Four things we learnt at BrightonSEO

Web and Digital Team attends Brighton SEO May 2018

On Thursday, the Shorthose digital team made their way down to the south coast along with 3,500 other digital enthusiasts for the biannual search-marketing conference, BrightonSEO.

The night before the main event, DeepCrawl organised a karaoke pre-party. If you thought a group of digital marketers were going to be shy when it came to getting in front of the mic, you would be 100% wrong. Apparently singing and SEO goes hand in hand, and pretty much everyone who took the stage nailed it.

The next morning, we headed along to the Brighton Centre feeling refreshed and ready to hear from some of SEO’s brightest voices. Our plan was to divide and conquer; with six different sessions running at any one time through the day, there was a lot to take in. We always want to provide our clients with the best service we can, so we were keen to hear about what’s new. Read on for our four main takeaways.

Content isn’t one size fits all

One of the first talks we went along to was Marcus Tober’s ‘Content for the Moments That Matter’.

While best practices might involve markup, longer word counts and multimedia, Marcus spoke about how important it was to know your niche, and tailor your content accordingly. Different ranking factors should be considered based on your industry, and what people are actually looking for when they search your terms. A video might be perfect for the fitness industry, Schema is invariable in the top-ranking recipe pages, and divorce content will be long form and factual, a video is just not appropriate here.

Just as you’d change the tone used based on your audience when you write, you should adapt your SEO plans based on your industry.

Mobile first matters (officially)

It is more common to browse via a mobile device than it is a desktop computer. Google are now officially rolling out mobile first indexing. You will get a notification via Search Console once your site has been migrated but, interestingly, not one of the 600 plus SEOs in the room had seen this yet. This means mobile optimisation is more important than ever before. For the last year and a half, we’ve known that mobile first indexing was coming, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. That said, a number of sites still don’t use best practices.

Ideally, your site should be fully responsive, meaning everything scales for optimal user experience depending on the device. You’ll use the same URL, and there won’t be any content that can’t be accessed on mobile. If you’re not already prepared for mobile indexing, then your search ranking could be negatively impacted by the change (and the reverse is true if your site is amazing on mobile and your competition’s is terrible). If you haven’t already, it’s time to fully audit your site, making sure that it renders correctly on all screen sizes. Compare structural performance indicators such as follow links, average load times, duplicate tags and average word lengths. If you have an older site which isn’t ready, it might be time for a rebuild.

Cleaning up your content

One of the themes we noticed across several different talks was the importance of auditing and cleaning up your content. Crawls are finite, and by filling your site with content which isn’t useful or engaging (or worse still, isn’t unique) you are wasting your crawl quota. It’s never been easier to make content, but it’s never been harder to gain attention for it.

Making use of canonicals, correct HTTP status codes and reviewing all your content to make sure it’s not duplicate will make your site stronger. Using synonyms and changing the odd sentence won’t be worth your time; you might as well write something fresh. It might feel painful to prune articles from your site, but it is necessary. Work through every page logically; tools like copyscape.com can help identify where text has been used in the same order.

Local links matter

Greg Gifford’s talks are always excellent, and this year’s session on granular link building was no different. The focus was local links with real-world value and how to obtain them, rather than spending huge amounts of time and resource trying to gain a strong profile of high authority follow links.

Sponsorships, offering space for meet-up groups, and giving exclusive discounts can all be great ways to gain a local link profile, and it’s something businesses of any size can do. Think about your contacts in and out of work; they’re all possibilities. Sometimes you’ll just need a quick chat with your contacts.

Defining marketing in the digital age – introducing M3

M3 Modern Marketing Model

“The increase in new channels and technologies has dramatically changed the environment in which marketers operate. But the way in which marketing is taught, understood and operates has not really changed. This is not sustainable. We need a new unifying framework as a reference for what marketing has become,” Ashley Friedlein, Founder of Econsultancy.

This is the news that marketers have received from Econsultancy in their latest report which is set to shake up traditional marketing models used by marketers and businesses.

