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This blog is a place to read about the latest news and activity going on at McNee Solutions
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2018 Lexington Web Designer of the year! Looks great next to our 2017 Trophy
McNee Solutions, LLC has been selected for the 2018 Best of Lexington Award in the Website Designer category by the Lexington Award Program.
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For baby boomers who grew up watching Captain Kirk talk to the Enterprise’s computer on Star Trek, the advent of voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant can seem like science fiction come to life. However, for digital-native millennials, voice assistants are no big deal — just the next logical step in building the automated and responsive world in which they expect to live.
An estimated 22 million Amazon Echo devices sold in 2017 (on top of 11 million in 2016 and a couple million more in its first year on the market in 2015). The Verge estimated that there were one billion Apple devices in use as of early 2016 (though only devices released since October 2011 include the Siri voice assistant), and the Apple HomePod virtual assistant device will be available in February of this year. Google Assistant, which runs on the Google Home device (competing with the Echo) as well as Android phones and other devices, launched in May 2016.
Today, these voice assistants can do more than play music, share the weather forecast or tell you a joke. Increasingly, Alexa (the voice and persona of Amazon’s Echo) and her kin will help your customers with their shopping.
Shopping By Voice Assistant: Removing The Friction To Buy
Amazon understands something fundamental about all of us: We are lazy. The easier it is to click the “buy” button, the more Amazon will sell. To this end, Amazon has given us Amazon Prime, one-click shopping and the Dash button to allow us to purchase without thinking too hard.
Alexa makes it even easier.
Amazon Prime customers ask Alexa to place an order. Alexa searches through their order history and places the order. Siri and Google Assistant are playing catchup to offer their own purchasing capabilities. Soon, our smartphones and virtual assistants will be able to fill our desires with almost no friction — as long as we desire the products our voice assistant can access.
Alexa, Please Bring Customers To My Store
It’s still the early days for voice assistants, but the adoption rate for home devices is increasing on a steep curve, and voice assistants are finding their way into more and more parts of our lives (Toyota recently announced that it will connect Alexa to some of its models).
If your business name isn’t Amazon, Costco or Walgreens, you may feel shut out of this trend. There are, however, steps you can take to give your customers the opportunity to order from your e-commerce store by voice command.
Because the world of each voice assistant is a closed system, you’ll need to get your business inside that system. If you aren’t already selling on the Amazon Marketplace, you might want to list some of your products there. To have a chance of getting on Alexa’s nice list, you’ll have to use Fulfillment by Amazon so your products are eligible for Prime shipping. Among many other factors, products with Prime shipping can get the Amazon Choice designation.
Google Shopping allows online and brick-and-mortar retailers to list their available inventory, so Google can direct customers to shops where the items they want are in stock. At the moment, this service doesn’t link with Google Home, which currently fills orders only for household staples from Google Express retailers.
Even if your customers can’t buy from you directly through a virtual assistant, you might want to move some of your ad buy to the voice assistant ecosystem so you maintain a brand presence where the cool kids hang out.
Leah is highly ambitious with a strong background in sales and advertising. She has direct experience in Media Relations, Digital Marketing and Social Media. She has a proven track record for helping any size business grow and making their online presence larger and more efficient. She is very driven, motivated and completes each project with creativity, integrity and enthusiasm. We are thrilled that she has joined the McNee Solutions team.
Online review site Yelp.com cannot be ordered to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm that a judge determined were defamatory, a divided California Supreme Court ruled Monday in a closely watched case that internet companies had warned could be used to silence online speech.
Justices agreed in a 4-3 opinion, saying removal orders such as the one attorney Dawn Hassell obtained against Yelp "could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform."
Hassell said Yelp was exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort.
Her attorney, Monique Olivier, said in a statement that the ruling "stands as an invitation to spread falsehoods on the internet without consequence."
She said her client was considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Donald Sullivan found the online statements defamatory and ordered the client and Yelp to remove them. Hassell said the client failed to answer her lawsuit or remove the posts, so she had to seek a court order demanding that Yelp do it.
A second judge and a state appeals court upheld Sullivan's order.
"Ms. Hassell did exactly what she should have done," Olivier said Monday. "After both the defamer and Yelp refused to remove untrue and damaging statements, she obtained a judgment against the defamer, and sought to enforce that judgment by requiring Yelp to remove the defamation."
Aaron Schur, a deputy general counsel for Yelp, wrote in a blog statement that Monday's decision assures online publishers in California that they "cannot be lawfully forced to remove third-party speech through enterprising abuses of the legal system."
Internet giants Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft said in a letter to the California Supreme Court that the lower court ruling "radically departs from a large, unanimous and settled body of federal and state court precedent" and could be used to "silence a vast quantity of protected and important speech."
