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SEO v PPC - what should I focus on right now?

SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

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SEO v PPC - what should I focus on right now?
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SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

SEO v PPC… Which is more important? Ok, actually this is a trick question. You should always have your SEO strategy at the forefront of your marketing activities.

Writing a blog? Consult your keywords and web queries.

Planning some campaigns? Again, look at your keywords.

And yet many of us think of SEO as an afterthought. Or something to fix once in a while, like when your website is redesigned.

This chart from SEMrush is just great. Look at it. It makes it all so simple, right? You can see that while you’ll get quicker, punchier results from running a PPC campaign, working on your PR or keeping an active social media presence, creating regular content that’s informed by a tight SEO strategy is the MVP. It’s the long game sure, but it works.

marketing channels effectiveness over timeSEO is the central nervous system of your website

Think of it like this: without a strong SEO strategy, your website won’t function properly. Sure, it might look nice and you might get the odd bit of traffic. But you might not convert as many leads. You almost definitely won’t be reaching your full potential.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into here. It’s a never ending job in fact. And it’s not just about keyword identification. Oh boy, there’s a LOT of work that goes into your SEO strategy.

SEO can be split into three key areas: on-page, off-page and technical. Some of these tasks will require experts in the field, whereas others you can learn as you go.

You can have a look at our more in-depth SEO best practice guide here. It’ll help you plan your strategy, identify what you need to focus on and hopefully answer your burning questions about SEO.

That said, SEO is just one part of your marketing ecosystem. You can’t just expect to generate leads and convert to customers from SEO alone. Each channel feeds into the bigger picture.

PPC is the cosmetic, go-getting personality!

While we’re still on the body analogy boat, consider PPC like an injection of confidence. It might turn heads, but it needs the groundwork of an optimised website with compelling content to stop traffic.

PPC is an ideal way to bolster your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by driving more engaged traffic to your website. These spikes in traffic will depend on your campaigns budget, length, quality etc.

However, your campaigns success also relies on the set up of your campaign being done properly. There are demographics to target. Keywords to research and select. Making sure your creative and landing page are both optimised.

In fact, a lot goes into making sure your PPC campaigns are a success. You can read all about best practice for PPC here.

SEO v PPC: A good old fashioned list of pros and cons

Because who doesn’t love a list? And this one’s another belter from SEMrush.

SEO v PPC: pros and cons of each channel

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it really depends on what you’ve already been doing. If you’ve laid the groundwork for your website with an excellent SEO strategy and all the green ticks are in place, it’s time to go nuts with PPC. If not, you’re never too late. And if it’s really not your bag, luckily it’s ours.

Next steps…

If this means you’re ready to start running PPC campaigns, your next steps are coming up.

Before we begin, it’s absolutely crucial you’ve got your customer personas in order. While some marketers are satisfied to go ahead without, we at DPC+UP really believe they’re an essential part of the best practice process. After all, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you tailor your campaign to speak to them?

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like us, we do the “hard work” identifying the best channels. To achieve this, we look at the following factors of your target audience:
The sites they use
What media they consume
What motivates them to convert

Personas in place, here’s your checklist of what to consider:

#1 What do you want to achieve?

We are firm believers that you must start with your goals before you can plan your campaign. It just makes sense.

#2 What channels are best for you

Once you’ve established your goals and you have researched where your personas “hang out”, it’s time to identify the best channels for your campaign. PPC isn’t restricted to Google, y’know:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook (and Instagram!)
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Bing

And those are just the well known ones!

#3 What formats lend themselves best to your campaign?

There’s so much to consider. Will you take advantage of multichannel, multimedia campaigns, or will you keep things simple? A PPC specialist will be able to help make recommendations for what formats to incorporate into your campaign. But to give you a toppling idea of what’s available, there’s:

You can read about what they are and when to use them here.

#4 Campaign essentials

While the devil is in the detail, let’s keep things concise here. The next five factors of your campaign will be the cornerstone of its success:

  • Keywords
  • Landing page quality
  • Creative (both visuals and ad copy)
  • Quality score (Google grades this based on your ads relevance, CTR and UX on your landing page)
  • Split ad groups

Don’t have the resource?

Whether its time or expertise you’re running short on, that’s what we’re here for. We pride ourselves on being a friendly extension of your team, rather than a pretentious agency that makes everyone feel inadequate.

If you’re considering your next steps, leave us your details and we’ll be in touch to help. Whether its your SEO strategy, helping run your PPC campaigns or anything else within the digital marketing realm.

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How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

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How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

Ahh blogs. One of those necessary parts of your website that often gets de-prioritised, but helps contribute to your SEO rankings immensely. Not to mention the part it plays in driving web traffic. Whether you’re already at it, using a freelancer or considering the worth of starting (and maintaining) a blog, this one right here is for you!

