Youtube Analytics

If you publish videos on Youtube, there is some great information about the viewing of your videos that is a little bit buried in the Youtube web interface. Follow these easy steps to check your Youtube Analytics. The information is only 4 clicks away!

Step 1 - Go to the top right of your Youtube homepage and click on your channel icon. You will get a dropdown dialog.

Step 2 - Click on the gear icon for Settings.


Accessing Youtube Analytics


Step 3 - Once on the Account Settings page, click "View Additional Features."

Accessing Youtube Analytics

Step 4 - Click on the "Analytics" link in the left sidebar.

Accessing Youtube Analytics


You are there!

Now you can see the playback stats of your videos, including watch time, duration, views, likes, shares, demographic information, sources and more!

 Accessing Youtube Analytics

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

Google Panda Tips 2016

Google has announced this month that Panda is now part of its core ranking algorithm. First of all, what was Panda and what is it now?

Google Panda

Besides being the last name of a Google engineer, Panda was a spam-fighting filter that ranked all indexed websites according to the quality of their content , according to a top secret list of factors. In a given search result set, it would reorder, or push down, the websites with a low Panda rank.

Panda is now part of the core algorithm, which means that it effects the order of the search results as would any other component of the algorithm, rather than changing the order. The practical implications of this change from filter to core component is not really clear, other than telling us that Panda is here to stay.

The Panda ranking system is not calculated on the fly, in real time. It is calculated, applied to a website, and it sticks until ranking are updated. This means that even if you make significant improvements in website quality, you will probably not see the effect of those changes in improved ranking until Panda updates or refreshes. Historically is has been months between updates.

Google Panda Tips

The Tips

1. Know your content

Catalog all your pages and look for thin content. Also identify your quality content. There is no minimum word count that Panda looks for, but if your site has an average word count per page between 200 and 300, you are probably ok.

2.  Improve thin content

  • Rather than just getting rid of thin content, try to add relevant content to upgrade the quality of your problem pages.
  • Small sites under 100 pages should definitely not get rid of content.
  • Sites around 500 pages or so may nofollow some low quality content, but should also add quality content.
  • Large sites over 1000 pages may need to nofollow thin content, or delete it if it makes sense.

3. Fix duplicate content

Obviously you don't want copied content on your website, but also make sure no one has copied your content, because Google isn't always the best at identifying the original author. Content that is generated by a template, with only minor modifications, can also be a Panda problem. Try to get more  unique content on those pages.

4. Make sure traffic is appropriate to landing page

Use Google Search console to look at the traffic coming to each page. Is the keyword appropriate to the landing page? If not, poor user experience, and DING, Panda penalty.

5. Think topics rather than keywords

Panda does not like keyword stuffing, but does like quality content pages with a variety of terms related by topic. The Hummingbird update made Google much better at synonyms, the idea being the users are better served by determining the intent of their query and matching that to relevant content, rather than just matching up keywords.

Google promises that Panda will be refreshed more frequently moving forward, so hopefully by making these improvement now, your rank will improve in the very near future.

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

Logo Design Basics

A well designed logo is critical in building your brand identity. Because every brand is different, and your logo needs to be unique. For that reason, the first task for a logo designer is gathering some basic information about the business, services and/or product the logo will represent.

Logos can be categorized into 5 basic types:

  • Wordmark  - The treatment of your company name with font and color. Perfect for businesses just starting out or on a tight budget.


    Disney Logo   
     Lightstreams Logo 
     Hersheys Logo
  • Combination Mark -  This type of logo is the combination of a Wordmark plus and icon or symbol. Also good for businesses just starting out and looking to create brand recognition


    AT&T LogoMcDonalds Tri-City Volunteers
    Reebok Logo
  • Emblem - An emblem logo encases the company name, making it perfect for businesses who have not achieved brand name recognition.


    NFL Logo  Harley Davidson LogoUnited Parcel Service Logo
  • Lettermark - Similar to a Wordmark, the Lettermark logo is a graphical treatment of your company's initials. This logo is suitable for businesses whose initials are used instead of the businesses name.


