Category Archives: Website Content

Over the last few years, we have seen a real growth in businesses using video content on their website. As the online world grows and changes, it’s important to keep up with your competition, and more and more of our customers are asking us whether they should consider some video content as part of their online presence. Our answer is a definite yes! We love video content at Wagada HQ. Video content is a fantastic way to help boost your search engine rankings plus it gives your website a really contemporary feel. Video content also shows that your company is fresh and innovative and it is a great way of getting the message about your product or service across to potential customers. But it’s also important to get it right. When it’s done well, video content is a real asset to your site and to your digital marketing repertoire, but if done badly it can look unprofessional and even damage your business reputation.

First of all, we’ll take a look at the benefits that video content can bring to your business and then we’ll talk about how you can create engaging, professional content for your website.

Why Is Video Content Important?

Video content brings your company to life

When you use video content you literally bring a static page to life. Whilst great content and high-quality images are still really important, having an element of video content on your website will help your customers to understand what your business is all about. You want your customers to trust you and often in a small business, you are the face of your company. By appearing in a video you can help your customers get to know you and understand what your business is all about. If you have a team, get them involved, so that potential customers can engage with all of you before they even meet you. Lots of companies use written customer testimonials online but a video testimonial can increase their authenticity, as viewers will be able to see the enthusiastic way that happy clients talk about what you can offer.  You can even use a 360 video tour of your premises to let customers check out your business from the comfort of their own sofa!

Video content is a really important SEO ranking factor

Google loves video content. The reason being, that well-produced, informative, engaging video content is an important signal to the search engines that you have rich, interesting and engaging content on your website – and content is deemed to be the most important ranking factor!

Video content adds value to your customers

One thing that Google wants to see from websites is that they really add value to their customers’ lives. Websites that are purely sales driven or lack creative content are likely not to rank as well as sites that can demonstrate to the search engines that they are going over and above what is expected to help their customers. This is where video content can be vital. You could use a video to demonstrate how to use one of your products, provide tutorials relating to your area of expertise or have team members doing online vlogs about subjects that would be of interest to your users. You can be as creative as you like but make sure that your video content will benefit your customers in some way.

Video content is great for social media

Whist it’s brilliant to have great content on your website, you also want to get it seen! Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are some of the best ways to get your content shared. However, with so many blogs and memes flying around the internet, it can be hard to stand out. Video content is really engaging and if you create a fabulous video – whether it’s a bridal hair tutorial or a funny sketch – you could find it going viral. A great example of this is how the ‘mannequin challenge’ took off earlier this year. These videos of businesses attempting to pose like mannequins became a really popular social media trend (and we even did our own Wagada HQ version!) Take a look at what your key online influencers are sharing on their social media and keep on top of the latest videos trending on Twitter, to help you create video content that others will want to watch and share.

How To Get Your Video Content Right

Do your research

If you are spending time and money on creating video content, you want to get it right! You need to be sure that it is something that will be helpful and relevant to your customers and will encourage them to share your content. You’ll also want it to encourage customers to keep on coming back to your site. So do your research beforehand. Ask your customers what they would find helpful, take a look at what competitors or large brands are doing and do some research on Facebook and Twitter to see what video content is getting large amounts of likes and shares.

Take time to plan your video

Once you have a good idea of what type of video content you want to place on your website, then you need to plan it carefully. You might want to think about where you are going to film it – in your offices or on location in your town or city. Perhaps even on site with a customer. You’ll also want to consider who will be involved and if you will need any props to help you out.

If you are going to be speaking in your video content, it is a very good idea to write a script to make sure that you have covered all the key points that you want to include. You should also book in some time to do some practice runs as if you are not experienced in being on camera, it can be harder than it looks!

Hire a professional video company

We think if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well and this definitely applies to video content. Unprofessional content with shaky footage shot on a mobile phone can look really bad on your website and could damage the image of your business. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional video company to help you out. They will have all the latest equipment to create stunning video imagery that will work well with your branding and will help you to achieve the content you are aiming for. Although there is an initial investment, it is well worth it to get your video content right.

As you can see video content is great for your website for so many reasons. It can help with social media engagement, let customers understand what you have to offer and offer them valuable information about your services and products. It can also boost your website in the search engine rankings and help you to gain more business. But of course, you have to get it right, so take the time to understand what your customers want and plan a slick and professional video that will complement your marketing strategy.  

 

If you’ve been planning a re-design of your website, or if you are just starting out and are designing your very first business website, you’ll have a lot to think about. You want effective branding, strong key messaging, dynamic content and a website that lets you stands out from the crowd. You’ll probably be thinking about all the great features that you can include for your customers and prospects – but don’t forget that you also really need to focus on how you can optimise your website for the search engines.