It can be tricky to know how to get the best out of your content creation efforts. How do you know if you’re covering the “right” topics? How long should they be? Is there a magic formula that makes them even better? Kind of. It’s not a science as such but there are some factors that separate the good from the ugly.

All about personas!

We bloody love a persona here at DPC+UP. Aside from being super helpful to make sure all your sales and marketing teams are aligned on your target market, they’re great for helping you write. Whether that’s email and social media campaigns, ads or web content.

Think about your best customers. How do they behave? What makes them tick? And importantly, how do they engage with you? It’s important to know this, so you know what language to use without alienating one way or another.

Think about:

  • Their job title and their experience
  • How hands on are they?
  • How did they find you? (e.g. Google, social media, trade show, recommendation)
  • Do they read emails, prefer a phone call or are they following your every move on social media?
  • What are their frustrations, and importantly, how do you solve them?
  • What are their key motivators?
  • Are they super professional and only talk necessary business, or have you built a more friendly rapport?

Where to begin: planning your content topics

As always, let’s circle back to the Rosetta Stone of your marketing: your SEO strategy. Consult your keywords. Explore Google Search Console to see what queries drive traffic to your website. If you need a starting point for inspiration, look at what your competitors are doing and also online tools like AnswerThePublic and Google Trends.

This is only part of the planning process though. You’ll also want to think about your service clusters for what you do. If you haven’t yet identified these, have a look at how we recommend planning them.

The anatomy of top performing articles

Here’s where some of the tried-and-tested science comes into play. While a lot of your content success will rely on a combination of planning and distribution, a good chunk also lies in the structure.

This epic infographic from SEMrush covers the top five areas to consider. With the data of over 700,000 articles under their belt and microscope, the findings are certainly worth factoring in next time you hit the keyboard.

The Key Findings

Longreads of 3000+ words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).

Shorter articles (300-900 words) have zero shares 4.5 times more often than long reads of 3000+ words.

Articles with long headlines (14+ words) get 2x more traffic, 2x more shares, and 5x more backlinks than articles with short headlines (7-10 words).

Articles with list headlines (those that start with a number like “N things…”, “N ways…”, etc.) get 2x more traffic and 2x more social shares than other types, followed by guides and “how-to” articles.

36% of articles with H2+H3 tags have higher performance in terms of traffic, shares, and backlinks.

Articles with 5 lists per 500 words compared to articles with no lists get 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares.

The anatomy of top performing articles

And drilling down further into their point made about how content length impacts performance, here’s another visual for you!

Content length: impact on performance

Evergreen content is the MVP

So we’ve covered how to inform your content topics and the anatomy of the ideal blog… but what else should you consider? Evergreen content. Topics that will be around for the long-haul. Good old reliable content that you can reuse, repurpose and not feel overly worried about it becoming horrendously dated.

What is evergreen content?

Think about what is an on-going topic for your industry. For us, it’s how-to and best practice guides for digital marketing. It should answer the age-old questions that don’t hugely change (although it’s good to review and update your evergreen articles when required, as search engines also appreciate that).

For example, compare these two graphs.

#1 How to start a blog

How to start a blog: interest over time

#2 Christmas cake recipe

Christmas cake recipe: interest over time

The How to start a blog graph shows a fairly consistent level of search over time. There aren’t any major spikes or flat-lines. Whereas the Christmas cake recipe spikes and goes flat consistently.

Maximising the value of your evergreen content

Evergreen content is great for many reasons. Let’s examine:

#1 SEO rankings

Of course, one thing that’s always on our mind is Google. It’s the apple of our eye. If you plan with your keywords properly, it should rank competitively in search engines, driving consistent and frequent traffic to your site.

#2 Driving traffic from email and social media

The beauty of using email and social media as drivers for traffic is that you only need a small summary before the link. No one expects (or wants!) to read the entire article on page, the entire purpose it to win that click through (without being considered click bait).

We often recommend when planning for this type of content sharing to pin-point the key take aways. You might want to look at the subheadings within the blog, for ease of example. From there you could easily have around 3 – 5 pulls that you can reuse over time.

#3 It keeps its value

Because you can keep reusing this type of content, it holds its value better. Particularly if it drives quality traffic to your website.

There’s still room for contextual content!

While we do think evergreen content is valuable, we’re all about that ecosystem. And when it comes to blogs, yours should be a good mix of relevant, contextual content (e.g. industry updates, trends and what’s relevant right now) and those reliable evergreen articles.

So you have a blog, what next?

It’s time to distribute! Make sure you are taking advantage of UTM tracking on all links you share, as this will help attribute source, medium and campaign in Google Analytics. Our favourite online tool to build these links easily is the Google Analytics Campaign URL builder.

