In the Office

Our New Client: Premiere Communications & Consulting

We are excited to announce that we have been named Agency of Record for Premiere Communications & Consulting, a corporation that designs, builds and maintains IT infrastructures and unified communications systems.

Premiere Logo F1

As a brand that values customer service and loyalty, Premiere needed to get their story out to new client markets. We are helping them do just that through a newly redesigned website and SEO strategy. Premiere’s platform will strengthen relationships with their existing clients (which include CISCO, Metropolitan Life, and Fidelity), spread awareness of the company throughout the IT infrastructure industry and bring more traffic to their online presence.

With more than two decades in the industry, Premier has established a loyal reputation with data centers, hospitals, schools and campuses throughout the country. They are also home to a full-time team dedicated to technical service and maintenance.

Read more about our relationship with Premiere.

Tweets to be Featured in Google Search

google search marketingGoogle announced that they are partnering with Twitter to feature tweets in Google’s search results. The Search Engine Results Page will feature real-time content from Twitter that is relevant to a user’s Google search. For example, if you are looking for more information about the NBA Playoffs, the Google SERP will show you what the Twitter community is sharing in real-time. When tapping on the Tweet in Google, it will take you directly to Twitter to explore more #NBAPlayoffs content. And Tweet relevancy and recency seem to be the priority so far. In tests, tweets were seen on the SERP page from users with small followings and/or low activity on Twitter.

So what’s significant about this new feature?

More »

The #1 Reason Your Web Site Must Be Mobile Friendly

Search traffic is one of the main reasons you have a website, right? According to Comscore, 60% of all Google searches are done on a mobile device, so it makes sense that Google recently announced an update to their search algorithm that makes a site’s mobile-friendliness a big part of search ranking signals. Mobile-friendly websites should see a significant boost in the search rankings and non-optimized sites will get pushed down on the SERP.

For unresponsive sites, this update could mean loss of traffic, leads and ultimately, business. The ranking increases for sites with positive mobile usability metrics (low bounce rate, higher pageviews and time on page), and should decrease for sites with negative usability metrics (high bounce rate on mobile and low conversions).

Even if your website is responsive, it still must meet the Google “mobile-friendly” requirements. Here’s a site test. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

If your web site didn’t pass, here are 2 things you can do to make sure your search traffic doesn’t drop off:

  1. Work with a web developer to update your website to a responsive design. Don’t bother with a plug-in or separate mobile site.
  2. Speed up your website. 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load, and a high bounce rate hurts your mobile friendliness.

SEO: Good writing is more important than keywords

How to write SEO contentDespite recent news to the contrary, good writing has, and always will be, important for those in the communications field. In fact, in a recent poll by PRWeek, respondents say PR majors should continue to take advanced writing courses.

A big reason to focus on writing skills – SEO. Over the past six months, we have seen Google’s Panda 4.0 make strong writing even more crucial. Keyword stuffing won’t cut it any more.

More »

The Week in Marketing: Super Bowl Ads, Real-Time Marketing and the SEO-Social Media Connection

1. Brands Take Advantage of #Blizzardof2015 with Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is a popular trend among today’s marketers. Brands are getting smarter about leveraging sensationalized events such as the latest snowstorm or State of the Union Address as an opportunity to get their name out. The latest use of this technique came this week with #Snowmageddon2015, also known as #Blizzardof2015. The snowstorm might not have been historic as it was predicted to be, but that didn’t stop brands from seeing the opportunity at hand. Dairy Queen, DiGiorno Pizza, Honda, McDonald’s, and Netflix are just some of the notable brands that took advantage of the snowfall.

More »

Marketing All Things Manly and Cool

SwagDaddy logo

We are excited to be representing, a new ecommerce site dedicated to providing the best in guy gear.

First we conducted a competitive landscape analysis and developed an integrated consumer engagement strategy, involving SEO, social media, as well as blogger and media relations. Now, we are working along side SwagDaddy to implement that strategy.

SwagDaddy selected Howard/Merrell to be its agency of record and launch the new ecommerce website, help increase brand visibility and site traffic. As SwagDaddy continues to grow as a brand, it will seek further integration and involvement with its followers, a task with which we have a history of success.

