Technology-Driven Web Design & SEO

1f515ad3-9849-4e88-873c-6697105701c5A commitment to providing high-quality, personalized and technology-driven service.  That is what you get with Epic Web Solutions.  There are a lot of website design companies out there and many people claim to have the ability to help a client with their website design, digital marketing, and SEO needs but the reality is, many are not capable or qualified to deliver on their promises.  At Epic Web Solutions we focus on utilizing industry-leading technologies, the most current SEO strategies and digital marketing techniques and, with years of knowledge and experience, ensure client satisfaction at every stage of a project.

                At Epic Web Solutions we try to be as accurate as possible in the bidding process. We like to have an initial conversation with clients and get a list of exactly what they are looking for.  To help us best determine the scope of the project, and so that we can provide the most accurate bid, we discuss subjects like a custom vs.  template website design.  Custom designs take longer to accomplish and are thus more expensive but for those who want a truly unique site that sets their business apart custom is the best option.  Additionally, we like to ask clients if they will want to be able to edit the website themselves once the website is launched.  45fa18a1-2a06-4d33-81c1-e86aeeda1fe2If so, a WordPress site is ideal because it is very user-friendly.  We highly recommend that clients opt for responsive websites because they adapt to things like the user’s screen size, orientation and platform, making viewing and use much more enjoyable and efficient.  A well-designed website is a powerful marketing tool for clients so we highly recommend that a client chooses to make it responsive so that they can provide their customer with the best user experience.  If a client chooses to make their website responsive we factor that into the scope and bidding process.  Next we like to discuss content needs with our clients.  We need to get an idea of how many pages of content will be needed for the website and if our clients will need assistance in writing the content.  Also, we need to know what kind of website our client is interested in – is it e-commerce, informational or an application?  Each additional feature/functionality need will impact the scope of the project and influence our bid.  While these questions may sound overwhelming and some of these items may change during the process of the project, by discussing it up front we are able to provide the most accurate, competitive bid possible and begin our effort of providing the best service available to our clients.

3c813c56-e8f7-45ff-b08b-6569704ea1b5Once our bid has been accepted, we like to jump right into a project with our clients.  It is important to us that we get to know each client on an individual and personal level which is why we have a kickoff meeting either by phone or in person.  We take great pride in the relationships we form with our clients and that begins with the kickoff meeting where we not only get to know a client’s unique business but their goals as a business and for their website as well.  At Epic Web Solutions, we have created a design questionnaire for clients to complete that helps clients narrow in on specific goals and helps to guide us in the design process.  Additionally, we research the competition but remain focused on defining our client’s brand so that our clients can be set apart from others within their industry. We work with clients to develop a project plan to ensure business goals are achieved while also implementing optimization strategies that help our clients have the competitive edge.
52649d8d-bdf7-45d9-9879-02dec5f5ef4fAfter the kickoff meeting we begin the design process.    At Epic Web Solutions we use a research-driven design approach.  We do not make assumptions in our design process, we use proven and innovative design techniques to ensure client satisfaction.  We give the completed questionnaire to our talented website designers who take all of the information, as well as meeting notes, and develop a homepage mockup based on what they are given. Once the homepage mockup is completed we send it to the client for review.  Here, and in every stage, we continue to communicate with clients so that we can actively work towards a mutual goal.  Our focus is to not only provide a fast, excellent website and unparalleled services but to help clients further define their brand and expand their customer base.  Our client’s brands are their identity, what their customers recognize, and their promise to customers about who they are – we help clients clarify their brand to their customers, create brand recognition that customers will know and keep returning to, and help our clients deliver on that promise to customers by extending their brand across all platforms.  While we use a research-driven design approach, we know that technology is constantly evolving and we ensure that clients stay on the leading edge of technology.  When designing a website for our client we carefully choose and construct website architecture, content, color, and typography to help best accentuate a client’s brand.  Our clean, responsive websites are consistent and compelling so that our clients are able to engage in a unique way with their customers. At Epic Web Solutions, we carefully create a high-impact design that is also seamlessly functional and outperforms the competition.

above-the-fold-top-heavy-algorithm-changeAs we work together in the design process and collaborate on each stage, we encourage clients to participate in the final outcome.  Revisions are a necessary part of the process and allow us to hone in on the best website design for their unique business.  As our client reviews the completed homepage mockup, and we progress through the completion of inner website pages, our client provides us with feedback on what they like or dislike.  We encourage clients to make either general or specific suggestions for changes that they would like to see made and we collaborate on appropriate revisions while remaining goal-focused. We communicate these revisions to our designer, who makes the updates.  We then send the revisions to the client and this process is repeated until the client is 100% happy with the design and signs off on it.  Once we have solidified the general style of the website the revisions tend to become less and the revision process moves along rapidly.  This stage of the process is incredibly important because we want to ensure that the design is exactly what our clients want, and changes are much easier to make on a design than they are on a coded website.