N.B If you run email marketing campaigns, your provider should already have link tracking set, but it is worth checking!

#1 Social media

It’s more than just copying and pasting a link and hitting share. You need to think about what your post is going to be: what’s the one key take away you want to promote from this blog? (and if there’s more than one, excellent, that means you can share again in a few weeks).

What’s more, make sure you’re taking advantage of things like hashtags (where relevant) and tagging associated contributors or colleagues.

#2 Your lead nurture campaigns

If you’re not yet on the marketing automation bandwagon, here’s some food for thought. If you have an active blog (or are thinking of starting one), building an email funnel is a great way to distribute the content you’re already in the habit of creating.

If this marketing channel is new to you, check out our blog on building a compliant database and our five steps to email marketing success.

Our inbound marketing 101 blog covers off exactly what you need to do to build a successful journey, the types of content to use at each stage of the funnel.

Keep putting your blog on the back burner?

Let’s face it, sometimes there are bigger fish to fry than sitting down to plan and write a couple of thousand words. You know it, and we certainly do. Hell, this is one of the key reasons a digital marketing agency like us exists! So if you need a helping hand planning your content strategy, producing blogs, campaigns and the like, let us know. We will be more than happy to discuss over a (digital) cuppa.

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marketing in a recession

Marketing in a recession

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Marketing in a recession

There’s a lot going on right now. A lot. In fact, let’s not even delve into the shitstorm that has been 2020. There’s a trend of uncertainty, which does make us all feel more conscious of where and how we’re spending our money (professionally and personally). Now more than ever, we’re striving for quality and maximising our budgets.

First things first…

Yes, we all want to get the best possible price, no one wants to be overcharged. But keep in mind that:

good + cheap = slow

good + fast = expensive

fast + cheap = more often than not, crap

good fast cheap

We’re more present, especially online

One minute we’re all at the pub or having a BBQ with family and friends… the next we are cringing at the return of Zoom quizzes, as we strive for any kind of social interaction outside of our own four walls. One thing’s for sure right now: we’re online more than ever before.

While saying “take advantage of it” seems tasteless, it’s true. Your audience are in theory easier to reach than usual. But word to the wise, it’s essential to get your messaging on point. Be sensitive to the current climate and national mood.

The people want guidance!

It’s time to step up and present yourself as a leader in your industry. Your customers want guidance on how they can work smarter, not harder. And marketing is your best way to execute that.

At this time, some businesses are dubious about marketing. You often need to spend money to make money, whether that’s through resource or advertising (or experts that can cover projects out of your remit).

“It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term.”

(M. Riston, 2020, Marketing Week)

These are words to live by. We’ve survived recessions before now, and while this one looks a little different, we can make it out of this one too. But to do so, we need to be present, and marketing is how we keep our business present.

Marketing is not a switch; it’s an engine

If you read our blogs, you’ll know we love analogies. They’re great explainers. Here’s a great one for this very situation. Marketing is an engine. It becomes more efficient the more we harness it, and harness it well. If it’s stop-start constantly, it’ll haemorrhage money.

Where to spend and why

Your focal areas will very much depend on what you do already, where your ideal customers tend to discover you, and of course, you budget. So let’s have a look:

Your SEO strategy

Regardless of what you do, as a company and your marketing strategy (or lack thereof), SEO is top of the list of priorities. After all, if you’re not being discovered online, what’s the point?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, in a nutshell is making sure you are visible on Google. It’s a combination of knowing what keywords your website visitors are using to find you, and creating content to answer those queries and build a reputation.

The key to note, is that it’s an ongoing process that includes a mezze of ingredients to cook up a recipe for success (see, I said we love an analogy):

  • content creation (which is a role in itself…)
  • link building
  • an active social media presence (yep, another person to the team)
  • technical stuff like site speed, scripts… (and throw in a developer for good measure)

You get the idea, there’s a lot that goes into it. It can seem daunting if you don’t have a team with the experience in these areas, but that’s where agencies like us can help. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Whether you want to tackle some of it yourself, or just brush up on your understanding, here are two (hopefully) helpful guides:

#1 A best practice introduction to SEO

#2 How to develop a winning SEO strategy

Content creation

Next up is content creation. And no, you don’t have to be replicating dance videos on TikTok or be an expert in animation to do this (but if that’s your bag, go wild).

Firstly, fresh content feeds into your SEO rankings. Google loves it. Whether that’s creating brand new articles, portfolio pieces etc., or refreshing older pages.

Secondly, good quality content helps position you as a leader in your area of expertise. Talk about what you do, how you can make your customers and leads lives easier, show off how you have remedied your customers woes. You get it.