    General Electric Logo  Volkswagen Logo  Forrest Telecom Engineering Logo    International Business Machines Logo
  • Icon or Symbol - Icon or symbol logos are only suitable for businesses who can afford extensive branding campaigns to teach the public what the symbol stands for. Most often it is best to start with a combination mark, and then drop the Wordmark portion once the brand has gained traction.


    Apple Logoshell oil logo MSN Logo

TP Designs creates websites and brand identities for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Web Design Buyers' Frequently Asked Questions

Web Design Buyer FAQ

Buying a complex custom piece of software can be difficult and confusing, especially if you don't have a lot of knowledge about the underlying technology. Here are some answers to FAQs that might help.

How much should a quality website cost? 

The short answer is around $3000 for a small business. In unusual cases it can be somewhat less, but if you are looking for the website to fulfill business requirements rather than be a modern business brochure, you can expect to pay that much. They key word in the question is "quality." That means good search engine performance that generates leads, outstanding visual appearance, fast loading, and the features that your business needs. Sure, you can hire someone from Craigslist to whip out a Wix site for you for next to nothing, but can your business withstand having a bad website for the period it takes you learn for yourself WHY that is a horrible idea? Good websites have positive ROI, and should be seen as business investments that more than pay for themselves in the long run.

How long should the process take?

Theoretically a typical web design project could be completed in 8 - 12 weeks, in a perfect world. Unfortunately the world is not perfect. The things that will most often slow the process are:

  • not having the content created in a timely manner,
  • not giving timely feedback or approvals during the process,
  • rescinding approvals, and
  • changing the requirements or adding additional requirements for the project after it has begun

Given these delays, most projects can take 12 - 16 weeks or more.

How can I know if the web design firm I hire will deliver high quality?

Referrals from trusted associates can be a good way to find a trustworthy and accomplished website vendor. Good ratings on review sites can also help, but be aware that web companies can be very good at creating and promoting false reviews, so read carefully.

Straight price, or a flashy portfolio are both bad ways. Why?  Because you don't know whether the portfolio items you are viewing were created at the price you were quoted.  In addition, professionally designed templates can also be adjusted as part of a web designer's portfolio. The problem is, when your project deviates from the parameters the template can handle, your visual design quality goes out the window.  

Will the amount quoted be the only charges I incur for the website?

That will depend on how detailed your RFQ is. If you demand a fixed bid quote, but give little in the way of detailed requirements, chances are the quote will be inadequate to cover the actual effort required in the project. The best way to ensure that the quote you receive is accurate is to spend the time to create a detailed specification. A good web design estimator will be able to translate your detailed business requirements to an accurate fixed-bid quote. If you forget to include something though, you can be sure that it will take time to deal with that omission, which will be a billable expense.

TP Designs creates websites for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

5 Reasons You Can't Rank for Your Google Keywords

If you are increasingly frustrated about the decline in your search rankings and search engine traffic, you are not alone. Here are some possible reasons why:

1. You hired the wrong SEO company.

If you do any kind of research on SEO you will be familiar with the buzzwords "blogging," "content marketing," "social media" and the like. Those terms will be used against you by unethical SEO companies. They might have a nice website, and offer those services by name, but that is absolutely no indication of whether or not they can deliver targeted traffic and leads. Knowing that, however is no defense against a smooth salesperson who is offering a complex service that is an enigma to most non-technical business people. How do you choose a service provider then? I would recommend doing so completely based on a referral from a trusted source who has actually used SEO services in a similar industry to yours. If you don't know anyone now, there are probably professional networking opportunities in your local area that can get you together with the right people.

2. You are paying for advertising that is counterproductive to SEO efforts.

The biggest headaches I've had recently when working on clients' rankings have been fighting marketing companies they hired who use crawlable call tracking numbers on their directory listings. I won't mention any names... ok I will: YP. And to be fair Yelp too. Having a consistent NAP (business Name, Address, and Phone) across your Internet business listings is extremely important to good local search performance, "Mis-match NAP / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem" has been named the second most important negative ranking factor in 2015 by a panel of SEO experts. Even so, marketing companies will use these call tracking numbers that damage your rankings, so they can attempt to show you the value of their services. They will not only change your business phone number to their call tracking number on their websites, but also on their partner websites, which can be as important a listing as Yahoo directory. I even had "a Google user" try to change my client's Google My Business listing phone number to a YP call tracking number. I wonder who would do that?