Three of the California Supreme Court justices agreed with Yelp that the removal order violated a 1996 federal law that courts have widely interpreted as prohibiting internet companies from being treated as the speaker or publisher of users' posts.
Associate Justice Leondra Kruger agreed that the removal order against Yelp was invalid, but for a different reason.
In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar said nothing in the 1996 federal law allows Yelp to "ignore a properly issued court order meant to stop the spread of defamatory or otherwise harmful information on the internet."
"Even — indeed, perhaps especially — in a society that values free expression, people expect courts and statutes to offer them minimal protections from disparaging misrepresentations or abject lies deliberately circulated to the public," he wrote.
Still, Goldman said the court of appeal ruling upholding the removal order against Yelp was an "outlier" and would have led to "open season on internet companies."
source: NBC News
Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. It behaves similar to Facebook or Twitter in that everyone who creates an account has a profile and a news feed.
When you post either a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your “wall”.
Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed. Likewise, you’ll see posts from other users who you choose to follow.
With more than a hundred million of Instagram users actively posting forty million pictures within a day, imagine the number of people that you can reach to promote your business. With this big of audience, Instagram could be a great way for your business to reach your customers.
Instagram is primarily a photo social media platform. Users mostly share photos.
That means users see a lot of photos from people they follow. So how could your photo rise above from anyone else? That’s where your creativity can come into place: you need to have your photos and images stand out and look better than others.
With more interesting photos, people will be more likely to visit your profile and get more interested in the products your business offers.
Always remember, a good photo will create potential customers. Instagram is a great way to build a business brand just by sharing good quality photos and videos. It helps you to get connected with a number of potential clients very easily.
Facebook growth has plateaued. Instead Instagram is currently growing faster than any other social network.
As a business owner, it’s always important to stay ahead of the curve and to quickly adapt to changes in consumer trends. When it comes to consumer trends in social media, Instagram is the hottest thing going right now.
Customer participation in Instagram is one of the strategies that businesses use to enhance the organizational relationship with its target audience. This involves both existing and potential new customers. This is a strategy that mainly includes a free exchange of opinions and experiences… for examples customers take a selfie with the product brand and post it. A business can run photo contest increase customer participation.
Through this, your followers’ followers will be able to notice your brand, thus increasing your brand exposure. This has been proven as an effective tool for increasing sales.
Photo and video posts tend to do a better job of reaching users emotions than simple text posts. When you tap into users emotions, they’re more likely to remember your brand in the future.
Instagram is an ideal place to create a personality and a feel for your brand regardless of what product or service you’re offering and what audience you’re trying to reach. Instagram is the perfect place to create and/or reiterate what your brand stands for and why people should care about it.
Through the photos you post on Instagram, your followers will be able to know more about your business brand. This helps build trust in the products you are marketing online. People need evidence. They believe in the things that they see. If they see how reliable your product is then you will eventually gain their trust.
The ability to geotag posts on Instagram allows local businesses for marketing to local audiences on a large scale. So when you upload a photo or video to Instagram, you can tag the location where the photo or video was taken. By doing this, nearby users can discover your content and business location, even if they don’t already follow your organization on Instagram.
Instagram lets users view posts based on the on the tagged location of the post. A user may then begin to view all uploads that are tagged as being in the town or city that your business is located in. In the feed of photos and videos that they see, the photos that you uploaded from your business will be visible. The user then sees your product and physical location, which will lead up to visiting your business and/or following you on Instagram.
Real SEO! At McNee Solutions, we actively manage all our SEO clients and are constantly updating and changing your site so that it gets you the best results. We don't use short term tacticts that only get your site short and unsustainable boosts. SEO is vital to your Business and we want to help make that process easy for you. We have a great platform that let's us know how your listing is performing across all Search. It is crucial that your listing appear the same across different sites and social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Bing, Foursquare, and HotFrog. Not only will you be confusing your potential customers, but this mis-information will actually hurt your search rankings.
We want to make sure that your company is Found!
Of course, being found is only a small part of SEO. We also make sure that you have content on your site and social platforms once a week as well as determining what is right with your site and what needs fixing so that it performs better in search results. We continuously monitor all of your demographics and analytics of your site's traffic as well as make sure that your site is listed and verified with over a 100 search directories.
Make sure that you are doing EVERYTHING to optimize your site and your Business.
If you upload a picture of coffee cups to your blog, it’s clear to you and your readers that the image is of coffee cups.
However, search engines can’t actually see your images, so they use your alternative text (alt text) to determine what the image is.
To edit your images alt text, in your media library (Media > Library), click on your image, and place a short description of the image in the “alt text” box.
Never keep the images default title (such as IMG_1111) when uploading images to your blog.
When saving your image to your computer, give it a descriptive file name.
For example, if saving an image of two cups of coffee, you can name the image “cup of coffee with friends.”
