Blog, SEO

How to Boost Blog Post SEO: 5 Easy Tips

Improve your Blog Post SEO with quick and easy tips that anyone can use! Are you having trouble figuring out how to structure your blogs for SEO? It’s easier than you think! Just step outside of the box and start thinking about making your posts more concise and easier to read.

What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which helps people searching specific keywords find your blog or website. The goal is to always try to have top-notch SEO so that people can find your content.

But where do you start?

We’ve gathered some quick and easy tips that will get your SEO in line and start boosting your blog posts. Here are just a few tips to get you blogging like a pro in no time.

 

1. Boost Blog Post SEO With Clear Copy

SEO, Copy

When you’re writing a blog, you should keep it simple. Most of us were taught that complicated writing is better (and gets better grades in school), but in the real world, you want to write clearly for your readers. Try to keep your word choices around the 7-9th-grade level.

You can use the Flesch readability test to help score your writing and work on making it clearer for your audience. Yoast has some great information about the Flesch test on their blog.

 

2. Boost SEO with Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

SEO, Pictures

Would you ever buy a magazine without pictures? Probably not. Blog posts are mostly about the text, but pictures keep your readers engaged and can add great visual elements to your posts. A good rule of thumb for blog post SEO is to have at least one picture for every heading or subheading. Too few pictures make the post seem text heavy, while too many make it seem more like a photo gallery.

Do you need photos? You can use sites like Unsplash or Shutterstock to get professional-looking photos on the fly.

 

3. Shorter Paragraphs in Your Blog Post

SEO, Paragraph

People love to pour over long and descriptive paragraphs in novels, but not in blog posts! Make sure that your paragraphs are around 3-5 lines long to stop them from becoming too daunting for readers. Most mobile and tablet users will scroll past a big block of text, so the more you break it up the more likely they are to read it.

Check out this post from Gilson to see how breaking up paragraphs makes it much easier to read. Usually, this would be lumped in with clear copy, but they’re really two different tactics.

 

4. Know Your SEO Keywords

SEO, Keywords

It seems like a no-brainer, but even the best of us need to remember to include our keywords in our headings, copy, and alt tags for pictures. Try to naturally work your keyword into sentences and headings without forcing it just for the sake of having more keywords.

You can use the website SERPS to check the strength of your Keywords while you’re writing your posts.

 

5. Have a Great Headline for your Blog Post

SEO, Headline

The only way you’re going to snag new readers is with a catchy headline. This might be the trickiest one to master, but it’s not impossible! Make sure that you include your keyword in your headline and that it’s a good length.

CoSchedule has a fantastic Headline Analyzer that you can use to compare all of your possible headlines in one place.

 

Final Thoughts For Blog Post SEO Tips

The best SEO tips come from a few simple things to remember: be clear, be concise, and creative! If you make your copy clear, include great photos, implement your keywords, and have a catchy headline, you’re sure to turn some heads and get more clicks.

Company Picnic

How to Work Hard and Play Hard with a Company Picnic

A company picnic is no joke. We all love to work hard, but it’s just as important to play hard. This year we celebrated our first company picnic in almost ten years for Gilson Graphics! We celebrated at Riverside Park in beautiful Grand Rapids where we played games, ate great food, and celebrated our employees and accomplishments.

We wished that all of the Gilson Graphics team could be there, but the turnout was still incredible and we couldn’t have been happier with the results.

What happened at the company picnic?

We’re glad you asked! Here’s a quick recap of some of the big events that happened at the event.

 

The Gilson Company Picnic

Here’s a detailed breakdown of everything fun that happened at our company picnic. We like to work hard and play hard, so we made sure there was plenty for everyone to do at the event.  

 

Celebrating Gilson’s History

The biggest surprise of the day was for Dave Gilson, who received a special memento book that we created. The book contained photos of all of the Gilson staff, signatures, special messages, and history about Gilson Graphics.

Company Picnic

 

The Games

We had a wide variety of games for our employees at the event. The main attractions were cornhole, a golf chip, frisbee, and a ring toss game. The cornhole tournament was the most competitive game at the picnic. We watched as our team members buddied up and went head-to-head for victory.

