Brand Awareness

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Emotions are a content marketing tool which SEO’s today can’t overlook. How we feel about a company determines whether or not we are compelled to share information about them and whether or not we bond with their brand.

This is especially true for companies which offer intangible merchandise, such as services. Selling intangibles is based on trust. You can earn that trust through emotional ideas presented through your digital content strategy that are shareable or by incorporating fear into your web content as a means to create an affiliation with your brand.

Did you know? A recent study suggested we’re only capable of 4 basic emotions:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Anger / Disgust
  • Fear / Surprise

Each of these four basic emotions have their place within SEO content strategies for promoting businesses. Consider the following three ways you can incorporate these emotions into your website content strategy.

1. Feelings are Trusted First & Thought About Second

The emotional aspects of our brain process information in 1/5 of the time it takes our cognitive processes to assimilate the same information. We immediately experience elation before we’ve had a chance to acknowledge or evaluate content.

Emotions are directly related to our evolutionary development. Auto-detecting emotions are hard-wired into us. We have learned to trust our emotional aptitude. Those instincts are what keep us safe and motivate us to share events or information with others.

Incorporating emotion into web or Facebook content strategy provides an incentive for visitors to convey your content to family, friends, and associates.

2. Happiness Inspires Social Sharing

Positive articles and images stimulating emotions are trusted and shared more frequently. Affirmative content makes us feel good, compelling us to express our elation to others. This exchange of energy intensifies our pleasure.

Remember the last time you shared a crazy cat video or upbeat story with someone? How did you feel after you pushed Send to email the link?

Selling intangibles is accomplished by developing the premise of trust to establish client relationships. Incorporate upbeat and affirmative ideas and stories when creating a content strategy. Positives are more likely to stimulate site visitors to share this content with others.

3. Safety Inspires Brand Affiliation

People who watch films which incite the feeling of fear experience a closer association with a brand presence (when there are no people nearby with which to share the event). Individuals who watch fearful movies encounter stronger brand affiliation than if they were watching films which evoke sadness, excitement or happiness.

Insurance companies create commercials involving auto accident scenarios to promote their policies. Fire safety equipment companies develop advertisements in which disaster is averted by using their solutions. Alarm companies introduce their merchandise as remedies for home or business break-ins and invasions. They are all using fear to sell their products.

In each instance, the premise of injury and loss are used to incite fear within the potential client. Fear motivates viewers and readers to correlate a solution with a company and enforces their brand awareness. If it is applicable to your company, use fear when developing a content strategy to create bonds with potential customers.

Emotions Gain Trust and are Excellent SEO Content Strategies

Don’t underestimate the power of human instincts. They motivate us to pass messages to others and create strong emotional connections to brands. Provide site visitors with a reason to trust your product or bond with your brand and your marketing efforts become a whole lot easier.

Introducing heartwarming stories into your arsenal of SEO content marketing tools provides site visitors a reason to share with others. In the right setting, inciting fear in your articles (where applicable) can create strong brand associations.

Reputation Marketing is also an important strategy to consider if you’re looking for more business leads. For more details on emotional content strategies for marketing your services, contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687.

Check out some of our other recent SEO Content related articles:

Are title tags still valid in the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? More so than ever!

Having well-crafted title tags helps Google assess your page content. This, in turn, results in more accurate exposure for your web page. Exposure equates to better click-through-rates to your website which in turn influences and improves your rankings even more.

Sounds great right? How do you take advantage of using title tags on your website?

Cyrus Shepard presented a great article 7 Title Tag Hacks for Increased Rankings and Traffic in a recent Moz Whiteboard Friday video. In it, he focusses on 7 ways to improve title tags. As he indicated in the video, not all suggestions will work in every scenario. You have to decide which ones might apply to your business and SEO efforts.

In this article, we have taken some of his best suggestions and added our own title tag SEO tips for you.

Before we start, let’s start with a brief explanation of what are title tags and the purpose they serve.

What are Title Tags?

HTML title tags (also called meta tags) are an element of a website page that describe the topic of the website page. The title tag will appear in two places:

  1. Search Engine Result Page

  2. Top bar of the user’s internet browsers

Why Title Tags Matter Today

It used to be that the keywords used in Title Tags were a major ranking factor and heavily influenced how the Search Engines understood and evaluated on the content on your page.

These days, the title tag is still important in suggesting to the Search Engines what the page is about. However, the more important function of the Title Tag is to tell the Searcher what your page is all about and reinforce that your website result has the information that they need.

In this way, title tags are important for both SEO and User Experience.

