The Distinct SEO Web Marketing Blog

Discuss the latest topics on web marketing, SEO, branding, and organizational development.
Why Non Profit Orgs Don’t Need Custom Websites

Why Non Profit Orgs Don’t Need Custom Websites

There is a common misconception in the world of nonprofits when it comes to company websites: custom development is the only option. There are times, especially for large organizations with significant and specific needs, that custom websites are needed, but for the vast majority out of the box/free solutions are the best option if you can get over the fear of new technology. Your organization will be better off going down the route of self-management because, a) you’ll own and have power over all of your data, b) you won’t expend unnecessary resources/money on things you can complete in house quickly, c) the learning curve isn’t as high as you think, d) you won’t have to wait for someone else to make changes.

What many don’t realize, the goals and purpose of a website can easily be handled with free options currently on the market (and have been for almost a decade). I know what you may be thinking, but free doesn’t mean cheap in this case. In the realm of the internet, open-source (free) is in fact a power worth taking advantage of.

Here’s why non-profits do not need to spend the money on custom websites and how to use free alternatives, namely, the implementation of WordPress.

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Google Alert for Searches Never Seen Before

Google Alert for Searches Never Seen Before

Those primary keywords you’re after probably aren’t as popular as you may think.

Although this image is over a year old (can’t track down source), it gave me a chuckle. It’s actually a really interesting and neat idea, I wish Google would implement it.

But I’m willing to bet you’d get the alert quite often, more than you would expect. Google sees a sizeable minority of searches they’ve never encountered daily. The nature of search is we use all sorts of parameters and words to find the information we’re looking for.

Quick Website Update – Website Revitalization

With any kind of web work there are always different levels of investment. On one hand, when it comes to web design, you can hire designers and artists and create custom works for everything. On the other hand, you can update and revitalize your website relatively quickly and easily for a fraction of the cost.

There are many different options, particularly in free CMS (content management systems) like WordPress, that offer robust tools and ‘themes’ that provide out-of-the-box solutions for webmasters offering professional looks that are easy to install. Best of all many are free. With enough customizing options you can take a free theme and tweak it so it looks unique.

We work with many clients who want to update the look of their website. They have all the existing content and pictures, and simply need us to come in create something updated and new. These changes can be done relatively quickly, sometimes within a day to complete an updated website that meets all the latest standards and guidelines for the search engines.

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How Google WIll Treat new TLDs

With new generic top level domains (gTLDs), becoming options for web owners, the number questions on numbers regarding how Google will treat these domains. A recent FAQ from the Google Webmaster team confirms that Google will continue to handle TLDs in the same way they have in the past.

That means there’re no negative or positive connotations with any gTLDs. You can get a benefit nor can you be penalized. It’s supposedly in neutral factor in ranking websites. However, ccTLDs (country specific like .uk) Will a bias towards their referring country of origin. .UK indicates to Google that the content is likely to be geared towards a UK audience.

Oil Patch Layoffs Leads to More Consulting Firm Startups

Oil Patch Layoffs Leads to More Consulting Firm Startups

As energy dependent Alberta and other provinces that rely on oil royalty revenues continue to struggle with depressed prices, layoffs particularly for contract workers are making people think harder about starting their own consulting firms.

Starting a new consultancy firm is well within the realm of possibility after some initial hard work. The reason why many may think twice about branching out on their own is a fear they won’t be able to make enough money to make ends meet. There is an inherent risk, but new ideas can be started using free time without the need to quit your job (of course this is a moot point if you were laid-off). Here are some tips on how to test a new business idea in your field.

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The Stunning Way to Handle Failure in Organizations – Case of SpaceX

Watch this stunning video.

In case you’re wondering, SpaceX is trying to LAND a rocket that went to space. Usually rockets are used once and then jettisoned off into the void of space. (Actually, they don’t disappear, the rockets, along with other space junk, sits in orbit.) But here we have, within days of the attempt, the company SpaceX sharing what is ultimately the failure to land the rocket safely on a barge in the middle of the ocean.

