Why Does Google Rank Some Sites Higher Than Others?

You often hear business owners saying “I want to rank first” for their targeted keywords. That is because on average, 71.33% of searchers click on results shown on the first page. Page two and three get only 5.59% of clicks. And on the first page alone, the top 5 results account for 67.60% of clicks.

So from a business perspective, potential customers are much more likely to find and choose your business if you rank highly on Google.

How do you get your page to rank highly on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s)?

Google uses about 200 search ranking factors in their algorithm.

The overall goal with all the different ranking factors is to deliver the most relevant search results for a given search. By finding the “best” content and delivering that to users, Google will not only be satisfying the searchers but they will also be keeping themselves as the preferred search engine.

More satisfied users, means more traffic on Google and the more Google can charge to advertisers.

To tailor your website to be perfect for every one of the 200 different ranking factors a lot of things would need to go your way. Instead, it is most efficient to focus on the most important ranking factors.

Which ranking factors does Google consider to be the most important?

How can you optimize your website to rank highly for these factors?

Continue reading to find out!

1. Content

The most important ranking factor for Google is the content on your website.

Google has bots that go through every page on the internet. These bots are often called “crawlers”. As they crawl the World Wide Web they index, or save, all the pages into Google’s database.

Then, when you search something in Google, Google scans all these pages using their algorithms to evaluate each web page and then gives you the best results.

So naturally, the content on your site is what Google will look at first.

There are a few different aspects of content that are important to consider

Length

Pages with more content do better than pages with ‘thin’ content. Algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain are all about optimizing search results to match the searcher’s query. This means that for the query to be answered an in depth examination of one topic in easy to understand language will rank first.

Keyword Usage

Throughout the pages, it should be clear what the page is about. It should also be focused on one central topic. This can be done by determining the keywords you want the page to rank for then creating the page around those keywords.

Use keywords in the H1 text and in the body. Your keywords should come naturally, if you’re talking clearly on the given topic. If you are talking about “Apples”, then the word “apples” will appear in the H1 and Types of Apples, How to Eat Apples and so on will end up being the sub headings.

Correct use of keywords will make sure Google knows what the page is about. But make sure you are not engaging in “keyword stuffing”, a term for unnecessary usage of keywords. Keywords should always flow easily in the paragraphs and be logically placed.

Comprehensiveness

Good content is important but it is also important for that content to be easy to understand for the user.

Correct usage of H1 and H2 text is a good way to tell Google (and the user) what your page is about. Subheadings can also make the page easier to read by sectioning your post.

Using multimedia is another great way to improve the user experience. So include image, infographics, and videos wherever applicable.

2. Backlink Profile

To measure a page’s legitimacy and credibility, Google will evaluate a page’s backlink profile. A backlink profile is made up of all the different sites with links pointing to your site.

How does Google make backlinks a measurable signal? It is done by evaluating the level of quality your links are and where these links are coming from, amongst other factors. Specifically, the number of backlinks, link authority and diversity.

Number Of Backlinks

The more sites you have linking to yours the better. Having links pointing to your site from great sites indicates to Google that your page is socially verified as a useful page. People view your page as relevant and credible enough to link to it on their site.

One thing to watch out for when trying to increase your backlink profile is spam links.

Because the number of backlinks is a ranking factor for Google there are a lot of black hat SEO sites out there which create pages for the sole purpose of getting backlinks.  However, Google has noticed this problem and taken action against it by prioritizing other link factors like quality of the links.

When Google crawls the web it marks pages that have a lot of outbound links and few inbound links as spam sites. Being associated with such sites will negatively impact your page.

In fact, in 2012 Google released the Penguin Algorithm Update. Penguin was designed to better catch sites attempting to inflate their search ranking position with spam links. Specifically, those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.

Link Authority

The number of links is important. But what is equally, if not more important, is the quality of those links. Link authority will be determined by the authority of the domain linking to you. Domain authority is evaluated by looking at the number of links pointing to a site and the quality of those links.

The more links you have coming into your site (inbound links) the higher your domain authority will be. Links from pages with a high domain authority will have more weight than those from pages with a low domain authority.