We enjoy working with entrepreneurs at SwagDaddy, who allow us to help them strategize and implement the marketing behind the vision for the company. Check them out:

Developing A Killer SEO Strategy

What does SEO mean anymore? Is it still relevant? I mean, it’s 2014, after all. We’ve seen the rising tide of keyword optimization and SERP reports finally start to ebb. Did SEO go with it? Let’s think about that for a second.

Businesses still exist. Potential customers are still out there seeking out solutions for their problems. Search engines still exist too, and they probably will for quite a while. So shouldn’t companies still try to compete for real estate on Google’s front page? That question is an easy one to answer – the bigger question is “How?” More »

Google Hummingbird Update: Friend Or Foe?

Google, the not-so-secret ruler of the Internet, has completely changed its search algorithm-without anyone noticing. This week Google announced that its new algorithm, Hummingbird, has been running for a month right under our noses.  This new algorithm, named for being “precise and fast,” is the biggest change in algorithm since 2001, according to Google search chief Amit Singhal. More »

Looking for: Digital Associate Account Coordinator

Social media, digital analytics and SEO are key parts of any digital campaign. We know it and so do the companies we support. Help us develop and implement digital programs for our clients.

We are searching for a Digital Associate Account Coordinator.
Responsibilities include the development and management of clients’ social media profiles, blogs and online content, as well as assisting with the preparation, analysis and tracking of marketplace, technology and consumer demographic trends both within and across multiple industries. Ideal candidates are strong writers, who have a basic understanding of digital marketing strategies including search marketing, ecommerce, lead generation and web analytics.

A bachelor’s degree is required.

For a full job description click here.

Weekly Wrapup #2

JESS3-Brian Solis Brandsphere1. Twitter reaches 100 million active monthly users

Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, announced on Thursday that the platform is broadening its user base. According to Mr. Costolo, there are now 100 million worldwide active Twitter users monthly — up 82 percent since Jan. 1 — and half of them log in every day (with some 55 percent of them being mobile users). What constitutes “using”? Apparently 40 percent of them don’t tweet, or haven’t tweeted in the last month. He also noted that Twitter is on pace to add another 26 million active users in the next four months, equaling the total added in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. What are your thoughts on the micro-blogging platform’s future? Read the full article at Ad Age and tweet us @hmandp.

2. Brandology – what’s in the mix?

With the vast assortment of online media opportunities, a brand has the opportunity to pick and choose where it decides to operate. Among so many assets there are five different types of media according to Brian Solis and JESS3 – paid, owned, earned, promoted and shared. By combining these types of media each brand’s “Brandsphere” can allow the brand to drive online experiences, conversation, and create new opportunities for the company. Find out more at Pop-ology.

3. Duke Study reveals social media marketing spending is on the rise

Social media is proving its worth to marketers. In fact, according to a new Duke University survey, marketing exec’s are planning to increase spending in social media in their overall marketing strategies, from the current level of 7.1 percent of their overall marketing budget to 10.1 percent during the next year. They also expect to see this percentage increase to 17.5 percent in the next five years. Despite the data, many U.S. companies still have not integrated social media into their overall marketing strategies. I think it’s safe to say that social media is not just trend, it’s a tool and for many a necessity. Check out the Triangle Business Journal for details.

4. Public Relations proves valuable in pharmaceutical brand growth


While pharmaceutical marketers have long used public relations to support their brands, recent field research from Best Practices, LLC suggests few companies have utilized the full potential of PR campaigns across the entire product lifecycle – preparing, launching, growing and extending the commercial life – of a brand.

According to the study, the phases that showed the most effective and active use of PR tactics are the pre-launch, launch and brand-building years. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of all research participants assessed many PR tools – both new and traditional – to be effective during launch and brand-building years.

5. Google works to ensure clean SEO business practices prevail

In the past, it’s been difficult for honest companies to rank well against some businesses using questionable SEO tactics to move their pages to the top. But that’s all changing as Google works feverishly to ensure that users get the most relevant results, eliminating scandalous SEO practices and rewarding innovative and engaging online marketing. Since Google’s 2011 Panda update, “black hatters” are suffering the repercussions of years of questionable practices, and ethical marketers are seeing their sites moving into the places they deserve. There are still important technical SEO principles to keep in mind, but since Panda, transparency, authenticity and creativity are more important than they’ve ever been.  Three cheers for the SEO good guys!

Image by – JESS3 & Brian Solis Brandsphere