Your website

It’s no longer the passive shop window to your business. If optimised to it’s full potential, your website can be your best performing salesperson, servicing your business 24/7. But to achieve that, you need to invest resource and budget.

Consider, does you website need a refresh or redesign?

A refresh includes looking at the functionality, user journey, user experience and subtle tweaks where necessary to your branding. This could be through the use of colours, fonts and imagery.

An entire redesign would also look at rebranding. A complete overhaul of your company’s look and feel, messaging, personas, tone of voice. The whole shebang.

Both can feel equally daunting, particularly if you or your stakeholders are attached to how things look at the moment. But it’s important to consider if it’s working for you. Consider:

  • are you generating quality leads?
  • what’s the typical user journey on your website?
  • what keywords are you ranking for, and are they relevant?
  • is anything broken on your website?grayce mobile optimised website

Find out how we helped Grayce refresh their website.

What are you doing with your website leads?

It’s all well and good to get plenty of website visitors, but what happens next?

A well planned out inbound marketing strategy is crucial to converting leads into paying customers. Mapping out the process from website visit through to activation may take some time, but it’s worth doing.

When broken down into steps, you’ll want to identify the following:

  • your ideal customer personas
  • the content channels that they engage best with
  • how to nurture them from prospects to hot leads, ready to convert

What about inbound marketing vs. paid advertising? Both have their pros and cons, and a successful digital marketing strategy will use a balance of the two. For instance, inbound or organic content is a great foundation to building consideration.

Whereas paid (or ads) are great for driving awareness and boosting conversion. They do this by reaching targeted leads who are further down the sales funnel, ready to make a decision.

Mum&You social media advertising facebook

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

Social media

Let’s not forget social media. An extension of your website, focussed on the community that follows it, social media is top of the league when it comes to raising awareness, driving consideration, and boosting engagement. But only when it’s done well.

Again, a strategy is paramount. You’ll need to consider if your tone of voice needs adapting to fit the audience who use that particular channel (think how you might choose to be more professional on LinkedIn vs. the more accepted colloquialisms on Instagram).

It’s so much more than just sticking a few links on Facebook. If you want to be successful, it’s an entire role, filled by an experienced marketeer. You’ll need to understand how algorithms work to maximise organic reach, how to manage a community (think crisis management) and of course, an always on approach.

And that’s not even scratching the surface of what you can achieve if you put budget behind it…

PPC

Last, but by no means least, is PPC (pay per click). Ideal for quick results, paid campaigns give your website visitors a boost by directing highly targeted leads. You can run your ads across a range of platforms including:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Bing

…and more!

While it does seem to be a magic wand to generate leads, you need to make sure your marketing ecosystem is healthy. Directing engaged leads who have intention to a website with poor content, broken links and a rubbish journey is a recipe for disaster.

Ultimately, it’s down to your analytics

There’s a great divide between data driven marketers and those who are… well, less excited by numbers, shall we say. Regardless of your stance, it’s absolutely necessary to keep track of performance. Not only because it’s good to have an idea of what’s really going on with your marketing, but also as it helps you to understand what to do to plug the gaps and convert more leads!

Do you need a helping hand?

From time to time we could all do with an extra pair of hands on a project. Whether it’s that you don’t have the expertise, resource or simply enough hours in the day! We can help you. Whether it is content creation, marketing automation, website design, digital advertising, print design… you name it, we’ve got an expert for that!

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The ideal marketing eco-system to bolster your success

The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

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The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

As an agency, our clients often ask us what should I focus my marketing efforts on? As predicted, the answer is not as clear cut as that. It depends heavily on what you’re already doing, what’s working out well and where you need to plug the gaps.

An ecosystem for marketing, you say?

There absolutely is a marketing ecosystem. You need to nurture ground-level work before you can ascend to tall forests… Or something similar. It’s about getting the balance right. Mastering some basics. Walk before you can run type of stuff. But what does that even mean?

Marketing Qualified Leads = Sales Qualified Leads

Most of us are familiar with sales funnels, but what about the marketing channels that power the leads through them. This great diagram from The Marketing Blender simplifies the process into two stages: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), and the content silos that are most effective at driving success.

marketing qualified leads > sales qualified leads

Let’s get planning!

When your website was built, chances are you worked on a user journey through the content. But over time this can become cluttered and need a bit of TLC. If your website is particularly old, you might want to consider refreshing it to bolster your lead generation and nurture processes.

MQLs need to be directed to your website before they can qualify as SQLs. But we’d urge you to work backwards on this process.

#1 Identify your service clusters

Of course you know what you sell, but have you identified the product/service clusters? There are likely to be areas that fit into groups. For example, our clusters are: web, digital and creative.