To name your image title in WordPress, go to your media library (Media > Library), click on the image, and insert your title in the title box.
You can also edit your title and alt text within your post by going in to edit the post and clicking on the image you want to name. Next, click on the pencil button and simply edit your title and alt text.
Your blogs load time also contributes to your SEO ranking. Keep your blog speed up by re-sizing your images (don’t upload images at their full size) before uploading them to your blog.
You also want to make sure that you are using images that you have the right to use. My favorite site for Beautiful Free photos is Unsplash.
We pride ourselves in making sure that our clients have the best service. We will be doing a routine maintenance and systems upgrade on our email server(s) tonight 4/25/2018. This will cause an interruption in our client's email services for up to an hour.
Thank you for your patience.
When you’re trying to increase your website’s rankings in search engines, there are hundreds of elements to consider. And while some (like content and inbound links) are weighted more heavily, it’s worth keeping an eye on the smaller factors, as well.
One of the most commonly discussed ranking factors today is social media. It’s indisputable at this point that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others, are effective channels for reaching and engaging with customers – but there’s a little more confusion over whether or not they have an impact on SEO.
As an SEO company, we are often asked this question. In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between Twitter and SEO, and how your company can use the social media platform to improve your online visibility.
Most clients just want to know whether a strong Twitter presence can directly affect rankings. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no.
Because tweets aren’t hosted on your site, they can’t affect rankings in the same way that links and content do. However, Google and Twitter signed a deal that gave Google access to Twitter’s data stream in 2015.
This doesn’t mean that Google indexes all tweets, though. Before this deal, they indexed roughly 7% of all tweets, and even now, the number is only around 12%.
As always, the more content Google indexes about your company, the better.
As a social media platform, Twitter’s primary role in your marketing strategy should be helping you reach and interact with potential customers. Even if search engines didn’t pay attention to tweets, a strong presence on the platform would still be beneficial.
With 320 million active users, its value is clear. There’s huge potential for growing brand awareness and expanding your audience simply by having an active presence on the platform.
However, you want to take full advantage of the benefits of Twitter for SEO, there are a few things you can do to make your account even more effective.
It can be difficult to convey a message within Twitter’s 140-character limit. Thankfully, some of those characters can be used to link to content on your website.
Of course, not every tweet needs to include a link. If you can explain an idea within that short amount of space, that’s great. If not, links can be a great way to provide more information on a given topic.
Twitter links are an effective way to drive traffic to your company’s site. If you tweet content that your followers are interested in, this can have a huge impact on your overall traffic as your social following grows.
Plus, if your followers like your content enough to retweet it and share it with their followers, your reach will only continue to grow.
Visual content is more engaging on all channels, and Twitter is no exception. Including images in your tweets, (I can't stress this enough) will help them stand out in your followers’ timelines, and make them more likely to stop scrolling and read what you have to say.
This is likely already one of your goals for all of your social platforms, but it’s important to have a dedicated strategy for attracting new followers. Google appears to index higher percentages of tweets from people with high follower counts, meaning that the more you have, the more likely your tweets are to show in search results.
This is often easier said than done, but one of the easiest ways to get started is by promoting your account on your other social platforms, as well as your website. If someone is already interested in hearing from you through other channels, there’s a good chance they’ll want to hear from you on Twitter as well.
source: Webpage FX
The homepage is often a prospect’s first impression of your website. Long, scrolling pages are the expectation these days so think of your homepage elements as a bit of journey. Don’t try to cram it all above the fold, let people get further and further as they scroll.
To get the most out of their visit, consider implementing the elements below.
The purpose of the promise headline, above the fold on your homepage, is to show the visitor that you understand the challenges they face. You need to make them a promise that will solve their problems.
The promise - “that our custom-built websites get results, look great, and work flawlessly across all screen sizes and devices.”
2. Call to action
A call to action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors, leads, or customers to take a specific action. CTAs help to guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps.
Your call to action can be to request more information, schedule a consultation, or download a free report. Make sure it’s relevant and useful – the days when people simply signed up to receive an email from you are over, but people still want to be led to useful activities and resources that get them closer to solving their problems. McNee Solutions offers you a free SEO site Audit.
Many companies are beginning to feature video on their homepage, and for a good reason! Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story. It’s also a great way to produce content to engage your audience. Some put this in the nice to have category, but I think it’s a must these days for small business websites. Video is increasingly becoming more important for SEO and brand awareness.
4. Trust elements
You need to have elements that build trust on your homepage, whether they be logos of current customers or testimonials for your audience to glance over. Have reviews or accolades you want your audience to see? Make them easy to find and place them on the homepage.
This is almost a content category for many businesses as things like reviews, case studies, and testimonials should be part of your ongoing content building efforts, but once you collect them use them to build trust and social proof.