Why is SEO so important for your website?

SEO is all about getting your website found online. You could have the most amazing website in the world but if it doesn’t rank well in the search engines it will be hard to find. This means that you could well miss out on attracting the potential clients that you need to help your business succeed and grow. Whilst SEO can be a complex process, there are certain tasks that you need to make sure are taken into account by your website designer when you begin your site build. There is also some preparation that you can do beforehand to ensure that your site is fully optimised with all the things that Google wants to see.

To help you make sure that all of your SEO requirements are covered, we’ve created a handy checklist which looks at the key SEO tasks you need to prioritise when creating or redesigning your website.

1. Ensure you have sufficient space for your content

Google wants to see valuable content on the homepage so make sure that you have sufficient space to get the content that you need in. We recommend that you should use 250 words as a minimum, but ideally leave space for more than this in case you need to add additional wording. Content really is key for SEO success, so make sure that all your other category pages have enough space too.  Before you start, think about what sort of content you will want to have on there and what your customers will want to be able to learn about your business and your services. You might also want to be able to create landing pages which won’t appear in the main navigation of the site. These can be vital for specific advertising campaigns or for when you want to focus on a particular keyword – so make sure that you have this ability built into your site.

2. Do your keyword research

Keywords are a powerful tool for optimising your website and will ensure that the customers who are looking for your product or service will be shown your website by the search engines. They are often what a search engine looks for to determine whether your site is the right fit for a customer’s search terms. Ideally keyword research should be done before you start developing your website, as it can be useful as a marketing tool too. It helps you identify the types of products or services your target demographic are interested in and the content that they are searching for.

3. Make your URLs SEO friendly

A URL is the address that takes you to a particular web page on the internet. URLs are important to the search engines because they can contain keywords that let Google learn more about what that specific page is about.  For example one of our URLs is http://wagada.co.uk/content-marketing/ so it is clear that this page contains information about our content marketing services. Being able to add the correct keywords into URLs is quite powerful, so when designing your site make sure that it allows you to choose the URL rather than automatically taking the URL from the page title. Another key tip for URLs is to use a dash not an underscore for splitting words. If you are able to do this it will benefit your site. Ideally you want your URLs to be as specific as possible so ensure that all blog articles and all products/services have their own unique URL too.

4. Ensure your site has fast loading pages

A key concern of the search engines is that your website should be useable and user friendly and a large element of this is how quickly it loads. A slow site can cause impatient customers to click away from your site and can be frustrating and off-putting. This can also increase your bounce-rate which can impact negatively on your search engine ranking.  Often slow-loading graphics can be an issue so we recommend using CSS where feasible.

5. Remember that images are important for SEO too

Did you know that images can help your SEO too? People often forget about the images on their website but it’s important to optimise them as well as your text. You should have the facility to add an ALT tag for every image – this will allow the search engines to understand what your images are and you can include your keywords in these descriptions.  Be careful because some content management systems remove the image folder in the robots file which means that search engines don’t index or search the image. Therefore it’s a good idea to remove this feature in order that you can still get found in image searches.

6. Get your tags right

Tags mean that Google ‘bots’ can more easily find out what your pages are about. Try to get an H1 tag on every page which should be editable. This should be the main title of the page where keywords can be added in.  You will also want to make all title tags and meta descriptions fully customisable so that they can be changed and keywords added where and when needed. The titles which appear in the navigation should be independent from the title tag and the main title on the page – this is because if necessary you can have a different title tag to H1 to navigation title if needed.

7. Create a proper 404 page

You’ll probably have been diverted to a 404 page at some point when you have searched online. These are error webpages that are shown to a user when the page they are trying to find doesn’t exist anymore. Companies often use a humorous message and take the opportunity to divert the user back to a page that may be of help to them. It’s important not to just direct users back to the homepage as this can be confusing and frustrating for them as they don’t understand that there has been an error.

8. Don’t change your domain

This is an important one! If you are re-designing your website do not change the domain or move from www to non www. You should also ensure that the non-www version of the site is forwarded to the www. Version, removing any /index.php version.

9. Install Google Analytics

When you have your fantastic new website up and running you’ll need to be able to get stats on how many hits you are getting, which pages people are viewing and what locations they are coming from. That’s why it’s important to install Google Analytics as this programme will be able to tell you these details. This will help you to understand how successful your website is and inform any changes or updates that you may want to make.

As you can see there’s lots of work behind the scenes to be done when creating a website. The front-end design is only half the story and the SEO behind it will be vital in helping your business get found online. At Wagada HQ we always like to tell our customers that ‘we speak human’ and although website creation can get quite technical, we’re always on hand to translate and explain your SEO requirements and to liaise with your designers to help you get the website that works for you!

