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Recent blog posts

Posted by on in SEO

We often spend our time in this space talking about how businesses should use the internet to market themselves, or how a professional web development and marketing company can cut your costs, but we don't give out a lot of tips on how to keep the information that you have safe. Today, we'll give out a few tips on how to make sure that your information stays where it is supposed to, and not in the pockets of hackers and thieves.

  • Tip #1 - STOP USING WINDOWS XP (Or any other outdated software) OK, this seems unnecessary to some people. Why would I move on from XP? Everything in the office works just fine with XP, why should I pay to update? Well, the reason is security. Microsoft has announced that they will no longer support XP, which means no more security updates. While many office managers think "Good, now I don't have to run these updates on all of my employees' computers!", this is actually a huge security issue. Almost every update that runs on your computer is meant for security. Running these helps keep malicious hackers out of your system and information, and helps your IT guy sleep at night. Staying with Windows XP at this point is akin to driving a car with no seatbelt. You can do it, but you're an unsafe fool if you do.
  • Tip #2 - Use better passwords Passwords are the gateway to your system. They're there for YOUR protection, not as an impediment to your day. If you can't learn to remember one complicated password, that you may be in trouble for the rest of your career. Passwords should be at LEAST 10 characters, including capitals, numbers, and symbols. If anyone reading this has "password" as their password, then we need to talk. If you're "admin" "password", then you're most likely already hacked and sending spam from a rootkit in your machine.
  • Tip #3 - If you use a phone, laptop, or tablet for business, it needs a password as well These devices need to be code locked if they have any personal or company information stored on them. Even if you have to put in tour password every time you check your email, that is not good enough. Password locks are designed to keep people from accessing your devices if they are separated from you. They're not a punishment, they are a necessity.
  • Tip #4 - Make sure to change default passwords on everything Your router, modem, laptop, or other device may come with a pre-programmed user name and password, which may make you think it is safe to use these. After all, it's included! However, hackers and thieves know these, and they're the first tries against your system when they try to break in. Leaving the default password is akin to leaving a key in the lock on your front door. Anyone can come in, if they bother to use it.

High Level Studios is a full-service web design and internet marketing company that is small enough to meet with each client individually, and big enough to accomplish any task.  Call today at (314) 423-0189, and visit us at www.highlevelstudios.com today to see how your company can get found faster.

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Posted by on in SEO

The future of search is information. Think of Google as a hungry monster, but instead of wanting to eat villagers and demanding sacrifices, Google wants new information. Finding a way to present what your company makes, or what services you offer, is a key to finding yourself near the top of search engine results. Content doesn't always have to be dry though. Writing for the web can be fun if you follow a few basic rules.

1. Make sure that your keywords are used in your articles

It sounds like common sense, but if you want someone to find you for something, make sure that your keywords are actually used in the body of your article. Google wants to see that you are, in fact, talking about the subject that you are advertising to them in your headline and keywords. Using the keywords in the body of the article as part of quality writing, and should be integrated in order to entertain the reader as well. That's the holy grail of web writing. SEO friendly text that people WANT to read. It's harder than it looks, but is something that can be achieved with good self-editing or having a second party look at it.

2. Remember that you are the expert

When writing about your industry, remember this: you know more about your industry than anyone outside of it. I always ask clients for help depending on how involved they want to be. Any help from an expert is appreciated, from writing to proof-reading. Many times, my research might not match up with what a client believes of subscribes to. You want to make sure that the article expresses both knowledge of the subject and the correct position for your client.

3. Headlines are important

Give your article an informative headline that describes the content to follow, and is shorter than 60 characters. There's a debate whether search engines stop reading at 60 or 80 characters, I say why chance it, keep it under 60. Search engines only read a certain amount of your description, keywords, and title. For titles, it's 60 characters. For descriptions, it's 150 characters. For Keywords, I keep them under 10. That's because there's more weight attached the less there is.

Hopefully this will help with writing blogs for your website. They're a great way to communicate with your customers, and a great way to increase the amount of content on the site, while proving that you're an expert in your field.