 

163137bf-12c6-4eb1-946b-f67eecbc642eOnce all designs have been approved by our clients, we then begin the coding process.  We give our website programmers the approved design files (PSDs), which they take and translate into code. The client has minimal involvement during this process, as we are simply taking the visual look that they are happy with and turning it into a functional website. We put the completed code onto our test server so the client can see and interact with their new site, instead of just looking at an image of it. This test site should look identical to the design that the client approved so it is a great opportunity to truly see the design come to life.

 

9ed8ba15-0468-4c4d-968e-0f36d68c7f48       During the design and coding process we may use what is known as Lorem Ipsum text, which is essentially placeholder content, until completed client-appropriate content is available.  If the client prefers, they can supply the content.  But, if the client would rather have Epic Web Solutions write client-specific content for the new website design, that service is available as well.  Our content writers are trained in SEO optimization techniques to help clients improve their organic SEO ranking.  Once content is available we fill in all of the blank pages and remove any Lorem Ipsum text from the test site.  During this process the website begins to really make the transition from a design into a finished product.  If we are remodeling an old website, we will start by pulling all of the old content from the site and putting it into the new design.  This gives us a pretty good baseline and the client can suggest any changes that need to be made. Any potential issues with formatting or layout are also addressed at this stage because client satisfaction is our top priority. SEO is not magic, it is a specific science that helps you improve your rank in search engine indexes.  It is incredibly important to carefully craft website content to ensure that it is SEO optimized so that our client’s maximize the impact and effect of their website.

 

HomeSmart Infographic At Epic Web Solutions, we take great pride in our pre and post-launch process.  Some website design companies will simply launch the website design, hand it over to the client, and that will be the end of interaction between the website designer and the client.  We believe in going above and beyond for our clients because client satisfaction is our priority.  During both the pre-launch and post-launch process we have a checklist that we go through to ensure optimized functionality, speed and performance.  We complete this checklist any time we launch a website.  We do this so that there is no need to constantly go back and fix issues after the site is live; we do not launch a website unless our client tells us to. This is much more involved than most of our competitors but it is just another step we take that we believe is one of the reasons we have such long-standing client relationships.

 

After a client’s website has been launched we do not disappear.  At Epic Web Solutions, our services go beyond launch into the post-launch process.  We leverage our expertise, along with monthly analytics and regular communication with clients to keep websites fresh, engaging and as always – a useful marketing tool so that our clients keep current customers happy and continue to attract new customers.  Our ongoing support even after a project is complete is a show of our commitment to our client and the pride we take in our work.

 

c775bb18-2ec2-40e9-bc2f-89b512104b8eWe are able to not only discuss these services with our existing clients and prospective clients, but provide them with proven results.  We have long-standing relationships with clients because we listen to what our clients want and make those goals our goals.  We do not make promises we cannot follow through on.  We carefully craft stylish, innovative, responsive websites and increase our clients organic SEO rankings through research-driven design that produces real results.  We keep open lines of communication with our clients so that we can collaboratively work towards ensuring each website is exactly what our clients want and we never launch until a site has been fully approved by our clients.  At Epic Web Solutions, we enjoy getting to know each client and pride ourselves on providing highly individualized service based on each client’s needs.  We serve all industries and all clients and simply put- our creative ideas perform and our success is measured by our results.  Let us use our digital strategy, focus on technology, creativity, and passion for what we do to provide a customized solution for your next website design.

How To Properly Utilize Video For SEO

Before you meet with your team to brainstorm ideas for a video blog or video for your website, you want to come to the meeting prepared with educated decisions on why you should engage in one topic over the other when the goal is to get more visibility and drive traffic to the video and/or website.