Spam sites usually have a low domain authority so checking the domain authority of the pages linking to you is a good way to make sure you don’t have any spam links pointing to your domain.

Diversity

Google will typically only count links coming from the same domain once. So even if one domain links to you 5 times those links will carry less weight than if 5 different sites linked to you.

The primary thing to focus on will be getting links from a number of different domains. Also to focus on getting links from domains covering a variety of industries.

How To Optimize Backlink Profile

The first step to optimize your backlink profile will be getting your backlink profile.

At ElementIQ, we use the MOZ Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to evaluate backlink profiles. This is a free and easy to use tool. It will tell you the domain authority of the site you are evaluating as well as all the inbound links.

If you are link building, checking your competitors SEO link profile is a great way to see what you are up against. It is also a great way to get ideas of websites and blogs you can reach out to for link building.

If you are working on link building, this blog post by Kissmetrics is a great resource.  

3. Mobile Optimization

Google is always working on improving their algorithms to make sure search results are as relevant as possible. Today, more than half of Google queries are coming from mobile devices. So it is logical for Google to be paying more attention to how sites function for mobile users. This was the premise for Google’s new “mobile first” version of indexing.

Up until now when Google was indexing sites they came from a desktop perspective. Now, they will be going through the web from a mobile perspective first and desktop second.

When building your site it is important to make sure it is responsive and optimized for mobile users first and desktop users second.

Additionally, the content on your website should be the same for desktop and mobile

How To Optimize For Mobile

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool to test your website. The great thing about this tool is it will tell you how a Googlebot would rank your site, not just how users view it.

4. Page Speed

Page speed ties heavily into a good user experience and is an important ranking factor.

The rule of thumb is desktop websites should load in 3 seconds or less, and mobile websites should load in 2 seconds or less.

Page speed also affects other ranking factors such as the page bounce rate.

How To Optimize For Speed

You can evaluate your website’s mobile and desktop page speed with Google’s Page Speed Tool. This tool will also recommend ways to make your website faster so you can get started on making the improvements necessary.

Other Ranking Factors

These are just a few of the many different ranking factors for more information on some of the other ranking factors take a look at this infographic from Search Engine Land.

Ultimately your goal should be to make yourself visible to potential clients. As the digital world becomes increasingly important to how customers find businesses having a top position in SERP’s is a great way to increase leads.

Good focused content will be rewarded and the rest is improving your technical skills.

Proven Method To Learn Anything Fast

proven method to learn anything fast

The 10,000 Hour Rule to Mastery?

malcolm gladwell outliers and 10000 hour rule

We’ve all heard about the 10,000 hour rule to mastery in a field. But how long does it take to be good at something? I transitioned into the tech industry a year ago and there seems to be an endless amount of things to learn. After mapping out the skills, I went on a quest to find a systematic approach to learning anything fast. Here’s what I’ve found.

Become a Lifelong Learner

become a lifelong learner

You must first learn to embrace the learning process. Lifelong learners are more likely to enjoy the process and be fulfilled. I personally found it liberating when I learned to enjoy the process rather than the results. Doing so helped me to be action-driven and to focus on developing my skills rather than being discouraged by the amount of learning that I needed to do. Conveniently in the information age, there are tonnes of resources in the format that you wish to learn from books, videos, podcasts, mentors, seminars, to a classroom setting.

Why? Share It!

why? share it with others

Why did you decide to learn this skill? People who identify the reasons and the purpose of learning a skill are more likely to stick to the plan.

When I started at ElementIQ, I identified the company needs, my interests, and what I can offer. I aligned it to my long-term goal to become a conversion-focused UX/UI Designer and shared the learning opportunities with the team. The team was on board with the idea and they equipped me with the projects and the resources to succeed. Having a supportive team helped me to stay motivated to develop the skills as I had the opportunity to apply what I learned right away.

