Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

Month: May 2015

What’s new with SEO? – Search Experience Optimization Workshop 2015

SEO-search-experience-optimization

Learning the basics of SEO can help you get found on the web. Not knowing it will make sure you aren’t.

Being found on the web is getting harder and harder to do.

The big brands are finally catching up to how the search engines see them and they are now putting substantial budgets into paid and organic search and social campaigns in order to be found on the first page of Google (for their important keywords).

So how do you compete?

Well, there are a lot of ways to compete but you need to have the basics down first.

In my workshop on search engine optimization or the better term for it, search experience optimization (SEO), I break down the basics and try to shed some light on simple things you can do to make sure the search engines and the people using those search engines see you. Because if they can’t see you, then you don’t exist.

Here’s the deck I used. Now you can flip through the deck if you want but it doesn’t have the text that you’ll have here.

When it comes to SEO, the first thing you have to do is produce good content. I know that sounds silly and like my friend Erik Deckers says, “Telling people to produce good content is stupid.”

That’s so true.

You need good content but you have to understand what makes good content and how to produce it specifically for your desired audience.

I like to say that good content is all about making people laugh, cry or think about your subject matter. If you can do that, then you have exactly what they are looking for. They will read it, watch it and share it.

Sharing is very important in this day and age of social.

Buzzfeed (who is one of the reigning kings of sharing content) talks about how they produce good content. You should read it and try to incorporate what they do to produce it.

If you’ve got the content down, then SEO gets pretty simple.

I like to break it down into these 8 things that you should focus on.

1. Content Strategy is basically what should be on the website when it launches and what will you continue to add to it. This is taking your good content and making sure it is focused on your subject matter. Once you have that down, your website should be able to handle these simple questions for both the users and the search engines.

  • Who You Are
  • What You Do
  • Where You’re Located
  • Your Value Proposition
  • What Visitors Should Do Next

2. Platform Strategy is knowing what devices your content is on and how your users see them. The platforms I believe you should worry about are iOS & Android first. Mobile is how people are connecting them most. I’ll have more on that later. Then you need to verify how you look in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

There are two testing tools I like – www.browserstack.com (paid with free trial) and www.browserling.com (free but more features with paid).

3. Information Architecture is how things are laid out on your website (goals, navigation, search, calls to action). Essentially where the content will go. I love that more and more sites are moving to the “hamburger patty” navigation button and essentially hiding standard navigation.

Instead of driving people’s attention away from the content, the hidden navigation will help get your Call-to-Action noticed more and that’s the whole point of the website, right?

4. Keyword Research will help you understand what terms your users are using to find your type of content. Why guess when the search engines can tell you what terms you should be using and what terms you are currently indexed for.

I like using Google’s Adword Keyword Planner tool as well as Soolve to discover more familiar terms.

5. Usability and User Interface are two separate things but they really revolve around each other. I believe you can’t have good Usability without good User Interface and vice versa.

When I think about usability, I’m worried about how easy is it for a user to navigate the site? Do they understand your Call-to-Action? Are they incentivized to do it?

6. When I’m thinking about User Interface, you should be focused on the mobile website vs. the desktop for the first experience. The mobile version in responsive design will really teach you what is most important then you can focus on that when you start doing the desktop design. You should be focused on touch (thumb size) instead of mouse clicks as well as more and more screens become touch sensitive.

Color/design mean everything to the user. Check out my post on digital body language to understand more of how to be intentional with everything the user sees so they will do what you want them to do.

7. Accessibility is important because everyone should be able to view your content including those with disabilities. I’ve been told that up to 25% of your audiences can have vision problems and you can help them by making your website 508 compliant.

Check out 508checker.com and boia.org to help you get 508 compliant.

8. Last but definitely not lead is Inbound Links. These are the amount and strength of other websites hyperlinking to your website. The more you have based on your subject matter, the more the search engines will look to you as an authority in that subject matter.

You used to be able to manipulate these inbound links with blog farms and other black hat techniques but the search engines, especially Google, is constantly on the hunt to keep their search from being gamed. So it’s better to just focus on great content and asking people to link/talk about you on their websites.

You should definitely have a distribution strategy to execute upon when you put out great content. I love using email, social networks, blogging networks, etc… to encourage people to visit the content when we get it up on the website.

Now let’s touch on tools I use to find out what’s going on with the website.

First there’s Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

I have an article on how you can get them both set up and connected together.

google-webmaster-tools

Search Queries that lead to people finding your website

Once you have that you can start looking at what you are being found for currently and then adjusting to be found for other keywords.

Google Webmaster Tools will also let you sort of control your most popular navigational links so you should have know what those are.

Also Google Webmaster tools is going to tell you a lot about how Google sees your website, from mobile experience to your 404 broken link / missing page issues.

Speaking of 404 broken links and missing pages, I use Xenu to scan websites and get a report of what’s wrong with them so I can check. It’s simple program (free) that anyone on a PC can download. Since I’m on a mac I use Wine to run the program.

Here’s a link to my article on how to fix 404 issues.

Fixing 404 Broken Links

Just go into your CMS and fix the links.

Next up with SEO tactics are your images. It’s pretty simple to fix these. All you need is a process. I would not recommend going back and fixing all your image SEO problems unless the images are on your most popular pages. You can find what your most popular pages are in your Google Analytics. Just click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and you’ll get a list.