Keyword Research

Discover what your viewers want you to do a video about.

  1. Go to http://ubersuggest.org/ and enter a phrase related to your business and find related keyword phrases.
    1. For example, enter “Real Estate 2013”
    2. You will find related phrases that will generated ideas for topics

 ubersug

  1. Now go to https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool‎ and enter several phrases from ubersuggest that were relevant
  2. Now enter Real Estate, Real Estate 2013, Real Estate Predictions 2013, Real Estate Trends 2013 and other phrases from ubersuggest.

googlekeyword

  1. Once you have submitted, you will see Google show relevant search phrases.
  2. This will give you a great idea on what phrases to specifically target while you optimize your youtube post and blog post.  This will also validate your idea, give you solid data on people searching for the phrases, and real data to push a topic.

competition

Optimizing Youtube Post To Get More Viewers & Exposure

 

One of the most overlooked elements in creating videos for Youtube is how to properly tag each video and utilize the 2nd largest search engine in the world to drive traffic to your video and therefore your brand/website/etc.

Tagging helps Youtube find relevant video results for their users.  You have to keep in mind that in all cases, Youtube wants the video that the user clicks on to be relevant to their search.  Tags are a great tool to show up in search results for the videos that you publish.

Keep in mind that the Youtube description also needs to be consistent with the tags and title of the video.  Remember that Youtube is a division of Google and has a lot of similarities in their search algorithm and rankings for video as it does for websites.  You need to make sure that your titles, content and tags are consistent and similar for your video to rank well for its keywords you target.

Upload & Optimize Your Youtube Video

  1. Once the video has uploaded, youtube will prompt you will more information to fill out.  This information will be vital for outside viewers (non channel subscribers) to find your videos and increase your viewership and brand awareness
  1. Enter a title.

i.     When creating a title, make sure that this title is relevant to the video and has a keyword phrase in it that is commonly searched from the keyword research that you just conducted.

  1. Enter a description.

i.     The description of the video needs to be relevant to the subject matter as well as relevant to the title that was just entered.  Make sure that you insert phrases where necessary in the description, but make sure that everything sounds natural and isn’t used unnecessarily.

  1. Create your tags.

i.     First things first, enter brand tags.  It is always important to make sure that the brand is represented in the video, as long as the video is being produced on behalf of the company.

ii.     From the keyword research that was conducted, enter tags that have higher search volume from the list you established.

  1. When brainstorming tags, make sure that long-tail phrases are being used to get specific search results.
    1. Long-tail means longer and more detailed phrases

i.     Ie “Real estate trends in Phoenix 2013”, instead of “Real estate trends”

iii.      Properly categorize your video.

Make sure that the video has been properly categorized.  Youtube provides very broad categorizations, so choose the most relevant to your subject matter.

 

Optimizing Your Blog Post For Video Posts

 

Posting Your Video On The Blog

When posting videos to a blog, there are many different ways and circumstances that will determine how a video needs to be embedded and used in the blog post.  We are going to go over how to use a video as the blog post.

  1. Before you begin with the blog post, there are a few items that need to be determined.
    1. Transcribe The Video

i.     If the video is the main content in the post, then you will need to professionally transcribe the video.

ii.     For video transcription, we used SpeechPad (https://www.speechpad.com/)

  1. SpeechPad costs 1/minute of the video to professionally and manually transcribe the video.
  2. SpeechPad can return a video in 24hrs if you pay an additional fee, otherwise will take several days to complete.
  3. Use tracking/data collection/hosted player like Wistia

i.     Wistia allows you to embed the video and track users experiences while watching the video.

  1. This is beneficial for the video team to see where they can improve in future videos as well as give insight to the user group that watches the videos and understand their behaviors.
  2. You can utilize video by embedding through Youtube, but we recommend using a hosted service like Wistia if you want to invest in video marketing.
  3. Creating The Blog Post
  1. Title

i.     Utilize the keyword research that you conducted and come up with a title that has the keyword phrase in it so that in your URL structure and title of the post help the post rank for certain phrases that you discovered in the keyword research phase.

  1. URL

i.     Most blogging platforms like WordPress will automatically create the URL structure to be the title.