The Modern Marketing Model (M3) aims to define marketing in the digital age by unifying traditional and digital marketing disciplines which will inform marketing’s remit, required competencies and organisational design.

What are the objectives of M3?

– Answer the question “What is marketing?” now we’re in the digital age.
– Change and improve how marketing is taught and understood both in academia and in the workplace.
– To unite existing different models and elements into one framework to fuse classic and digital marketing.
– Provide a model that covers not just the ‘marketing mix’ but other important areas like strategy and brand.
– Ensure the model works for everyone, not only large advertisers with big media spend but to be relevant for small organisations both product and service businesses and B2B and B2C.

Marketers, whether in-house- or agency side, have been embracing digital and classic marketing disciplines as one for some time but what we have been lacking is a professional industry model to standardise processes across the board.

Marketing professionals have been adopting new skills as the competencies and capabilities needed for marketing change. Data and analytics, customer experience and content are all areas of expertise acknowledged in the industry but not in any definitive model.

The Modern Marketing Model does not aim to create a brand-new vision of marketing processes but rather to clarify, structure and make more consistent areas of marketing used in modern times.

Here is M3

M3 - Diagram

Econsultancy have also provided a handy diagram to compare historic marketing models so we can see how they have evolved over the last sixty years, culminating in the ten elements of the Modern Marketing Model.

M3 - History

The report also demonstrates the reasons for change and where we can incorporate digital practices. Most significantly the addition of Data & Measurement as a core element which didn’t exist before and is now a marketing asset. The diagram below outlines the obvious changes that M3 brings and the reason behind them.

M3 - Changes marketing

M3 is a big development and a sign of the times in this rapidly changing industry. We would encourage all industry professionals to read the report which is extremely informative. The full report can be found here: www.m3.econsultancy.com

Now is the time to get serious ROI on social media

ROI on social media

If you’re serious about generating great returns on social media investments, then remarketing and building custom audiences is something you need to explore. It’s a fantastic way to reach people already interested in your business, as well as finding new audiences who could be, in a creative, engaging and effective way.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is the process of displaying ad content to people who have visited certain pages of a website or stages of the online conversion process. Think about the times you have been browsing various hotels on TripAdvisor and miraculously tailored ad content of those hotels has later appeared in your social feed – that’s remarketing.

Custom audiences

The general rule of digital advertising (and marketing as a whole) is better audience, better results. A custom audience is the term coined for the remarketing demographics which you generate on social media, using either your own data, data collated from tracking codes such as Facebook Pixel, or a combination of both. Common types of custom audiences include:

    • Website visitors

tracking of page visits by users logged into social platforms

    • Customer lists

data you already have, including email databases which can be uploaded and connected to profiles on social media

    • Lookalike audiences

generating new audiences by replicating the demographic profiling of existing customers or data segments (Facebook only – read on!)

    • Activity and engagement

building audiences based on those who have previously engaged with your content

    • Applications

targeting mobile application users

Let’s focus on Facebook

Facebook sets itself apart from the rest because of its incredible targeting abilities. You can reach people based on a whole host of demographic profiling including basic fields such as age, relationship status and location, but also more advanced categories such as an amazingly wide-range of granular interests and behaviours, including likely to scenarios, for example buying a house or car.

Facebook’s remarketing and custom audience capacities are also far superior to its competitors, with a wide-range of options and greater flexibility to test, trial and optimise multiple audiences within ad campaigns. We particularly like Lookalike Audiences. These are an ingenious way of creating new target audiences based on the demographics of your existing customers and/or data segments. For example, if you have a database of UK customers on Facebook, you can replicate their profiling data to likely matches in other countries to the closest 1%. Before you know it, you could have identified two million potential customers in France. Wow.

What do I need to get started on Facebook?

The first thing you need to do is install Facebook Pixel to your website. This will allow you to track website actions, measure results, creature audiences for remarketing and optimise ad campaigns.

You will also need to setup an Ad Account which you can manage in Business Manager.

