Tag Archives: Leif Knecht

The lesson of a Dakota Pinnacle Birch: Why blogs, tags, and linking continue to rule for search engine results

I became a member of the Board of Minnesota Offroad Cyclists (MORC) back in January. At a meeting last weekend, a couple of board members who are avid mountain bikers told me that whenever they Google themselves, the search results return blog posts and photos from my blog, Mountain Bike Geezer

A few days later, I got an email from a Northfield area webmaster wondering what my secret was here on Locally Grown Northfield, as he noticed that search results for Northfield-related issues and people seemed to frequently link to blog posts and images here.

I told them that it’s partly because I use lots of relevant tag word and phrases in my blog posts, including first and last names. And I also take the time to label/tag photos.  But I also include a lot of links in my blog posts. Not only do Google and other search engines love links, but so do the people I link to — and they increases the likelihood that others will at some point link back to something here on LoGro. Search results are still largely dependent on having other sites link to you.  The more the better. And the higher the PageRank of those who link to you, the better. PageRank is partly why Google’s Larry Page is a billionaire.

Knecht's Nurseries and LandscapingI was explaining this to Deb Knecht this weekend, since Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping has been a longtime client and I’ve been helping them revamp their WordPress-based site to make it Responsive, something that all websites these days need to be since so much web traffic comes from a variety of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, etc).

I’m also working with Deb to spruce up (heh) their archive of nearly 1,000 blog posts dating back to Feb. of 2004. While most of their blog posts have been assigned Categories, most need the addition of Tag words and phrases. Categories help when browsing a blog; Tags help with both browsing and searching. Here on LoGro we have a few dozen Categories but over 3,000 Tag words and phrases.

wordpress permalinksWhile reading up about search engine optimization (SEO) strategies recently, I learned that permalinks (the URL of a blog post) are more search engine friendly if they use words from the title of the blog post rather than a number with a generic term like ‘post’ or ‘article.’

So I’ve been converting a few of my own blogs over to this permalink naming convention.  A blog post I authored yesterday is titled Mountain biking’s sweet spot for seniors: high impact for bone density, low impact for joints and if you hover your cursor over that link, you’ll see the permalink is a long URL: http://mountainbikegeezer.com/mountain-bikings-sweet-spot-for-seniors-high-impact-bone-density-low-impact-joints/. Previously, the URL might have been http://mountainbikegeezer.com/?p=4821 or other variation using ‘blog’ or ‘archives’ or ‘post’ with a number like I’ve been using here on LoGro for years.

Dakota Pinnacle Birch

At Knecht’s, we’ve been using permalinks with the naming convention /weblog/post/# which is an indication of how old their blog is. Back in 2004, ‘weblog’ was a commonly used term.  Not any more. So when I was revamping their site a month or so ago, I changed the permalink names to search engine friendly names, assuming the WordPress database would automatically redirect anyone who tried to link to a old permalink URL to the updated one. Doing this on my mountain bike blog worked, so full steam ahead! Wrong. It only works for the default permalink, not others.  I should have used a special plugin. Ouch.  The bounce rate has skyrocketed and search engine results for popular trees and plants have plummeted.

But rather than going back to the old permalink style, we’re sticking with the change, and updating the blog posts with tags.  So for example, back in October of 2010, Leif Knecht blogged about a popular shade tree called a Dakota Pinnacle Birch.  There’ve been other posts about the tree, too, so we’ve tagged them all, which means all the posts can be retrieved with the URL http://knechts.net/tag/dakota-pinnacle-birch/ and from there, you can click on the blog post headlines or titles of each for more.

My upcoming task for LoGro will be to convert all 4,000+ blog posts to a new permalink structure. Gulp. In the meantime, however, Google will have to live with http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/29632.

Leif Knecht turns 60; loses it. Get a free tree and a cupcake, then run.

Leif Knecht goes apeshit on his 60th birthday Leif Knecht goes apeshit on his 60th birthday Leif Knecht goes apeshit on his 60th birthday 
This morning I got a call from one of my sources  that Leif Knecht, co-owner of Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping, was going apeshit while celebrating his 60th birthday today. ‘Tis pretty much true, as you can see from the above photos of Leif dressed up as Elmer Fudd in his normal spring attire, but there’s more to the story.

(L) Hans Ostergaard and (R) Dan Bailey, Bailey Nurseries, with Leif Knecht Bailey Nurseries, complementary red oaks Bailey Nurseries, complementary red oaks
He was actually just excited about the complementary Northern Red Oak trees that the boys from Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul, (L) Hans Ostergaard and (R) Dan Bailey, were making available to anyone who stops by today in honor of Leif’s BD.

Sign Leif's birthday card Wanna do some Antacid? H'about some Joint medication?
If you get out there, grab some free coffee and a cupcake while you sign the big birthday card in the retail greenhouse.  In the meantime, mouseover the ‘child of the ’60s’ card for a special message, given to Leif by one their long time employees, Heidi Brosseau.

FYI, it’s not the first time that Leif and his many faces have graced this blog. See: Leif Knecht re-elected to Bridgewater Board of Supervisors.

24 trees donated for Old Memorial Park; matching sponsorship available for more, by Leif Knecht

Knecht's tree planting: Jim Westlund and Todd Marnie In recent days, the Northfield area landscape has had a wintery look, but we are still planting trees and a few hardy customers still venture in to get trees for late season projects of their own.  The 2010 growing season had very favorable weather, despite the unfortunate flooding in late September.

Because the loyal and consistent  support of Northfield makes it possible for us to keep improving our nursery and landscaping operations, we enjoy the opportunity to give back to our community.  Last week, we donated to the City of Northfield, 24 different varieties of shade trees to be planted along the new walking path at Old Memorial Park, the site of Northfield’s new swimming pool.  The City of Northfield covered the cost of having the trees planted.  The photo shows Jim Westlund and Todd Marnie during the planting of one of the trees on November 11th.  While he was planting, he found a rare specimen of a young tree and blogged about it on https://www.thetreecenter.com/thuja-green-giant/.