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If you are part of the online world, you would have heard a lot of talk about Google's algorithm changes called Penguin and Panda and, as a result, may have made changes to your website or those of your clients. However, if you are a small business owner, such as a carpet cleaner, hairdresser or plumber and search engine optimizsation is not something you think about an awful lot, all this talk probably means diddly squat (not a technical term).

To put it in plain terms, when it comes to Google, Panda and Penguin are not cute animals you find at the zoo, rather they were names given to major updates to how Google prioritized pages when someone does a search.

As the Internet changes and evolves, Google and other search engines update their algorithms (the way they rank search results) to help searchers find websites that provide a greater user experience.

In Google's official blog, it says their goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Website design has become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. There are so many websites online now that the competition is getting stiffer by the day. Every edge you can give yourself means one step closer to winning the game. Web design concerns are increasingly more important and you can give yourself that added advantage by paying attention to just a few web design principles.
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The following are short byte-sized tips and tricks I’ve picked up since my inception into Internet marketing. No doubt there’s something valuable for everyone to take away from this post, no matter what marketing strategies are being implemented.

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Lacking a solid Web design strategy wastes money, loses clients, and can harm your business much more than if you had no website at all. But why?

Because, website design is not about “the design.”

All “website design” is not created equal … but this is the No. 1 related misconception adopted by small businesses on the Web.


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DG MediaMind’s Innovation Team descended upon Las Vegas for the annual technology gadget overload that is CES. This year’s show had a record-breaking exhibit space of 1.92 million square feet and over 150,000 folks attended. Out of all of the insanity, we spotted some exciting new trends that will shape the way we live in the not-too-distant future.

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One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

Content & Article Marketing
SEO & Search Engine Marketing
Video Marketing & Podcasting
Email Marketing & Syndication
Advertising & PPC
Public Relations & Spreading the Word
Social Media & Bookmarking

Today we focus on SEO & Search Engine Marketing. Look for more to come!
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Brands that regard their websites as a primary revenue source have three distinct priorities: give customers an optimal experience, create loyalty and convert potentially passive browsers into active buyers.

It’s not a coincidence that experience and loyalty precede sales in this short priority list; the relationship between exceptional customer experiences and revenue growth is fairly direct. The better your website speaks to your visitors, the more loyal they will become and the more sales you will generate.

The good news is that customers can (and should) be very active in the optimization process. Through their clicks, page views, bounces, reviews and purchases, our online customers are offering us helpful feedback about their online experiences, in real time.

So what can you do with all this data?


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Consumer tech is weirder than ever. From interactive digital credit cards to "smart" forks, we went inside CES to find the innovations that will have the biggest impact on marketers.

CES innovation No. 1: The next generation of digital credit cards
How smart is your wallet? If you’re looking for a new brand engagement opportunity, get ready for a breakthrough in digital credit cards. With the introduction of the Dynamics "ePlate" device, consumers can push a button on the card itself to choose what reward they want a particular payment to go toward. Users can also choose whether to pay cash or pay with redeemed points through the physical card. And a version of the card also features security-hidden card numbers. Available on any existing VISA or MasterCard account, this innovation puts the control at the fingertips of the user. And it’s free for brands to participate.

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One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

Content & Article Marketing
SEO & Search Engine Marketing
Video Marketing & Podcasting
Email Marketing & Syndication
Advertising & PPC
Public Relations & Spreading the Word
Social Media & Bookmarking

Today we focus on Content & Article Marketing.  Look for more to come!

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Recruitment firms Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group have released 2013 Salary Guides this month that identify SEO/SEM specialists and social media specialists as two of the hottest technology jobs for 2013.

Both positions offer strong starting salaries in both the U.S. and Canada, with income ranges that have increased in the past 12 months due to continual high demand for experienced candidates.

According to The Creative Group, the growth of online, mobile and social media content has created strong demand for professionals with a range of interactive skills, including user experience designers, mobile developers and online community managers. Marketing professionals with experience using social media measurement and client relationship management tools, for example, are highly sought after.


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Whether you are creating your first website or wanting to improve an existing one, use this checklist to ensure the success of your business online.

1. Domain Name

Register a domain name that has keywords related to your business. Even if your business name is John Smith & Sons, registering a domain name with just the name is not going to help your business from a search engine point of view. Try including some keywords, for example: Johnsmithplumbing.com or yourcityplumbing.com. You can always register additional domain names with your business name or product names to protect your brand and identity but, for the main domain name, make sure you have some keywords included. This will help with search engine optimization later on.


