Optimize Your Site for Mobile or Get Penalized – Google’s New Update

scroogledIs your website mobile friendly? If not, your website could quickly become invisible in mobile search results. Google just announced that they will be launching a major algorithm update. This update will favor websites that are mobile optimized.

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

It’s not hard to read the writing on the wall. Google is spinning the update as something that will benefit mobile optimized sites–which is great if you already have a responsive mobile-friendly website. But it also means that non-mobile-friendly sites will be out-ranked by the optimized ones.

And it makes sense after all: 60% of online traffic comes from mobile devices. Google is simply nudging web masters in the direction they should already be moving in. Mobile devices are the device of choice for accessing the internet, and users don’t want to “pinch to zoom” in order to see your content. They want a clean and intuitive mobile experience.

Local Businesses Could be Hit Hard

Local businesses with brick and mortar locations could be hit hardest by this change. Users are accustomed to looking up local businesses on their phones to get directions, phone numbers, store hours, and view menus. Local businesses with non-mobile-friendly websites could lose significant business by not appearing in search results.

(But all businesses should be concerned. Check your analytics. What percentage of your traffic is mobile? Chances are it’s close to 60%.)

The Mobile Friendly Test

How do you know if your site is mobile optimized? Google has a handy tool for that here. (Even if you do have a mobile site, you’ll want to make sure it passes the test.)

What Mobile Solutions Does Google Recommend?

Google seems to favor “responsive design” as the preferred method for serving mobile content. Matt Cutts, who leads Google’s web spam team, has pointed out that while other mobile formats are perfectly acceptable, responsive design seems to cause fewer issues than mobile solutions that split content between two urls. More info from Search Engine Watch.

(Google outlines the 3 ways to serve mobile content here.)

What is responsive web design?

“Responsive web design is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)” – Wikipedia

Responsive + Adaptive Design

At Murmur Creative we use a combination of adaptive and responsive techniques when we build websites, because responsive design is not always enough to create a seamless mobile experience. Adaptive web design allows a website to change certain elements depending on the device that is loading the content. For instance, sometimes a navigation menu is too long or a picture is too wide to display properly on mobile phone. In cases like these, we use device detection techniques to implement design that is more apt for your screen size.

Is your site mobile optimized? Will it be ready for Google’s big change on April 21st? Let us know if we can help!

(P.S. We’ve been so busy optimizing other people’s websites, we haven’t done our own yet. But we will be ready! Our new murmurcreative.com will launch soon!)


[Infographic] Old SEO vs New SEO

SEO is constantly changing. For this reason it’s easy for clients and marketers to get confused about what techniques, strategies, and practices are helpful and worth investing in and which are no longer useful or worthwhile. This infographic does a pretty good job of showing the difference between new SEO and old SEO.

Warning: if you’re paying for or practicing “old SEO” you’re wasting your time and money.

Infographic is courtesy of the good folks over at Quicksprout

seo then vs now 2015

Infographic Design: Lamb Pairings with Wine and Beer

We love infographics. They’re an excellent format for digital storytelling; they’re great for social media sharing; and they will delight and inform your customers.

Our most recent infographic design is this wine and beer pairings infographic for our client, American Lamb. It was inspired by the London underground map which is an iconic design from 1908. We used American Lamb’s brand colors, did custom illustrations, and used subtle textures to give the infographic an organic and timeless appeal.

How Infographics Improve SEO
What many people don’t know is that infographics can improve your search rankings. When you publish a quality infographic on your website, people will share it and link back to your website. Links are what fuel your search rankings (so the more the merrier). You can even make it super-easy for bloggers to include your infographic on their blogs, by including embed code below the infographic (as we did for American Lamb). The trick is making sure that your embed code includes a link back to your website–so you get the SEO benefit.

Are you cooking Lamb this holiday season? Now you’ll know what beverage to serve.

American Lamb Beer and Wine Pairings
Courtesy of: American Lamb

Murmur Creative is Moving to Washington High School

Washington High School Portland

We’re moving: Feb, 1st 2015

We love our office in the Olympic Mills building, but we’ve been bursting at the seams and it’s time we move on to something bigger and better. We couldn’t be more excited about moving into Washington High School, a historic school building which was recently renovated and transformed into a mixed-use creative space.

We’ll be sharing the building with many of Portland’s finest. New Seasons is making Washington High School their corporate headquarters, and other creative agencies like Struck Inc, Copious, and Walker Tracker, are moving in as well.

Located on SE Stark, just a few blocks from our current office, Washington High School will be a perfect fit for our growing agency. Besides being twice the size as our current accommodations, the new office will have a conference room, photo studio, and kitchen–amenities we have been sorely missing.