The Master Plan for Old Memorial Park calls for the planting of over 100 trees to beautify the park.  Anyone who wants to sponsor the $150.00 cost of planting a tree at Old Memorial Park can contact Scott Carpenter (neighborhood resident) at 645-8501 or contact me at 645-5015.

Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping will donate a nice sized Thuja tree to the park for each $150 donation to cover the cost of planting. If you want to learn more about Thuja trees, you can see the details below.  Most trees are 2?-3 ½” trunk diameter and 10?-20? tall.  An effort will be made to have each tree be a variety different from those previously planted.

 

Resources:

Everything to know about Thuja trees: https://www.thetreecenter.com/thuja-green-giant/

Winning the Chamber award taking a heavy personal toll on Leif Knecht

Leif Knecht - before Leif Knecht - afterIt’s only been two weeks since Leif Knecht, Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping, won the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Businessperson of the Year award for 2010.

But already, the weight of that honor is showing on him in form of sudden gray hair and significant weight loss.  See page 2A of today’s Nlfd News.

Council directs staff to include sidewalk trees on 4th St. reconstruction

Leif Knecht speaking to Northfield City CouncilLocal landscaper Leif Knecht, former mayor Keith Covey Green trees on 4th St.and I spoke at open mic at last night’s Northfield City Council meeting, asking the Council to find a way to incorporate new trees on both sides of 4th St. between Washington and Division for this summer’s 4th St. reconstruction. (See the video of last night’s meeting in this KYMN blog post.)

Knecht said that there are varieties of trees that can do reasonably well in an environment where buildings block the sun and bedrock limits root growth. I distributed a printout of the above photo from 2008, showing that the current trees, although tilted and stunted in some cases, still did a reasonably good job for 30 years.

Councilor Rhonda Pownell made a motion to rescind her vote on last week’s Council decision to accept Streetscape Option 1 (“Small planters along 4th Street curb line, provision for hanging baskets on decorative light poles, no bump-outs or large-scale planters” – Page 27 of packet PDF) since it didn’t include trees. Jim Pokorney seconded.

I was impressed with the subsequent Council discussion. Some councilors were reluctant to rescind because it could delay the whole project. Others were understandably reluctant to get involved in this level of detail. They considered the pros and cons of sending the design to the Streetscape Task Force. Several times, they asked for input from City Engineer Katy Gehler and City Attorney Chris Hood. Mayor Mary Rossing did a masterful job of keeping the discussion on track, helping with the language of various motions, and making sure to get input from everyone.

In the end, they voted unanimously to accept the 4th St. plan but they then followed it by passing another motion, again unanimously, directing city staff to incorporate as many trees as possible into the sidewalk areas.

Nice work, Councilors!

Update 3/18, 10:30 PM:

The Lower Heath Creek Bicycle Pedestrian Trail: coming soon to Bridgewater Township?

Leif KnechtNow that Leif Knecht has copious amounts of idle time on his hands, he’s ramping up his efforts to create what he’s calling the Lower Heath Creek Bicycle Pedestrian Trail in Bridgewater Township.

As the map below shows, the trail would loop around Heath Creek south of Old Dutch Road and north of Armstrong Road, adjacent to the Gill-Prawer property that’s currently in annexation negotiations for the development of the West Armstrong Business Park:

Continue reading The Lower Heath Creek Bicycle Pedestrian Trail: coming soon to Bridgewater Township?

ADVERTISEMENT: June advertisers – AhADiscounts, Celebrate Dundas, and Knecht’s

This month, we have a new for-profit advertiser, a new non-profit advertiser, plus one returning for-profit advertiser.

Phong NguyenBack in March, I met and blogged about Phong Nguyen (pronounced ‘win’) and his new company, AhaDiscounts.

You can get the City Discount Card free ($10 value) until June 30. Just visit any of the participating retailers listed on the AhaDiscounts website. Phong says:

“Cardholders will save up to 50% at the point of purchase from local participating businesses.”

AhaDiscounts


AhaDiscount Card

Glenn Switzer and Michelle MillenackerGlenn Switzer, Michelle Millenacker and their colleagues at the Dundas Historical Society are hosting a big community festival called Celebrate Dundas the weekend of June 26 and 27. Glenn says:

”The two-day event is reminiscent of  the Dundas Sesquicentennial held in 2007.  The horses, wagons and buggies will be back!”

Celebrate Dundas


celebrate-dundas-2009

Deb and Leif KnechtDeb and Leif at Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping, have a Flash banner ad this month that links to their June Specials page. Deb says:

”We’re offering Bonus Bucks, Bargain Corral, and a variety of web-only specials on perennials, shrubs, trees and evergreens.”

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping

knechts-sshot

Interested in advertising on Locally Grown?

Recessionary anomalies

Leif KnechtI paid a tech-help visit to Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping yesterday morning, and when I saw all the vehicles in the parking lot, I asked Leif Knecht how business was this spring, compared to recent years. “Way up,” he said, pointing his dirty green thumbs skyward. I later asked Deb Knecht why, hoping she’d say it was advertising on LoGroNo. She said she didn’t know but wondered if more people were just deciding to do small things to improve the look of their yards.

Ed Kuhlman This morning I consulted with local economist, realtor, auctioneer, and Girls Night Out veteran dancer Ed Kuhlman this morning and he concurred with Deb. If you’ve decided it’s not a good time to sell your house, you’re more inclined to make small improvements to it since you’re going to be there longer, as well as use it for a staycation.