Twitter and LinkedIn

If you’re B2B, LinkedIn could be your ticket to effective remarketing (or retargeting as they call it). Large volumes of relevant users can be reached through their advertising options, which include website remarketing, customer lists as well as the traditional profiling features of job type, industry/sector and competitor audiences. Four out of five LinkedIn users are claimed to drive business decisions, with over 73 million senior level influencers with a LinkedIn account – not to be ignored.

Twitter provides the core remarketing options of tracking website visits, mobile application users and building audiences using customer data. Although it hasn’t reached anywhere near the heights of Facebook, it can still provide an effective tool to reengage with its users and turn them into new or repeat customers.

Want to find out more? Drop us a line: info@thissrl.co.uk

Is less more as Twitter plans on increasing 140 character limit to 280?

Twitter plans on increasing 140 character limit to 280

Twitter, has announced its trialling longer character limits to help users ‘easily express themselves’.

It’s an interesting move by Twitter, as the 140-character limit is what makes the platform unique and sets it apart in the social media world. At the moment, tweets are currently 140-characters, with the trial doubling it to 280 characters for a small group of users.

The reason for the change

Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote, “Trying to cram your thoughts into a tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.” However, this isn’t a problem for everyone.

People tweeting in Japanese, Chinese and Korean can convey double the amount of information on one character leaving room to spare, whereas people tweeting in English, Spanish or French quickly run into the maximum limit.

Going from too short to too long?

One of Twitter’s greatest strengths as a marketing tool is that there is a high chance of people who begin reading a tweet will finish it. In a fast-paced digital world, attention spans are much likelier to wander over longer posts – with the average person looking at a tweet for only 2.92 seconds.

Brands could find engaging with users more difficult as well as reading and writing posts would take far longer.

What this means for marketers

Marketers should be focusing on captivating content and grabbing the attention of the audience through content and images rather than worrying about the longer character limit.

According to research, the ideal length for maximum Twitter engagement is actually between 71-100 characters achieving 17% higher engagement rates than longer tweets. Plus, it is a well-known fact that people engage more with visual content and with tweets that include images or videos are likely to received 150% more retweets than ones without.

In my opinion

I’m happy with the 140-character limit, if you cannot put your point across, then you are saying too much and filling it with information you do not need. I think it makes people think more, write more clearly, proof their posts and get straight to the point.

Be Better At Digital Visibility Norwich Workshop

Be Better At Digital Visibility March 2017

Join our digital experts as we host an interactive workshop with the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

Our aim is to educate and inspire businesses in the region so that they can walk away with the following:

  • An understanding of key digital trends for 2017
  • Actionable takeaways for website optimisation
  • Content strategy tips and paid social insights

The event will be hosted by Shorthose Russell’s very own Paul Edwards and Nathan Wadlow. Here’s a little about them:

Paul is our go to man for anything digital. He has been developing websites and online marketing campaigns for 8 years, crossing a multitude of different sectors. Paul’s experience has been gained as both an in-house marketing manager for a leading national bed retailer, and as a digital marketer within digital agencies, delivering web, SEO and PPC projects for multiple clients.

Nathan specialises in content marketing, social media and communications strategy. Working with a wide range of national and regional clients across a multitude of sectors, Nathan is also our in-house photographer and videographer, often found on shoots across East Anglia helping bringing brands to life through engaging, visual content.

We would love for you to join us!

Book online here!

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, 30 May, 2017 – 08:30 to 10:00

Venue: Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, 9 Norwich Business Park, Whiting Road, Norwich, NR4 6DJ

6 Reasons why *everyone should adopt the PPC approach to content

Google Analytics

For every campaign started, there must be information.

The page/pages you direct traffic to all have one thing in common. Driving the user towards an end goal whether it’s delivering information or to sell a product or service.

With PPC campaigns, there is an express need to communicate maximum value to the user as quickly as possible – because you’ve just paid for them to be on your website.

  1. Give them what they want – now!
  2. Clear calls to action & formatting
  3. Familiarity – it’s uncharted territory
  4. Evidence-based testing
  5. Show me the value
  6. Conversion machine

1) Give them what they want – now!

