Meet our Team: Janna Beard

Name:  Janna S. BeardJanna Beard

Tell us what you’re busy doing at Novo? (explain that for those of us who don’t speak nerd):  clearing ambiguity, dotting i’s, crossing t’s

Describe Yourself Using One Word:  insightful

Hometown: Cottage Grove, MN

Family:  seriously great husband, highly likable kids, completely hopeless dogs

Hobbies/Interests:  walking hopeless dogs before dawn, writing, soccer, hiking, travel

Favorite Sports Team(s):  Sorry, I’m one of  “them”.

Famous Person You’d Like to Meet Ceasar Millan

Something You’d Like to Learn to Do:  scuba dive

Favorite Website:

Favorite Travel Destination:  hoping for Alaska next

Last “Gadget” You Purchased:   HP laptop for eleven year old – yikes

Favorite Book:  The Loop by Nicholas Evans

Favorite Food:  grilled asparagus

Favorite Movie:  The Kingdom of Heaven


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Meet our Team: Alxndr Jones

Name: alxndr jones [all lowercase]

Tell us what you’re busy doing at Novo? (explain that for those of us who don’t speak nerd): lead designer. making ideas visual.

Describe Yourself Using One Word:  beard

Hometown:  cedar falls,Ia

 Family: wife and dog

Hobbies/Interests: screenprinting, playing guitar, biking

Favorite Sports Team(s):  st louis cardinals

Famous Person You’d Like to Meet: frank chimero 

Something You’d Like to Learn to Do: play the piano

Favorite Website:

Favorite Travel Destination: north shore

Last “Gadget” You Purchased: iPhone 5

Favorite Book: shape of content by ben shahn

Favorite Food: coffee

Favorite Movie: the lion king

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Seo: Creating Profits with Conversions

In the Search Engine Industry, we have all heard this promise made too easily and too often: Guaranteed Top Google Rankings & Increased Web Traffic for Your Business! Sure, this sounds great, and what growing company would not jump on the opportunity to sign up? We all want our users to find us easily, so we can get back to the job of meeting their needs and growing our businesses!


However, the tricky part of delivering on the above promise lies within the process of Conversion – users must be converted to buyers. Even among SEO Consultants, the commitment to follow through on the step-by-step tasks of Conversion is often lacking. Without successful Conversion of traffic into sales, no business grows and not profit is made. It is vital at NOVO that the detailed steps of Conversion be executed consistently and seamlessly for every website we build and every client we serve.


Below is a great graphic demonstrating this detailed work. At NOVO, we relish tackling these tasks – securing Conversion on every opportunity – and ensuring that you get back to doing what you do best! Take a look.

The SEOGadget guide to Conversion Rate Optimisation - Infographic

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Things you can do today to improve your search engine ranking

Before you hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant firm like Novo, there are things you yourself can do to genuinely improve your company’s SEO. Below, Maile Ohye from Google offers solid start-up advise in one powerful 10-minute shot.  This invaluable information will propel you through the starting gate and get you moving in the right direction.  Coming straight from “the horse’s mouth,” it will be well worth your ten minutes to watch!

Now, give us a call.  We’ll work with you to develop a fully customized SEO plan that gets you ranked higher right out of that gate and that yields ongoing and measurable results in this fast-paced race!


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Nerd Sidebar: What makes fireworks so awesome?

Happy independence day! Ever wonder what fireworks are made of?

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White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO: What This Means to You the Consumer.

Over the past few months I’ve been asked this question a handful of times: What are White Hat and Black Hat SEO?  It’s an important question that you – the Consumer – deserve an answer to, thus prompting me to put together this brief blurb defining the differences.  

White Hat SEO is a set of practices that explicitly follows the rules set forth by search engines and also obeys general web marketing ethics.  There is absolutely NO spamming employed when working from the premise of White Hat SEO.  In keeping with this set of best practices, there is no keyword stuffing, no invisible text, and no doorway pages. White hat is very organic in nature; if your site is positioned smartly and is worthy of a high ranking, you will generally succeed in attaining that ranking through skilled White Hat SEO. While the effect may not be instantaneous, your site will sustain high rankings in the long run.

