Welcome to the Modern Earth Blog!

Insights into the Online World

2 SEO Keyword Mistakes and How to Fix Them

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Feb082016

Choosing keywords for the search engine optimization of your website is a big decision, with several moving parts.  Not only does SEO influence your website, but it also influences your business.  Choosing the proper terms to target in search based on their relevance to your business and their expected search volume is essential.  Here are two common misunderstandings people often have when choosing SEO keywords.

Targeting Insider Terms

There are some "keywords" you hear and use every day in your work life.   Because these terms are frequently used in your day-to-day, you might expect them to be the best keywords to focus on for optimization of your website.  However, consumers, or people outside of your business, may not be familiar with them and would not think to search for them.  In our industry for example, if you were looking for someone to develop a web-based form for your company, as an industry insider you might search "web application developer", whereas someone outside the industry might search "online form builder".  Both terms may eventually get you to a similar place, but the search volume for one compared to the other will be significantly different.  

The Solution

When choosing keywords, put yourself in your buyer personas shoes.  What terms would they search for?  How do they refer to your product/service when you speak to them?  How else could your solution be described?  Research the search volume on these terms.    

Using Overly Specific Keywords

To clarify this point, using specific keywords for optimization is good - general terms are more likely to return informational pages or definitions than actual business results.  Optimizing your entire website with the goal of ranking for a very particular term will be challenging.  Search engines base rankings on many factors, one of which is content relevant to the keyword.  If you have sparse content on your site that relates to this keyword, the chances of ranking well in search results are slim to none.   

The Solution

Rather than trying to rank across your website for a very specific term, your energy is better used crafting a single piece of evergreen content to rank for that term.  Users who are searching for your highly targeted keyword will still have a chance to see your website in search results, but your chances of ranking for other broader terms will not be limited.  

Spreading your optimization thin across your website will not yield the desired results.  In trying to rank highly for a large number of general search terms, you end up ranking poorly for all of them.  Focusing on creating content that is relevant to your business and the needs of your clients will provide much more long term value.  

Feb042016

Code comes in all different shapes and sizes.  However, there are common issues that arise, no matter which programming language you are using.  Here are some examples of common code problems and how to solve them:

Spaghetti Code

Spaghetti Code is a term programmers use when the code bounces all over the place when trying to solve something logical.  You follow a piece of code, and it leads you to an entirely different area than what you were expecting.  Sometimes it leads you right back to where you started!

Solution: When creating functions or modules, make sure that the function does only one thing, and it does it well.  Do not try to over-program your function so that it solves all your problems.  Also, keep your logic as clean, positive, and as easy to follow as possible

 

No Documentation

Documenting your code is a challenge because you have to stop and explain your code, which interrupts your groove.  The problem is, if it isn’t there and you need to come back to it in a month’s time, you will spend more time trying to figure out why something works the way it is.

Solution: Force yourself to stop and smell the roses.  Put comments in, even if it is just high level, before an “if” statement.  Oh, and put a comment after your close “if” statement! You’ll be glad you did.

 

Infinite Loops

There are times when you are building your code and you start getting into an infinite loop, repeating the same logic over and over again indefinitely.  It potentially causes memory leaks and the like.

Solution: Make sure your code has a condition where it goes one entry point in, one entry point out, and put in aborts when you’re testing to make sure you can handle the loop situation.  If you need to do recursion, test it locally before putting it on the server!

 

Case-Sensitivity

Some languages treat uppercase letters and lowercase letters as two different variables.  This can cause a lot of headaches when you know you typed the correct variable name, only to realize the case-sensitivity got in the way.

Solution: Come up with a set of standards that your entire company follows, and stick to them.  That way, you will know how to properly name your variables and you won’t run into this issue.

 

Complex process is not working

There are times when a complex process stops working, and you are tasked to debug it.  You are unsure of where to start!

Solution: Break down the large piece into tiny individual sections, and step through the process slowly and monitor the changes.  That way you don’t have to tackle the entire beast all at once.

 

Your developers should already be aware of these common tips, but I know personally I learn new things every day.  I welcome the change if it can help me increase my productivity and efficiency!

Feb022016

From small businesses to large enterprises, account managers are the driving force for generating sales and managing relationships with clients.  Account managers work in almost any industry; ranging from marketing, info tech, banking, and everything in between.  Simply put, an account manager is a liaison between a company and its clients.  The one thing that every account manager needs to ensure they're always doing is communicating effectively.  Communication amongst your co-workers and with your clientele will help you do your job to the best of your ability.

Most account managers will communicate with their clients through the phone or email.  In many instances; I've never even meet the client, so how I communicate with them is key.  In a way, I’m almost over-communicating with them to make up for the lack of face-to-face communication.  I continually provide critical project updates and notifying my client of any changes or recommendations.  They feel confident knowing that we have everything under control, and they're more inclined to working with us again.