 

Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was an amazing year for all of us at Wagada HQ and we’re determined that 2017 is going to be just as brilliant. We’re always looking for new ways to help you wake up your website. One of the reasons we love working in the digital marketing world is that it’s always changing and evolving, so that we can keep making your online presence even better.

We thought that this would be a great opportunity to sit down with a cup of tea (and maybe a slice of cake if you haven’t started the new year diet yet…) and review what we believe to be the top digital marketing trends that have grown in importance over 2016. We think our top 5 trends will all be really vital elements of creating a high profile online business that gets your product and / or service both found and talked about in 2017. So read on to find out more about these trends and learn what they can do for your business.

Comprehensiveness Of Content

You’ll probably already know that having great content on your website leads to a much higher ranking in the search engines.  However, 2016 has seen a greater focus placed not just on content or how much of it you have but on its comprehensiveness. In simple terms, this means how well your content actually helps your users and how well it answers the questions they are asking or gives them the information that they need.

Whilst people used to think that short, snappy content was what time poor users wanted, in fact we now see that longer content actually leads to increased rankings. This is because it is far more likely to be comprehensive and to really get to the core of what your customers want to know! Comprehensive content works well as it means that you are giving users everything they want – so they are less likely to bounce out of your site. It also makes your business appear trustworthy and because you are offering valuable knowledge, your users are more likely to share it with their peers on social media too.

To begin to build comprehensive content, you first need to think about the questions that your target market might want answered. A valuable way to get this is to reach out to your customers and do some market research, in order to understand exactly what they want from your business. Another way is to start to list out all of the questions that are raised with your sales / support / marketing / customer service teams. Once you have the results from your research, you can start to create content that stands out. It could be that you offer free downloadable guides or a series of high quality ‘how to’ videos. Maybe you can take the time to write an in-depth article that other competitors won’t have taken the time to research. Creating comprehensive content can be time consuming and may have a higher cost in the short term but we think it is well worth investing in.

User Signals

Search engines are continuously getting more responsive and seeking a greater understanding of what their customers want. This means that they are becoming more in tune with user signals, which they interpret to help them gauge how people are searching online. As a business, it is important to understand what these signals are as they will enable Google to decide how to rank your website.

Key user signals are the ‘click through rate’ and ‘bounce rate’ for your site. If Google sees that you are getting lots of clicks to your site, but people are not remaining there for long, it could assume that you are not offering what your customers need. Therefore, you need to consider carefully how well your homepage or landing pages work. Ask yourself – ‘Do users find what they want quickly?’ ‘Are there clear signposts for where they need to go to fulfil their query?’ You should also think about what content you offer – for example engaging videos, a relevant blog or a news section could keep customers interested in staying on your site for longer.

Social signals are also becoming more important to the way that the search engines monitor your website. As social media becomes ever more entrenched in our lives, it has become a key way for people to search for products or services. The number of followers that you have on your social media pages is important, but what is perhaps more pertinent is the way that they engage with you. Shares, re-tweets and engagement with posts show the search engines the validity of your business and reinforce the fact that customers value what you have to offer.

Video Content

As 2016 progressed, you may have seen a move on both social media and business websites towards video content. A great picture may be able to speak a thousand words but a video can bring so much more to your website. We have found that video works so well because it can really bring your business to life. People get to know the team behind your business, they can view a demonstration of how your products work or even take a 360 degree tour around your premises! In a busy online marketplace, using video can really make your website stand out from the crowd.

Video content is also becoming increasingly popular on social media too. Facebook have launched Facebook Live which allows you to broadcast livestream video onto your pages. This is a fantastic way to engage with your followers, it can really make them feel involved in your daily life. A great example of how video content can go viral on social media was the fabulous mannequin challenge which we had great fun taking part in. We’ve also seen a rise in the popularity of vlogging (video blogging). This takes the concept of blogging one stage further and vloggers are able to talk directly to their followers and share and show them their experiences. Vloggers are now key influencers in the online sphere and it can be a good idea to know which vloggers would work well with your target market.

It is however important to get your video content right and having badly-filmed content can actually have a negative impact on your reputation and your business. It can be well worth investing in a professional video company to shoot some of your footage for you, so that it looks fantastic – and of course think carefully about what type of video content your customer demographic want to see and what they will want to share on social media,

Long Form Content

Following on from the fact that content needs to be comprehensive, we have also seen an increase in long form content. This means copy that is over 1,500 words rather than the 500 words often used in web content. It’s only recently that people have started to realise the benefits of longer content, as opposed to shorter articles that can be read and digested quickly. Recent research has shown that longer content ranks really well in the search engines and in fact, even Google – who are often quite reticent about giving ranking information – said in their Webmaster’s blog that “10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”

Another benefit of longer content is that it can get more people linking to it. As it’s more detailed, it is more likely to be seen as a valued resource and therefore other sites will be keener to link to it. Longer articles also get more social shares on Facebook and Twitter, again due to the fact that they offer more to the reader. If you are still not convinced, then longer content has also been shown to lead to a greater conversion rate too.