Now that we understand what title tags are and why they matter, here are our 11 tips for improving your title tag optimization.

1. Use numbers in title tags to attract attention.

SERPs are usually a wall-o-text on which you need to attract a searcher’s attention. For this article, I did a search for “what are title tags”. Scanning the results, I found only one result which included a number in the title: Title Tags and SEO: 3 Golden Rules.

It stood out quite prominently to me. Partly because of the number and partly because of Golden Rules which suggest a proven set of guidelines to follow. Utilizing numbers in your title tags gives you an edge over the competition if they are not using them. Do a little research into whether many of your competitor’s pages are using numbers in their title tags. If they aren’t, try incorporating numbers into yours!

2. Use dates to make your title tag stand out.

Using dates in title tags is also a useful strategy. Quite often when I perform a search, I will include 2017 at the end because I’m attempting to find the most current information on a given topic.

Adding the month or year to your title tag (where relevant) can reassure searchers that your website page is up to date with current information.

For this article, I again searched what are title tags but added 2017 to the end. This brought up numerous results with 2017 in the title tag, many of which had not appeared in the initial results. Try some searches with dates in the title tag you generate to determine if competitors are using them. Try some searches with last year’s date to find examples of pages which ranked well for dates in title tags.

3. Stick to the suggested Google title tag length.

The optimal meta title length is between 50-60 characters. Many title tags in use are either too short or considerably longer than necessary (and as a result get cut off).

According to Shepard’s article mentioned above, Etsy experienced significant increases in ranking by shortening title tags after sampling 8,000 of their pages. It’s a proven measure which should be considered. Shorten your title tags over 60 characters long and add to the title tags that are under 50 characters to bring them more in line with acceptable title tag length limits.

4. Use your brand in the title tag if it is well-recognized.

It can be beneficial to add your brand name to the end of a title tag to add authority to your page. This is a particularly successful title tag strategy for popular brands. Your name instantly adds trust. If your brand is less well-known you may wish to use your title tag real estate for a call to action instead.

5. Incorporate inviting call to actions in your title tags.

Titles which incite the searcher to take action are rare but effective. If you tempt searchers with a new skill to learn, data to download, a unique product to purchase or provide them with something useful which they can use to perform an action, it is more probable they will click on your SERP link.

Action words and phrases such as Download This PDF or Use our white paper to plan your marketing strategy create excitement and incentive to visit your site. Consider what you can afford to give away as an incentive for increased click-throughs and site traffic.

If you are a retailer, you may be able to incorporate any of these purchase benefits to your title tag:

  • Free Shipping
  • Save 25%
  • $10 Off Purchase Over $50

6. Match title tags to search intent.

When you match your keywords with searchers’ intent you increase clicks on your website in Search Results. If I search for what are title tags and I find the exact phrase in the search results I’m more likely to click on the link because it specifically addresses my search terms.

It’s just as important to optimize a title tag for keywords which already bring you traffic which may differ from the keywords you are currently using on the page. Use your Google Search Console query report to determine these phrases and meld them with your intended keywords to increase your chances of success.

7. Attract curious searchers by using questions in your title tags.

Searchers are in effect asking Google questions. If I want to know about title tags I enter what are title tags into Google. Having a question in your title tags content and directly answering the question in your page can potentially win you a featured snippet.

Google likes answers which meet searchers’ criteria. Furnishing the most effective response to a user query is Google’s sole purpose in life. Asking questions in title tags give you an opportunity to provide answers which meet the direct needs of searchers.

8. Avoid using ALL CAPS in your title tags.

Nothing is more annoying than reading titles which are all capital letters. Depending on the font used, all caps can even cause physical discomfort to your eyes. Here’s why.

Our eyes are used to skipping over the tops of letters. We don’t read each letter individually. We visually graze content. Below are the tops of letters contained in a word. Try to figure out the word.

Not much to go on, is it? Because our eyes are so used to skimming the tops of letters, just the upper half of letters, we find it difficult to absorb letters in a word where all caps are present. All cap title tags slow down our reading and our ability to absorb the intended message.

Now, if we take the same word and capitalize just the first letter it immediately becomes easier to read and identify.


Capitalizing just the first letter of each word in a title tag is the most convenient way to emphasize a title tag without making it difficult to read. Leave any articles in lower case as well such as the, a, an, etc..

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Make sure your title tags are easy to read and absorb. The average reader online only skims titles and article content. Make yours stand out through simplicity.

9. Pay close attention to word order in your title tags.

Make your title tags easy to scan by placing important keywords near the front. This ensures users (and Google) understand the essence of your content immediately and can pick out the title of your article more readily on the SERP page.

