Penguin 3.0’s Action and Reaction Guide

As you know, the digital marketing world is a big, fast-moving place. It seems that every channel evolves every day. So one of the biggest parts of any digital marketer’s job is to keep up with headlines in their area.

At North Studio, a number of people work on SEO, but it is mostly my specialized area of knowledge, so it’s my job to keep up with trends, best practices and updates by Google.

Recently, Google has released major updates to their antispam algorithms. However, the biggest headline was the update to the Penguin algorithm.


10 Office Survival Skills We Learned From Watching Scary Movies

You know that saying, "life imitates art"? Don't believe it? Walk into the average business office at 9am on a Monday morning. That's not an episode of The Walking Dead in there; it's just your coworkers.

So before running for the zombie preparedness kit, try running to the nearest Starbucks instead. That being said, just because we're not expecting World War Z any time soon doesn't mean we can't apply practical lessons we have learned from watching our favourite scary movies to our daily lives.


Do You Waste Everyone’s Time At Meetings?

The meeting: the most dreaded work activity that generally wastes everybody’s time and can leave us more confused than clear on what has to be done.

Why not rethink the way you lead your meetings so that everyone comes out of it with the information they need, and much faster than they thought?

Scroll through our slideshare below to learn how.

Share your other effective meetings tips with our readers below!

5 Types of B2B Content That Work Like A Charm

5 types of B2B content that work like a charmOne of the challenges of B2B is finding the right type of content that will interest your audience and get them to consider you as a potential provider of products or services. It’s easy to see content from a B2C perspective: consumers like to get helpful information and get to trust a brand before making a purchase. But why should it be any different for B2B? After all, they are still buyers with needs, challenges and objections; they’re just buying for a company rather than for themselves.

With this in mind, it’s not difficult to start thinking up some content types that would work well with B2B buyers. They are a bit different from B2C, but they can still be effectively reached through inbound marketing. (more…)

5 Facts About Millennials Every Marketer Should Know

5 facts about millennials every marketer should know

The leading edge of the Millennial generation, born in 1980, is turning 34 this year. But don’t be fooled by their age; Millennials are actually very different from their 35+ counterparts, especially when it comes to media consumption and technology.

Experian’s Millennials come of age report highlights the major demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural trends of this generation. Here are 5 facts from this report that every marketer should know if he or she wants to succeed at reaching them. (more…)

Your Friday Reading List: Your Facebook File, Weird News And More

This week was busy with dad stuff, but lots of other things happened on the digital marketing blogosphere. Let’s have a look at this week’s reading list.

First, Facebook will let you review your marketing file and edit it. You know when you click “I don’t want to see this ad”? You’ll now be able to see what Facebook does with this information. They’ll also let you choose what kinds of ads you want to see. Are you going to use this new function or do you just glaze over any and all ads? (more…)

Your Friday Reading List: PR, Sarcasm Detector And More

Good Friday everyone! I hope you had a great week and that a nice weekend is awaiting you. Here in Victoria, the weather has definitely been summery.

To finish your week on a reflective note (remember that article from last week about taking time to stop and reflect?) or in learning mode, here are my 5 favourite articles I read this week. (more…)

4 Facebook Lessons From Victoria’s Latest Community Pages

We live in a pretty awesome place. There is the ocean a stone’s throw away, a beach at every corner, the mildest weather in Canada, mountains all around us, the best hiking trails in the world, some of the best food on the West Coast, and many, many other perks. But one thing that only locals know is Victoria’s highly engaged social media crowd.

Our dinner choices are fueled from blogs and UrbanSpoon reviews; our events are plastered all over Facebook and Twitter and are always full; our people use Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and direct messages on Twitter to meet each other for coffee or dinner. Hey, we’ve been named the Canadian Capital of Selfies for a reason! (more…)

Do You Have The Personality To Be An Online Marketer?

There are certain personality types that characterize a great number of online marketers. It’s important to clarify that ‘online marketing’ is a category of work that involves an extremely wide range of skills. There are the esoteric analytical stats gazers, the flamboyant social managers and the idiosyncratic content maestros. (more…)

PayDay 2.0 and Panda 4.0–What Changed on Google?

It’s always an interesting time in the digital marketing and SEO industries when Google rolls out algorithm updates. Professionals get all abuzz on social media and blogs, everyone begins to search for information on the update, and then we check our own metrics and our client metrics. Sometimes Google tells us when they are rolling out these updates, but more often we are kept in the dark.

This week, Google has confirmed that they have rolled out two webspam algorithm updates: Pay Day 2.0, and Panda 4.0.