Black Hat SEO is, as expected, the opposite.  While many such tactics were widely used and accepted during SEO’s infancy, a few individuals and firms took them far overboard.  They are now looked down upon within the SEO community and considered spam-like.  Many Black Hat SEO practices are strictly disallowed by search engines.  For some, however, the lure of employing Black Hat is very tempting; these tricks do actually work..temporarily.  They can often get sites higher ranking (in the short run) than they deserve.  Once the search engine identifies the various Black Hat techniques, it will either dock that site’s ratings or ban the site altogether.  Looking from a long-term perspective, Black Hat SEO is not only far short of the industry’s best practice, it could be detrimental to your business if used to temporarily bolster your site’s ratings.

To my knowledge, companies that provide SEO services will not advertise if they employ Black Hat techniques.  I advise that you thoroughly research any company you might partner with for SEO services to ensure that they deserve your trust and business.  Be watchful for companies offering especially cheap packages, including 1000’s of backlinks, and promising instantaneous top ratings.  It could be that they are one of the many willing to use Black Hat SEO for temporary results.  Google, specifically, has been working diligently as of late to negate the effects of spammy Black Hat SEO tactics, and they are prevailing.  Do not allow your company’s reputation to be dragged down with those being identified with Black Hat tricks.

Plan for the long-term.  Work only with professionals committed to the industry’s highest standards and able to deliver solid results with reputable SEO consultation and execution.


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Google’s Penguin Update: How your links have been affected

Google is at it again. They have released a new update called Penguin. This time around, Google has its sights set on removing spam-like web sites from the top of its search results.

Another component of Google’s Penguin update is that it will scrutinize your website’s built-in linking. If your site looks like it has “unnatural” linking, Google may begin to penalize your site’s ranking.  So, what can you do to avoid this problem?

Using the free tools that are available, like Open Site Explorer, you can audit all your site’s current links. Once you’ve determined each link’s standings, you should begin to prune away low quality links. More is not always better in this case.  Many black hat SEO providers will deploy these link-buying programs, giving your site hundreds of low quality back links – for a fee. This is now looked upon negatively, and will affect your site’s ranking.

At present, it is hard to say if the full extent of the Penguin release has been realized  yet and properly accounted for in the SEO world.  Check back for more information about this new update!

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Branding — Relevant and Successful

Maybe I am the only one who has noticed, but there is a lot of hype going around about branding and how branding influences your business. So I want to take some time and evaluate what comprises “successful” branding and how your business can stand out through its use.

1.       Know your business

You cannot successfully advertise, or market, your brand until you establish who you are. What are your core values? Who is your target market? What makes you unique? Who is your competition? Know what makes your business successful before you start building your brand.

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LinkedIn- 3 steps to improving your value

So much of our culture is surrounded in social media hype, from the rise of MySpace to a billion dollar Facebook network. Many of us have jumped on the social media bandwagon only to be stuck with occasional status updates and rather stale conversations. Many of us may not even see the advantage to being involved in so many different networking options.

How do I create value in social networking and how can I take advantage of these opportunities?

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5 SEO Tips That You Need to Act on Today.

Act on These SEO Tips Today!

1)  Unique Page Titles & Descriptions

Search engines like Titles to be unique for each page.  Page descriptions should be more detailed and informal about what is on the page.  Include Keywords that you want to be found.  As far as on-page SEO goes, this one is definitely a high hanging fruit.


2) Relevant and Rich Content

This may be one of the most important factors in SEO today.  Search engines actually have been lowering your search results if it appears that you have fluff that isn’t relevant for users.  Make sure that your content is something your users will appreciate and find useful rather then just words which target search engines.


3)  Domain Registration

Your site is looked at more favorably if your domain registration is n0t set to expire in the next year.  So make sure that you keep this paid a few years in advance.  Also, the longer you’ve had your domain the better, so don’t let it lapse.


4) Inbound/Outbound Links to your site.   

Sites that link to your site are a vote of confidence for search engines. Make sure that your site is listed on all your social media profiles. Do not fall for the gimmick link-building services found online where they sell you a mass amount of back links for a minimal price.  These are low quality and will drag your site ranking down. Your site can be listed in a multitude of locations like local directories and possibly other websites within your industry.  Join online communities that relate to your sector; join in on the conversation.


5)  Image Alt Tags

Give all images on your site a name/description.  When search engines crawl your site they can only see text.  So by naming Images on your site, you are increasing the value of your website.  Although this is a small step, it’s an important one toward maximizing your SEO.


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