Adding your keywords as an afterthought to the end of the title tag loses impact. It also forces the searcher to read through each SERP entry to determine which one best reflects their needs. Keywords placed near the front of the title tag make this process much easier.

10. Avoid duplicate title tags.

Not only should every page on your website have its own unique title tag, you should also look at the title tags for other website pages competing for the click in the Search Result. Make sure that your title tag says something different and unique. What makes your title tag stand out from the rest?

Being different is what will you get the visitor click.

11. Remember, your title tags will also appear on social networks.

When an article is shared on social networks, the title tag is often displayed. This provides readers with an opportunity to quickly grasp the content.

Making your title tags clear and easy to read by following the tips and tricks can improve the visibility of your website in Search Results and increase the level of traffic to your website pages.

Do your title tags need revitalization? 1st on the List improves title tag clarity through keyword research and title tag strategies developed through years of experience. Call us today at 1-888-262-6687.

Check out some of our other articles that discuss the topic of title tags:


Instagram is the fastest growing social media site worldwide with 23% growth in active users in the last six months alone. Users can spend hours scrolling through great photos posted by their friends, favorite celebrities, brands and products, bloggers, TV networks, and more.

There are over 300 million users who share up to 60 million photos each and every day. As the up and coming social network, Instagram has the largest population of younger users. Over 50% of users are between 18 and 29 years old.

So how does Instagram work and how could your business benefit from this Social Platform?

In this blog we will help you understand how Instagram works and how your business could use Instagram in its future Social Media endeavours as a way to connect with current and potential customers in a very graphical and interactive way that is not as easy to do on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Facebook.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo-sharing social network designed to easily and quickly share pictures or short videos usually taken on a mobile phone.

On Instagram you can “follow” other profiles and you have “followers” who follow your photos. You can also like individual photos posted and can re-post other users’ photos. With each new photo you can write a caption, add hashtags to make your photo more searchable, and encourage comments and sharing.

How Do Instagram Hashtags Work?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (#) used to identify messages or photos about a specific topic, brand, location, etc. Hashtags make it easier for users to find your photos on Instagram and are what makes Instagram so networking friendly!

Hashtags are Searchable. Hashtags can affect where or if you are ranked in Instagram search.  Being visible in search results is important, because potential clients will search for what they’re interested in or what the most popular hashtags are. Using a hashtag that represents what’s in your photo is very important.

Hashtags are Interactive. Hashtags can also be created and used to encourage interaction. Why not create a specific hashtag and ask customer who buy your running shoes post pictures of where the shoes take them? Or start a hashtag for all your guests to use at your customer appreciation dinner?

Currently you can use up to 30 hashtags so the options are nearly endless. The goal is to pick commonly used yet relevant hashtags. You can use the Instagram search function to see how frequently a hashtag is used and what types of photos are associated with that hashtag. You can also use websites like to see the most popular hashtags for Instagram.

How do I get more followers on Instagram?

Many of the same rules apply to Instagram as for all other Social Media sites: Be interesting, Say something humorous or relatable, Post high quality photos, etc.

One commonly overlooked strategy to engage and get new Instagram followers is to use the popular like and follow hashtags (ex. #like4like, #follow4follow). People can be selfish and want something in return and they particularly want to be followed or liked back. Just remember than when you say you will like or follow them back, you try and stick to that. This can be a tedious process but it can be an important part of the growth stage.

How often should I post on Instagram?

As you attract new followers on Instagram it is even more important to keep them happy if you want them to continue following you. Remember that it is not just a numbers game – the quality of your followers is just as important if not more important than quantity!

A general rule of thumb for businesses on Instagram is to post a new photo every few days. This gives your followers a reminder of your account but doesn’t bombard their Instagram feed with too many posts.  The goal is to keep them liking your photos and following your account.

A recent study by Huffington Post found that the best time to post on Instagram is 5 pm (people are procrastinating at the end of their work day) and 2 am (there are less people posting and more engaged users).

How do I showcase my brand personality on Instagram?

Every Instagram account has a different style and layout. It’s a good idea to keep all your posts in a similar format and look. Inconsistent style or voice of posts can be confusing to your followers. Using a filter app is a perfect example to making your page consistent – one of my favorites is called Rookie Cam.  There are so many different ones out there, so pick a filter that suits your brand and the type of photos you are posting.

How do I connect Instagram with my website?

If you are active on Instagram make sure you have your Instagram account linked from your website along with all of your other Social Media profiles.