"Do you know what today is [spammy websites]? Payday.” Okay, that might not be the thought behind the naming of the algorithm update (I’ll explain the reason below), but it actually works. Google is essentially giving a little payback to spammy areas of the web.

Payday 2.0

Search Engine Land was among the first to post an update confirming that Google had indeed rolled out an update to their Pay Day 2.0 algorithm update. They stated a Google spokesperson told them: 

Over the weekend we began rolling out a new algorithmic update. The update was neither Panda nor Penguin — it was the next generation of an algorithm that originally rolled out last summer for very spammy queries.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team confirmed on Twitter:


The first Payday Loan update started to roll out around June 11th 2013. Both Pay Day updates target niche spammy areas of the web. Google specifically mentioned that the keywords around payday loans and porn-related keywords would be targeted. It should only affect a small percentage of websites, but we will keep our eyes peeled for more affected keywords.

Panda 4.0


The Panda algorithm update first rolled out in February 2011. Since then, there have been dozens of updates to it. This algorithm targets on-page issues such as thin content, content farms, and other content quality metrics. More than ever, Google emphasizes clear, relevant and original content written by experts; this is the time to rethink your approach to content production to ensure that you follow Google's guidelines and produce the type of content that attracts good rankings.

Some previous updates have been on 10-day roll outs, so we'll keep an eye for any changes in our metrics and our clients'.

Are you curious about more algorithm updates? Moz has a good record of Googles Algorithm change history

Pinterest Is Testing Paid Ads–What We Know So Far

Since its meteoric rise to popularity in 2011, Pinterest has garnered a lot of attention from marketers and social media professionals. We know that visual marketing is a very effective way to reach your target market–after all, “a picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t a cliché for no reason. Pinterest, with its focus on beautiful visuals, easy sharing and an intuitive user interface, has everything marketers need to get their products known and shared. (more…)

Your Friday Reading List: Mobile searching, influencers and more

Welcome to volume #1 of the Friday Reading list. Every week, you’ll find a list of curated content picked from the best blogs and webzines. We’ll go over the range of topics we work in here at Stikky Media: social media, content, SEO and more. Of course, you can always email me and let me know what you’d like to read about! (more…)

SEO: Black Hat or Still Useful? An Investigation

During my lunchtime walk today, I was listening to a marketing/entrepreneur podcast that I really like. As a writer and content creator, I like to know how people are able to build careers and make businesses based on content and expertise. In the episode I listened to today, one of the hosts answered a listener question about the value of SEO and if it was worth paying a firm or a specialist to do it.

Of course, as I work in SEO on a daily basis, I can't say I was particularly happy with his answer that no, SEO wasn't that useful and that many SEO specialists tend to have, well, shady practices. His argument: good content speaks for itself, and over-the-top optimization, especially in shady link building (which Stikky Media doesn't do, thank God), can actually hurt your efforts on the web. He said to just use a keyword in the title if it fits, but otherwise focus on creating good content.

Evaluating SEO's true role in digital marketing

Many clients come to us asking for SEO because they hear that it's the most effective way to rank well on Google. But few understand SEO in the larger contex of the web: this incredibly noisy, ever-expanding world of information that needs to be described, tagged and "keyworded" to help people find the information they're looking for.

My personal experience as an SEO writer and content producer has taught me one thing: that the power of SEO tends to be overestimated. It doesn't matter how good your SEO is: if your content is boring or badly written or wrong, people will not stay on your website. SEO just gives Google more information about your content, but it doesn't magically make your content better. Actually, too much SEO can make your content worse. And, worst of all: with every Google algorithm update, all your SEO work needs to be re-evaluated and re-done. It's not a very strong foundation to build success on the web.

Don't get me wrong–SEO can be useful. A good SEO overhaul can boost up your rank in your chosen keywords. But SEO alone cannot correct uninteresting or uniniformative content, nor can it replace a complete and comprehensive digital strategy. And too much SEO is an alarm signal for Google: that maybe you're trying to game the system. And Google doesn't like it if your try to game its system.

The new digital strategies should be focused on content

I want to take us backwards for a minute. The internet is such an integral part of our lives now that we tend to forget what its role really is. The web is a repository of information. A big library without shelves. Sure, sellers and marketers of all ilks (good and not so good) have taken control of some parts of it–mostly the ad part. But it doesn't meant that the nature of the web has changed: it's still just an enormous virtual library with tons of books, articles, movies, audio clips and pictures. When I want food, I go to the grocery store. When I want information, I go on the web.

SEO isn't information. It's meta-information (or information about information). SEO is a way to tell Google what your content is about, but that's the extent of its usefulness. That's why you can't really have effective SEO without a strong content-based digital strategy. Because in the end, people are looking for content, not keywords.