Here’s my article on how to fix images to make them SEO friendly.

Cow In A Grass Field

Cow eating grass in a green field

Finally let’s talk about website Title Tags and Meta Description. You should use real keywords within your Title Tags because the domain URL is going to be very important to the search engines. They especially don’t like numbers or non-sensical titles.

Meta-Descriptions have been seriously downgraded for SEO if they were even a part of the search algorithm in the first place but they are seriously important to the Google Snippet which people read about the page they are visiting. If you don’t fill this out, Google will pull any text on the page that it thinks describes the website. You don’t want that to happen.

Here’s my post on how to do Title Tags and Meta-Descriptions.

Page Title

Page Titles are probably the most important piece of SEO you can do.

So this was my workshop on Search Experience Optimization (former Search Engine Optimization). Do you have things you would like to add to it?

How do you make a movie with the iMovie App on the iPhone 6?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about content (mainly video) recently – probably because I’ve been encouraging people to use video more and more since the social networks are making video more popular than ever. So I wanted to show you how to make a simple movie or video using the iPhone 6 iMovie App.

This is mainly just images but I thought that would be the easily way to show you how to do it. And I like “How To” article that are mainly pics and just a bit of text.

With this article I’ll be building a quick tutorial on doing a “talking head” video with added B-roll and photos. It’s not as hard as it looks and the software is very forgiving so why don’t you give it a try! The video is above.

 

01-imovie-open-app

Open the app. Click the Plus on the bottom right.

 

02-imovie-select-movie

Select Movie instead of Trailer. Trailer adds movie trailer like sequences to your iMovie. Sometimes this is a lot of fun.

 

03-imovie-select-style

Select Your Style. I like Modern.

 

04-imovie-touch-video

Touch the video/music icon on the middle left.

 

05-imovie-click-all

Click all to see your movies.

 

06-imovie-select-video-to-edit

Select the video you want to edit.

 

07-imovie-select-download

Select the download button to get it into the iMovie program.

 

08-imovie-scroll-right

Scroll all the way to the right. Hit the “Play” button to watch the movie play.

 

09-imovie-select-timeline-adjust

Where the arrow is pointing is your timeline – touch the video and it will highlight in yellow.

 

10-imovie-trim-start

Trim the video bar by touching the video and dragging the thick yellow bar over. You’ll also notice an option menu at the bottom of the program.

 

11-imovie-detact-audio

With the video highlighted, select the scissors icon and then “Detach”. This will remove the audio from the video section. You should see a blue line representing the audio track.

 

12-imovie-audio-separated

With the audio track separated, you can add what you want to the video track like photos or other B-roll video.

 

13-imovie-add-name

Let’s add a name. Listen to the audio and select where you would like the name to disappear. Click on the video and then click Split.

 

14-imovie-select-text

Then you’ll select the frames you’ll want to see the text on. Select the “T” icon and then the style of text action and the location of where you want the text to be. I selected Gravity Style and Lower location.

 

15-imovie-type-text

Next you select the text that shows up on the video screen. The keyboard will appear and you can type what you want.

 

16-imovie-add-broll

Now we can add B-roll. Select the location to add the video just like you did before. Select the Scissors Icon. Select Split. Select the Video/Music icon and then add the video you want.

 

17-imovie-select-dissolve

Select the “Dash” icon and then select the action buttons for “Dissolve”. You can pick what you want but dissolve seems to work the best for B-roll.

 

18-imovie-select-broll-audio

Now we need to remove the B-roll audio. Select the added B-roll frames. Select the “Scissors” icon and then touch “Detact”. Once you have the second line of audio (below your first audio track), select that one to highlight yellow and then touch “Delete”.

 

19-imovie-match-audio

This is probably the hardest part of doing video. You need to match the audio track and the video by dragging the video track of the frames after the B-roll. This will take some time with trial and error. CHEAT TIP: You can scroll back and forth from the end of the video to where the B-roll is and trim the video so that the end of the video matches.

 

 

21-imovie-fade-to-black

We’re almost done. Now let’s add a “Fade-to-Black” at the end of the video. Scroll to the end of the video and select the “Gear” icon at the bottom right.

 

22-imovie-fade-to-black-switch

Pretty simple. Just slide the switch for “Fade-to-Black” over.

 

23-imovie-name-movie

Now let’s name the movie. Select the left arrow to go back to our project name. Select the text in the center and it will bring up the keyword. Delete the fake movie name and type what you want.

 

24-imovie-save-video

Save your movie by touching the upload button.

 

25-imovie-select-video-save

Select where you would like to place your movie. I always save to the phone first.

 

26-imovie-select-resolution

Select your resolution and Ta-Da, your video is done. I would recommend saving anything worth keeping to higher resolution. Quick videos that aren’t keepsakes can be just large format to save space.

 

That’s it. If you have any questions or need some clarification I would be happy to help. Just leave your questions in the comments or you can hit me up on social media.

Below are videos I’ve made on this  as well.

How to start a project in iMovie

 

How to do basic editing in iMovie

 

How to  add b-roll in iMovie

 

How to add photos in iMovie

 

How to add and edit text in iMovie

 

How to save a video from projects in iMovie

 

 

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