HIGHER IMAGES, INC.

Digital HI™ Technology, SEO, Search Magnet Local™, Social Media and Digital Marketing

HIGHER IMAGES, INC. - Digital HI™ Technology, SEO, Search Magnet Local™, Social Media and Digital Marketing

Google’s Penguin 3.0 Update

Something spectacular has happened recently in the world of Google: after a year of lying dormant, the Penguin 3.0 update is finally here!  Many people noticed changes in their Google search results. This was very much anticipated since search engine users have been waiting over a year for the Penguin algorithm to be updated.

Penguin Update

The Penguin algorithm identifies evidence of what Google shows as “webspam” that it believes does occur on and off of a website. Google then penalizes guilty websites as being “spammy” by reducing their visibility in the search results.  The recent Penguin update is similar to the older versions with its intentions but it has been confirmed to be a major algorithm change, not just an update or data refresh.

 

Penguin 3.0 was one of the most anticipated algorithm updates in Google’s history.  Google has decided to later release the details on percentages of search results for this new updated algorithm. With the way Penguin works, if someone is hit by the update even if changes were made to prevent bad links even if those changes did what Google wanted, to know for sure the next release is necessary. With that being said, the main point of Penguin 3.0 is to get rid of the unnecessary “spammy” links.

 

Keep in mind that if this updated algorithm ddoesid not do what it was intended to do, more work will come to prevent losing visibility in search results. Also, if changes were made to a site within the last month or two, it is too late for this update to make a difference. Just look forward to the next!

Robin Celebrating Five Years

This month, Robin Dugas celebrates five years with Higher Images. Through her time here as the Executive Administrator, she has been a major influence for employees and clients through many different avenues. She is the driver that keeps the car moving.

Robin Dugas

Because she coordinates and oversees all functions of the office with the Executive Administrator position she is the “go-to girl” for every employee and all clients. With over 20 years of experience in the fields of office administration and business management and previous employment with the Pittsburgh Business Times, she can handle anything that comes her way.

 

Robin and her partner in crime, Becky Scalise, Quality Control Manager, hold down the fort. “Basically Robin is the glue of our whole operation (Becky too, by the way). Without her (or them), the place falls apart and we all start scrambling for tape and paper clips only to realize that glue is the only thing that can hold it all together,” said Dan Harmon.

 

Robin’s upbeat and optimistic attitude eases any frustrations or challenges that may plague any Higher Images staff member.  Her listening skills, professionalism, and outstanding organization make her the perfect person to head up the human resource department.

 

In Robin’s spare time, she keeps busy with her two daughters, Taylor (11) and Nicki (14). She and her girls enjoy cooking together in their 160 year-old farmhouse. Décor and design are just a couple of Robin’s passions.

 

Here’s to another five more, Robin!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Higher Images Team!

On Friday, October 31, the Higher Images family came to work dressed up to celebrate Halloween. The morning started off with not a switch flipped for light, and flashing LED’s could be seen from all directions. Moaning, screams, and crashing of glass could be heard the second you walked in the door.

Halloween Party '14

Spider webs clung to walls and counters through the office, and the fog machine was filling offices. Through the clouds of fog, the employees groped their way to their desks, but only if they were lucky enough to bypass the glow-in-the-dark skeleton CEO hiding behind walls, doorways and corners waiting for someone to walk by.

 

There was a massive variety of characters haunting the Higher Images halls on Halloween. From pirates and zombies to Jesus and a walking piñata, and an appearance by America’s sweetheart Minnie Mouse, the employees each brought their own brand of personality and charisma.

 

The “boney” CEO, Bryan Thornberg, provided a pizza lunch for this motley crew, and everyone else brought in goodies. Donut holes and chocolate will have the entire place on a sugar high for the remainder of the weekend.

The Newest Google Update

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The new Pigeon update is ready for flight. Google has recently put out a new algorithm, interestingly enough called the Pigeon. As to how it got it’s name, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land states, “Pigeon is the name we decided on because this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home.” The Pigeon update is more behinds the scenes, but is very beneficial because of its improvement to the local search results.  Providing useful, relevant and accurate local search results more closely within the traditional web search results.