So if you're thinking about getting SEO services to boost your ranks and get more leads, that's great! But you shouldn't separate SEO from content. After the early on-site optimization work, you still need to create useful, entertaining, interesting content. SEO doesn't relieve you of the hard, constant content hard work that needs to be done in order to be successful on the web.

So what can I do?

At this point, you're probably wondering what you can do if SEO isn't the virtual panacea you were expecting. Take heart: the solution isn't too complicated. The solution is in consistently excellent content. (I said simple, not easy!) SEO is part of that content work, but thinking that SEO is the be-all and end-all of digital marketing is a mistake–and a mistake that can be costly in the long run.

Do you have a holistic digital strategy that begins with content? How much do you consider SEO in your digital marketing efforts? Let's talk!

New Social Network: Vine

No, we’re not talking about a new wine-related social network (although that would be awesome), but rather a new video-based app now owned by Twitter called Vine. It’s all the rage these days, with celebrities like Tyra Banks and Emmy Rossum posting Vines on their Twitter feeds.

Here’s a quick Vine I made especially for this occasion:



1. What does it do?

Vine is super simple: you take a 6-second video that the app posts as a video loop on Twitter and on Vine feeds. The video is looped automatically.

2. How does it work?

You start by downloading the app on your iPhone. There’s a simple tutorial in the app to show you how to make a video–it works by the touch of your finger.

After making your video, you can share it with your social networks.

3. Where can I share the videos?

The Twitter integration makes it easy to share the videos directly with your followers on Twitter. The app also connects to Facebook so you care share it with your fans as well. If you embed your Twitter feed on your website, you’ll also be able to share your videos that way.

4. How can I use it?

Vine can be useful for your internet marketing in a variety of ways. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and show your business from a fun, creative angle. You can take a funny video of the staff or show how your product works.

6 seconds doesn’t seem like much, but if you watch other people’s videos, you’ll see that you can fit in a lot of content in these few seconds. The advantage: you can make an impact before your audience’s attention span fades. And the best videos? People will watch them over and over again.

Think of Vine as a video version of Twitter: conciseness and originality are key. As with any new social network, it’ll take a while to unlock its full potential, but Vine’s popularity is growing so quickly that it can’t be ignored for very long.

3 Must-Have Social Search Tools (That Aren’t Google)

Want to know what the world is talking about right now? Looking for a juicy search term? Need to kill a few hours? Then check out these powerful social search engines:


Bottlenose Social Search Engine

A real-time social intelligence engine that analyzes activity across all the major social networks. Bottlenose’s fancy algorithm, called “StreamSense,” uses in-house natural-language processing, personalization and semantic techniques to figure out trending topics and trending content.

Their never ending sea of updates is called a “stream,” and gives users a comprehensive overview of top links (including newspaper articles), recent posts, trending topics, trending images and recent comments for any given search term. You can even check out trending people, which is great for connecting similarly-minded folks.

Bottlenose launched its public beta form in May 2012. Since then, it has fielded 3 acquisition offers (including one suspected offer from Twitter) and scored nearly $1 million in financing from ff Venture Capital and Prosper Capital.


Topsy Social Search Engine

A conversation search engine that lets you explore top links, tweets, photos, videos and “experts.” You can instantly see the number of mentions—by the minute, hour or day—for any term, phrase, username link or hashtag. Topsy also features a special influence algorithm that displays the most pertinent and popular social results, but the real gem is the social analytics tool that lets you visually compare up to 3 queries.

As a testament to their powerful social analytics, Topsy expects to index and measure approximately 250 billion items by the end of 2012, with over 16 trillion pre-computed metrics.


Social Mention

Social Mention Social Search Engine

A simple, easy-to-use tool that measures over 100 social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. View top keywords, top users, top hashtags, sources, reach and even sentiment (positive, neutral, negative).

Social Mention is pretty basic, but it does dive into some deeper measurements:

Strength: The likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media
Sentiment: The ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative
Passion: A measure of the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly
Reach: A measure of the range of influence

Impact Of Infographics

Infographics have a profound impact on both traffic and social actions on websites and blogs around the Internet. No wonder this phenomenon has been continuously growing since back in late 2009 when it started to become popular!


5 Best Free Online Photo Editors

Image of a person making art online

Digital media in 2019 is fun! It’s full of images, videos, and other colorful tidbits designed to entice the viewer’s eye. 

With the exponential growth of online platforms and smartphone technology in recent years, almost everyone is posting pictures to at least one social media channel. One thing that behavior has led to is an increasing amount of people are editing photos and images.