Company Picnic

 

The Dunk Tank

One of the biggest draws for the company picnic was the dunk tank, which we charged money for and donated the money to Special Olympics Michigan: Area 11. People were all too excited to dunk Dave Gilson into the tank of chilly water!

 Company Picnic

How you can inspire people with a company picnic

So how can you make sure that you and your co-workers work hard and play hard? Here are some of the basic guidelines to follow and why they’re so important. Because if you’re going to put in the hours, effort, and creativity, it’s important to celebrate your accomplishments together.

1) Make it about the employees and the company as a team

We all know that a company is nothing without its employees, but you want to make sure to remind your coworkers and team members that you’re a team first and foremost. A little speech, some party favors, or personal conversation can go a long way to help inspire them to work harder and smarter on projects they can be proud of.

2) Schedule the picnic on a workday

This might seem like a strange aspect of a company picnic, but scheduling the picnic on a workday shows that you value the time of your employees. Not only are you setting aside time to celebrate them, you’re showing them that being part of a team is just as important as a regular workday in your company or industry. It’s a little gesture that goes a long way the more you think about it.

3) Participate in team games and sports

Nothing builds working relationships and team spirit more than actually being on a team! Adding games and activities to your picnic will encourage talking and cooperation between your coworkers and will inspire them to work better as a team back in the office by testing their skills out on the field. So many people at our company picnic got closer and became better team members and friends after our events and it’s really showing in new projects and endeavors.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Celebrating your company’s achievements and employees is a must. A company picnic is just what you need to inspire your coworkers and team members to work hard and play hard when it comes to their company. We’re hoping to make this a yearly tradition to not only look back on what we’ve accomplished but to look forward to new milestones and memories.

Fall is here, but next spring and summer will be here before you know it. How are you planning on taking your next company picnic to a whole new level?

Gilson Moab2 Merrell

Step Up Your Retail Game with Gilson

The best retail displays capture shoppers’ attention at a glance, generating interest in a product and helping consumers imagine how the product will benefit them. But retailers need more than a great appearance—they need displays that function well, promoting a smooth traffic flow in stores and facilitating a quick and easy set-up.

Merrel Moab2 Retail Read more

Gilson 20 Monroe Live

Gilson Takes Center Stage in Venue Opening

Gilson was thrilled to be a part of the anticipation preceding the opening of 20 Monroe Live, a 2,600-seat concert venue in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Concert-goers eagerly purchased tickets to see the opening acts, including Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Umphrey’s McGee, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Shinedown.

To make sure the venue would be completed on schedule, the owners approached Gilson with a request to create, print, deliver and install vital signage and wall murals in time for the February 1 opening. In addition to vinyl window cling signage for the ticket booths, the project included six enormous wall murals, three 6-foot metal signs of the venue logo, and wayfinding signs to direct and inform the crowds.

Gilson’s large format capabilities, expertise in printing on a variety of substrates, skilled installation team and history of quick turnaround attracted the owners’ attention and made us the ideal vendor for this fast-track project.

Twenty “Monroes” Steal the Show

Six wall murals set the atmosphere for the venue with bold, music-themed art highlighting iconic figures in rock and entertainment history: The Beatles in psychedelic colors, a posterized Jimi Hendrix on guitar, a young Johnny Cash with an attitude, and an inventive tribute to Pink Floyd’s album, “Dark Side of the Moon.”  In honor of the venue name, a prominent display in the main lobby features a clever, Warhol-style collage of Marilyn Monroe styled as 20 different musical celebrities.

For Gilson, the challenge was to ensure the murals could withstand the heavy use of a high-traffic venue. Our large format and installation teams worked together to identify the most durable material for the purpose. Because the murals are installed on drywall, the team printed the images on a wallpaper-like substrate that would bond permanently with the wall, yet could be replaced in pieces if a portion became damaged. The wallpaper format also facilitated printing and installation, since the adjacent pieces were a more manageable size for transporting and handling.

20 Monroe Live Logo in the Spotlight

In addition to the murals, the venue owners requested a sophisticated rendering of the 20 Monroe Live logo to hang on walls in the public areas. Designed with a black finish on brass, Gilson was challenged to make the six-foot signs lightweight for installation, yet durable and affordable.

