Monthly Archives: February 2012
Tenato Strategy Inc. would like to give a hearty welcome to one of Canada’s top Market Research consultants, Joanne O’Connell, BSc, BA, MA, CMRP who has joined our Associate team. With over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of market research, Joanne understands how to collect and interpret data for a vast array of strategic decision scenarios.
A “numbers gal,” who initially majored in math, Joanne has a special skill for knowing the amount and nature of the data to be gathered, and how to cut through spurious assumptions. She is also experienced in developing and executing a broad scope of market research projects, including focus groups, surveys, depth interviews, data sourcing and statistical analysis.
At Tenato, Joanne’s involvement represents a critical piece of our forward development. As new methods for gathering data through social media, online surveying and internet traffic patterns evolve, having the perspective of a seasoned market researcher allows us to gain the best insights and avoid misinterpretations. Regardless of these new tools, we can ensure validity and reliability are tenaciously observed.
Team Tenato had a blast on Friday, strategizing our launch event over pizza from Inglewood Pizza. We also got a round of new photographs with our own Steve Speer behind the camera (and Ernest behind the camera for Steve’s p0rtrait!). New portraits and group shots will be posted soon on this website. We’ve got tons of ideas and are scheming for a launch event for our key clients and media.
The launch of Tenato Strategy, a significant rebrand and new direction after 15 years, marks a new concept on the Calgary marketing scene. We’ve really taken a group of the best brains in every aspect of strategy, communications and marketing, and collaborated under one roof. We’ve got seasoned veterans in strategy, market research, and public relations and branding, combined with rising stars in online marketing, social media, and search engine optimization to give our clients a combination of experienced strategic thinking and modern execution. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!
Are you tired of seeing your competitors hit #1 on Google, while your website languishes on page 2, 3 or nowhere at all? Or, are you paying for pay-per-click advertising to compensate for this, yet getting none of the desirable traffic you need? Good news: Google isn’t random, nor has it been paid off by your competitors through some sneaky back-room deal.
Google’s methodology for determining website rankings (also known as Google’s “algorithm”) is made up of several factors – factors which are, in fact, constantly being tweaked. Why is this? There are millions of websites trying to rank, and some of the SEO (search engine optimization) firms who are hired to get their clients’ sites ranking don’t hesitate to use sneaky tactics.
For example, a few years ago, Google determined a page’s ranking for a given keyword phrase such as “real estate” based on the number of times that key phrase appeared in the text of the page. Rather than create quality content about the subject of real estate, these SEO firms would add the phrase “real estate”, over and over again, repeated on the page, in a text colour that matched the background so that a human reader wouldn’t notice it, while at the same time, it would fool the search engine’s robotic reader into thinking there was lots of content about real estate on that page. Of course, Google soon got smart, and punished those sites by dropping their rankings when it discovered the trick.
In the SEO world, these are called “Black Hat” techniques, because people know they are wrong, and take advantage of some loophole in Google’s algorithm. The problem is, they are generally temporary, and often result in a website’s being penalized by Google in the end. The good news is, there are also “White Hat” techniques that, while they take a little more work, have lasting, enduring effects on gaining positive rankings. Here are some of the key principles of good white hat techniques.
1. Lots of content in text form. Write regularly about your area of expertise, and add this content in text form to your website, preferably in a blog. Blogs should be 400 – 1000 words, and contain key words and phrases that people are likely to be searching for. This will build you a treasure trove of information, and Google will see that your site knows a great deal about your subject area. (With good research, you can also find out what your competition is ranking on, which will help you choose your content direction.)
2. Label your content. The title and description you use for your content are important. If you use WordPress to create your blog (an open source platform that can be plugged in as a page to an existing website), then the program will ask you for a title for your blog. Now, if your blog’s title exactly or closely matches a commonly used keyword phrase, your blog post may actually rank on that keyword phrase. For example, if your blog is titled “How to Market a Small Business” it will probably generate many more hits than “Strategic Principles of Small Business Marketing.” Google has a keyword search tool that will allow you to input your keywords – and it will shoot back a long list of related variations of your keyword phrase. These variations show the amount of traffic on each phrase and the level of competition for that key phrase. (For accuracy, you may also wish to select which country you are in, to localize for country-specific dialects). Ideally, you want a phrase with lots of traffic, and little competition. You can also use this tool to get ideas for new blog posts!