Currently the Instagram bio has a 150 character limit so write a catchy and quick description. Be sure to place a link to your website here as Instagram does not allow you to use links in your photo captions or in comments.

Do I Need Instagram for My Business?

After all this are you wondering if your business needs Instagram?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should start using Instagram for your business:

  • Does your target market fit the demographics of Instagram (18-29 year olds)?
  • Do you have time and resources to devote to keeping your Instagram account updated?
  • Would your limited time and resources be better devoted to other more important Social Media profiles?
  • Are your products and services easily captured in photos?
  • Do you have a steady stream of new photo content to post regularly to Instagram?

If you have further questions about Instagram or about how SEO and Social Media interact, please contact us at or call 1-888-262-6687.

bad online reviewsConsider the wise words of Warren Buffet:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”

All it takes is one disgruntled customer signing into Facebook, Google, or Yelp and writing a harsh review of their bad experience with you. Their review is permanently posted on the Internet for all future customers checking you out and your reputation could be tarnished for years to come.

Do you feel powerless over bad reviews already posted across the Internet or live in fear of the day when a customer will write a bad review.

Instead of falling victim to bad reviews you can take a proactive approach and develop a proper Reputation Management System. No you can’t write your own reviews but there are ways to collect more reviews from your happy customers to help down play or push down negative reviews you don’t want appearing in Search Results.

Our internet reputation management system also makes it easy to ask your customers to review your company and takes the time hog out of monitoring and responding to reviews too!

Why You Should Care About Reputation Management

Did you know that 70% of people consult reviews before making a purchase?

Studies show that consumers use reviews to determine which businesses to contact and use. Over two-thirds of people will read up to 6 online reviews before making a decision! Do they find a number of shining 5 star reviews or repeated complaints of terrible service and high prices or nothing at all?

What many business owners fail to see is that negative reviews can be used to your advantage. Nearly 30% of consumers who reported a bad experience followed by a very good response will actually increase their spending with you. Are you using bad reviews to boost your profits?

SEO & Reputation Management Services Go Hand in Hand – Reviews and Rankings

Google is constantly updating its search ranking factors to provide better search results.

There are rumors that eventually Google could use online reviews to separate the “good” from the “bad”. Businesses with a number of poor reviews risk being knocked down in search rankings. A strong SEO reputation management services ensure you are on track to gather enough reviews to prevent this from happening.

Have you noticed those Google review starts in Search Results besides some companies? SEO reputation management services help to ensure that your reviews and star ratings stand out in local search results, helping your website to get more clicks that other websites.

How to Manage Your Online Reputation – A Simple Method

The best online reputation management system will protect your online reputation by:

  • Offering an easy way to invite and remind customers to write a review.
  • Directing positive reviews to important public review websites such as Google+, Yelp, YellowPages and others in need of more positive reviews.
  • Privately funneling negative reviews to Managers to personally respond to the customer and resolve the situation.
  • Teaching you how to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
  • Learning from negative feedback to ensure the same issue doesn’t happen again.

By combining our efforts we believe that this is the best online reputation management service available. Plus it’s cost effective and requires minimal time each month.

Is it time to reap the Online Reputation Management Benefits?


  • Hides negative reviews. Help “push down” negative reviews from top rankings with more positive reviews.
  • Engages customers.Increase the positive perception of your brand as you engage with customers.
  • Improved purchase process.Put your best foot forward with positive reviews that help customers make informed decisions.
  • Save time. Stop manually checking for new reviews and let us send you a review report on a regular basis.
  • Cost-effective.Compared to other branding and marketing strategies or the harsh cost of a tarnished brand, online reputation management is inexpensive.
  • Improve customer satisfaction.Make your products and customer service better with insight you might otherwise never receive.


In Need of Online Reputation Repair or Brand Promotion?

Whether you are aware of some bad reviews about your company or you want to take a proactive approach to protecting your online reputation, we can help.

Learn more about our Online Reputation Marketing and how our review management system works or send us an email with your specific questions.

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A company blog can be a very strategic and powerful component of your SEO Strategy.

However, writing interesting, informative and optimized blog posts is an art to master. In this blog post we offer some simple tips for blogging and final checklist items to go through before you officially hit “publish” and share your blog with the world.

1. Read the entire blog post out loud.

Reading your rough draft or near-finished draft out loud will help you identify minor typos or mistakes you may not notice when reading the text in your head. This can also help make sure there is overall clarity and flow throughout the entire blog post.