The solution was a metal veneer that was cut into the diamond- shaped logo and mounted on a lightweight backing. Instead of a printed finish, which would be subject to scratching, Gilson created a resilient vinyl cutout that allows the brass to show through in a reversed-out format.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

While directing crowd traffic may not be as glamorous as colorful wall murals and polished brass signs, it is vital to the orderly operation of a venue hosting thousands of people. To help audiences find their way to seating areas, concessions, restrooms and other locations, Gilson printed a collection of wayfinding signs that complement the style of the lobby areas and are easily readable at a distance.

Gilson: A Real Crowd-Pleaser

Gilson’s adaptability, innovative choice of materials, responsiveness during the installation process and quick turnaround were just a few of the features that led to high marks (and a lot of positive feedback!) from the customer.

When you have a project that calls for customized large format materials, inventive displays or other unique features, Gilson is ready to get your show on the road! Call your Gilson sales rep today to learn more.

Gilson Elves Deliver Big Results

When it comes to getting noticed in a crowded marketplace, Gilson has just the magical mix you need to stand out and grab your customers’ attention–just ask the elves!

Our most recent marketing campaign began with a fun idea and a couple of pointy ears. Gilson invited customers and prospects to reduce their holiday frenzy with a small, but particularly eye-catching helper: a customized elf.

The original invitation, in the form of an intriguing, candy-striped box with a peek-a-boo window (revealing a defenseless elf buried in a cotton-ball snow pile), arrived in the mail in mid-November. Inside the box was a personalized invitation to visit the Gilson “workshop” and request a one-of-a-kind elf using the pURL registration site provided.

Success In the Twinkling of an Eye

With the positive results of past Gilson holiday campaigns, we anticipated an enthusiastic response to our invitation. Almost immediately, the statistics confirmed our holiday hopes. Within a week, the response rate already climbed to 25%.

By the time the campaign ended on December 15, the number of elf-wannabes that had visited the site reflected an amazing response rate of 45%. When the snow settled, more than 35% of the original invitation recipients had finalized their elf orders—truly a merry multitude!

Elf, Be Nimble

If there’s one thing Gilson and Santa’s elves have in common, it’s the ability to respond quickly and capably to changing circumstances. In this case, our marketing team noticed a lot of half-finished helpers trapped in elfin limbo. In other words, a significant number of customers began the elf design process but didn’t finalize the order right away.

Gilson jumped into rescue mode, offering assistance through an impromptu “Need Help?” email that was an addition to the original marketing plan. This quick thinking resulted in the rescue of over 20% of the lost elves, upping the overall response rate and demonstrating the value of monitoring and adjusting campaign touch-points to ensure maximum results.

Show Your Style—the Elfin Way

Part of the fun of our interactive holiday campaign was to engage customers in designing their own elves. Every elf uniform involved a few standard components: fur-trimmed Santa hats, curly-toed slippers, and the essential striped tights. Beyond these basics, however, elfin stylists prepared their helpers for the runway, adding personal touches with undeniable flair. After choosing an elf occupation (snowman maker, cookie baker or gift wrapper), customers’ creativity kicked into high gear with uploaded images for the elves’ faces and playful titles for their nametags.  Just a few of our favorites are shown here, but the entire elf gallery is featured here.

Nestled With Care

Once the elf crew was complete, we wanted to ensure they’d arrive at their destination quickly and safely. But mailing a two-foot elf is no small task – unless you engage the design and packaging experts at Gilson.

“Based on the success of our 2015 reindeer campaign, we knew our elf workshop would be bustling, so the production and distribution process had to be smooth,” said Kim Elmore, Gilson Marketing Manager. “To streamline production, keep shipping costs low, and protect the elves during delivery, we came up with a design that incorporated the pop-out elf right into the packaging.”

One side of this fold-up package was printed with shimmering white snowflakes on a white background and the other side was variably printed with the customized elf, easy assembly instructions, and the name and address of the elf-maker. Gilson’s new VUTEk LX3 high-speed large format printer flew through the job with precision, preparing hundreds of elves for their last act in the Gilson workshop.