When working within the Local SEO field the Pigeon has had a massive effect on the local search results. When it comes to rankings, with the new update clients can now see that they are not the biggest indicator of SEO success. With the changes this update has made it is possible to inform clients what really matters at the end of the day.  This opportunity highlights the importance of domain authority, backlinks and other types of SEO ranking factors.

There is not a lot of detail disclosed about this update, but there is already a rise in local rankings. With that sudden change in rankings, one has to take a look at it from the SEO side – meaning it is time to adapt.  Pigeon is not a penalty-based update; it was created clean up SERPs to give you a more defined local search ranking result.

The main change that is physically noticeable is the lowered number of search queries in a local listing pack.  Where there used to be around eight listings per pack, there is only five now that are specific for your location that is searched from.  The Pigeon update is a new algorithm that gives a more localized search result, and it greatly impacts local SEO.

 

Google Business Tours

The Pittsburgh area is being swarmed with innovations via Google. Higher Images is a credible Google partner, and because of this it is capable of shooting and posting Google Business Tours for businesses of all types.

Google Business Tours are interactive, panoramic photos that showcase all the details and images of businesses through Street View Technology. These tours enhance the presence of businesses across Google and the world by allowing customers to “walk” through the store/building and explore like never before.

Chris Reidenbaugh, Google Certified Photographer at Higher Images, is making a killing in the Pittsburgh market and improving businesses while doing it.

“Google Business Tours are an amazing way for people to see inside of a business before they set foot inside,” said Reidenbaugh. “They are able to look at products, decor, etc. and get a good view of what people can actually expect from a business. “

Reidenbaugh has shot, edited, and published 35 Google Business Tours since March. Some of his recent projects were with Eyetique, Cains Sports Bar, Pro Martial Arts, Oakmont Bakery, Princess Lanes Bowling Center, and Bronzed Tanning Salon.

See Who’s Looking at Your Business with Visitor ID

Higher Images is now offering a         Visitor_IDnew service that B2B can’t afford to ignore! Visitor ID is a simple but extremely beneficial tool. It is an email-based alert system that shows businesses who is looking at their website, what they are interested in, and so much more.

So how does it work? Well, Higher Images places a code into your site. This code will then track unbelievable and unheard of items:

  • Who was on the site?
  • What products and/or services were they interested in?
  • When it happens, Visitor ID alerts the business.

The information that is readable from this tool is a great way to generate leads. Visitor ID does research into the company and tells the user what kind of business that visitor does, what products and/or services they sell and are interested in, and contact information for a point of contact.

The code that is placed into the user’s website can tell that business what keywords the visitor used to find that website in real time. This is a great way to make sure your search engine optimization is up to par and varied audiences can find your business with ease. Also, since this tool occurs in real time, there is no room for missed opportunities with potential new clients.

Because the tool works on an email-based alert system, there is no creation of new logins in necessary. Sales people can log into their emails and even check the notifications on-the-go mobile. This is the best and most efficient way to turn anonymous web traffic into leads and opportunities for businesses to pursue.

Visitor ID is being compared to Google Analytics; however, there are many valid differences between the two useful tools:

  • Google only goes so far into detail about who visits your site and the exact moment of when they do. Google analytics tells you what page they went to and their flow of visiting your website, but it does not tell you what products or services they are interested in and does not give you the specifics that visitor Id does.
  • Google analytics is more statistic based and visitor id is actually sales / lead based.
  • Visitor ID tells you the whole story and more: who, what, where, why, and how.
  • It takes away the guessing and allows you to utilize people’s direct contact information even if they do not fill out a contact form. You begin to follow up immediately instead of waiting for a filled out form or phone call.
  • Also, customize your real time notifications to qualify your leads even more by getting the exact ones you are targeting.
  • You can filter out by geography, goals, etc. so you only get notifications only when your visitors meet these requirements.