2. Get a second opinion – share the blog.

Have someone else read the blog post and give their feedback. It is best if this person is outside of the company or at least outside of your department. Does the article make sense to them? Are there any holes in your reasoning? Does the blog post leave them confused? Are they motivated to take action or feel they can accomplish what the blog describes?

3. Add relevant links.

Make sure there is one or two links going back to relevant pages on your website. For example, this post about publishing content may go back to our Content Optimization sales page on our website. This does a few things:

  • Keeps readers on your website by pointing them to other related pages they may be interested in.
  • Helps “support” or push credit towards your more important sales pages.

If you need to link to an outside website as a reference make sure that your link is set to “open in a new window” so that your website remains open on the reader’s desktop. You don’t want to send your reader offsite with them never to return.

4. Write a Meta Title and Meta Description worthy of a click.

The Meta Title and Description are the few lines of text shown in Search Engine results. Typically your Meta Title is a shortened catchy version of the Blog Post title that includes your target keyword. The Meta Description explains in a nutshell the purpose of the blog post or what the searcher will learn by reading the blog post. Keep these interesting and informative while building curiosity.

5. Stay focused on one topic.

It can be easy to get sidetracked on other semi-related topics. However the more focused you stay on one topic the better. Think of it this way, what is the one problem you are trying to help your reader solve? What is the one process you are trying to explain? What is the one key point you want your reader to walk away knowing? You can go into depth on your chosen topic but don’t get sidetracked. If you find you’ve gotten sidetracked and have written three or four paragraphs that are off topic but still good, why not save them for another post?

6. Acknowledge relevant keywords for SEO.

Once you’ve established your primary topic or theme you can start selecting the keywords you want to target for SEO. In order to do this, think about how your readers may search for your blog post in the Search Engines. If the topic is “How to install a toilet” you can first anticipate various ways people would search. For example: install toilet, how to install toilet, installing a toilet, etc.

Don’t get stuck on just variations of the one keyword. Use Google Autosuggest and start typing “install toilet…” into your search bar. This will bring up related terms and topics, including flange, tank, seat and basement which is how people are actually searching for your topic. Incorporate these ideas and phrases into your blog post to give a well rounded and well optimized blog post on installing a toilet.

7. Make the post easy to scan with headings and lists.

Your readers will thank you for visual cues such as headings, bullet lists, number lists, tables and other formatting. The added white space gives their eyes a rest and they can quickly check if your blog post has the information they are looking for. Remember to use proper Heading Tags in the proper order: H1, H2, H3, etc.

8. Brand the blog post.

Your blog post should have personality and reflect your company’s brand. It should clearly communicate the message, match your intended audience and accomplish your brand goals.

9. Introduce the author.

Many companies choose to add extra personality to their blog by sharing who the author is. This makes your blog more personable and shows the faces behind your blog. It can also add credibility to the information in the post. For example, a blog post on preparing for tax season would carry much more weight and credibility if the reader knows it was written by the Partner of the Accounting Firm.

10. Add images for interest.

You can give your blog post extra interest by adding one or two images. Images are also useful when sharing your blog post through Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

11. Add images Alt Tags.

If you do add images to the blog post be sure to add an Image Alt Tag to each. This is a little piece of code that attaches to the image and is displayed if the image can’t load. It is also the text the Search Engines use to understand your pictures as Search Engines can’t actually see the picture itself.

12. Tell your readers what to do.

The purpose of a blog is to build out relevant supporting content that is usually time sensitive. It is also a great way to bring visitors into your website, introduce them to your brand and to get them to take an action such as submitting a quote form, downloading a PDF, calling your company or even printing a coupon. What do you want your readers to do after reading your blog?

13. Encourage readers to share the blog.

You can ask readers to share or you can make it even easier by having social sharing icons at the top or bottom (or both) of the blog post. This makes it really easy for your reader to share your blog on their Facebook wall or through Twitter.

14. Encourage feedback and comments.

Towards the end of the post you can ask for feedback to create open lines of communication. For example, if you are a contractor blogging about tips on keeping renovations on budget you could ask your readers about how they have saved during renovations. Or you could ask about their biggest renovation mistakes. If you have a comments section be sure to monitor and respond to any feedback.

15. Share the blog post within your company.

The rest of your team can promote the article. Perhaps you wrote on a unique or cutting edge topic …. The blog can be used to inform and educate co-workers in your own workplace. Your co-workers may also have clients who need to know the information you just posted.

What do you always do before publishing a blog post? Do you have any other tips for blogging?

At 1st on the List we can help you create a blog for the first time or we can help keep your blog updated with new, interesting and optimized blog posts. Give us a call at 1-800-262-6687 for more information!