There are several free photo editing software options available online, and quite frankly, many of them are great.

But, how do you know which tool to use? Which one is right for you?

To help simplify your choice when considering which free online photo editor to use (Hello Instagram influencers!), we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. Here are, in no particular order, Stikky Media’s 5 Top Free Online Photo Editors for 2019:


BeFunky interfaceBeFunky.com is as visually appealing as it is easy to use. The online editing site is simple, clean, and organized, making it ideal for novice and intermediate users. Navigating through BeFunky’s tutorials, features, and tools is a clear process they’ve made easy to follow.

BeFunky also has graphic design features making it simple to turn images into digital copy masterpieces. Plus, we love the “add your own watermark” ability; a feature ideal when branding digital content.


Gimp interfaceGIMP.org is a powerful and free tool that can easily rival the ability of Photoshop. 

According to GIMP’s homepage, GIMP.org, “GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems.”

GIMP is not designed for beginners, it’s meant for use by industry professionals. The learning curve is steep, but many professionals that use GIMP professionally swear by it. Looking for tutorials for GIMP? Look here.

Bonus: it’s free to use and is an open-source technology, meaning, it will always be free.


iPiccy interfaceiPiccy.com made our list of the 5 best free online photo editors because of its ease of use, and it’s easy to learn. iPiccy has popular features that make photo editing fun to learn. 

Their tips are relevant to novice and intermediate users, making it quick to navigate and get the job done faster. Two of our fave tips from iPiccy.com are the “teeth whitener editor” and “color correction.”


At first glance at InPixio.com’s homepage, it may be hard to tell there is a free version of the online photo editor. But there is! 

To find access to the free version, scroll down to the bottom footer and look under the heading “Our Software.” About half-way through the list, you’ll see the words “free photo editor.” Go on, click there.

InPixio’s free photo editor is a solid platform with essential editing tools like cropping, filters & effects, and multiple customization options. 


Fotor interfaceFotor.com is a great mid-range photo editor that’s available to use for free. Easier to use than GIMP, but not as simple as some beginner options, Fotor is a great image editing tool. 

Comprehensive enough to meet the demands of many professionals, but without costly fees, Fotor is a great option for freelancers and graphic designers.

If the time comes when Fotor’s free tools aren’t meeting your needs, consider the option of signing up for FotorPro. There is a cost for a FotorPro subscription, but it may well be worth the small investment.

Use any of the above mentioned free online photo editors and make your social media posts stand out. Plus, once you’ve mastered the art of photo editing, you might notice you’re posts are getting a bit more attention!

For tips on how to publicly share that new attention with your audience, click here.

Stikky Media is a digital marketing agents that caters to clients who want their business to thrive on the Web. Our SEO and digital marketing experts help businesses and non-profits succeed. 


Are You a Digital Hoarder?

Do you keep emails, files and text messages forever? Is your desktop littered with icons and shortcuts? Do you still have the first season of Lost?

The bad news: You may be a digital hoarder. The good news: You’re not alone.


Mobile Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Needs to Know

Did you know that 90% of Americans who have a mobile device have it within three feet of them 24 hours a day? Or that nearly 42% of US mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with with 44% of mobile users across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK?


8 Handy Google Search Tips and Tricks

In 1998, Google reported that it handled 10,000 global searches a day. That number jumped to 4 billion searches a day in 2010, according to a report from comScore. That’s 175 million Google searches per hour, or 2.9 million per minute.


Google Doodle History: It All Began with a Stick Man

The first Google Doodle was born in the summer of 1998, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin took a vacation to the Burning Man Festival. The Doodle they created was simple, with the festival’s iconic stick man loitering behind the ‘O’, but users loved the playful addition to an otherwise simple logo.


Survey Reveals Scary Truth About Facebook Friends

It’s safe to share with friends of friends, right? I mean, you kinda know them. They’re the people you were introduced to at your girlfriend’s birthday party, or the ones you met in passing at the mall. It’s only 2 degrees of separation, so why not let them see all your photos?


Superbowl XLVI Gets First-Ever Social Media Command Center

Superbowl XLVI has a Social Media Command Center. Seriously. While you’re tossing back chicken wings and yelling at the television screen, a team of 50 will be monitoring the digital field from the comfort of their 2,300 square foot space in downtown Indianapolis.


5 Online College Courses That Teach Life Lessons

Not only do online college courses help bring a person closer to earning one of the many available degrees, but some of them can teach important life lessons in the process. Here are some online college courses that offer more than just credits.