Deconstruct

learning curve
Adopted From Josh Kaufman’s The First 20 Hours

The best part about learning a new skill is that there’s a likelihood that someone that has already done it. Identify these people and find out how they did it and learn from them. They’ll help you shorten your learning curve by teaching you the shortcuts and the best practices. There are plenty of online resources to help me become a conversion-focused UX/UI Designer but I went to RED Academy, a tech career-focused school to get a formal education from industry experts. This investment helped me save so much time as opposed to learning on my own without any guidance.

As Tony Robbins puts it: “Many great leaders have proven that the fastest way to master any skill, strategy or goal in life is to model those who have already forged the path ahead. If you can find someone who is already getting the results that you want and take the same actions they are taking, you can get the same results.”

Practice Deliberately

the first 20 hours steps

According to Josh Kaufman’s book The First 20 Hours, to learn fast one must learn just enough to self-correct. First, research the best practices then take action. Then, instead of perfecting the technique right away, try practicing it. Find out what’s working and what needs improvements then hit the resources again.

Kaufman summarized it as “Instead of trying to be perfect, focus on practicing as much as you can as quickly as you can while maintaining ‘good enough’ form.”

 

Apply the Pareto Principles

Pareto principle in learning the English language

In learning any skill, self-proclaimed “human guinea pig” Tim Ferriss asks himself “Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcome I want?” For example, there are around 250,000 words in the English language according to linguist Paul Nation. However, 2,000 words cover 80% of the written text. This suggests that instead of trying to learn all 250,000 words and being overwhelmed, you’re more likely to gain competency if you identify and focus on learning the 2,000 words.

Sleep on It

A Harvard study suggested that dreaming may reactivate and reorganize recently learned material, which would help improve memory and boost performance. In addition, light sleep stages 1 and 2 have been shown to be important in helping the brain being plastic to learning new material. After stretching yourself to learn new materials, take a nap or get a good night sleep and your brain will consolidate what you’ve learned throughout the day.

Not only sleep will help you maintain learned information, it helps you in other areas of your life from being more alert, have more energy, experience less stress, and improve overall happiness.

What Will You Learn Next?

what will you learn next

Today’s society is unique as the internet enables us to learn anything that we want. To learn fast, devote yourself to become a lifelong learner, find the reason why you’re learning the skill, identify the 20% that is accountable for the 80% of the results and practice deliberately. You can learn anything, but you can’t learn everything. What will you learn next?

Beginner’s Guide: Getting Started With Google My Business

Google’s business listings first emerged in 2004 under the name “Google Local”. Over the years it has evolved from Google Local, to Google Maps, to Google Places, to Google+ Local and now Google My Business (with perhaps a few more lesser-known names in between).

Because Google My Business is so heavily integrated into Google Search, Google Maps, and even Google Adwords, it is now one of the most powerful and valuable Google services for a business owner.

Getting Started With Google My Business

Like any other Google property, you will need a Google account. First, head over to https://places.google.com and click on the big “START NOW” button in the right corner.

Creating Your Google My Business Listing

If Google does not recognize your business, you will need to create one. This is simple enough, just fill in the business information in the form:

The most important things are the Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) of your business.

Be sure these are correct and consistent with other instances online, particularly your website. Here are some helpful notes when adding your NAP:

Entering Your Business Name

For your Business Name, make sure you use the business name you would like to appear on the web. This does not necessarily need to be your official, registered name.

Formatting Your Address

Putting in the correct address format can be tricky since there are so many different ways to input it. What complicates things further is different directories online seem to have different formats.

Start by entering the street address in the first line, and then adding a line for the suite or unit number. Google is sometimes finicky with how it displays unit numbers, so you may have to adjust it after.

Optimizing Your Phone Number

Keep the phone number simple with the ###-###-#### format. If you are expecting many out of country calls it may make sense to put the +1 at the front.

Claiming Your Listing

Once your listing has been created the next step will be to claim it. The standard claiming method is to verify address ownership by requesting a postcard by mail. Postcards usually arrive in about 5 business days.

They contain a PIN number which will need to be entered into your profile dashboard.

Once you claim your listing it will be verified on Google and you will have full access to managing the business listing information.

