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6 Tools Your Team Needs to Work From Home

Tools are what help you get things done. Whether your office is closed for the day, or your job is primarily remote, these free online resources below make it easier than ever to work from home!

Asana 

Asana is a great app for looking at projects on a bigger scale. Divide your projects into smaller task lists, specify deadlines and communicate in real-time on the app itself. Add your entire team to your project to get a full-scale view so everyone is in-the-know. You have access to create reports and process insights, as well as balance privacy and transparency. This means if you have a client, you can include them on that specific project and are able to run reports to show the progress of their project. 

Basecamp

On Basecamp, divide all of your work into projects and assign them to team members. It is a great virtual toolkit with checklists that make it easy to watch projects move towards completion. There are also message channels so your team or client can talk in real-time. Keep your projects organized by utilizing folders and tabs that are easy to create and find. To-do lists keep you on track and are helpful letting your team know what is due, who is supposed to complete it and the deadline. Basecamp also has an app, so you are able to access all its content even on the go!

Google Drive and Google Hangouts

The services that Google offers never seem to end. Google Drive gives you 15GB of free space and is compatible with numerous file types. You are able to share, store and create documents as well as backup your computer files. Google Hangouts is a free messaging, voice and video chat service. With this tool you are able to hold conferences, meetings and share your screen all in real time. If your team already works with Google, then these two services are perfect for working remotely. Both of these apps are also available on your phone making being organized easier than ever!

Slack

Slack is a great resource that combines the services you and your team already use in the office! The app sorts your different topics of conversation into channels, so it is simple for your team to access information anywhere at any time. With their latest biggest redesign, it is even easier to use and is made for mass remote working. With this tool, you won’t slack on communication!

Zoom

Similar to Google Hangout, Zoom is another great free video conferencing service. It also offers other services like personal video chat conference rooms, a cloud system and personalized apps. So whether you are hosting a meeting or joining, Zoom offers the solution for your company.

Working from home can either benefit your productivity or decrease it. Don’t let a crisis or day at home slow you down! Utilize these six tools and their services, and you and your team will be sure to not fall behind. Now, see what you can get done!

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5 Things You Should Be Doing to Optimize Your Website

Your business’ website is the key to the company’s overall success in the digital era. Think of your website as a storefront window display, showcasing your products and services and promoting new deals and offers. As more and more businesses make the push towards strategic digital marketing, you need to ensure that your website is filled with up-to-date, current information and engaging content so that your website is ahead of the crowd. Your website absolutely must give both Google and your audience what they want and what they expect. The best method for accomplishing this is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the practice of bolstering your website’s user experience and content in order to raise your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs) so that more traffic is driven towards your site. Here are a few tasks to complete in order to best optimize your website for SEO.

  1. Make Sure Your Basic Information is Correct

    First off, your basic information should be consistent across all your pages and platforms. If your basic information isn’t the exact same wherever that information can be found, Google will hold it against you and consider your business more unreliable than most. This basic information is generally referred to as your NAP information (Name, Address, Phone). Your NAP information, with the addition of your email information, is what’s at the core of people’s search habits. If you have a Google My Business listing, make sure it matches that information for all of your locations exactly as it is. If people can’t find your business’ name, location and contact info, then there’s not really much of a point in Google referring your site to its audience, is there? (If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, don’t worry. We’ll go over Google My Business later in this blog.) When you clearly state who your business is, where it’s located and what it offers, search engines are much more likely to recommend it to others.

  2. Analyze Your Data and Conduct Keyword Research

    Connect the dots from user behavior reports and Google Search Console traffic data to get a more complete picture of how people interact with your website and where that traffic is coming from. You can study how people behave once on your site and also analyze key metrics like the amount of sessions from a user, bounce rates, click-through rates and more. You can learn a lot about the demographics in your audience from these data points. Use your analysis to adapt to the trends that you find. Once you begin understanding how your audience comes to your site and how they interact with it, then you can start researching the most relevant keywords to your audience’s search habits. There are a plethora of tools to use to help you discover great keywords to pepper throughout your web content. It’s important in this task to try to think like how a search engine user thinks. Why would someone search for a particular word? What would they be hoping to find? Implement keywords into your headlines, subheads, title tags, meta descriptions and body copy. (However, be careful not to ‘keyword stuff’!)

  3. Apply Your Research to Creating Value-Rich Content

    Poor quality, boring and uninformative content drives users away. Expanding on your data and keyword research with creative, engaging and search-relevant content is your next step to optimizing your webpage for SEO. You want to create as wide a net as possible to bring in search traffic, so create an individual web page for every product, service and location of your business. Make a comprehensive list of all aspects of your company. This will be the framework for your sitemap. Once you’ve outlined the architecture of your website, then start working on fleshing out each page with keyword-infused content. Don’t sell your audience short with nondescript, surface-level information. Google rewards sites that go into well-informed detail regarding the topics its users are searching for. The longer people stay on your site, the higher you will rank on SERPs.