Public Relations Launch

Higher Images has recently made an upgrade to its overall distinguished marketing presence. Public Relations has been added to the Higher Images menu. With various packages available, Higher Images is enhancing what it has been doing for the previous 13 years and implementing a more detailed and revamped Public Relations Department.

Since PR is needed in society, every individual, group, and organization should be applying this tool. Credibility and a positive reputation are necessary for successful business, and that is exactly what public relations can provide to anyone correctly utilizing it. So, what is PR? Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Building relationships between organizations and their publics forms a trust and loyalty to one another. The organization wants the publics’ business and the publics want the organization’s products and/or services; therefore, a positive relationship between the two is a must have. Spreading the word in various forms about any positives in an organization will maintain current publics and could achieve new publics to form.

Higher Images Public Relations Department is dedicating its time and efforts to writing effective, quarterly press releases, distributing the press releases with several different systems, and making the follow-up calls for story coverage and published materials to selected media sources. However, that isn’t all: the PR Department logs its work into Higher Images Digital HI system! Clients can actually log in and see what is being done and when.

Forming connections and relationships is the main priority of this PR Department. Growing credibility and getting an organization’s name published for the world to see can only help establish and gain business. Let Higher Images Public Relations Department help you and/or your organization spread the word.

Higher Images Adds Marketing and Design Expert to The Mix

Every digital marketing firm needs someone who can look at a company’s products and design their print and online branding and marketing materials with a clear eye and an artistic nature.
 
Higher Images’ new marketing expert, Jayson Patterson, is already making an impact here.
 
He’s a man of many talents—an illustrator, photographer, graphic designer, and web designer. He has years of experience creating arresting websites, ads, brochures, logos, magazine layouts, direct mail, print and web marketing materials, and more.
 
Drawing since he was barely out of his crib, Jayson knew that he wanted to be an illustrator and already was demonstrating some impressive talents before he even started school. “I could write my name in cursive before I started Kindergarten,” he says. He attended the prestigious The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he majored in Fine Arts and Animation, and then stayed in the area to work until he decided to take a job back in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
 
Eventually, his illustration interests led him to graphic and web design, and he started his own design company that allowed him to produce many effective and eye-catching marketing campaigns.
 
“Then, my family grew (he and his wife had little Jayson, who just celebrated his first birthday), and I knew it was time to start expanding my skills for a larger audience. I wanted to work at a place where I could really help business owners grow successful companies. I’m working with Higher Images’ clients to show them how we can make their company stand out by using both online and print branding campaigns, which often go hand-in-hand. I’ve been working with small- and medium-sized business for years, and I know how to kick campaigns up a notch. Plus, I’m excited to help Higher Images itself revamp its image. So I have a lot to do and it’s going to be great,” Jayson says.
 
If you’re looking for a marketing expert who has experience in all forms of digital and print media, give Higher Images a call at 412-203-1996.

Local Search Changes With Google Carousel

Google Carousel Adjusts Local Results

A few weeks ago, Google released the Knowledge Graph Carousel. If you’ve used Google to search for a local place recently, such as “movie theater Arlington VA” or “Miami Italian restaurant,” you’ve noticed that some of the search results pages are now overhauled. Carousel is designed to make your local searches for places like restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters, and hotels easier and is based on a more visual, user-friendly approach. But of course, a change this big generates some new rules for business owners who are likely to be in this local category.

Knowledge Graph Carousel: What Does It Look Like?

Your search results for local places now may include images of locations that run across the top of the search page, as well as organic results and a clickable Google map on the right-hand side that pinpoints these locations in the area you’re focusing on. Clicking on one of images that spans the top of the page will give you more information, including an address, business hours, and additional images, plus user reviews (reviews from Google Plus are highlighted). You’ll also see what related local places others have searched. If you manipulate the map (either by moving the map in a different direction, or zooming in or out), the images on top will also change to give you results based upon the map’s location.