3. You aren't implementing the SEO recommendations.

If you have an SEO audit done, or are getting regular analysis and recommendations from your SEO specialist, AND you are currently not ranking where you need to be to pull in valuable traffic, you should consider approving all recommendations, or continue to be a "cellar dweller" in your target SERPs (search engine results pages). Search is extremely competitive, and if you have a lot of work to be done, you need to get to it.

4. You don't have the budget.

This is probably the main reason that #3 is an issue - you have a limited budget for SEO. Often natural search traffic is looked upon as "free traffic" (kind of like "free money"). That may have been somewhat true 10 or more years ago, but today SERPS are highly competitive and you can be sure that if there is a money search term out there, people are spending to get their websites to rank in it. SEO isn't a magic bag of tricks that if you know them, you can effortlessly apply to a website and rocket it up in the rankings. Although thorough knowledge and experience of this complex subject is required, so is a lot of hard work and elbow grease (AKA billable hours).    

Get out your checkbook!
Get out your checkbook! It's spelled G-O-O-G-L-E.

5. Google doesn't want you to.

Google has been taking over the natural results for years. Why? If your business doesn't rank well organically, there is a much greater chance you will pay for their Adwords program. Adwords is how Google makes money. Algorithm changes in the past few years have been pushing large directories up, and individual business websites down. Until a few months ago, being in a map pack was your best bet at getting some Google traffic if you were a small business. Then they trimmed down the 7 packs to 3 packs (also called snack packs, or crap packs, depending on who you are talking to). Now there is talk that the snack packs will become sponsored, meaning that most small businesses will need to pay to play on Google (that is, pay Google, not your SEO company).

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

4 Common Yelp Myths Held by Businesses

Yelp Myths

Many business owners are afraid of the user review site Yelp, and for good reason. I've seen businesses with bad Yelp scores struggle, and even go out of business to get away from the bad reviews. Like it or not though, online reviews are here to stay. To survive, business owners need to change their practices to include proactive steps towards gaining positive reviews. They need to learn to use Yelp as a tool for growth, rather than hiding from it in fear.

So let's bust some Yelp myths:

1) Yelp is unfair. They are filtering all of my good reviews, and only showing the bad ones.

This commonly happens with small businesses. They have a few friends or regular customers who they ask to post a review. More often than not, these people are new to Yelp, only use it for this review, and therefore have no Yelp authority. Yelp's algorithm sees this as suspicious, and filters the review. The solution is to make asking to be reviewed, on Yelp or other review sites, a standard part of your customer relations process. The more people  you ask, the more chance that one of them will be a diehard Yelper, and their 5 star review will stick.

2) If I get a bad review, responding will legitimize it, so I should just ignore it.

The bad review is already legitimized by being on Yelp. As a business owner you have a much different attitude towards Yelp than does someone reading your reviews to decide whether or not to do business with you. They are likely to take that one star review seriously, and if you don't give your side of the story, the reviewer's side will be all they have to go by.

3) Yelp is a bunch of BS. People don't take it seriously.

Many business owners see Yelp as a place for customers with unreasonable expectations to vent after not getting their way, or worse yet, a place for people to extort goods or services when they are unable to get them by other means. Both of these things bias business owners against Yelp. Yelp users are a different story. A recent study reported that over half of those surveyed used online reviews to select a service provider, and almost 3/4 of those people used Yelp.

4) If I pay for Yelp advertising, they will hide my 1 star reviews.

Yelp will not hide your bad reviews if you advertise with them. They will encourage you to respond to reviews in a constructive way. If you have a few one star reviews, chances are your customer relations could stand some improvement. Making the paradigm shift necessary to write a constructive response rather than flaming the reviewer is likely to be reflected in future customer interactions, and stop future 1 star reviews from happening.

What has been your experience with Yelp? Please leave a comment.

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.


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