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Posted by on in SEO
2012 was a year of changes in the world of SEO. Google came out with several algorithm updates that basically rocked the whole search engine system. With updates such as Panda and Penguin, the once easy way of getting a site ranked at the top of Google became a tough game of chess, where highly refined strategies and not short-lived tactics are the winning elements.

In 2013, with the rumors of Google launching a Penguin 2.0 update in our midst, it becomes quite critical to design and implement a link building strategy that won’t hurt your website’s search standing should this rumor inevitably come to pass. I say inevitably simply because it seems real enough that Matt Cutts and his team would follow up on their previous algo updates with a few more just to lock down their new rankings system and to mess with our minds a little bit more. Well, let’s show those nerds from Google a thing or two by coming up with a strategy that is at least two or three steps ahead of them.

Here are several link building rules and tips to keep in mind for your 2013 link building program:
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Posted by on in SEO
Social Media and SEO used to be considered two separate things. SEO helped people find you on search. Social Media helped you better engage them. SEO purists believed that one had no real impact on the other. This is no longer the case.

Social networking now influences search results to a fairly significant extent. It draws traffic to a website and the more traffic it brings, the bigger the impact on the website’s search rank. But the topic of this article looks at another aspect of this dynamic relationship between SEO and Social Media – the fact that people are now using the search function of their preferred Social Networks to find a business.

In the following article I provide a few tips on how to optimize your online businesses presence for Social Media search:


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Every day we work at it: toiling away on our social media networks, doing what we can to reach our customers and broaden our client base. Twitter is one of the simplest platforms to use when reaching out to people, but you may not be tweeting to your best advantage. So, what can you do to make sure that people actually want to read your tweets and can get the most out of them?

Here are ten things that you should be doing with your tweets in order to make them stand out. The only way to reach out and grab the attention of your followers (and that of future ones) is to have some interesting things to say!
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Over the past few years, my website has ranked pretty high in for some great keywords but, I’ve noticed recently, my search engine ranks have started slipping. My theory for this occurrence is my articles and posts from a few years ago were seen as out-dated and no longer counted (although I could be wrong on this).

To counter this, I started building links through forum posts, articles, guest blogging and video posting. Keen to see if my efforts were paying off, I tried to figure out if my backlink count was increasing. My first stop was Google, where I used the [link:www.mywebsite.com.au] command and found a very disappointing result – only 23 backlinks.

“Are you kidding me?” I thought.
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Online traffic increased 71 percent this year over 2011 with the top 500 retail sites receiving more than 181 million U.S. visits, according to Internet traffic-watcher Experian.

Retail traffic increased 46 percent on Thanksgiving Day versus the day before, Experian found.

Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, BestBuy and Sears were the top five sites this year with all sites seeing substantial growth on Thanksgiving Day versus the previous day.

Amazon.com was the No. 1 retail site on Thanksgiving Day with more than 25 million online visits in the U.S. This does not factor in mobile traffic.

Wal-Mart followed close behind with 24.6 million U.S. visits.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Social media marketing is important; enough has been said on the matter. Executing that marketing, however, is a more nuanced affair. It isn’t simply a matter of “doing it” – there has to be a clear goal in mind with an overarching ethos and objectives that align with that.

It might sound haughty, especially compared to actual real-life social interaction. But compare “making friends” with “business networking.” One is done casually and on a whim, the other is far more determined and precise.

The problem is, despite the social nature of social media marketing, too many approaches are just about making friends. Let’s address that misconception.
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There’s a lot of talk lately of Google having finally killed SEO through their Panda and Penguin algorithms, which continue to ensnare more and more websites with every new update.

So is SEO Really (Finally) Dead?

When you look at some of the Google organic traffic losses that companies have faced since the very first Panda algo (aka Google Farmer) hit in February 2011, you might certainly think so.

Analytics data showing losses of over 50% of Google organic traffic is not uncommon for afflicted websites:

See Search Overview chart

And traffic that used to increase over time, suddenly took a huge dip:

See Visitors Overview chart

These patterns certainly make it look as if SEO could be dead.


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