3. Release your content. Now, imagine you’ve just written a really helpful blog post – wouldn’t it be a shame if nobody ever knew it was there? If you’ve got a good label, people searching for that content WILL find your blog. But, the next step is to take advantage of social media. Write a short post on Facebook and Twitter and use a grabbing headline such as, “Easy marketing tips for your small business.” Then paste in the link to your site. This will let people know the content is there. While on Facebook, this content will only reach your friends or fans, on Twitter there is much more potential. Even if you only have a few fans, you can include a “hashtag” – this means a “#” before your keyword, for example #marketing or #smallbusiness – so that people who are following streams of keywords on a given subject will see your content on that subject, and then check out what you have to say. You can also search for good hashtag ideas; your city hashtag, which generally corresponds to the airport code (calgary is #yyc) may attract the attention of Calgary media who are trolling Twitter for local stories.
4. Build good back links. If people from around the world are checking our your content through Twitter, will they really become clients? Maybe not, but the fact they are visiting, and potentially making a link to your site will help. This is due to “back links” – another important Google metric. When websites first came out, a lot of people put a “links” page on the site, which linked the user out to dozens or hundreds of other places they could go for more information. This really had no positive effect on the site’s ranking. What DOES help the ranking is the number of sites linking BACK to you. These are like “votes” from other sources saying, “This site contains something worth looking at.” The more sites that link back to you, the higher Google will perceive your site’s value, and the higher it will rank you. Now, back links can be generated in many ways. There are thousands of generic “directory” sites where you can list your website for free – and this is usually what SEO companies do – send out an automatic listing to these free directories, which link back to your site. That part is easy, and something any SEO can do for a client’s site within a couple of hours. But to really secure good rankings, you need to get QUALITY back links. For example, did your company appear in the media recently? You many already have a link back from their site. Of if you wrote an article they ran, you should ensure they include the back link as a stipulation of providing the article. Or, do you have an association, or government department? Getting live links from from .gov, .org and .edu websites greatly enhance your Google rankings. Sites such as PRWeb and Canada Newswire will also release your content, and give you ongoing, powerful back links.
5. Your website’s optimization. The structure of your website is very important to its ability to rank. Some sites contain mostly images, lots of flash, and very little pure text. Remember that text is the most important factor, and should not be embedded into images. Ensure the pages within your site are optimized separately according to the content that appears within each page (for example, if you distribute several branded products, give each one a page and label it “BRANDNAME” in “YOURCITY” - matching the key phrases on which people are searching. Finally, content such as video and photographs can also help you if you have them tagged appropriately – label your images with descriptive keywords (for example, an image of an ice cream cone is titled icecreamcone.jpg instead of image1112.jpg), likewise with videos – title, and tag!
The good news is that 1) Google is not random 2) It is not illogical, and 3) It is not expensive to rank well. It just takes knowledge, and persistence. At Tenato, we can assist you in strategizing your decisions on which areas you wish to rank, help you develop excellent content, and drive the right kind of business, helping you rank well on Google in a sustainable, consistent fashion.
Would you like to know more? Contact us to have a chat.
Did you know that you can take any website address and quickly and instantly convert it into a QR Code? Check out this link for creating your own QR code. Just enter the website address that you want to create a code for in the URL bar and hit “enter” on your keyboard. Done! The tool then allows you to download the file as a small image file on your desktop.
So then how do you read these codes? You download a free app (there are several, I chose Bakodo) for your iPhone or other device, assuming your device has a camera. All you need to do is essentially aim your camera at the code until the app recognizes it , and then and you can then go and visit the linked information.
If you imagine that newer phones will come with this capability pre-installed, you realize that it’s really a much handier way of getting people to a website, rather than them having to type in your website address (which is an awful pain – especially on an iPhone – I still typo about every second word – because I hate auto-correct).
A bit more research into QR Codes revealed that they are very commonly used in Japan, with entire billboards and signs being filled with nothing but a QR code. Now, we would tell you that simply designing an ad as nothing but a QR code is not the best use of a billboard …because you still have to give people a REASON to bother scanning it….at least with a quick headline or grabber statement. But still, what a powerful, easy way to get people to investigate for more information. You can also use QR Codes to link people to a special web page you’ve set up just for that purpose. Here are a couple of samples you might want to try after downloading your own QR Code app to your iPhone.
Exciting news! Industry veteran Judi Gunter, an honoured fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society, has joined our team. A longstanding colleague of ours, Judi has always been an excellent resource. Her seasoned wisdom is already proving to be a source of encouragement and strategic thinking to grow the business.
For years, we have considered creating a solid capability in the area of public relations. The reason to move forward now is apt: as online communications becomes a dominant driver of business growth, an ongoing need for strategic messaging must be established so that social media and outreach can be clearly coordinated. Essentially, social media is a tool of PR, especially using it to interact with popular bloggers (a new kind of citizen journalist) and online media outlets. That means getting inside the “head of a journalist” is essential to make the effort efficient. As a former journalist herself, Judi has been immensely successful through the years in making this happen for myriad businesses and non-profit organizations.
Judi, welcome to Tenato! We look forward to a long and prosperous journey together.