Once you’ve identified these, it’s time to work through your website. And essentially tag the pages that are most relevant to each.

#2 Journey planning

So you know your service clusters, and you’ve tagged your pages to fit into each. It’s now time to think about the content journey:

  • Intrigue (blogs, videos, hints and tips)
  • Discover (whitepapers, guides, resources)
  • Consider (product features, case studies)
  • Decide (pricing, demos, sales interactions)

You can read more about the content structure for lead nurture processes in depth here.

#3 Is your content up to scratch?

Analyse your pages and look at your conversion and bounce rates. How are those stats in particular looking? Chances are, if your conversion rate is low, and your bounce rate high, you need to address the content. Working with a UX specialist and content marketing specialist may help you identify what needs to change.

#4 Are you ready to start driving traffic?

If you’re happy with your service clusters, content mapping and journey plans, you’re ready to begin. If you’re not happy with these, don’t worry – we can help!

What are my options?

Once you’ve ticked everything off the list above, it’s time to start looking at your options to drive leads:

SEO is the foundation of your website, so this should always be high up on your list of priorities. Along with fresh content, it provides consistent, long-term results.

Social media and press releases will feed into your traffic, bolstering your efforts consistently, provided you maintain an active presence. You’ll need to identify a strategy behind these in order to get the best success.

Lastly, PPC will likely give you the quickest results. That said, you must be sure that you’ve set up your ads correctly, otherwise it’ll fall flat.

marketing channels effectiveness over time

How should I prioritise these?

Your marketing ecosystem needs strong roots to weather storms. It also needs a strong base in order for you to fully optimise it to reach your nirvana state.

  • Content & SEO are the key drivers, without these, your campaigns are gutless.
  • Social media (and PR to an extent) only work if you sustain the input. It’s no good to be super active for a month and then let it all go. You need to build trust, reliability and consistency.
  • PPC is great when you need a boost. So long as you have a goal in mind, you’re golden. But you’ll need quality content to get more bang for your buck. Remember, Google assigns a quality score to campaigns. This is based on the relevance of your ads keywords, the landing page content and user experience (e.g. bounce rates and conversions).

But wait, there’s more!

Oh, there’s always more. This diagram helps break down the activities even further. Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider this checklist as the next steps:

marketing ecosystem: seo, content, social media, targetted

I don’t have the time!

It’s a delicate balance making sure that your marketing ecosystem is optimised for success. Yet most of us are time poor when it comes to starting additional projects at the moment. Whether it’s additional resource or expertise, we’ve got you covered. Working with a digital marketing agency need not feel like you’re treading on anyone’s toes or replacing anyone. We like to think of ourselves as an extension of your team.

Have a chat with us to see how and where we can help you achieve marketing excellence.

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A best practice introduction to SEO

A best practice introduction to SEO

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A best practice introduction to SEO
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A best practice introduction to SEO

What is SEO?

In the simplest of terms, SEO (or search engine optimisation) is an on-going process that helps make your website visible in Google. There are a few components that impact how well your website performs, which we will delve into in this best practice guide.

On page / off page

On-page SEO generally includes factors like:

  • Page titles and headings
  • Images
  • Meta descriptions and tags
  • URL
  • Fast-loading pages
  • High-quality and regularly updated content
  • Internal linking

Off-page SEO really comes down to one major factor, which is high-quality backlinks to your site. The more of these you can get, the better, but, at the end of the day, it’s really more about quality than quantity because you want backlinks from sites with higher domain-authority ratings.

And of course, there’s technical – which is often best to get an expert of developer in to help with.

How to develop your strategy

First and foremost, we recommend consulting your customer personas to analyse if the “right” people are visiting your website. Following that, we look at what your website is currently ranking for.

Once you know this, it’s time to create your SEO strategy, which could look like this:

#1 Define your focus keywords for every single page on your website. Once you’ve done this, optimise the content on that page to include those keywords.

#2 Make sure all your pages have a word count of at least 500 words.

#3 Improve meta data for your pages and make sure all images have alt tags.

Next:

#1 If your keyword research shows users are looking for answers to questions, use this in your content plan. Write articles, create infographics and videos. Generally creating a good mix of content that helps answer the common questions.

#2 Similarly, if there are other keywords you want your site to rank for but they don’t fit into your core pages, content like this is an excellent way to start attracting users to your site.

SEO and blogging

According to Hubspot, B2B companies with an active blog generate 67% more leads every month than those without! That said, not all blog content is created equally. You need to align your topics with research. Look at the keywords and phrases that your website visitors are using to land on your website.

Using something like Google’s keyword planner is a great tool to help here. It can help elaborate on the keywords used, but also suggest similar and related searches, as well as ‘people also ask’.