Importantly though, when you are looking to write longer content, you should always make sure that you prioritise quality over quantity. Make sure that you are offering useful information and that you are writing about subjects that your customers want to read about at an in-depth level,

Long Tail Keyword Phrases

If you run a website for your business, then you probably already know what your keywords are and understand the words that your customers use when they are searching for your product or business. But, as search engines become more intuitive, we have seen how long tail keyword phrases have become far more important and how they are vital to helping you target your key customers.

Long tail keyword phrases focus on the detailed phrases that customers may be using to search for your services. A hairdresser may know that a keyword for their business is ‘haircut’ but that is a fairly vague and wide-reaching term and there will be a large amount of competition in the search engines. Therefore you need to think about phrases more specific to your business, i.e., ‘low cost haircut in St Albans’. Whilst this may not bring in as many hits to your website, what it will do is bring in more targeted hits that have a much higher chance of converting to sales.

Long tail keyword phrases are great for boosting both your organic and paid for search. If you are using AdWords there is likely to be far less competition for more unique and specific phrases which mean you can pay a lower cost per click.

We think that these 5 key trends will really come into play in 2017, so we recommend you take the time to understand how they can help your business. As always, Wagada will be keeping up-to-date with any changes in the digital marketing world and we’re sure that the New Year will bring some exciting developments. We’ll be the first to let you know so watch this space!

A Beginners Guide to Vlogging

If you take an interest in the online world and enjoy reading or writing blogs, then you might have noticed that there’s a new kid in town – the vlogger! Vlogging is simply a video version of a blog and its gaining popularity fast, especially with the younger demographic. Some famous vloggers such as Zoella are even getting book deals and product ranges based on their online presence.

We already know that blogging can be great news for your website – it attracts potential customers to your site, shows Google that you are an authority in your industry and can get you lots of social shares and recommendations. However, many people are now asking if vlogging can have the same powerful effect. We think that vlogging can be brilliant for your business but there are also a number of issues that you need to consider before you create your first video. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the vlog.

Vlogs can bring your business to life

Vlogs can really show you at your very best to your customers. If, as with many small businesses, you are the face of your brand, then it’s a great way for potential clients to get to know you before they decide to purchase your product or service. When you create a video, it builds a very immediate connection between you and your viewers. It’s as though you are there with them in their living room having a chat! People often feel more engaged with a vlog than a blog and it shows the human face behind your business.

However if you are planning to make a video you do need to consider your own personality and whether you would feel comfortable featuring in a vlog. It’s great if you are confident and bubbly but if you are more of an introvert you might not enjoy appearing in a company vlog. Don’t worry though as you can still utilise online video. Maybe you can narrate off camera whilst showing viewers around your premises, or you could encourage other members of staff to get involved on screen. Ultimately you need your confidence and industry knowledge to shine through, so if you feel happier with the written word then don’t be afraid to stick to blogging instead.

Vlogs are a great way of showing off your product or service

A picture may speak a thousand words, so just think what a video can do for your product! The great thing about vlogging is that it can literally show your customers how your product or service works in a way that a two dimensional photo just can’t do. If you’re selling a product, then a video enables you to give a live demonstration of how customers can use it. For example a hardware store might want to publish some “how to” vlogs about various D.I.Y. tasks or a florist could show clients how to create a simple floral table decoration. Vlogs can really help potential customers to understand what you do, and they are also a great resource to show off your industry knowledge and to encourage customers to keep returning to your site as a hub of information.

Vlogs appeal to the younger demographic

Vlogging has a great appeal to younger customers, particularly the under 25s. They love engaging with vloggers and will really expect to see some video content on your website. Whilst older customers can enjoy vlogs too, they may feel more comfortable with the written word, so before you decide to start a vlog, think about your customer demographic. If you are looking to appeal to a young clientele, then vlogs are a great way to do so. The under 25s are also more likely to share your content on social media if they like it, so make sure you get it right! It’s worth taking the time to do some research first to see what sort of video content your customers are looking for, so that you can ensure that your vlogs reach your target market.