Now if your business already exists on Google Maps (you didn’t need to create it) the claiming process is usually much easier.

First, search for your business on Google. If you find your listing and it has an “Own this business?” link, you’re in luck.

Click the link and it will allow you to receive the verification code by phone or text, in addition to the postcard. This will allow you to skip the wait time and claim your listing immediately.

Get Google’s Help

Navigating Google My Business is by no means a walk in the park. I have had my fair share of frustrations over the years.

The biggest issues you will run into are usually related to claiming and verifying the listing, especially if it has already been claimed or verified by someone else.

Here are some helpful tips I have found that can ease the process:

  • Google My Business support is surprisingly effective. Just click the “Help” link in the footer of the dashboard and select your issue. Most issues will require you to submit a ticket or request to Google, but I have found their email support to be quite responsive.
  • They still have a callback option though it’s buried deep in the Help options. Click Need More Help > Ownership or access to my business > Someone else owns or verified my service area business and request a callback. Someone from Google will call you and usually is willing to help with any issue, not just for service area businesses.
  • I’ve heard that contacting the Google My Business team through social media (Facebook chat or Twitter DM) is more effective because it will go directly to their Google My Business team in Mountain View, CA. I have had mixed results with this, from an immediate response for some cases to a 3-4 day delay for others.

Google My Business Should Be A Priority

If you are a small or medium sized business, you absolutely should invest the time and effort into your Google My Business page. Do not overlook this online profile as it is your best bet to get your business found online, and it’s free!

Google is constantly improving these business listings like allowing owners to now include posts. This allows for more engagement with customers.

Google My Business is a powerful tool that is only becoming more and more popular. It is an industry standard that legitimizes your company online and attracts customers. Stand out and get ahead, create your business profile today!

5 Tips To Navigate Instagram Stories

Image credit: Gary Vaynerchuk

Ever since the rise of Snapchat, social media outlets have been pining to capture the addictive pull that the ghost created.

There is something infectious about sharing live updates of your day-to-day life. Blame narcissism, but this interactive form of sharing is only becoming increasing popular.

Instagram is a popular app with young users. Yet, it decided that its most recent update would introduce an interface that challenged the Snapchat rise to fame.

If they say imitation is flattery, that may be the case with this battle of the giants: Instagram vs. Snapchat.

Welcome To Instagram Stories

Instagram introduced “Instagram Stories” in August 2016. It has been improving the feature with every following update. There are many appealing benefits to the launch of stories.

As with all app updates, this came quickly and without much instruction. It left many users thinking, “how on earth do I use this new component?”

Stories had opened up a new, more immediate way of sharing, outside of posting in your image gallery. The disappearing photos create a sense of immediacy. They enable viewers to keep up with their friends lives in real time.

Influencers especially have a greater reach when sharing stories with their Instagram followers. The Instagram Live feature allows for live, direct access for your followers. Celebrities gain a cult following of people, striving to keep up with the live documentation of their days.

Instagram Stories are here to stay. So for those of you struggling to keep up with these ever-changing apps, learn how to navigate the basics of this new and exciting feature.

1) The Basics

On Instagram stories, you have lots of different options to share with your followers. You can take a photo, video or boomerang clip. Reverse the image, go hands-free or go live.

The content that you post to your story will last for 24h and will appear at the top of your followers’ feeds.

Once you have a photo or video ready to post, there are options to personalize and edit it.

You can add your location to the story, as well as tag others in the image.

You can even use this feature for Instagram shoutouts. Or to notify your following of upcoming events or posts in your feed.

2) Uploading Existing Photos Or Videos

What if you have an old photo or video that your audience really needs to see? Have no fear, you can upload existing photos or videos from your camera roll as well.

Tap the stories icon and drag your finger up on the camera screen. It’s so straightforward yet so well hidden!

This should prompt Instagram to request access to your phone’s photos. Once granted, you will be able to scroll through your camera roll. This is a useful feature and it is often used to notify followers that you have recently posted a photo in your feed.

Take a screenshot of what you posted and add it to your story as well. You can’t always be sure that your followers will see your post if they’re scrolling through their feed.