  4. Optimize for Local SEO

    Nearly half of all Google searches are local. People are looking for nearby solutions to their queries, so it’s vital for your SEO strategy to account for local SEO. First, you need to claim your Google My Business listing for all of your locations. Make sure that all of the NAP information is correct and consistent across all of your webpages. You’ll be able to correct and update all of your information with Google as you refine your processes and information. Next, schema markup allows Google to better match your business to local search engine users. Schema markup lets Google organize your data more efficiently and pushes that data more in relevant search results. Set your schema markup anywhere you describe your company on the website. Do this for every location on each city page. Once you’ve gotten squared away with Google, add your business to local directories. There are countless directories online for almost every industry out there. Adding your business to these directories strengthens your SEO ranking with quality backlinks. Once again, keep the information correct and consistent with what you’ve already put out there. Add a page that showcases positive reviews to boost your local SEO ranking. Google My Business once again comes into play here, as Google My Business reviews are the second-most influential ranking factor for local businesses. Finally, local SEO won’t do much if you don’t analyze local search terms and create local content. Implement other nearby locations into your keyword usage. Keep it relevant for people in your town. You know how people talk and think where you live. Use that to reach out and find your audience.

  5. User Experience Will Take You Far

    How pleasant your site is for users to interact with definitely affects how a search engine will rank your business’ web pages. People nowadays expect fast, quick and easy from every site they visit. You must account for mobile site visitors in this day and age, as more and more search engine users rely on their smart devices for search queries. Google has even begun prioritizing mobile-first indexing in order to reward sites for addressing mobile UX friendliness. Responsive design matters for mobile UX. It does not take long at all for a user to get fed up with having to put up with a site not optimized for mobile use and leave. The same goes for loading speeds as well. You have basically less than three seconds (and that’s being generous!) for your page to load before a user drops your site and moves on. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an incredibly useful tool to help you determine what you can do to quicken load times for your pages. When you make your business’ web pages fast and responsive for desktop and mobile, you’ll see the sky as the limit for your SEO rankings.

Help your business succeed by utilizing SEO to increase your profitability. Once you have your website correctly optimized with all the elements of SEO working together, consumers will be more aware of your company and the services you offer. Contact Southern View Media to find out how we can help with your business’s digital presence. For a free consultation to formulate a strategic and affordable plan, call us today at 251-583-2605 or visit www.southernviewmedia.com. We are a Google Trusted Agency and will be happy to answer your questions.
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Michelle’s View: An Interview with Access Magazine

Michelle Murrill of Southern View Media was honored to be interviewed by Access Magazine recently. Read the full article below! 

Michelle's View
Michelle's View

Michelle’s View

In this day and age, having an online presence for your business can mean the difference between success or flop. That’s why it is important to work with a company that specializes in marketing to help put businesses (like yours) on the “digital” map – a company like Southern View Media. Michelle Murrill, Southern View Media co-owner (alongside husband Brad), tells ACCESS about the importance of digital marketing. 

By Caroline Edmondson

 

It’s no secret that our world is quickly going digital, which means if a company has no online presence, it’s likely losing major money. No one understands this more than Michelle Murrill, co-owner of Southern View Media, who started her company back in 2015 in an effort to help local area businesses increase their digital visibility. But the depth and scope of her online experience precedes the start of her Alabama-based company by far. 

 

Having moved to Charleston years ago with her husband, Brad, and initially establishing herself as a stay-at-home mom, Michelle swiftly realized that the lifestyle didn’t suit her career desires. To curb her entrepreneurial craving, she launched an online platform dubbed MomsofCharleston.com where she showcased all of the area’s exciting local events and happenings (places for kids to take lessons; awesome birthday party locations; restaurants where kids eat free; etc.), and area advertisers were quick to reach out to be listed on the site or to display their ads. “I worked hard to make the website show up in Google search results organically, used Google Ads, and grew a following on social media platforms for the site,” Michelle explains. “I ended up making a profit before the site even launched and was approached about a buyout shortly thereafter.” Michelle loved her time researching content for the website, but also enjoyed meeting the advertisers and hearing how the content marketing was working for them. “I learned so much about digital during this time, and it was really just the beginning of the digital marketing world back in 2008 to 2010,” she says. 

 

In 2010, the couple moved back to Baldwin County, digital marketing knowledge and a plan in tow. “We wanted to start another company similar to the one I had in Charleston but needed to prepare and plan before we jumped in,” she says. “I worked for another company selling and putting together marketing strategies for about five years. During that time, we saved money, and the overall vision for our company changed into what Southern View Media is today.” Michelle and Brad completed training and testing on digital marketing products to make sure they were prepared to take on their first client when the time came. “We set pretty high standards, expectations, and goals for ourselves, our company, and our future employees,” she adds. 