As well as this, planning a user journey for your website will help. A mix of internal and credible external links will help bolster your SEO efforts.

What’s a blog (or website, for that matter) without imagery? Boring! But what’s an image without an alt tag? Not good. Make sure all images you upload to your website have an alt tag that’s descriptive, and better yet, optimised for the content it compliments. Think about the blog title or exactly what it’s showing if it’s a diagram.

What about backlinks?

Backlinks are links from a page on one website to another. If someone links to your site, then you have a backlink from them. If you link to another website, then they have a backlink from you.

So, because the definition of a backlink we’ve used links back to ahrefs website, they now have a backlink from us.

Ok, why are these little links so important? Three key reasons:

#1 They boost your rankings in search.

#2 They make you more ‘discoverable’ as search engines constantly scan for new content, so if you’re mentioned in someone else’s new blog, you’re up there with them.

#3 They create referral traffic if clicked.

How do I get backlinks??

Create. Earn. Build. Ok, that’s not very helpful.

Earned

These are organic backlinks, so that could be someone sharing your blog on social media or similar, without any prompts from you. They’ve simply discovered your content and want to share it.

Created

This could be like a business directory, replying to a forum or commenting on a blog and leaving your website details in your signature.

Built

Backlink building is when you get in touch with other website owners and ask for them to link to your page. This could be a guest blog, a replacement link for one that’s broken, finding mentions of your company that aren’t linked etc.

It’s key to clarify the value proposition though, as there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

If you’d like to know more about backlinks, the gang at SEMrush have created this awesome guide.

9 Best Practice Tips

Here are nine solid tips to help:

#1 Align your content with search

When you look at the search queries that have driven traffic to your website, factor this into new content. Look to solve the queries that are coming in (e.g. how to improve your SEO > write a blog on SEO improvements).

#2 Optimise your title tags and meta description

Here’s something we always bang on about when we audit websites. Every page of your website has a title and a description. It’s all well and good having something reasonably generic there, but if you optimise it with keywords that visitors actually use, it’s so much better!

According to Google:

Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.

A meta description tag should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

#3 Optimise images

There are a few steps at play here:

  1. Choosing the best file type for your image to maximise page load times and website speed

Remember: JPGs are better for photos and PNGs are better if it’s a diagram, contains text or is a vector

  1. Compressing your images before you upload
  2. Making sure you have alt text for all images! (And think about describing what the purpose is, so perhaps the blog title)

#4 Maximise your page load speed

The good folks at Google have a PageSpeed Insights web app that analyses your website load speed for free, and gives some recommendations. Though, unless you’re an expert, this is best handed over to your website developer.

#5 Your internal linking structure

By creating an internal linking structure, you’re influencing the journey your website visitors take. If done well, it can improve session time and pages per session, which combined boosts your rankings.

#6 Review user experience

Imagine walking into a store and not being able to find what you’re looking for. Let’s think about supermarket structures. You’d expect to find fruit and vegetables together, chilled in one section etc. You’d be totally confused if you found ice cream with cleaning products… that’s if you found it at all. Your website is the same. Think. It. Through.

#7 URL structure and keywords

Google says: 

A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organising your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).

#8 Building authoritative backlinks

In short, Google see’s backlinks as guarantors of the internet. The more, quality backlinks you have, the more confidence.

#9 Create long-form content

According to research conducted by SEMrush:

Long-form articles (posts with 3000+ words) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).

For that reason, you should aim at publishing 1-2 thoroughly researched, long-form articles that include helpful information to Google users.

Content length impact on performance

Summary

SEO is a never-ending work of art. There’s always a tweak here, something to optimise there, and of course, well informed content to publish somewhere. If the thought of it all makes your head spin, or you simply don’t have the time, let us help you! Fill out your details below and one of the DPC gang will be in touch.

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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

By Blog posts, Creative
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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

Chances are high that even if you don’t have your own brand guide for your business, you’re familiar with the concept. And while the concept of “becoming a brand” might not be something senior stakeholders are ready to buy into, let us assure you that brand identity isn’t just for consumer products.

What is a brand guide?

Exactly what it sounds like. A set of guidelines on how to apply your logo to any visual assets. What fonts and colours to use, and the tone of voice and language.

Put simply, it’s a dummies guide to creating marketing collateral. It should make your job much easier if working with a creative or digital marketing agency. Your brand guide should immerse them into your company.