Make sure you have the right vlogging resources

If you’ve invested in great branding for your business and spent time and effort setting up a fantastic website, then you don’t want to let your business down with a poor-quality vlog. This means that it’s important to make sure you have the resources you need to create high impact video content. Blurred images, fuzzy sound and patchy editing will look unprofessional and could end up losing you credibility online.

A good camera and a high-tech editing package means that you can create professional looking vlogs that your users will really enjoy watching. Don’t forget to add the extra finishing touches such as music, graphics and subtitles too.

Don’t forget to write a vlog transcript

If you’re keen on vlogging, you need to remember to add a written transcript to your website too. At this point in time, Google doesn’t have the ability to watch blogs which means they are not able to index them. To ensure that Google knows what your vlog is about, add a description or transcript to your page. You will need to do this to make sure that Google can rank your content in the search engine. It’s often recommended that you embed your vlog into a short blog post based on the content subject.

A transcription can also be useful to customers who are hard of hearing or who have English as a second language, and it means that clients can print the transcript too if they want a written record of the information on your vlog.

Vlogging is a fantastic way of reaching your customers and of highlighting your products and services. Before you start your vlog, make sure you have high quality equipment and that you feel confident on camera! Don’t forget to research your target market too, in order to make sure that you are vlogging about subjects that interest them, and always add written content to help Google index your site. We think we’re going to see more and more businesses utilising vlogs in the future and so it can be a great idea for your company to get a head start in the vlogging world!

If you are planning on helping your website move to the top of the search engine rankings then you will always be told that content is a vital factor in optimising your site. However, we often get asked just how much content business owners are expected to write as the thought of having to fill web pages with interesting and engaging copy can be quite daunting! There will always be debate amongst the SEO industry as to the optimum length of web content and there can be pros and cons to both short and long articles. This means that there are a number of factors that you should consider when planning the length of your web copy.

At Wagada we are experienced in writing user-friendly web copy that adds real value to your customers and, in doing so, will give your website a boost with Google too. So here are our guidelines on how to decide on the ideal length of web content for SEO and our top tips for how to write effective online copy.

Understand what Google wants to learn from your web copy

Whilst there is no limit to the maximum word count that you can use we would always recommend keeping to 500 words as a minimum ideal length of web content for SEO. This is because Google can class any article or page below this word count as having ‘thin content’. This means that they feel that if there are not enough words on the page there is a risk that there is not enough information to help the customer effectively. By using this as a minimum word-count guideline you will know that Google should view your content as giving more value to your readers. It also means that your articles will be long enough to include a good amount of information, and you can fit in your keywords easily without making your page look over-optimised which Google definitely doesn’t approve of!

Google’s bots and algorithms are becoming more sophisticated all the time and they are now looking for web pages and articles to clearly demonstrate their intent and the field that they are in. You should make sure that your web content is of a good length as you will need to include relevant information to show that you are an expert in your field – and that you can convey a high level of knowledge to your customers.

One thing that has also become increasingly important to Google is the usability of your website. This means how easy it is for your customers to find what they need on your site. With more and more customers shopping online and more products available online it’s all too easy for customers to make a quick decision to leave your website if they can’t find what they are looking for. Therefore you need to make sure that your copy is focused on helping the customer find the information that they need quickly and effectively.

Create a usable website that is focused on what your customer needs

As usability is so highly valued by Google then to make your site work for the search engines you need to make sure it works for your customers too. When you are planning your word count for your online copy never make arbitrary limits or feel constrained by numbers.  Instead concentrate on whether the length is right to provide the optimum online experience for your customers.

Begin by thinking about what your customer is looking for when they visit your website and what they will be wanting from each page. For example your Home Page will often be much shorter in terms of text than other pages. Customers come here to be signposted to the areas of your site that will help them and so they won’t want to have to wade through lots of irrelevant text to get there! If you make this page too text heavy you could risk losing them altogether.

Likewise there will be some pages on your site that you can use to really show off the knowledge and expertise that you have in your business area, and you will want to make these as detailed as possible. This is particularly relevant to blog articles or news pages which you should fill with lots of engaging web copy. Longer copy is often much more valuable for these pages.

Present your web copy clearly

Whilst the content of your web copy is key the way that you present it is also really important and can help your users to find what they need clearly and easily. This can be particularly important if you are looking to write a longer article. Although long articles can be great for your site optimisation one of the downsides to longer pieces of online copy is that often time-poor browsers just don’t have the time to read them and may be put off by an overly long page. Alternatively they might decide to come back and read them later when they have more time but this can lead to pogo-sticking which could give a bad impression to Google.

One way to get round this problem is to clearly pick out the main points of your copy so that customers can understand the key issues without having to read the whole article. Use elements such as sub-headings, bullets, bold text and links to highlight the most important areas of information in your text. This allows people to scan your article and pick out the elements that interest them without necessarily having to read the copy fully.