The rocket literally blew up on attempt.

But this is actually a success, and the attention SpaceX has garnered through their platform and strategy of sharing their success, secrets, and failures, has done wonders for their brand, but also the industry as a whole.

How does your business handle failure?

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Social Media Strategies Should be Unique

When you’re creating strategic direction for business you need to have an overarching vision of what you want to achieve. From there it’s important to use each of your tools in the manner they were created for. (Although take note, ‘hacking’ tools to suit your specific needs could be a viable tactic if you know what you are doing and are innovative enough.)  When small businesses approach social media there is a temptation to use all of the tools in the same way. It’s easy to open Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., accounts; it’s quite another thing to use them in the manner each was is designed for. Which one you focus on will largely depend on what kind of business you are in and what your goals are.

The first step, however, is to outline your marketing direction as a whole. That should fit within your larger business plan. From there you can derive strategic direction and decide what message you want to get out. More often than not you will use your website as the starting point, and from there leverage your social media campaigns. All too often I see companies with fragmented approaches, their message is different across platforms, and their website is the least updated of the lot.

Start with your business plan –> create your marketing goals –> create strategic direction to meet those goals –> implement with tactics.

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Twitter and the new RTs

You can now re-tweet without losing your limited response space. Twitter’s new feature enables you to display the RT, but retain your own character space. This will enable you to be more social with your users (and those your re-tweet). Adding a comment, addition, critique, or praise, to your RTs can only increase your influence and participation in whichever market/tribe you’re a part of.

Pay Close Attention to Google’s Mobile Friendly Alert

Have your received a ‘warning’ from Google letting you know about the mobile usability of your website? If you haven’t, then check out this blog post. If you have a Google Webmaster’s account then you may have received a notice from them over the past month informing you of your website’s mobile compatibility.

If you have indeed received an email warning you MUST pay attention to it.

The email from Google Webmaster Tools Team will outline any mobile usability issues. The quick note will be informative, and will offer you solutions on how to transition from your existing website into a mobile friendly version. Hopefully this does not require a full out redesign.

What are your options?

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Google to Increase Mobile Ranking Signals

Pay attention to an important announcement from Google Webmaster Central. The key ranking signals will be adjusted in a month’s time to reflect the growing prominence of mobile friendly websites. Of worthy note:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

  • If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Are you ready? If you’re website is not performing well for mobile devices Webmaster Central may alert you. But don’t rely on their messaging to prompt you to ensure your website meets the minimum standards for mobile devices. Run the tools they suggest above.

Banning semalt and buttons-for-websites via .htaccess

If you’re tired of seeing faux results in your Analytics reports and have been looking for a solution to ban the Semalt and buttons-for-websites referrals then here is the .htaccess code I used that worked to completely eliminate bot visits.

# Block all http and https referrals from" and all subdomains of ""
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* – [F]
# End semalt block
# block referer spam buttons for website
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons\-for\-website\.com
RewriteRule ^.* - [F,L]
# End buttons for website block

I’ve tried other iterations but the code above was the only version that completely eliminated the bot visits. As an aside, my WordPress spam comments went down 90% as well. Hope this works for you and your websites as well.

Keyword Research – Choose Words Your Customers Use

stux / Pixabay

Search engine optimization has long been the red herring of the web marketing industry. In itself it serves a haphazard function. Robust SEO strategies are carefully developed tactics executed within well thought out business plans.  One of the tactics within SEO is the process of keyword research which falls under the category of market research. Doing an environmental analysis of your target market is a crucial step to understand both your customers and your competitors.

You should already be familiar with your market and how they behave because as a business owner / employee, you have a passion and interest for your particular market segment. Once you garner your understanding (and continuously refresh it) your content will improve significantly.

Here are some helpful tips to guide your keyword research that are commonly overlooked but will quickly become a leading method in selecting the right direction for you website and business.

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