 

Thus, Southern View Media was born. 

 

So, what exactly does Southern View Media do for big and small businesses? Clients are offered a wide range of digital marketing services including website design, social media marketing, online ads, email marketing, logo design, app development, and much more. “The problem we help a lot of clients solve is finding the right digital products to use to represent their business online,” Michelle says. “The question isn’t why they need it; it really is what type of online marketing do they need the most to attract their perfect client. The answer differs for each business, as each industry and business are unique. It’s our job to get to know that particular business and see what works for them.” Michelle and Brad follow a few basic principles when it comes to each of their clients. First off, Michelle explains that people do not want to be sold; they want to buy – but they don’t want the hard sell when they are scrolling through their news feed. Because of this, Southern View Media focuses on what Michelle calls “The 3 E’s of Social Media”: Education, Entertainment, and Engagement. “Once people follow a page, engage with the page, and we build up credibility, they will spend more and be a more loyal customer because they feel like they have built a relationship with our client online,” Michelle explains. “The key to success, though, is truly partnering with the businesses we work with and getting to know them, their voice, and their clientele to make sure the content we create matches their company vision. There is just no cookie-cutter way to approach it; you have to dig in, do the work, and do the research to see the results, but it pays off!” 

 

And pay off it has, with big-name clients like Truland Homes and Peak Alkalinity seeing a positive impact thanks to Southern View Media. Erica Pounder, marketing director for Truland Homes, says, “We have been impressed with the quality of services we’ve received from Southern View, but more than their expertise, we have been impressed with their level of customer service, which is above anything else we have experienced with other companies.” As for Peak Alkalinity, Michelle says they have enjoyed helping them grow from a small storefront in Fairhope to a multi-location business by building their online presence from scratch. 

 

These success stories show how important it is for small, local businesses to have a large presence online in order to grow. Without a well-known, national name, local businesses rely on word of mouth and referrals by clients. This is why digital marketing is essential for these small businesses, as it really gets their name out there and helps grow their clientele. It is possible to have your business become a household name; you just have to have the right digital tools to make it happen. 

 

What makes Southern View Media the best choice? Its team and individualized process, of course! Michelle says her team is “the best of the best,” as her first standard for a new staff member is finding someone smarter than her, since no one person can possibly be an expert at all the services they provide. Southern View Media has focused on its processes since the beginning, making sure nothing gets left out. “We continually update, change, improve, and customize these processes as we grow. But this is what keeps our business moving forward,” Michelle says. 

 

As far as balancing marriage and their shared company, Michelle and Brad say they love what they do, and their work is an integral part of their marriage and who they are. “As far as working with my spouse, I absolutely love it,” Michelle says. “Having him in the office with me means no matter how difficult a situation or stressful a day, he can lighten the mood and make me laugh. It is a lot of fun! We are smart about it, though, and keep separate offices,” she jokes. “Watching how Michelle manages the business, our team, and our family is amazing,” Brad adds. “Knowing we are working together for a common goal in all aspects of life is an incredible feeling.” Michelle and Brad currently have three children, aged 18, 11, and their newest addition, a baby boy named Hudson, born just last month. Michelle says the months leading up to his birth were filled with the hustle and bustle that comes naturally with nesting: “I had planned out a lot of things to balance and prepare for those first few weeks of chaos after you bring a new baby home,” Michelle jokes. “The whole family is thrilled for this caboose baby!” Congratulations Michelle and Brad on their newest addition and continued success in their business!

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But What About BERT? Your Guide to Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

Google announced its latest algorithm update on October 24, 2019, a few days after its initial rollout had already started. The update will affect up to 10% of queries on the search engine, making BERT one of the largest updates from Google in the past five years.

 

BERT

BERT is an acronym representing “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers” (We’ll get to this in a second, in plain English) and is a “neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training.” Whew! That’s a mouthful.

 

BERT Explained

BERT’s focused on figuring out the intent of your Google searches better. Instead of looking at each search query word by word, BERT lets Google look at the entirety of the search query in order to get a more accurate idea of what the desired result is. In the past, simple words, minor modifications or discrepancies in search queries and Google Ads Keywords could substantially change the search query result from what the user wanted pulled up. BERT allows the search engine interpret the desired result from the whole query, and not get distracted by the wrong details.

 

Look at like this, when someone asks you what a seahorse looks like, do you start out by drawing each individual part separately and gluing them all together? Or do you start with the overall shape first and then fill in the details as you get to each section of the seahorse?