Washington High School was an operational from 1906 until 1981 when it closed down. It’s a beautiful building, with giant open hallways, high ceilings, a roof deck, and tall windows. Historic features of the school have been preserved, such as chalkboards, lockers, and the auditorium seats.

Oh, and here’s a pic of us sitting at an invisible conference table in our new conference room (before it was built).

Murmur sitting at invisible table

One of the most exciting aspects of Washington High School is the venue at the center of the school. The High School auditorium will be home to a fantastic new venue called Revolution Hall with seating for over 850 people (run by Mississippi Studios).

Revolution Hall


Needless to say, we’re thrilled to be moving in this February. Be sure to stop by so we can give you a tour of our new digs!

Our New Digs:

Murmur Creative
1300 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97214



SEO advice for website copywriters

seo copywriting best practices

While SEO is a vast and technical subject, SEO copywriting for the web is not. Once you have the basics you can easily start implementing SEO strategies in everything you write for the web. In fact, this article contains more than enough SEO copywriting tips to get any copywriter started writing search-engine-friendly copy.

I strongly believe that SEO copywriting should not appear (on the surface) any different then non-SEO copywriting. In fact, it should be more informative, more focused, and easier to read then most copywriting. After all, Google wants to rank websites that people will value. Copy that is stuffed with keywords is usually unpleasant to read and Google does its best to weed out content that doesn’t provide a good user experience.

The trick is to implement phrases and words into your copy that support your keyword focus. And increasingly, “keyword focus” is simply a synonym for “intention targeting.” You want to focus on the intention of users who are searching Google for content like yoursYou want to make sure that your web copy answers their questions.

Answers and Questions

Search engines are basically question-and-answer machines. People type questions into Google and Google serves up answers in the form of web pages. For a search engine, every web page is simply a potential answer to hundreds (or millions) of highly-related questions. As an SEO copywriter, you should always think about what questions your page answers. I won’t go into keyword research too much in this article (I’ve written about it here) but the general idea is to find a single keyword phrase to focus on for each page you compose. Just make sure the phrase you choose is searched for on a regular basis. Google’s keyword planner will let you know how many times any given phrase is searched for on a monthly basis.

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Murmur is Hiring a Front End Developer

Front End Developer Portland, OR (Freelance)

mumur-creativeHi, we’re a small creative agency with an awesome team and a relaxed work environment. We’re looking for a freelance developer to help us with our growing backlog of responsive WordPress website development. This is work as-needed but it could develop into a full-time position over time. (We currently have work which can begin immediately.)

We’re looking for a developer with at least 2-3 years of web development and a keen eye for design. (When it comes to design, we never settle for “good enough.”)

About you:
You love beautifully designed websites. You have the ability to take a set of static Adobe Illustrator design files and turn them into a living-breathing website with moving parts, responsive layouts, and diverse functionality. You’re an HTML5 and CSS3 wizard. You’re also super efficient with other front end languages such as javascript and jQuery. You understand the value and importance of delighting clients with excellent work delivered on time. You have a sense of humor and work well with a team.

Technical skills that will be put to use include:

Ability to convert AI files into W3C compliant HTML/CSS
WordPress Theme (and to a lesser extent Plugin) building experience
Comfortable with custom post types and fields
Javascript, jQuery, AJAX
Knowledge of cross-browser limitations and code fixes/hacks

How to apply:
Send resume, work examples, and cover letter to info@murmurcreative.com


107 SE Washington St #246, Portland, OR 97214

(We’re moving to Washington Highschool in January)

531 SE 14th Avenue Portland, OR 97214

Portland Branding & Marketing Presentation

Murmur Creative,  Portland's first lady Nancy Hales, and members of TextBrasil.

Murmur Creative was thrilled for the opportunity to present this marketing and branding presentation to a Brazilian delegation of business owners that visited Portland recently. The delegation was being hosted by Portland’s first lady Nancy Hales. The presentation went well and it was great to meet so many talented and passionate entrepreneurs from Brazil. We hope to have the opportunity to work with some of them in the future!

The speaking notes can be downloaded here: Presentation notes







 About TexBrasil

The Brazilian delegates we presented to are members of Texbrasil, the Brazilian fashion industry internationalization program. TexBrasil was founded by ABIT (the Brazilian textile and apparel industry association) in partnership with Apex-Brasil (the Brazilian trade and investment promotion agency).  Their mission is to support and prepare textile and apparel companies interested in selling their products abroad. The delegation is on a benchmarking trip for Brazilian business leaders of textile and clothing companies, aiming to learn best management practices of innovation and sustainability, knowledge exchange and visit research centers, universities and companies considered innovative in the world and based in the United States. Portland was selected as the main destination given its renowned ability to create an environment that brings together innovative companies and individuals, particularly in the athletic and outdoor clothing sector. 