What should it include:

  • An overview of your brand’s past, present and future, its personality and values
  • Your message or mission statement, plus examples of how to apply these
  • Tone of voice with examples of language and keywords to use in campaigns
  • Your logo and how to use it (e.g. on black, white, transparent backgrounds and spacing)
  • Your colour palette
  • Fonts and variations
  • Your buyer personas
  • Visual styles (photography, graphics)
  • Guidelines for social media presence (e.g. use of logo on images, any adaptations to tone of voice/language)
  • Design guides for email
  • Design guides for ads

Paradox Parlours visual tile brandingFour reasons why

#1 Build recognition, awareness and drive consideration

Recognition leads to awareness, which drives consideration. Yep. So it’s important that your brand looks consistent across all touch points, digital and print. If something looks off, it could erode the trust your leads were building and lose you future sales.

#2 Consistency: this is who you are

When a customer knows what to expect, they feel comfortable. And when they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to spend money. Imagine if a well-respected, scientific brand were to randomly use Comic Sans. Without good reason, it is jarring and something feels almost sinister.

#3 Maintain professionalism and identity

Visuals aren’t about creating a pretty picture. They build powerful campaigns. Trust. Authority. Recognition. Your customers and leads alike, will come to expect a certain standard from your business. That standard covers service as well as appearance.

#4 In-house or agency = we’re all in this together

If you work with a digital marketing agency or freelancers, time is money. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time with unclear briefs or leaving things open for interpretation. Not only will you have endless change requests, but a job that could’ve taken a couple of hours could lapse into days.

Working creatively with innocent

We work with the internal design team at innocent on their packaging. They send us their creative concepts, and we help make that into the finalised end result. Care, attention and understanding are crucial. A tight set of brand guidelines helps us achieve this without a disconnect between what’s created in-house and what’s created at our creative agency.

innocent packaging

Helping establish Mum&You

When we first starting working with Mum&You, they hadn’t yet launched in the UK. The project was about building an exciting, premium brand in the parenting category.

As a fledgling brand, it was essential to present a consistent image across all the touch points. We built their e-commerce website and a series of digital campaigns for Google Adwords and social media.

Summary

Branding is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and highlights your promise. If you’re stuck for inspiration and feel like your visuals could do with a boost, let’s have a chat. Our creative team has a wealth of experience working on a range of exciting brands, both established, spanking new and all those between.

Fill out your details below and we will be in touch

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Is it time to refresh my branding?

By Blog posts, Creative
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Is it time to refresh my branding?

Refreshing or rebranding is not a small job. There’s finding the right creative agency who not only specialises in branding, but whose approach resonates.

Then there’s aligning and replacing all the visuals once the job is complete. And this is without even mentioning having to get buy in from senior stakeholders. Some of whom might be rather attached to the current branding…

Measuring your brands performance is similar to analysing your website. The two ultimately go hand-in-hand as the power couple of your marketing. It’s the face and personality of your business.

Before we begin, it’s a good time to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to rebrand?
  • What don’t I like about my current branding?
  • What has to stay?
  • Could a brand represent us better to our customers?

Reassessing your brand can supercharge your marketing

Ensuring your branding is consistent across all touchpoints helps build your reputation. Having a strong reputation drives consideration. Simple.

Perhaps your branding hasn’t had any attention in a long time.

A few simple updates can transform future campaigns into powerhouses that deliver quality leads. Our clients at Grayce found this to be true, after we modernised their branding. This included reviewing their personas, tone of voice, logo and colour palette. Oh, and we rebuilt their website too, helping to making the migration from old to new, painless!

Grayce brand guides images

Refresh vs. Rebrand

When you’re looking at changing things up, there are two options: refresh or rebrand. But what’s the difference?

A refresh is modernising what’s already there:

  • Changing your fonts
  • Updating your colour palettes
  • Tweaking your tone of voice and messaging

All the while maintaining your mission, position and offering.

A rebrand is starting from scratch. Logo, fonts, colours, tone of voice, personas, visuals. Even what you focus on with your services and products.

A total overhaul is undertaken if the brand identity:

  • Isn’t generating leads
  • Has confusing messages
  • No longer represents the company’s mission

Either way, a new brand guide is necessary.

A creative agency will be able to audit your existing branding. This thorough analysis will include researching your buyer personas and your competitors. This is crucial to make sure you can work together to create something with impact but is still appropriate for your business and industry.

Google's logo over the years

Take the plunge

Perhaps some of these ring true for your marketing performance:

You’re not generating enough leads but you’ve already reviewed your strategy and website

  • You’re blending in with your competitors
  • The company has changed since your branding was last updated/created
  • It’s inconsistent across various marketing channels
  • You have reassessed and it’s time to try and attract different/new customers

Temporary updates

From time to time, brands adapt their logo and visuals to embrace an event, season or a company milestone.

It’s important that when these changes are made, even though temporary, they are still consistent with your brand.

If this is something you would want to take into consideration when refreshing or rebranding, discuss this with your design agency.