 

Examples

In the first example provided, Google illustrates how a small mistake like using the wrong preposition would affect the algorithm’s interpretation of traveling to the US vs from the US.

In the second example provided, Google used to autocorrect “stand a lot” to “stand-alone” missing the overall intent of the search query, which wanted Google to focus on the physical demands of the job. Now, BERT helps Google interpret the query along the user’s line of thinking: the physical demands of working as an esthetician.

How BERT Will Affect Your SEO

Make sure you watch your traffic for any changes over the next several weeks. This algorithm is not going to punish anyone, thankfully. This update is only meant to better interpret desired search query results from the query itself.

 

The best way to come out on top of the BERT update? Know the questions and reasoning behind your target audience’s search queries. Then, create your content based on the goal of answering as many of these questions as possible.

 

Good content in this case comes in the form of well-written, long-form guides and blogs that sufficiently answer the questions your audience has, and even questions they haven’t thought up yet!

 

If you’re traffic is decreasing because of the BERT rollout, here are a few pointers to get your traffic trending back in the right direction.

 

  1. Pinpoint the search queries or keywords that make your traffic drop. There are several programs like Search Console that let you run a comparison report of your queries.
  2. Find out what’s ranking now. Is it a different form of content than what you’re publishing? Does it approach a topic from a new angle or perspective? Does slightly different wording create a whole new question?
  3. Slightly change your content. You don’t want to ditch your whole brand identity, but tweaking your content just so to reflect popular trends can open up new possibilities to match popular queries.
  4. Ask Google what it wants! Google is constantly letting creators know what content performs best.

 

So there you have it! Google’s BERT update is its latest, and one of the largest of the past five years. It’s purpose is to better understand search intent, not to penalize anyone from doing anything a certain way, so there’s no need to rush and upend your content plans and strategies. All you have to do is pay attention to your traffic over the next few weeks and adapt to what you’re seeing. We’re excited to see how our SEO improves!

 

Contact us to find out how we can help with your business’s digital presence. For a free consultation to formulate a strategic and affordable plan, call us today at 251-583-2605 or visit www.southernviewmedia.com. We are a Google Trusted Agency and will be happy to answer your questions.

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How to Build Your Brand with Digital Marketing

When it comes to building a brand, it’s both an art and a science. Seriously, it’s way more complex than one may begin to imagine. For some companies, their brand is based entirely on the “feel” of things: the way they look and sound, their design and hype and so on. Then there are other brands who have absolutely none of these things. These brands are almost borderline unprofessional, yet they have millions of views per month and extremely loyal customers. Plus, one must consider the ever-fluctuating nature of the Internet and throw that into their brand’s equation. Thus, many brands are left searching for the correct path to build a presence online, even though there is no one set standard. If you are searching for how to build your brand with digital marketing, Southern View Media is here to help.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Social Media Basket

Yes, 10 years ago Facebook was all the rage. If you didn’t have a Facebook, did you even exist? Now, there are multiple social media channels that are available for businesses to use and engage with consumers. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest are just a few platforms that can be utilized instead of social media trailblazers like Facebook and YouTube. One of the hardest things about building a brand is knowing what works for you today may not work tomorrow—and that’s okay! Try not to become reliant on one social media platform or obsess over one method in particular. The beauty of digital marketing is that it is a freeform science and there are many tools available to experiment with!

Educate Yourself

Anyone who wants to build a brand online should educate themselves in how the structure of today’s Internet works to help brands get their message out. Part of this means learning about different ways to gain exposure, sell your products, build an email list, buy traffic and more. Once you realize all of the different methods that go into brand building, you will gain insight on how to utilize these tools to build your own. 

Invest Heavily in One to Two Strengths

While you may think it’s best to be everywhere, that’s actually not the greatest strategy. You don’t need to have a presence on every single platform. Instead, invest your time and effort in one or two things that work best for your brand and prove the method is effective. Don’t make your life harder by being on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest before you even have the follower count to make that sort of exhaustion worth it. Instead, choose the platforms that are proving to be worth the effort and let the rest go.

Consistency is Key

This should go without having to be said, but consistency is key. As we all know, there is SO much content available to viewers at all times. However, all brands should keep in mind that being consistent in quality content makes the most difference in the long haul. Don’t change your logo or branding colors that often. Keep copy short and concise. Decide where your logo looks best in all materials and leave it there. Your campaigns require consistency between pieces. Otherwise, you’re building neither brand equity, loyalty or establishing your brand as an expert, all of which come with consistency in digital marketing.

Contact us to find out how we can help with your business’s digital presence. For a free consultation to formulate a strategic and affordable plan, call us today at 251-583-2605 or visit www.southernviewmedia.com. We are a Google Trusted Agency and will be happy to answer your questions.