Join Murmur Creative at Design Week Portland 2014

murmur-creative-design-week-portlandExciting News! Murmur Creative is participating in Design Week Portland this year! We are having an open house at our studio in Olympic Mills, so come on by and meet our team. (Check out our Design Week profile here.)

There are many other creative agencies in our building participating, so be sure to take the whole tour!

There will be delicious refreshments provided by some of our clients. Our open house menu will feature goods from our clients Kyra’s Bake Shop, Pacific Northwest Kale Chips, Tabor Bread and Elk Cove Vineyards!

Also, there will be Murmur stickers and posters featuring our studio pup Fernando as party favors. You don’t want to miss out. Check out more of what DWP has to offer at www.designweekportland.com.

We can’t wait to see you!

Thurs Oct 9th 4-7pm


Olympic Mills
107 SE Washington St #246,
Portland, OR 97214


Get your portland design business listed for free!

Get your design business listedThere’s a new designer directory in town, and you can get listed for free (we did). It’s the Portland Design Directory. It’s nice to see another resource for designers in the Portland area. Being SEO minded it’s also great to get listed in as many local directories as we can–especially those that are design-related. The directory is for all kinds of designers (website, furniture, architecture, fashion, etc) so hopefully it will be a cool resource for people seeking design of all kinds. It just launched and so the directory is still pretty small. But that means we get front page placement. Yeah baby.

The website has a free listing that lasts 2 years or a paid listing that’s $40 and allows you to promote your listing on the front page.

Do you know of any design directories you’s like suggest? Let us know in the comments below!

The Genius of Laughing Planet’s Bad Yelp Review T-Shirt

Bad yelp review T-shirtOur client, Laughing Planet Cafe is a highly successful healthy burrito shop in Portland, OR. We love their food and quirky humor (especially the brand refresh and totally awesome website we designed for them). We’re often impressed with the bold and often silly marketing campaigns they come up with. One of these being the “Bad Yelp Review T-Shirt” which they sell on their website here.

The full text of the review featured on the T-shirt reads:

Imagine all your senses are gone.  No sight, no smell, no taste, everything.  Then you decide to eat at Laughing Planet.  Tasteless and flavorless.  I booked a one-way ticket to Bland-ville.  Go to ANY burrito cart in Portland and you’ll be upgrading from this place.  Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be tasteless.  Shame on you Laughing Planet.  You give burritos a bad name.

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Interactive Website Design: ConnCann’s Annual Report

interactive designWe’re proud to announce the launch of a really awesome web project we did for a non-profit Connecticut company called ConnCan (AKA: the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now). ConnCan wanted to create an interactive web app with data visualizations for their 2012 yearly report. We delivered by designing and programming a fully interactive HTML5 animated report. The report tells the story of Connecticut’s landmark education reform law. You can see it for yourself here. We created dozens of animations and they are all triggered by scrolling on your mouse or track pad or by clicking the space bar.

Of course if you have a web project that needs realization, contact us! info at murmurcreative.com

New Website Launch: The Honey Pot Bakery.com

Honey Pot Bakery Website-Design

Honey Pot Food Cart

Just Launched:


Not only does Portland’s Honey Pot Bakery make great pies, they now have an awesome new website. And like Honey Pot pies, we designed it from scratch. Murmur’s Tim Acock took awesome pictures of Honey Pot’s delectable baked goods and our multi-talented developer, Tristan, built the site in WordPress so that the folks at Honey Pot can update their website anytime they like. Be sure to check out the cool pie animation on the front page and if you want your website to look as tasty as Honey Pot’s, drop us a line!

(971) 235-2949

The Honey Pot Food Cart
(Brick and Mortar location coming soon!)

Portland Blazers Logo Transformed into a Marriage Equality Logo

Portland Blazers equlity logoMurmur Supports Marriage Equality, Portland Style

At Murmur we believe in equal rights for everyone. We’d like to support our gay friends and relatives with this special Portland-Style equal rights logo. We took the Blazers basketball logo and straightened it out a bit.

Please feel free to share this post with the share buttons below and show your support for equal rights for all.

There’s a great many interpretations of the equal rights logo flying around the webesphere right now. Check out some of the examples here: Continue reading

Murmur’s Looking for a Roomie at Olympic Mills (Portland)

olympic mills
Murmur Creative has an open desk at our new location at Olympic Mills and it’s available for rent immediately. We’d love to invite a creative fellow or fella to share our space. If you’re a designer there’s is the potential to collaborate/contract , but design skills are not required. The rent is 350/month. The space is 600 square feet.

Oh, and you can view our work here.

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