For example, you might want to celebrate:

  • Charity affiliation
  • Company milestone (e.g. 25 years in business)
  • Something seasonal that is relevant to your customers
  • Celebrating your staff, for example with Pride month

Pride logos 2020

What happens next?

It’s important to introduce your new branding to your customers and leads alike. It stops confusion and helps them to recognise you in the brand landscape going forward.

You can relaunch your branding in a few stages over many different digital channels. We recommend emailing your customers so that they won’t miss the update. If you have changed what you do or your focus, this is a great time to explain what and why.

A relaunch content strategy can be deployed via social media. Before changing your profile and cover photos, consider posting about the change. A digital marketing agency with experience in design will be able to make recommendations based on your audience.

Summary

You may meet some resistance along the way, but armed with research, you can prove your theory. If you can prove how your brand isn’t performing, it’ll have a much deeper impact than “it looks dated”. Which of course can also be reason enough.

Working with a creative design agency like us will help you scope out your requirements. Consider if you want to completely rebrand, or is a refresh enough?

As always, make sure you take into consideration your personas. Keep in mind branding is so much more than a logo! It’s colours, fonts, language and tone. And above all, your brand is your promise.

If you’d like to discuss your burning branding questions, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

By Blog posts, Digitisation
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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

Behind every successful website is a thoroughly planned SEO strategy. Think of it as the central nervous system of your websites body. Without it, nothing happens. Come to think of it, without it, you’re kind of screwed!

It’s all well and good creating content and pushing it using inbound marketing, but if you’re not showing up on Google, you’re missing a trick. And yet many marketers don’t truly understand (or appreciate) how SEO works and try to get around it. This quick blog aims to help you develop a basic understanding to creating a winning SEO strategy, whether you want to do it in-house or with a content creation agency.

Who’s looking at your content and who should be looking

Personas should be at the forefront of every project. After all, there’s no use creating anything if you don’t know who it is for, and your website is no different.

If you’ve not created a persona before, consider it like this: who is your ideal customer? It can be based on an existing customer that you have the best relationship with (in terms of how well you work together as much as projects and value). You can find out more about creating them here.Flexgenius mobile responsive website

Once you’ve agreed on your personas, think about what search terms you want your business to be found with.

Start by creating a list of twenty words you would use in a search engine to find your business (don’t worry if you don’t currently show on the first page of Google for these!).

Next step: what are your personas searching for to find your business. Repeat the process but this time thinking of twenty words you think they’d use. Ask colleagues from other departments as chances are they will have different ideas.

Finally, pull them together side by side. You may find two very different list. Ultimately this research should help you link the two, creating a unified approach. We used this very process when working with our client Flex Genius, merging their top level keywords with their brand messaging.

When we’re working with our clients, we refer to this as what do you want to be famous for? Or rather, how do you want to be found online.

What are you currently ranking for?

Once you’ve made your guesses, it’s time to look at the data. This step will reveal what you are actually found for. SEO tools will help you do this, in particular you’ll want to analyse:

  • Search volumes for each keyword
  • Who is currently ranking for those keywords
  • How difficult it is to rank on page one for your desired keywords

While this can seem rather dry and uninspiring, the results may surprise you. You could find some really interesting keywords you’d not previously considered using. Or even that your personas are using completely different searches to find you.

Once you’ve had a chance to review, analyse and digest this data, it’s time to make note of what you’ve learnt. Is it the direction you want to take your website or is it time to start afresh. A full service marketing agency, like us, can be a great help to steer you in the best direction.

What’s next?

Your improvements can be split into two areas: content and technical SEO.

Content SEO

This is all about making sure all your web content is optimised for search. So this isn’t just blogs but literally every single page of your website.

Technical SEO

The clue is in the title here, as this area is the technical set up of your website. It covers page speed, mobile responsiveness, the way your website has been built, and much more. But all will affect your technical score for SEO.

The basics of your strategy

You’ll need to:

#1 Define your focus keywords for every single page on your website. Once you’ve done this, optimise the content on that page to include those keywords.

#2 Make sure all your pages have a word count of at least 500 words.

#3 Improve meta data for your pages and make sure all images have alt tags.

Next:

#1 If your keyword research shows users are looking for answers to questions, use this in your content plan. Write articles, create infographics and videos. Generally creating a good mix of content that helps answer the common questions.

#2 Similarly, if there are other keywords you want your site to rank for but they don’t fit into your core pages, content like this is an excellent way to start attracting users to your site.

Keep in mind that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world after Google. So video content which is optimised on YouTube can be a lucrative part of your SEO strategy!

Summary

In essence, good SEO work is continuous. You have to nurture your website, which means regular (read: monthly) reporting, health checks and of course, feeding it new content.

If you’re not sure where you stand with your SEO strategy, or perhaps it’s not your niche, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to help.

Get in touch

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