Release the Elves

Before heading off to spread cheer in homes and offices throughout Santa’s realm, the elves’ final rendezvous was in our efficient packaging department. Two quick folds, a few clear adhesive wafers, and a jolly red belly-band later, the elves were shrink-wrapped and ready to go. While some elves hitched a ride on the delivery truck to reach their destination, most were delivered by Gilson’s very own festive elves (who look strangely similar to our sales team).

Help YoursELF to a Stronger Result

So maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Great story, but elves aren’t really my thing. I need a marketing campaign that supports my business style.”

Never fear! Gilson’s marketing team has an endless supply of ideas and we’re continually dreaming up new campaigns with deliverables that perfectly match our customers’ objectives. With nine services (creative, composition, web services, technology, printing, large format, mailing, packaging, and fulfillment) in our bag of goodies, Gilson has just the right mix to restore the jolly jingle to your ho-hum marketing results!

Your Elf Will Be With You Soon For the Holiday Season!

Expecting an Elf surprise? Things are getting pretty crowded in the Gilson Workshop and we’re on the verge of releasing hundreds of pointy-eared helpers into the holiday landscape!  We want to be sure your very own elf is in the pack, ready to boost your business (or at least your mood) with a touch of seasonal magic. It’s a fun and easy way for you to add some holiday cheer to your office, desk, or home! A little box of Christmas magic goes a long way.

elf screen

Just in case an avalanche of pre-holiday clutter buried the candy-striped box we sent, here’s a quick re-cap of how to request your very own elf. Follow these three easy steps to get your very own elf package:

elf2

  1. Visit www.GilsonWorkshop.com and use your personalized URL from your mailer to access the Elf Workshop before it closes on December 15. (Don’t have a personalized URL? Reach out to your Gilson account representative today!)
  2. Follow the instructions provided to create your custom elf, including your choice of designs and your own uploaded sELFie, if you wish.
  3. Feel good about checking one more thing off your list, and wait for Gilson to create, produce, and deliver your one-of-a-kind cardboard elf—right to your doorstep!

We can’t wait to see where your elfin friend sets up shop in your world. Share your photos with us via email and social media using the hashtag #GilsonElf and we’ll include them in an upcoming blog post recapping the adventures of the workshop crew and its quest to spread the word about Gilson’s multi-service workshop. We want to make sure that everyone gets a chance to share in our festive activities.

Now’s the perfect time to get in on the holiday fun. These elf packages won’t last long in the Gilson Workshop, get them before the snow melts and these packages vanish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch & Learn 2016: Gilson Redefines “Power Lunch”

Anticipation for Gilson’s Lunch & Learn began to build from the moment the eye-catching yellow and black invitation arrived in customers’ mailboxes. Promoting the “Power of Premium,” the invitation included a nifty little pop-up box reminding guests of the date (and visually demonstrating Gilson’s multi-layered capabilities.) Within days, nearly 200 customers had confirmed a spot at the annual event, assuring the place would be packed to overflowing!

Lunch & Learn Invite

By mid-morning on November 2, the parking lot at Gilson’s Oak Industrial Drive facility began to fill up with attendees. Company executives and sales reps led them on a tour of our corporate offices, warehouse and fulfillment center. Overhead, a drone owned by Central Michigan Paper—one of our event sponsors, along with Neenah Paper & Packaging—snapped aerial photos of the soon-to-be-crowded luncheon area.

Lunch Is Served (with a Generous Side of “Learn”)

Our guests enjoyed the event so much that we’re tempted to say it was all fun & games. But, there truly was a “learn” component to our Lunch & Learn. Dallas Franklin, Art Director for Neenah Paper, introduced six versatile and inventive updates on classic typefaces. She also focused on the latest in luxury retail trends, especially as they relate to, personalized marketing, appeal to millennials, eco-friendly products, as well as current styles, colors, and patterns.

Let the Lunch & Learn Games Begin!