Write copy to encourage social shares

Social sharing is a fantastic way to get your content seen by potential customers and if your blogs or website are shared on media such as Facebook or Twitter it can encourage more people to visit your site – and may help to move you up the rankings.  Interestingly research from Paddy Moogan shows that the longer the post is the more likely it is to get social shares with posts of between 3000 to 10,000 words the most likely to get shared. You can see this in action in the below chart

So we can see that high quality content is vital to help boost your site’s optimisation and it’s important to think about the ideal length of web content before you plan your web copy. However whilst you should aim to keep your text above 500 words don’t get tied down by setting definitive boundaries to your word count. Consider each web page and blog post individually and review how it will help your customers and what they will be looking for when they visit your site. You can then tailor your copy to meet that need. Don’t be afraid to write longer posts as they can be really popular with customers and will help Google to see that you are a real expert in your industry.

As you know at Wagada we love content and believe that it is key to creating a fabulous website that your customers will want to visit, buy from and share with their friends. However sometimes large amounts of text on a screen can be off-putting and daunting to website users, so it can be a really good idea to break up the text with images. Humans are very visually lead and research has shown that adding images to web copy and social media posts makes people more likely to read them. Images appeal to our subconscious minds and really bring the words on the screen to life.

However it’s not simply a case of adding a few images into your post that you like the look of. In fact getting your pictures right can be a vital part of encouraging interaction and engagement. Pictures help you to create your company identity and tell your customers the story of your brand. It can be worth putting as much time and effort into your pictures as you put into the writing itself. So when you begin to visualise a web page or a blog post always think about the images that you are going to use to complement the subject that you are writing about.

We’ve come up with some great ideas about the different types of images that you can use online, and we’ll discuss how they can help you to engage your users.

Telling a story with images

Telling a story to your customers is a key theme in 21st-century marketing and images can really help you to define what you offer to your target market. Online users no longer want static images of items for sale with a plain background behind them – that’s a sure-fire way to turn them off your product! Instead use storyboard images to give your product vitality and to help potential buyers to understand how the products will add value to their lifestyle.

To create an effective storyboard image think about how your product or service will fit into your customer’s lives. How will they use it and how will it benefit them in their day to day life? You should also consider what aspirations they may have and think about why they are buying your product. For example if you sell furniture you could picture it in a show home setting – fully accessorised. You could show people relaxing and having a coffee on their sofa, or a dinner party in full swing at the dining table. By using images in this way you can move from selling simply a product to selling a way of life to your customers.

Complement images with powerful language

Pairing words with images can be powerful and compelling. To achieve this effectively you need to keep it simple and think of one or two words or a short slogan that embodies what you are trying to tell your customer. Then you need to find an image that will bring these words to life. A good example could be a gym or personal fitness trainer who wants to show clients how they can help them reach their fitness goals. By overlaying the words “reach your goals” onto an image of a runner crossing the finish line of a race you can show your customers as well as tell them what your brand is all about.

Graphs and charts can make data stand out

In many circumstances you may have a lot of data that you want to convey to your potential customers, but paragraphs of dry data on your website may turn customers off and lead to high bounce rates from your site. We know that many people are time poor and when they visit a website they want to get the information that they need as quickly as possible. Therefore a great way to show off this data quickly and effectively is to create good quality stand out charts and graphs that highlight the key facts that they need to know. Bar charts or pie charts in bold primary colours really grab the eye and are a quick and powerful way of getting your key points over to your clients.

Infographics combine data and design

With the rise of social media and sharing sites such as Pinterest we have seen a new sort of image – an infographic. This is an image designed to show information or facts in a way that is engaging and appealing. Infographics add interest to the data that you are trying to share and are a quick way to get your message across. They are often designed so that the most important facts are given the most prominence which means that even a quick glance gives clients the information that they need. Then once they are interested they can take a closer look to find out more. These images work brilliantly on Twitter and Facebook as people will often share them with their social network. Whilst it can be worth investing in a designer to create some infographics for your business there are also a number of websites and apps which allow you to design your own.

Remember to optimise your images for great SEO

Of course when you add images to your website you also need to make sure that you have optimised them effectively for the search engines. As Google can’t understand images (yet!) you have to add in ‘alt text’ tags with keywords that tell the search engines what the pictures are showing. It can also help to give your image a descriptive filename before you upload in onto your website as this also helps the search engines to understand more about what the image contains.

Google is also very keen on websites being usable for its clients and pictures that take ages to download may cause frustration and lead to a higher bounce rate from your site. So ensure that file sizes for the images you choose are not too big and that they load quickly and easily with no disruption to website users.