  1. For example if the title is “How To Do Video SEO”, the URL will be automatically generated for /how-to-do-video-seo/
  2. You want to make sure that those elements are the same or similar for consistency.
  3. Post Overview

i.     Create a brief paragraph giving an overview about what the user is about to watch and read.  This needs to be quick and lead right into the video.

  1. Embed The Video

i.     Embed the video using Wistia, Youtube, or other video players.

  1. Enter The Transcription

i.     After the video embed, enter in the manual transcription that you had professionally transcribed.  The transcription serves several purposes, one being that Google will see all of this relevant, unique content that you just created in the video on the page.

 

 

What Is Google’s Algorithm Change “Top Heavy” And What Does It Mean For Me?

What Is Top Heavy?

Top Heavy 2 is an adjustment to the original Top Heavy algorithm change that occurred in January 2012.  This change was in response to users constantly complaining about landing on web pages and not seeing any relevant content to what they searched for.  Above the fold refers to everything a user sees when they land on your website, the upper most region of the web page where most websites put their most important content.

In the past, SEOs would put lots of keyword dense content below the fold in hopes that they could get rankings by putting content the user most likely will not read below the fold, in essence, tricking Google into believing they have great content related to that query.

Why All The Recent Algorithm Changes?

Throughout 2012 Google has sent a strong and very clear message on search engine results; that is quality.  In previous years SEO was an additional service many development companies provide and just purchase links and markup the service.  A lot of companies made good money during this time period, meanwhile putting a bad mark on industry leaders that provide great on-page SEO, inbound marketing and ethical services that result in natural link acquisition that ultimately increase rankings and sustain rankings over a long period.

Google knew what was going on, and now seems as though they have finally had enough of people buying links, spinning content, stuffing content and overwhelming the user will content that isn’t readable.

 What Does This Mean For Me?

Fortunately, the recent algorithm changes focus entirely on user experience and quality.  If you are trying to give your customer the best experience on your website and have good intentions, you will continue to see your rankings move in an upward trend.  If you are trying to outsmart Google and manipulate the algorithm, you will most likely see short-term gains that will be followed with a significant drop and increase efforts in recovery.

If you keep your user in mind and try and create great content, great tools and a great product or service, you will ultimately get links naturally and see great results.  That being said, you still need great on-page SEO, rapid page load speed and a compliant website in order to see great results.

Where Do I go From Here?

In general, create exceptional content and built a strong community.  This is not an easy process, you have to become an authority in your industry so people will respect your content and see value in it.  When we say create exceptional content, we don’t just mean create a weekly blog post.

Find creative ways to not only promote your business, but also provide helpful resources and build interactive media to keep your users engaged.  Your content has to be purposeful and fulfill a need, people in general are becoming smarter on the web and don’t waste time with thin content, everything needs to have substance.  Oh yeah, and share everything!

New Info-graphic For SEO Client

Using Info-graphics To Acquire Links

Titan Power is a data center design, build and maintenance company that we provide ongoing SEO services for.  We provide ongoing link building, content marketing and many other services to help increase their rankings for keyword phrases such as “UPS maintenance”.

As we all know now with the Penguin & Panda updates with Google, links are more important than ever (quality, natural links that is).  By producing this info-graphic for Titan Power, our goal is to acquire high quality industry specific links that will help increase their domain authority.

Design

Creating info-graphics takes time.  The reason that info-graphics are compelling and a great marketing/SEO tool is because its great content, looks nice and gives content providers FREE content.  You are doing these content providers a favor by giving them something to put on their website and talk about.  You know you have done a good job with your idea, data and design when industry specific communities respond well to the info-graphic and spreads naturally.  The subject matter needs to be one of the following:

  • Evergreen
  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Controversial

We believed that this info-graphic that we produced with Titan Power is an Evergreen subject matter, meaning that it is always relevant because people unplanned outages for data centers is a common occurrence and many people are constantly doing research on it.

When designing these info-graphics,

 Deployment

Deployment is crucial.  If no one see’s your info-graphic, its useless.  During the design and development of the info-graphic, we reach out to publishers in the industry and let them know this is coming and test the waters to see if we have a good, solid idea.  It is also nice to get feedback from these industry publishers, because they have years of experience and know what is relevant in their industry.  One factor that can often be overlooked in deployment is social.  If you have social media accounts, use them.  Use twitter and hash tags to your advantage to get the content in front of the right people.  This will also help your social media campaign and show good social signals to your site.

