’s and don’ts of changing, or refreshing a brand image, so I thought I would share those recommendations.

To start, let me clear up what truly makes a brand. A brand is the sum total of what people see and feel about us when they see your corporate image. This includes online and offline marketing materials, and every interaction they have with you, even the tiniest details count.

Rebranding involves changing the public’s perception of your company, product or service. If your brand still connects with people, don’t change it just for the sake of change. You might really upset your customer base and end up with more bad publicity than good.

One of the companies I am working with has been around for 35 years and I recommended they do a brand refresh instead of a total rebrand. In their case, the current brand has a positive equity (solid reputation) in the mind of their customer. I felt strongly they should not lose that value by completely changing their brand. Instead, there will be a recognizable transition between the old branding and the new.

If people love you and know who you are, you don’t want to throw that out and start completely over. Below are six reasons why you might want to consider rebranding:

Your brand has gone through fundamental organizational changes. Mergers, acquisitions, new products or services, a focus on new target audiences or expansion into new markets are all good reasons to look at rebranding a company.
Your brand is confusing to people or it isn’t connecting with your target market. If prospective customers can’t recall your […]

By |June 30th, 2014|Categories: Advertising & Design|Tags: |0 Comments

Loosing Valuable Customers with Outdated Web Design

This week I was researching potential customers online by visiting their website and was pretty shocked by what I found. Many of the sites looked outdated simply because they have not kept up with new technologies to optimize their website for mobile and tablet devices.

I was surprised to find sound and video that began to play automatically which takes a lot of time to load and can irritate your customers. Unless you’re in the entertainment business, please don’t include music on your site and never let it begin playing automatically. Users should always be given the option to click on a “play” button and choose to play the media on your site.

It’s always important to look for ways to make your website more dynamic and engaging, but be careful not to provoke a negative reaction. If your website causes browser issues on different devices, a visitor will immediately close the website and probably never return again.

More and more people are searching for businesses using mobile devices and if your website is not responsive, you’re driving away customers! The Google Developers section specifically recommends building smartphone-optimized websites using responsive web design. Read more on responsive web design by clicking here.

Many of the companies on my list did not include a web address so I simply searched their business name. I was horrified by how many of the businesses had no website or appeared several listings down on the page. Your website should be the number one search result when you type in your business name!

I also found lots of outdated content including copyright and contact information. Search engines track content on your website including changes and updates. If you never update information, you risk being […]