As you can see images can be really vital in both building your brand and creating an engaging website that your customers will want to visit and share with their friends and contacts. Use imagery to tell a story to your customers and mix pictures and words to help convey the benefits of your product and service. Images can also help the search engines find you so make sure that you optimise all of your website images too!

 

One of the things that we love about working in SEO is that it always keeps us on our toes! We are always looking out for changes to the way that Google perceives websites and how it ranks them. Recently we noticed something very interesting on the topic of longer meta descriptions when we were doing some work for our client James and James and we wanted to share it with you.

Meta descriptions provide the text that sits below your website name in the search engines. This snippet of information is actually really important as it is usually the first piece of information that a customer sees about your company when they search online, and is the information that they use when deciding whether to visit your website, or someone else’s.

How were meta descriptions traditionally used – and what has changed in recent months?

Traditionally we have always advised to keep their meta descriptions fairly short and sweet. The recommended limit is between 155-158 characters. This made writing a meta description a fine balancing act. If you made it too short it might not provide enough information to encourage potential customers to click through to your website. However if it was too long Google would cut it short – meaning that your customers might miss out on seeing vital information.

However during 2015 we have noticed that actually there are a number of longer meta descriptions out there that seem to break these rules, and which suggest that things are changing when it comes to the length of your meta description.  A recent survey by MOZ showed that a significant number of snippets now did in fact have more than the recommended amount of characters and, whilst doing a search for the term ‘fulfilment’ for our client, we noticed that the top searches had meta descriptions which exceeded the recommended amount.

Why Google is allowing longer meta descriptions?

So why is this happening? Google’s aim is to provide search engine users with the most relevant and useful experience and one way of helping customers to make their selection is to provide more detailed information about them on the search page – rather than risking customers spending time clicking onto sites that don’t meet their needs.

However this also means that webmasters may not have as much control over their meta descriptions as they used to have. As Google looks to match queries more accurately they are taking more liberties with snippets. This could mean that even if you make your meta description longer Google may still choose to pick out other information from your site that it feels is relevant and won’t necessarily display the text that you write in the meta description.

We think that these changes are definitely ‘one to watch’ in the SEO world in the early part of 2016. It will become increasingly important to make sure that your meta includes the right keyword themes for your site which may mean that longer meta descriptions become the norm. However we may also see Google retain more control over your website snippets as they Google adwords logomove towards a fully user friendly experiences for searchers. We are a Google Partner so you can be confident that we will stay ahead of all the latest developments. Find out more about our Search Engine Optimisation service, tailor-made for all budgets. 

At Wagada we are really excited about the potential of Google Virtual Tours. Now your customer doesn’t have to leave the comfort of their armchair to visit your shop or take a look around your café – they can do it all online! This is an immensely powerful tool and we predict that it will become an increasingly popular way for businesses to show off what they can offer to their online customers.

How Google Tours works

A professional photographer creates a 360 video tour of your business which you can then place on your Google Local listing and your website for your customers to play and watch. They allow your website users to view the area that you have filmed and take a virtual walk around your premises or location. Alternatively you could give them a backroom tour of your kitchens or stockroom, or guide them around the unique features of your shop or café.

How Google Tours can benefit your business

Google Virtual Tours is a great way to improve your SEO for a number of reasons. Firstly they make your website really appealing to your customers. We’ve had great feedback from site users about these online tours as they find them really engaging, and it is fascinating to be able to not just read about a business but to actually see it. The tours can really bring your business to life!

As they are so effective in capturing your customer’s attention, a positive result of this is that they will stay longer on your site which can reduce any problems you may have with bounce rate. And once they have looked around your business they are more likely to stay and look around your website too. They are also a great tool to promote your business on social media which will help to increase your online presence and your social shares too! This can generate lots of online excitement around your service or product and we know that Google likes to see that businesses are relevant and getting mentioned online.

Finally the tours can give customers real confidence in your business, as they can check it out fully before taking a decision to buy or visit. For example, a potential visitor to a restaurant might like to see how clean the kitchens are for themselves or check out if the space works well for a party or celebration. Likewise, a visitor to a shop may enjoy looking at all the products shown to their best effect on the shop shelves rather than just seeing an online product list or uninspiring  static photos.

Case study – how Google Tours helped our client

We believe that Google Virtual Tours is a fantastic new tool for online businesses, so we worked with one client to help set up a virtual tour on his site. He’s a locksmith and so we thought it would be a great idea to show customers around his van where he keeps all the tools of the trade. He’s already had really positive feedback about his video and it’s certainly got people talking about his company and interacting with his website. Why not take a look at his tour and have a think about what Google Virtual Tours could do for your business!