Kicked off Facebook: Why These 4 People Got the Boot

If British police get their way, rioting hooligans will soon be banned from using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger. Senior officers met with each individual company following last summer’s riots to learn how perps use the networks to stir up trouble, and to find a way to ban them for violating the networks’ terms and conditions.


The Schools That Rule the Web

Recent studies prove it: increased engage,ent between educators and students cia email and social media has a positive effect on learning. Check out this infographic to see the schools that rule the web.


The Internet is Really a Collection of Underwater Tubes

Today I realized the internet actually comes from somewhere. That might sound silly, so think of it in Santa Claus terms. Until I was 9, I never put much thought into the concept of Santa Claus. He appeared when he was supposed to and did was he was supposed to. Then one day, I applied some logic to the Santa situation and realized my presents came from somewhere real.


How 7 Famous Tech Companies Got Their Weird Names

Ever wondered where some tech companies got their strange names? Well, wonder no more! This handy list will not only satisfy your curiosity, but also make you thankful for not having to send out a Twitch, Sky Peer to Peer your friends or find websites on David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.


7 Best Places to Waste Time on the Web (Other Than Facebook)

It’s common knowledge that Facebook is the internet’s #1 time waster. Thanks to its unlimited opportunities for keeping (and creeping) in touch, the average user spends about seven hours a month on the site. That actually seems like a low estimate given the large number of people who insta-comment and became angry when you refuse to post photos of last night’s social gathering, but seven hours is still impressive.


Should Teachers Be Allowed to Friend Their Students?

Missouri’s newest law—the “Facebook Law”—has caused an uproar among teachers, students and others who believe it violates their freedom of speech and association.

Why? The law forbids teachers and students from befriending each other on Facebook. That’s not the law’s only concern—it also touches on things like background checks for anyone having contact with a student and reporting alleged sexual misconduct within 24 hours—but the social media aspect is naturally the only thing people are making a fuss about.


Sean Avery vs. Uptown Sports: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Twitter Business With Pleasure

It’s not surprising that hear that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is at the centre of yet another controversy.
The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, becoming the first professional athlete in New York to publicly support marriage equality. And according to the HRC, the Rangers, as an organization, are now rallying behind Avery in support of the campaign.


While Lipdubs Reach New Heights of Awesomeness, Flash Mobs Wreak Havoc

In the past couple of years, the popularity of lipdubs has skyrocketed, especially with university students. Last fall, UVic created an epic lipdub video inspired by another UVic, located in Spain.

But UBC has taken lipdubs to a new level. Their 10 minute video has gone where no lipdub has gone before—underwater—and features a unicorn, scuba divers and the first successful Old Spice parody I’ve ever seen.


Google Makes Science Fairs Cool Again

Kids, put away your hand-me-down baking soda and vinegar volcanoes—science fairs just got a whole lot more interesting.

Google is about to hold the first ever global online science fair, which means first place no longer depends on the child’s ability to use poster board and scotch tape. Kids aged 13-18 submit their work via Google Sites, and must include either a slideshow or a video on their homepage. They can also use YouTube, Docs, Maps, Earth, Search or any other Google-y tools.


I Just Beat a Robot at Rock, Paper, Scissors. What Have You Done Today?

Are humans predictable if they know they’re being predicted?

That’s not something I think about every day, but the NY Times’ latest interactive feature does bring up this question.

They created a digital rock-paper-scissors game that uses artificial intelligence to conquer opponents. In a truly random game, each player should win, tie and lose one-third of the time. But because people aren’t random, they can be studied, analyzed and defeated.


Esperanza Spalding Wins Grammy, #TeamBieber Can’t Belieb It

There’s a retweet swirling around Twitter that says the Grammys lost 17 billion+ views after Esperaza Spalding won over the Biebs. Hmm.

With a world population of about 6,775,235,741, that would mean each person would have to love Bieber with 250% of their heart. And even with herds of dedicated Bieberites running wild on this planet, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.


Ground Shaking? Drop, Cover, Twitter.

I’ve gotten used to the blasting over at the Uptown construction site, so when I felt a big rumble at 8:30 this morning, I completely ignored it. But while I quietly ate my oatmeal, Twitter lit up with earthquake-fueled chatter.


Social Media on the Front Lines in Egypt

Even though Egypt is in the midst of an Internet and SMS blackout, the rest of the world is glued to the web, watching. Protesters and journalists have found ways around these roadblocks and are using social media to inform and organize.

Following #jan25 or #egypt on Twitter produces an amazing amount of results. By the time you read the first few, you’re already five hundred tweets behind. Many protesters are posting via proxy server, and some journalists are even using landlines to phone tweets back to their headquarters.


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