How Carousel Changes Organic Searches

Google Carousel is more interactive than Google’s past location search results. This new service seems to makes the organic search results less significant because Carousel’s new features are dominating the page, creating less space above the fold on your site. Carousel’s site layout becomes more landscape than portrait because of the horizontal images running across the top and can actually offer more space for local listings. However, since so much of the page is taken up with Carousel’s information, people may not pay as much attention to the organic search results as they once did. Instead, they’ll be able to get what they need just from looking at or clicking on Carousel’s features. A more visual approach could begin to appeal to more and more users. The answer? Make sure your business is Google Plus accessible if people become drawn to Carousel’s layout.

Make Your Local Business Stand Out on Carousel

  • Open or Update a Google Plus Account. Google’s tendency to point to its own products on Carousel makes having a Google Plus account very important for your business. Even if you don’t manage a local place that’s likely to show up right now as a Carousel page, Google no doubt has plans in the future to keep updating their searches with new products. Creating and maintaining a Google Plus account now will put you ahead of the curve.

It’s important to make sure your Google Plus account is complete:

  • Have professional images available on your Google Plus account. Google first draws on the images that are in your G+ account. If you own a restaurant that has a well-known dessert, be sure that a picture of it is displayed. If you don’t have a G+ image, then Carousel will retrieve an image from a different review site. If none are available, then a business’s Carousel picture will just be a map of its location.
  • Update your Google Plus account with new information often: new menus, improved services, new employees.

While Knowledge Graph Carousel isn’t yet used in mobile searches, it’s best to look ahead—with mobile searches escalating, that could certainly be happening soon.

If you have any questions about adding a Google Plus account for your business, contact Higher Images today at 412.203.1996!


Knowledge Graph Carousel Example:  searching for “Pittsburgh restaurants”

 

Protecting Your Domain

Higher Images, Inc. - Protect Your DomainMany clients have been contacting us in regards to notifications – either received via e-mail or US mail – that they are about to lose their domain name, unless they promptly reply with a payment – usually a very HIGH payment. Often at least $75 for only ONE YEAR of registration – to as high as $295 for five years of registration.

For those clients who panic in fear of losing their domain name, and therefore losing their website, they often remit their payment only to find that the solicitation was merely a scam from a company looking to take control of the domain name, and making it near impossible for the customer to regain control in the future.

Not only has a ridiculously high fee been remitted to a less than reputable registrar, but the customer has now turned over control of their domain to a company who has every intention of making it as difficult as possible for you – the customer – to contact any type of customer service, or have the ability to regain control of their domain.

If you currently have your domain registered through Higher Images, rest assured that for $15 per year (NOT $75, as the domain scammers will charge), your registration will remain current, and your website will remain online.
Have you received an email that tells you that it’s time to “send in your registration and save”? Are you afraid that if you don’t reply by the date on the notice that you may lose rankings, visibility, and possibly your website? If this is the case – and if you have received a notice similar to this – please contact Higher Images immediately. We are instantly able to see when your domain is actually set to expire, and we can help you renew it easily and legitimately.

Many of these unscrupulous solicitations tend to look similar to the below:

Domain Name Scam


When you receive a notice that you need to renew your domain, please understand that the majority of these communications are most likely solicitations from outside registrars with the intention of manipulate consumers into transferring registered domain names from their current registrars to the soliciting company. Unfortunately when this happens, consumers agree to the new terms and pricing included in the solicitation, often costing them a significant amount of money above what they have previously been paying.

By following the below steps, you can rest assured that your domain is safe, and always remains where you have complete control:

  • Always select the option of Private Domain Registration for your domain name. This option will cost you a few more dollars per year, but will also remove all of your personal information, preventing unwanted, deceitful and fraudulent attempts to gain control of your domain.
  • Be sure to use strong passwords, which include both upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters such as #,! and @.
  • Always register your domain name with a reputable domain registrar to ensure safety and security of your domain name, thereby also protecting your website or blog.

If you would like Higher Images to be your registrar, contact Robin Dugas at 412-203-1996 or robin@higherimages.com.