This way, your photo at the top of their screen. You are the first thing they see. They can easily view your story and click to get to your gallery.

If you take a photo and want to save it to your phone as well as post it to your story, there is a save button at the bottom of the stories screen.

3) Make It Pretty

Instagram is a very visually focused app. It only makes sense that they allow you to filter your stories as well.

You can draw and write on the images and videos once they’re in your editing bar. There are a variety of different pen sizes and colours that you can choose from. As well as a host of images and banners to add to your visual display.

You can give your friends shoutouts or tag your location by typing the “@” sign, followed by your friends’ username.

You currently cannot add links to external web pages on Instagram Stories. But it is something that is in testing.

Instagram recently added facial filters for their stories feature. This is another nudge to Snapchat and their famous filters.

4) Who Can See My Instagram Stories?

If you don’t edit the viewers, everyone in your follower base will be able to view your story. If you don’t have a private account, anyone can see your Instagram Story.

Other users simply click on your profile image to see your story. You can limit who sees what you post on stories by going to the “Hide Story From” icon. This will let you select people to omit from your story.

Instagram Stories are an excellent asset to the app from a digital marketing perspective. It gives your followers direct access to your lifestyle, products and brand aesthetics.

5) What Is Instagram Live?

Instagram Live allows you to broadcast what you are doing in real-time and share it with your followers.

You can view how many followers are watching your live feed video and they can comment while you are hosting the video.

You are able to see the extent of your reach and interact with followers. You stay top of mind as your profile image is at the top of their feed every day.

You are able to save live videos. But the comments that people post on the video will not be.

Try It Out!

Instagram has successfully created a popular feature that is challenging Snapchat for users. The two apps are distinctly different. Yet the introduction of stories opened up many new sharing options for Instagram users.

There is a greater reach with Instagram Stories and it gives you the ability to interact live with your followers.

You can tag friends and add different locations. As well as keep your feed updated with aspects of your life that you may not otherwise post to your Instagram gallery.

The feature can be used for marketing and promotions, and you can use it to quickly notify followers of specials, deals or exclusive offers. Right in the top of their Instagram feed.

For more help on the basics of navigating Instagram stories, visit Instagram’s help center which discusses the stories feature in depth.

You can also follow @elementiq on Instagram to watch the masters of Instagram stories at work!

The Local Business Marketing Summit 2017

Introduction

Right off the bat, this was an awesome arrangement for anyone interested or involved with marketing local businesses.

The quality of presentations compared just as well with presentations in big conferences where you pay over $500 for a single ticket.

And this was FREE. So, hats off to the Local Marketing Summit 2017 for organizing this.

The topics and conversations were beneficial to both – business owners and marketing professionals. The set of speakers were all highly credible with the likes of Myles Anderson, the CEO of BrightLocal to Bernadette Coleman, the CEO of Advice Local.

They literally re-created a physical conference experience online with over 1500 attendees and the opportunity to share comments and network with industry experts. The only thing missing was the music and the fun stuff which can keep you from dozing off between sessions.

List Of Topics And Speakers

Let me begin by listing the set of topics presented on Day 1 and Day 2:

Day 1 

  • A Complete Local Digital Strategy in 30 Minutes – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute
  • Social Media Tactics that Actually Work – Lissa Duty, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Rocks Digital, Social Media Trainer and Author
  • Anatomy of a Well-Designed Local Business Website – Marcus Miller, Owner and Digital Strategist at BowlerHat, Moz and Search Engine Land Contributor
  • How to Get More Reviews for Your Business – Myles Anderson, CEO of BrightLocal, Search Engine Land Contributor
  • Keys to Successful Facebook Advertising – Dennis Yu, Founder and CTO of BlitzMetrics
  • Get the Most from Google My Business – Joy Hawkins, President of Sterling Sky, Google My Business Top Contributor, Search Engine Land Contributor, Speaker at SMX
  • Should You Use a Paid Local Listing Service? – Roundtable discussion with Joy Hawkins, Phil Rozek, Myles Anderson, and Bernadette Coleman
  • Which Local Business Review Sites Work Best for You? – Collin Holmes, CEO of Chatmeter, Former VP of Product Management and Marketing for V-ENABLE