Info-graphic Link Acquisition Analysis

Once the deployment has been completed and the dust has settled, we will look through Titan Power’s link profile to determine if this campaign was successful, find out where we either succeeded or failed and make improvements for the next one.  Each industry is different, and it is important too learn from the community and understand that their reception to your info-graphic will be different than yours and mine.  Always be open minded and make improvements to your campaign moving forward.

Below is the info-graphic for Titan Power


Source:
Understanding Costs & Reasons For Data Center Outages

The SEO game has changed

Google has sent a message thus far in 2012 in regards to web spam and over optimization.  We knew the old strategies of buying links and posting on directories was a dying strategy, but the one thing that has now come as a surprise is anchor text.Scottsdale SEO

In our previous link building campaigns and link bait strategies, we used to encourage heavy keyword dense anchor text.  Since April, the more keyword dense links that show up in our link profile, the ranking for that keyword phrase goes down, not up.

We did a lot of research and trials on some of our testing sites and found that links with non-keyword dense anchor text were increasing rankings of those sites, while keyword dense anchor text was not increasing, and in some cases decreasing in rankings.

We soon realized that this makes perfect sense.  SEOs were used to getting keyword dense anchor text links, because it worked.  When we put our feet in Google’s shoes it just started to make sense.  We asked ourselves “What is Google trying to accomplish with these updates?” and “What are they going to do in the future?”

The answers were so clear; Google is trying to stop over optimization and old tactics of acquiring low value links with non-natural anchor text.  The most natural links are the ones that are either talking about the brand or informing the read to click here, because of the action of going to that company’s website.

Needless to say, we have learned a lot so far in 2012 and have changed our strategies from what is working and how do we see continual growth for our clients right now, to understanding Google and how they are trying to show good natural results and truly understand the direction of future algorithm changes so that we can provide a long-term well established brand on the web for our clients with strong, well-balanced organic rankings.

Improving Your Website Accessibility

When designing a web site, the desire for accessibility is inherent. Despite this, most Arizona Web Design developers inadvertently overlook the need to make website accessible to the disabled. Web Design that is decidedly conscious of such needs can be extended to meet the needs of such users. The push for greater web site accessibility is becoming more and more main stream. Already, many major websites have improved their accessibility to those with disabilities, and are striving to do even more.

Clearly no one would intentionally exclude any person or group from accessing their public website. No one would consciously design exclusion into their website, but on many occasions this happens inadvertently. The goal of a website is to reach as many users as possible and provide them with information pertinent to your business or organization. Making your website highly accessible only heightens the reality of this goal. Highly accessible Arizona Web Design is not only beneficial to a greater number of users; it is beneficial to your interests as well.

Awareness of the need and opportunity for increased website accessibility is just the first step. Once you start considering this possibility more deeply, you may be concerned about the ability to make a highly accessible website that is also attractive and technologically savvy. Such concerns are unfounded. Expert Arizona Web Design specialists are masters of ingenuity and artistry on the web. Their jobs revolve around the need to approach tasks creativity. The challenge of heightened accessibility will simply be another feature of design for them to creatively overcome. Nearly all aspects of web design can be altered and improved to be highly accessible while also remaining cutting edge.

You may be surprised to find that Arizona Web Design that is accessible to those with disabilities is also more highly compatible with a number of hand-held devices. When highly accessible, your website will typically be more navigable and visible on these devices. The concessions necessary for improved accessibility tend to make web design more user-friendly for those accessing the web on smart phones, tablets, and the like. What’s more, highly accessible websites tend to attract more attention from major search engines as well. The features that make them more accessible also allow them to be more favorably indexed by these entities.

While you may be sufficiently motivate by the positively implications of creating a more highly accessible web design, you can be further induced by the possibility of unfavorable ramifications. To date, claims have been successfully filed against entities with a large web presence whose design was not accessible to the blind. Courts ruled in favor of the prosecutors, stating that this inaccessibility was in direct violation of law, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Increasing the accessibility of your website through thoughtful Arizona Web Design is not only considerate, it is beneficial to you as well. A minor investment in greater accessibility will improve your visibility on the web, allowing even more users to come in contact with your products and services. As this is directly in line with your goals and best interests, designing increased accessibility into your website is a true win-win situation.