Tag Archives: Google

Norfolk, VA Named Google’s 2015 Virginia eCity

Google eCity 2015 - Norfolk, VA

Google eCity 2015 - Norfolk, VAGoogle has announced their 2015 eCity winners, and our home town of Norfolk has topped the list in Virginia

Google describes the award thusly:

Google’s eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state. These cities’ businesses are using the web to find new customers, connect with existing customers and fuel their local economies.

The report was created by looking at which cities in each state had the most companies using Google AdWords as a percentage of the population of a given city. From that shortlist, a random sampling of businesses in each city was analyzed and rated based on factors such as whether or not each company had a website, blog, or a social network presence. More on the methodology here. The city with the highest overall rating won. Go Norfolk!

 

The Press Release Is Dead

Funny press release

A generic, fake press release.

Good riddance.

Nothing is more tedious than reading about a company via their own public relations department. Not only does it lack objectivity but it usually lacks spunk. The most difficult content I write is for my own company because self-promotion is not my thing, so I tend to stick to the details and try to keep things light.

Still, we have to tell people about our companies, don’t we? As much as we’d like to think that our super fantastic product or service will go viral and the calls with come flying in, that rarely happens. Companies need to take a three pronged approach to the problem:

1) Write informative, engaging blog posts telling people about your news or products. 

Highlight what makes your company different. Keep in mind that almost no one has a product that someone else isn’t selling, so highlight what makes yours better and avoid using jargon that people outside of your industry won’t understand. Know your audience; do market research, don’t assume anything, and then write smarter content.

2) Properly share the news with your audience.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a blog post that has never been shared with a company’s social media audience. It’s baffling, but people just forget to post their content. Not only should you always post your articles directly to all of your social media properties, but be sure to take advantage of features like featured images, page descriptions, and hashtags. Every platform handles them a little differently so spend some time familiarizing yourself before posting anything important.

3) Post on a regular basis, and at the right times.

That’s not to say that you should post just for the sake of posting, but companies who engage with their audiences frequently have better results. While it’s difficult to say how often you should post, it is easier to determine what is the right time to post for your company. Look at your analytics to see when users are most engaged with your website and social media profiles, and plan around those times. Be sure to know the best and worst times to post to social media in general, as well.

What a man - Press releaseIf you write engaging content and share it you’ll eventually get results, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen right away. Remember, social media sites only show your posts to a small percentage of your followers. Don’t waste your time using PR distribution services that no one visits and whose claims of SEO benefits are hopeful at best. Just keep writing, posting, and encouraging engagement. Don’t be afraid to re-post your content in relevant groups or pages if they allow that sort of thing. If your content is good, people will overlook your shameless self-promotion and eventually your audience will promote your content for you!

Is Your Site Ready For Google’s Mobile-friendly Labels?

Google's mobile-friendly tagEarlier this week Google announced the launch of mobile-friendly labels in their search results. The new label will give users a quick visual indication of whether or not a website has an optimized mobile experience.

Perhaps just as important as the label itself is what Google briefly mentioned in their official blog post:

We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.

This “first step” is an important one as mobile web usage continues to climb. Depending on how much weight Google gives to websites that are optimized for mobile we could soon see big changes in ranking for those websites that are. A responsive website design is a great way to make sure that you’re ready for the new label and gain an edge on your competition in the mobile search results. Back in June 2013 Google let us know that they were penalizing sites with bad mobile design, but the mobile-friendly labels are the first clear indicator that they are rewarding the good ones. Here are the criteria Google specified for the mobile-friendly designation:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Our website is already labeled mobile-friendly. Is yours? Let us help.

In SEO, the Name of The Game is Content Marketing

In the search engine optimization (SEO) game, content is king.

Google's indexing algorithms regularly rank content rich sites and pages higher than those with greater traffic scores.  Social network sharing statistics prove that a well written, unique article will gain more traction among consumers and be shared more often. Content marketing is the use of high quality, targeted content to reach your audience in a way the engages them and encourages them to complete a call to action.

When thinking about your own website or blog, consider this; would you read it if you were the audience? If the answer is anything but "of course I would", then you're probably not reaching your customers. Your content should be well researched, well written and targeted. Making generic statements or re-using the same keyword phrases that your competition does isn't going to cut it anymore. Think about writing a series of articles to keep visitors coming back for more and give them something to look forward to at the end of each article. In order to stand out you have to, well, stand out.

Read more ...

We’re Google Apps Resellers

Ready to take your business into the cloud? United Networks has partnered with Google to become an Authorized Reseller of Google Apps. As a Google Apps Reseller we can provide our customers with a higher level of service and experience and direct support for your migration and deployment. Click here to view our Google Apps Product Tour (PDF).

Google Apps brings simple, powerful communication and collaboration tools to organizations of any size – all hosted by Google to streamline setup, minimize maintenance, and reduce IT costs.  With Gmail (including Google email security, powered by Postini), Google Calendar, and integrated IM, users can stay connected and work together with ease. And, using Google Docs and Google Sites, which include word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and website creation tools, they can share files and collaborate in real-time, keeping versions organized and available wherever and whenever users work. 

The Google Apps Reseller program includes resellers, consultants and independent software vendors that sell, service and customize Google Apps for Business for their customers. United Networks received training, support and deployment services from Google, as well as access to APIs for integrating Google Apps into their customers’ business operations. United Networks is able to retain a close relationship with their customers in order to provide additional service and support. The businesses receiving Google Apps will benefit from the additional attention to their specific needs.

Interesting in learning more about how you can sign up for Google Apps through United Networks? Click here!

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  • United Networks has worked with three executive directors during their tenure as web designer for Norfolk Sister City Association. Through two website updates, training of two directors, implementation of a new membership database and general graphics support, they have displayed the highest levels of professionalism, patience and good humor. I have referred United Networks to other businesses and non-profits and will continue to do so at every opportunity. Jennifer Priest - Norfolk Sister City Association

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