Day 2

  • How To Avoid Digital Marketing Landmines – Phil Nicolosi of Phil Nicolosi Law
  • Tips and Tricks to Build Your Email List – Chris Davis, Director of Education for ActiveCampaign, Former Head of Marketing Automation at Leadpages
  • Creating a Super Offer for your Local Business – Sean Daily, Founder / Lead Strategist at Social Media Ninjas
  • Content Marketing in a Bloated Age – Laurie Macomber, President of Blue Skies Marketing, Local, SEO, and Content Marketing Expert
  • Get the Most from Your Local Business Facebook Page – Bernadette Coleman, CEO of Advice Local, Contributor to Search Engine Land, Forbes
  • The Local SEO Checklist – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute
  • Keys to Successful Google Local Advertising – Conrad Saam, GM of Mockingbird Marketing, Former Director of Marketing for both UrbanSpoon and Avvo

What Do The Topics Tell You?

The assortment of topics speaks a lot of about the conversations that are most current and relevant in the industry. To put all the topics in broader categories, they covered:

  • Local SEO
  • Web Development
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Google AdWords
  • Email Marketing
  • Reputation Management
  • Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Outside of Analytics, the 2 days have essentially covered the full gamut of topics that are relevant to digital marketing for local businesses.

Of course, there can be a whole series of sessions on each of the categories and one hour sessions can’t make you an expert. Yet, they can serve as a great introduction or inspire you with ideas to implement or improve your ongoing initiatives.

Three Key Takeaways

At the CTA Conference in 2016, Carl Schmidt, the CTO of Unbounce told me he didn’t like noting down what speakers were saying. Instead, he’d keep a pen and paper handy to note ideas that he could implement which were inspired by the speakers.

This is the approach I adopted and some of the refinements I will make to our approach to digital marketing will include:

1. Implementing Customer Lifecycles

Being more diligent and articulate with breaking the digital strategies into customer lifecycles referencing the image included below –

Image re-created referencing a slide from Complete Local Digital Strategy in 30 Minutes – Eric Shanfelt, Founder & CEO of Local Marketing Institute

This was also referenced as AIDA by Laurie Macomber in her presentation Content Marketing in a Bloated Age. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. It also translates to know me, like me, trust me, pay me – a phrase first coined by Barry Moltz.

2. Improving Local SEO Audit Process

Improving our local SEO audit process based on insights gained from the Local SEO Checklist session by Eric Shanfelt. This came in at a great time as I was already working on updating our internal local SEO audit checklist. While our current checklist covered most things that Eric touched upon, there were a few additional insights which I’m excited to incorporate. Here is an outline of the topics included in our local SEO checklist –

    • Business Listings/Citations
    • Mention and placement of business name, address and phone numbers on the website
    • Link analysis
    • Competitors link analysis
    • Reviews audit

3. Considering Different Online Platforms

Lissa Duty’s gave a talk on Social Media Tactics that Actually Work. She encouraged us to think about the platforms which the future customers of a business could be using. She encouraged marketers to ask a bunch of questions before selecting the social media networks where the business chooses to be active.

She said, instead of blindly jumping on the Pinterest or Instagram bandwagon, it’s important to establish why.

While the who and the why were questions that we already ask, we have given less thought to where the future customers will be hanging out. There may not be a definite answer to this question because the future is uncertain and ever-changing, but one can analyze trends and user demographics to make educated guesses.

Closing Thoughts

Digital marketers operate in a fast-paced ever-changing environment. To keep up with the changes, you need to be continuously learning. We often refer to blogs and resources on platforms like Search Engine Land, Moz and Digital Marketer. We also subscribe to industry experts like Neil Patel and Annie Cushing.

Along with the daily reading and courses, most marketers would recommend attending one or two major conferences every year – and I agree with them.