The reason we all use Google is because it gives us what we want, really quickly. When was the last time you clicked onto page 2 of Google?

Whilst Google may err in their evaluations of what things they look for to decide what should make a page rank better, the central concept they put front and centre of all of their products/services is providing the user with the best, most relevant information for their requirements as quickly as possible.

How do you find what they want? This information can be discerned from competitors, keyword analysis, industry trends and some A/B testing.

2) Clear calls to action & formatting

It may seem obvious what you want to do, but to the user, the next steps could be unclear.

Steve Krug’s invaluable UX work ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ highlights that the majority of users do not read, most scan for information using formatting and colourful calls to action to direct them towards the info they want, or to be told where to go next.

3) Familiarity – it’s uncharted territory

On your website, you know what comes next in the process. Your customers don’t.

Visitors of all ages, experiences and understandings will use your site – so signposting is essential.

If we highlight an aspect of a business/product/service within a PPC ad, we want it to be on the page you’re taken to.

If you use an image as a link in a web page, it needs to be featured on the page you’re linking to. This is vital if you have a visually busy or information heavy page structure.

Ultimately, whatever was in your image was what enticed the user to click it – this means they want to see it or find out more, so give it to them!

4) Evidence-based testing

Digital marketers have a wealth of tools at their disposal in 2017.

Google Analytics for hard and fast information to back your decisions.

If there’s a problem, session tracking is widely available from the likes of Inspectlet and Hotjar being 2 of many available – being able to monitor how users ACTUALLY will often reveal many nuances that could not be anticipated during build.

Using the data from Analytical tools, should drive your content, not personal preference.

A/B testing can also end the umming and ahhing over the best solution for your pages – as long as you are clear and focussed on your aims for the page.

5) Show me the value

The point made in #2 – people don’t read – is key to explicitly pointing out WHY your product/service/information is the best. If users can’t easily see the value, you’re relying on them to have the time and patience to find it.

Even if your value proposition is more brand-based the days of pages of self-indulgent waffle are becoming a thing of the past.

Simple formatting like bullet points and numbered lists instantly stand out to users and deliver the information

6) Conversion machine

Even if your site exists to inform the masses rather than sell directly to them, you should look to be ‘converting’ your users as efficiently as possible.

Classically a conversion will be a sale or enquiry, but if you exist to spread information – your conversion point is delivering that information to the user.

Using the evidence-based approach, you can find what your most effective methods are and adjust your site to ‘convert’ as many users as possible.

*CAVEATS

Not all content can be treated in such a malleable way.

From an SEO perspective, if you’re looking to maintain rankings within a competitive environment, more consideration needs to be attributed to the changes you make.

However you can still use the over-arching themes to create new content to ensure efficient conversions.

Crafting the perfect Facebook post

Social Media

It’s a dream all social media marketers share – creating a Facebook post so spectacular it blows all other content out of the water. Thousands of likes, shares and comments, made even better by the fact not a single penny was spent on advertising. What could be better..?

As Simon Sinek is once again circulating the internet, this time with his theories on millennials and their relationship with social media, dopamine (the chemical release we get when receiving a like, comment or form of engagement) and careers, we take a look at eight quick steps you can follow to help craft the perfect Facebook post.

Whilst I’m not guaranteeing your next Facebook post will turn into a viral sensation, certain headway and improvements can easily be made to your overall social performance by taking just a few of these on board.

Who knows, in time, you may have a plenty of dopamine-inducing posts of your own.

Quality not quantity
Facebook is rammed, quite literally. There are around 55 million business pages, 1.7 billion active users and coupled with Facebook’s drive towards advertising (63% growth in 2016), organic reach has reduced by up to 58% in the past year. Cut through is as difficult as ever before.

Instead of focusing on hitting your daily post targets, really think about the quality of what you are communicating and the value of it. Facebook rewards unique, creative and engaging content – you are far better off posting one fantastic post than you are four dull updates. Remember, Facebook posts have longevity, particularly if they are great.