With a room full of marketing and design professionals, we simply couldn’t resist serving up a few artsy games—with a twist or two to level the playing field for those with questionable artistic talents. At the “So You Think You Can Draw” station, brave volunteers attempted to sketch elephants, apple trees, bikes and other figures on an easel while blindfolded. The entertaining (and sometimes indecipherable) results were posted on our Facebook page for voting. Congratulations to Kim P. from Bandit Industries, Inc. for creating the most “liked” masterpiece!Lunch & Learn Elephant

A second game, “What’s That Font? ” tested participants’ font-recognition skills, challenging them to match up sample type in 20 different fonts with a randomly sequenced list of the font names. Some found the challenge more manageable than others (although only one guest was stumped by the “Wing Dings” font!). In the end, Suzi H. from Baker Publishing came out the winner, correctly naming all twenty fonts. The complete list of top performers and honorable mentions:

Font Master – 100% Correct!
Suzi H., Baker Publishing

Lunch & Learn suzi

Runners up (90% Correct):
Nicole P., Universal Forest Products
Rebecca S., Rebecca Sherry LLC
Emily L., Sauder Manufacturing Co
Sheri N., MLive Media Group

Honorable Mentions (80% Correct):
Sarah K., Kindel Furniture
Jim Y., Meijer
Elise B., Newell Brands
Jessica S,, Meijer
Jimmy F., Meijer

 

This year, our guests also participated in a community outreach effort, using their artistic skills to decorate sack supper bags for Kids’ Food Basket. From rocket ships and cartoon characters to seasonal designs and cheerful messages, attendees completed over 50 one-of-a-kind illustrations to encourage and support local school kids.

Lunch & Learn event3

Sound Bites and Solid Advice

Customer response to the Lunch & Learn was immediate and favorable. The cool die-cut letters, personalized place cards, and giveaways from Neenah were universally popular, as were the games and contests. Many attendees also expressed enthusiasm about discovering Gilson’s broad capabilities and the variety of services. (Our salespeople heard a lot of “I didn’t know Gilson could do that!”) Others found the presentation so timely and relevant that they immediately requested a video recording to share with colleagues who were not able to attend the Lunch & Learn.

To all who attended this year’s event, thank you for your participation, energy, feedback and overall enthusiasm. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we look forward to seeing you on the next go-around. But just a friendly word of advice: when you see the 2017 Lunch & Learn invitation, don’t wait to reply.  This year, our guests were so eager to attend that we were completely full less than a week after sending the invitation!

Large Format Printer: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Need a large format printer that’s red and black and sails through print jobs up to 8x faster than its predecessor? It’s the amazing new VUTEk LX3  large format printer—Gilson’s latest secret weapon in our quest to serve customers with the most efficient and technologically advanced equipment on the planet!

Large Format Printer VUTEK_lx3

Large Format Printer–A Hero’s Welcome

Versatile, lightning-fast, and packed with innovation, the VUTEk LX3 large format printing device is brand new in the industry and a notable addition to Gilson’s already impressive roster of state-of-the-art equipment. In addition to its legendary speed, resulting in nearly supersonic turnaround times, the new press prints with unrivaled image quality and consistency. And, as if those capabilities aren’t enough, the VUTEk’s performance in printing opaque white ink is hands-down the best in the industry.

Large Format Printer efi_vutek_3

Typically used in the production of short-run signs, retail displays, and trade show materials, large format printers are able to print on substrates up to 2” thick. While most large format printers will print on traditional substrates such as paper and cardboard, as well as glass, acrylic, wood, or fabric, the VUTEk printer outpaces its rivals by accepting flexible roll material also. The result is a superpower combination with the speed and efficiency of a flatbed printer and the size and scale of a roll-fed machine.

A Swift Response to Distress Calls

If your project is in dire need of a quick rescue, send out a distress signal to your Gilson rep. We’ll save the day with the VUTEk, defeating your arch-nemesis (looming deadlines? unusual sizes? precise color requirements?) by easily handling your most complex print projects.

Large Format Printer efi_vutek_4
And since we’re in the business of making the world a better place, we’re pleased to report that the VUTEk also helps meet our mission of protecting the environment. In addition to reducing waste, the new press minimizes environmental impact through the use of LED technology to lower energy costs and reduce the consumables used during production.

If the Cape Fits…

We know the VUTEk will be a perfect fit for your business and we’d like to show you just how easy it accommodates your need for banners, floor graphics, trade show displays, at-retail marketing solutions and pretty much anything else you can dream up.