If we're keeping our clientele up-to-date with any updates or changes, then we'd need to be in constant communication with our coworkers.  We try to ensure our team is in sync and that anything vital that's relayed to us is passed on to the client.  That will help us in the long run, especially if we're anticipating missing a due date.  Keeping both parties in the loop will help establish expectations for everyone and will also minimize the risk of any setbacks.

Whether it's oral or written; it's crucial that all communication between myself, team members, and our client are clear, crisp, and convincing.  Communication isn't just talking.  Knowing what to say and how to say it will make sure everyone has a good understanding of what's happening. Concise and clear communication with our clients and team only get us further and will help you excel as an account manager. 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media for Small Business

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Feb012016

Social media started as a way for people to connect with their friends, family, and co-workers.  As different platforms became more extensively used, companies saw the opportunity to connect with current and potential clients.  Brand pages or accounts on the big four platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, are almost expected as part of a company's online marketing strategy.

Here are four things to remember to get the most out of social media for your business

Know Who Your Target Audience Is 

Knowing who your target audience makes it easier to tailor your messaging to catch their attention.  A 26-year-old female will search for and respond to information differently than a 44-year-old male would.  Knowing who your target market is and how they make purchase decisions will help you to understand better and ultimately meet their needs.  Knowing who your current clients and desired customers are, also provides clarity for your sales and marketing teams when generating new leads.  

Find the Right Platform

Different user types frequent different platforms.  Facebook started as a platform specifically for college students and has grown to be the most widely used social media platform across the globe with 1,550 million active users.  The core user base of the platform shifted from its original target demographic as the teen and early twenties internet users began to seek out image-based platforms (like Instagram and Snapchat), and their parents begin to adopt the platform.  Knowing where your target audience is active online will help you focus your energy in the right place.

You Can’t Be Everywhere At Once

Since there are so many different social media platforms, small business owners often think that they need to be on each one or risk falling behind - classic FOMO (fear of missing out).  This is not the case.  Each platform presents information in a different way - text, images, video, gif sets, the list goes on - users choose different platforms because of this.  Some people prefer to get their news in video form, others learn through visuals like infographics.  Sharing the same information, in the same format, on several different platforms loses its effectiveness.  Focusing on two or three platforms that you know your target audience uses will provide much more value for your time and energy. 

Make it a Conversation 

Listen to what your audience is asking for; provide that and you’re in!  Social media is meant to be a conversation between users, whether it’s your personal profile or you’re speaking as a brand.  Prompt responses to questions, courteous interactions, and professional engagement with others on social media goes a long way to furthering your reputation and building relationships - both online and in the real world.    

Social media for your business doesn’t have to take up your whole day.  Twenty minutes is enough to check your notifications, respond to any inquiries, and schedule a piece of content.  Being active on social media is beneficial to the promotion of your business, and can be easily managed from your smartphone.

Are you a small business owner looking to promote your business on social media?  Contact us today to learn how we can help you build your brand online.

3 Tips Every Web Developer Needs To Know

POSTED BY Iurii Zhmurskyi

Jan282016

Being a web developer is like being an architect and a builder at the same time. All fun and responsibility come to you. Everything is clear with the fun part; I’d like to talk about responsibilities.

The ability to develop code that does its job is great. When a developer not only knows how to develop code to solve a specific task but also understands what’s going on behind the scenes while their code is running is even better. This knowledge usually helps in developing efficient, error proof applications. What is valued most is an ability to write code that other developers can read. Here are three simple tips to ensure your code will be understandable not only for you but even for those lucky ones who decide to read it.

Styling.

In the early days, computers had an 80 character limit for every line to display. Lines that were longer were trailing off out of sight. Nowadays screens can display much longer lines, but there are still advantages to limiting maximum line length to 80 symbols. The shorter your code line is, the less your eye has to travel to read it. Do not forget to tabulate nested blocks of code, keep all operators of the same nest level at the same distance from the left border. There are many widely used styles of programming, but I prefer to use Mr. Cay Horstmann style.

Naming.

Use descriptive names for your variables and functions/methods. Otherwise, in 2 weeks after you’ve completed your code it might be hard to remember what the “p” variable stands for and what function “action1()” does.  Admit that “printResults()” gives you a much clearer idea of what to expect from this function, or what value “countryPopulation” variable contains. Instead of using dashes and underscores use CamelCase to concatenate several words in your functions/variables names.

Repetitive usage.

Once you’ve developed a chunk of code that solves the specific task and you realize that you need this functionality somewhere else - create a function. Instead of copying and pasting that block of code in multiple places it is almost always better to create a separate method with developed code inside. This will make your code shorter, you will not have to update your code in several places in future, and that will exclude a bunch of possible issues from your future work.

Following these simple rules will significantly help you not only with a readability of your code, but will also simplify further development and make your code more error protected.