Think content
Shorter posts are proven to have higher rates of engagement with those under 250 characters up to 60% more successful. Likewise posting visual stimulus is an absolute must. Video, even better. Posts with images on average receive 53% more likes and 104% more comments than those without.

However, before you go blasting the world with stock imagery try to, where possible, use original photos and video. Facebook checks the .EXIF data on your photos and rewards posts with original content.

Limit hashtags
Some will argue that hashtagging on Facebook is a complete no-no, others will argue to limit use. Either way, hashtagging on Facebook needs considerably more thought than on Twitter or Instagram. Only tag what is relevant and necessary as Facebook will penalise you for what is considered ‘spam hashtags’.

If you’re scheduling on Hootsuite, be sure to craft separate posts for your different platforms if you are serious about great engagement. Facebook doesn’t want you to cross promote other networks.

Emojis
On the day after Paul Pogba’s rather embarrassing post-emoji-launch-performance, it seems quite apt to be talking about their effective use. Amex Open have revealed that posts containing emojis are 33% more likely to pick up engagements, with a 55% increased chance of generating likes.

Who knew that emojis would eventually turn out to be fairly useful marketing gems?

Audience optimisation
As with paid adverts, you can also tailor who your posts go out to. Add tags to describe the interests of people who are most likely to enjoy your post. For example, a sports brand page will likely benefit from targeting users with an active interest in sport.

Use Facebook Insights to establish your existing audience and who is engaging with your activity – this can strategically shape who you target with future posts.

When to post
Engagement is apparently 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays. Again, use Facebook Insights to establish what posts are working, but also when. It goes without saying that if engagement is relatively low at 9:30am every single Tuesday, don’t post at that time. It’s important to understand when your followers are online and at their most receptive.

Engagement adverts
Although you could argue this next point is against the principals of this blog post, it still applies. Paid social can in fact be very effective in kick starting the organic reach of a post. Allocate low budget burst campaigns to drive engagements and turn off paid activity once the post picks up. Spending as little as £5-10 can make real inroads into how many people you reach and engage with.

Invite users
Requesting likes from those who engage with your posts is a quick way to try and pick up already engaged users. After all, these people have already indicated that they like what you are saying. Chances are they will consider liking your page too. It’s better to have an audience of genuine fans than empty followers.

Top three marketing tools to generate quality leads in 2017

Top three marketing tools to generate quality leads in 2017

Lead generation has been round since the beginning of time, but with the emergence of digital marketing it’s been given a whole new meaning.

In 2017, whether you’re a B2B, wedding venue, gym club, accountant or tourist attraction you can give your lead generation a targeted and effective boost using one of these simple lead generation tools.

1. Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Google has around 80% of all internet search traffic so it’s essential that if you want to generate marketing leads you need to be on Google’s pay-per-click platform. Opening an account is fairly straightforward, but understanding it and making it work effectively is no easy business so make sure you know the difference between a campaign, campaign type, keyword, positive keyword and much more. However, if you get it right you can generate considerable high quality leads with low cost per leads.

2. Microsoft Bing ads
After Google, Microsoft’s Bing search engine represents the next best lead generator online. Many small and medium sized businesses don’t even think about advertising on Bing. Yet despite its smaller market share of internet searches it can prove really fruitful for a host of brands and businesses. It typically offers less competition and cheaper CPCs (cost per clicks) than Google and as it’s a Microsoft own product many windows users use it without even knowing.

3. Facebook advertising
Millions of small and medium businesses now advertise on facebook. It’s highly flexible – you can change creative ads at the touch of a button and you can also test a multiple number of ads all in one campaign. Facebook also offers advertisers the ability to carry out A/B testing. It’s also highly targeted so if you want to just advertise to Facebook users within say 20 kilometres of a city or town no problem. But one of its biggest advantages has to be the facility to use video in advertising, something which really sets it apart from the traditional Google and Bing PPC platforms.