5. Changing content
It’s a good idea to feature frequently changing content from your website on your homepage. For example, place a blog or social feed on the homepage that shows recent activity. It’s a great way to show your company is active and to keep content fresh on the homepage.
6. Core services
Create boxes that feature your core products or services and include about 100 words of content with each. Since these are your core services, you’ll likely have full pages or sections of your site related to each, but by placing them on your homepage accompanied by descriptive content, you’ll also get some additional SEO value.
Video Marketing is Today’s Most Important Business Strategy
The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, the content you need to be thinking about creating and marketing on social for your business is video. Period.
No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose. In case you haven’t noticed, the platforms of distribution for video content online have shifted drastically over the last 18 months. Facebook is getting more daily minutes watched than YouTube, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions, and video on Twitter has taken listening and one to one branding to a whole new level.
Now, maybe YOUR scared a bit, but don’t worry because we are here to make sure you understand a few of the biggest social platforms that matter right now.
Let’s get started with the obvious, YouTube is the grandfather of online video. That is why, I won’t be focusing on YouTube in this article. I know, you’re already skeptical, but hear me out. YouTube is huge. I’m not denying that. It’s a library of video content: 300 hours worth of video content are pushed to YouTube every minute.
The problem with YouTube is that it’s in a downward trend compared to Facebook’s 4 billion daily video streams; A number that’s only going to continue to grow with time.
Due to its sheer size, there’s a ton of competition amongst videos on YouTube all fighting to be seen. When you have a platform with over a billion users, all wanting the same thing (exposure), it’s going to get noisy. It is much harder to break through the noise, which makes hosting your content on the platform much less valuable.
Facebook video has become the best way to reach fans at scale. Couple that with their new video ad products for sales and direct response and the fact that they’re the greatest data company of all time for marketers and you have some serious reasons to spend some real money on Facebook video ads and video content for Facebook.
Think about it for a second. If you’re creating video content for YouTube, and not putting those videos onto Facebook as well, your brand or business is losing distribution – not to mention relevancy. No questions asked.
You don’t want to cross channel promotion by pasting a link to YouTube on your Facebook page as a status update. Instead you want to upload the video to Facebook, so that it lives in your Facebook page’s video content. Why? Because right NOW, Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm is placing an enormous amount of weight on videos, otherwise known as “reach.” When you upload videos, instead of linking out, you have a much higher chance of your video being seen by your community (and new fans, too). Google and Facebook are competitors, so if you think Facebook wants to have YouTube links perform well in their Newsfeed algorithm, you better think again.
Facebook has added features in the last few months that point to the fact that they are increasing the amount of attention they give video: view count, embedding options, video for website conversions. This means there is more to come.
Facebook should be an enormous priority however, don’t ignore the other social channels that might be more in-tune with your brand. There are a ton of other social channels to be creating video content for that offer what marketers love — reach and attention.
Twitter’s released a new video product in late January. Video on Twitter truly is social and the best way to use Twitter video is by connecting and engaging, rather than just pushing. Twitter has grown in size, it’s become a listening platform. Six years ago, you could send a tweet and get more engagement on it than you do now. It was more serious. Now the amount of information and users on that platform has gotten so intense that it’s hard to have that same engagement. It’s hard to get anyone’s attention.
The real way to win with Twitter video, is through engagement — using it as a “pull” rather than a “push.”
The truth is, people respond to effort. When a celebrity favorites your tweet, you get excited. Someone you admire likes a photo of yours on Instagram, it makes you feel good. In reality, it’s not about the 100th of a second it takes to double tap that photo — it’s about the fact that they looked at your profile. They chose a photo. They saw it. And they “liked” it. That interaction, which takes all of 5 or 6 seconds, really touches people in a way that is unique to the powers that be on social.
With Twitter’s new video feature, they’ve been able to take that feeling to the next level.
All you have to do is get in there and engage. Reply to a tweet using the camera option, select video, and start talking. Those extra seconds hold a lot of meaning. Not to mention it’s more personal, visual, and we are living in a world where the visual is often regarded as a better engagement than the written.
There’s also more room to set the tone. A lot of things can get lost in a tweet. You might say “thnx” but that person isn’t 100% sure what your tone really was. But with Twitter video, the message comes across loud and clear.
It’s fifteen seconds of your attention on one person instead of two seconds. Do you know how much that means? Time is so incredibly precious to people. We are in control of it and we hate when it’s wasted. But you know what we value more? When someone else decides to lend their most precious asset to us.
That is what excites me most about Twitter video. Giving time to people. More time. Personalized time. And that is awesome.
Bottom line is there is a lot going on in video right now, and it’s the #1 way to capture the attention of the audience you’re going after for your small business, brand, or company. All these platforms use video differently and they all have their own social context that needs to be respected and taken into consideration. Take the time, put in the work, and produce the videos that will move your business in the right direction.