Large Format Printer Booth

Our team is suited up and ready to print you a sample, give you a demonstration of the VUTEk large format printer in action, or take you on a tour of our large format area. Simply give us a call today (we’d suggest you use the phone since it’s pretty hard to see the bat-signal in the daylight) and we’ll do the rest.

After all, isn’t that the kind of service you’d expect from a superhero like Gilson?

SEO: The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Strategy

One of the best ways to help your business thrive is to pay attention to your search engine optimization (SEO) activities. SEO activities include everything you do to increase the visibility of your website among potential customers. A strong SEO effort is usually reflected in a strong rating on search engine results pages (SERPs).

But why is it important to have high rankings on SERPs? According to data from Search Engine Watch illustrated in the chart below, about 67.6% of internet users’ searches occur within the top five search result listings. Being in that top five is critical if you want to generate a significant amount of website traffic.

                                                                                                 SEO SERPs                                                                                                                                     

SEO Strategies

If you’re uncertain about how to approach search engine optimization, try a few of these strategies listed below.

1. Produce high-quality, relevant content: By providing relevant, useful content to users, your links will be shared with greater frequency and will increase in popularity.

 2. Make sure you update information frequently: Content that is current will be more relevant and helpful to users. By continuously updating your website, you help maintain your place in the top search results of your category.

 3. Consider site speed and device compatibility: Search engines like Google take into account the speed and compatibility of your website with the devices used to access your site. Creating a clean and uncluttered website that is mobile- and tablet-friendly can help boost your rankings on the SERPs.

 4. Connect through social media links: Posting useful content on social media is a sure-fire way to create greater visibility for your website. By connecting with customers through channels like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, your content will have a greater reach and will generate more unique, organic page visits.

5. Encourage internal linking and use specific keywords: 

Search Demand CurveThe number and quality of websites your content has been shared on often determines your ranking on SERPs. Encouraging organic sharing of your content and sharing content from other trustworthy sites and clients helps boost your rankings. Keyword searches are another viable way to direct the search results of potential customers to your website. Creating search results for more specific phrases (ex. “Brooks Ghost 8” instead of simply “running shoe”) can lead customers searching for a specific product to your website and increase purchases.                                                 

Your SEO activities also will be more effective if you avoid certain practices including the following:

1. Keyword stuffing: According to recent research on SEO, Google has refined its search criteria to eliminate word frequency as a factor in search results. Avoid overuse of keywords (ex. repeating “Brooks Ghost 8” several times on a page) and simply provide quality, relevant content about your product, service or company.

2. Excessive, irrelevant linking: Link farming is a technique some web operators use which involves paying to have your website linked to low-quality sites simply to boost your internal linking rating. Google recognizes these phony links and will penalize the link-farmer severely by lowering or even removing their website from the search results pages. Link your site only with other related websites to ensure that Google deems your page ‘trustworthy.’

3. Obnoxious advertisements: Excessive, annoying pop-up advertisements that prevent users from easily accessing the pages on your website actually lower your search results and you will inevitably have a high bounce rate from people who do visit your site.

The Gilson team includes technology experts who can help you with SEO and help improve your rankings on SERPs. For more information about SEO and boosting your ratings, contact a Gilson representative today!

Harris Steals the Show with Recyclable Booth

If a company’s business is all about recycling, it makes perfect sense that its trade show booth would be completely recyclable. Harris Equipment, a waste and recycling equipment provider based in Georgia, wanted its trade show display to reflect the company’s services. But the structure Harris envisioned was more complicated than a simple cardboard display. Gilson had just what Harris needed to make this vision of a recyclable, reusable design a reality.  

The 20’ x 30’ design—constructed of seventy interlocking pieces—includes full-color graphics, LED lighting, and a durable honeycomb-corrugate structure.

Booth Harris1

Designed by one of Gilson’s expert engineers, Allison Ferguson, the fully recyclable, cardboard structure accommodates an attached acrylic plexiglass sign with countertops and display lighting. Even with all these impressive features, the cost of creating and shipping the booth was a fraction of the amount spent on a typical trade show booth!

When the booth debuted in March, Harris made a lasting impression on visitors with a display that reflected the company’s unique and innovative business.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective, environmentally friendly approach to your next trade show display, contact a Gilson representative today!

Booth Harris2 Booth Harris3 Booth Harris4 Booth Harris5