All learning resources can be great but summits and conferences can inspire ideas like nothing else. Attending the Local Business Summit was about as real as attending my first major conference of 2017.

If you attended the Local Business Summit, please do share your own experiences. I would enjoy hearing about the same. I also encourage questions and comments from business owners and marketers who did not attend the conference.

Staying Organized In The Multi-Tab Lifestyle

In today’s world, it seems impossible to not multitask to some degree. And with multitasking comes distraction, with distraction comes disorganization. While I’m in no way the most organized person, I’ll share some of my secrets, habits, and routines for keeping organized.

Get Motivated

I start my day with a simple accomplishment. Any simple accomplishment will do. Making the bed, doing some chores, something that needs to be done every morning.

That way you start the day with a small, satisfying feeling of completion to motivate you in your tasks ahead.

That was more of a motivational tip, but one of my habits that truly keeps me organized is taking little steps throughout the day to stay on top of things. I make an effort to read every email, spam or not, and properly deal with it. I seldom leave an important email un-replied to as soon as I’ve read it.

Stay Organized

When I make a file, I don’t let them pile up on my desktop and lie to myself about cleaning it up one

weekend. I always spend the time to save it to the proper folder, and to name the file correctly (as opposed to slamming my keys randomly while naming it).

Even at home, I take the time to organize out of place objects, no matter how small or insignificant. This helps me to save myself from a weekend full of cleaning. It also gives me peace of mind.

I find the cleaner my work environment is, the more organized my work tends to be.

It’s really just a mental state, but the initial effort it takes to justify “wasting time” by naming your files correctly pays off by eliminating laziness and creating an organized workplace in the long run.

To-Do

Another approach to organization is having a to-do list, but not in the typical way people normally use one. To start, don’t stick to large, broad topics on your to-do list.

Get specific. I even find that I’ll write little instructions to myself when making my to-do list, as it helps me remember exactly what to do.

That way I feel accomplished checking off upwards of 10 items on my to-do list per task, and each item was completed with a very tight focus. I also find myself hiding all other tasks except the task I’m currently working on.

I keep my to-do list in Google Docs and I change the text color of upcoming tasks to white, which I find invaluable in keeping me focused on the task at hand.

When I organize it this way, I feel much less stressed than when I’m worrying about other items on my to-do list.

Some apps I like to use for keeping track of my tasks are Trello, Google keep, Google docs, and a whiteboard.

Trello is great for helping me see a project’s entire scope from start to finish. It helps prioritize what is

necessary. It allows me to quickly prioritize what needs to be done, lets me see if a certain aspect of a project is nearing completion and motivates me to finish it off.

Google keep and Google docs are my go-to for short notes, reminders and small tasks for myself.

I make it a point to not let tasks pile up, and I let older tasks cycle up to the top of the list.

Write It Out

The whiteboard is great for writing down quick, temporary notes and to-do items, and I try to have everything on it completed and erased at the end of the day. Plus, physically writing notes down makes it a lot easier to remember them.

Vigilantly using the methods above throughout my day makes me just that more organized than before. I find work not only being done faster but with more enthusiasm and satisfaction.

ElementIQ Partners With The Sharing Farm

BURNABY, BC  — ElementIQ will be contributing 1% of annual sales to support The Sharing Farm, a non-profit organization that helps grow food, farmers, and community through its various programs.
“We were so excited when we heard that ElementIQ wanted to partner with us for 1% for the Planet,” said Sarah Drewery, Executive Director of The Sharing Farm. “We are a small organization with limited funding and this contribution really makes a huge difference, enabling us to carry on growing nutritious food to donate to families in need.”

This is all part of ElementIQ’s commitment to give back to the community.

In April, ElementIQ officially joined 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support a non-profit organization focused on the environment.

The Sharing Farm is a community farm that produces food for those less fortunate in Richmond. In 2016, The Sharing Farm donated 20,500 pounds of produce to neighbors in need through community meals and the Richmond Food Bank.

ElementIQ has already begun its contributions and will also be doing a team-building volunteer day at the Farm in August. Stay glued to the ElementIQ blog for updates on this exciting new partnership.