Contact us to find out more about how Google Virtual Tours can help your business.

The bounce rate from your website is one of the most talked about, but perhaps the least understood, Google Analytics metric. However, understanding your bounce rate and working on factors that can reduce your bounce rate can greatly improve your conversion rate, and can potentially offer a boost to ranking.

So what is your bounce rate and what does it tell you? Well in simple terms the bounce rate is the number of people who click through to a landing page on your site but then go no further into your website. They simply take a look at the landing page and ‘bounce’ out again. You can view the bounce rate for a particular page, such as a campaign landing page or home page, and for your website as a whole.  People often believe that bounce rate is linked to the amount of time people spend on your page but that is actually a separate metric and does not have an impact on your bounce rate.

Bounce rate is a really important analytical tool as a high bounce rate tells you that something is amiss when visitors come to your site. Most website bounce rates are in the region of 30 to 60%, depending on the types of keywords you are targeting and the types of content that people are consuming. Blog articles often attract a higher bounce rate, as this type of content can rank for a wide variety of keywords, and visitors often arrive, digest the blog article and then go elsewhere. The bounce rate to your Contact Us page may also appear to be high – as people may only be searching for a telephone number, or to send you a contact email. A high bounce rate should therefore be analysed within the context of the type of traffic and the intentions of those people arriving at the website.

However, a high bounce rate may be a sign of problems with your website. Firstly, the quality of visitors coming to your site is low and you are not attracting the kind of online visitors that really fit with your product. Secondly, your site may not be offering the right customers the value that they need, it may not be relevant or helpful enough to them to get them to stay, or enticing enough to encourage them to delve further into your site. Obviously if you have a high bounce rate then reducing it should be a real priority for your business, so here are our top tips for how to reduce your bounce rate.

Ensure that your website is getting high quality web traffic

If the people visiting your website are coming for the wrong reasons then your bounce rate is going to be high as it is a sign that your site is not reaching the target demographic that you want. This is bad for your ranking and bad for your business as if you are not getting the customers who will be attracted to your product or services then your sales will plummet.

So how can you rectify this and encourage high quality traffic to visit your site? Firstly a keyword review can have a big impact. Make sure you are using the right keywords and long-tail keyword phrases that your potential customers will be using. It can be worth using a keyword tool to help support you with this. You will also want to look at your marketing channels and who they are reaching. Ask yourself if you are connecting with the right people on social media and if your marketing materials are correctly targeted. Doing some customer research on how people search for your product or service can also provide you with really useful guidelines as to how people are finding your site.

Create a strong call to action on your landing page

A strong, visible call to action is a great way to encourage customers to go further into your site. Often web pages are just not clear enough and they fail to tell customers what they need to do next. Use buttons, banners and heading text to clearly signpost to your website visitors what you need them to do next i.e.:

 Click here for 50% off bargains

 Click here to find a restaurant in your location

You also need to make your call to actions relevant to your customers and they must match what the customer is expecting to find. So, if you are advertising a sale online, they may be confused if they land on a homepage with no obvious mention of a sale. Try to use campaign-specific landing pages if you are running a marketing campaign as this enables you to create a clear and relevant call to action.

Create customer relevant pages with great content

Great content is always recommended as it can boost your website in a number of ways and this is particularly relevant for reducing your bounce rate. Interesting and relevant content keeps customers engaged with your website and the more they want to read, the more likely they are to stay on your website. Good content encourages customers to visit other areas of your site and you can help signpost them to this by using “if you like this you might like…” buttons which will keep them clicking through to other relevant pages.

You should also aim to make your content easily readable. Long, informative articles can be a fantastic way of attracting traffic, but long paragraphs of content can be daunting and difficult to read. Split your content into small chunks and use the tools for writing for the web successfully: bullet points, sub-headings, split content up with images, write in short paragraphs, make phrases bold, add links to additional information…

Make sure you pages are easy to use and well formatted with a clear user pathway

First impressions count in life and the online world is no different. Research has shown that customers take only 8 seconds to take a decision about whether to stay on a page or leave it so you need to make every second count!

It’s important that your page looks appealing and engaging and it’s just as important that it loads quickly and isn’t hampered by pop up ads that will just annoy customers and cause them to leave your site. Making sure that customers are signposted to where they need to go clearly and accurately can have a really positive impact on reducing your bounce rate too, and a site that is clear and easy to use will encourage customers to keep coming back.

User intent gives us a strong indication of whether a high bounce rate is a problem. If you think your high bounce rate is caused by user dissatisfaction, or the wrong visitor demographic, act fast to protect your ranking and your conversion rate. Google is taking user interaction into account in its ranking more and more, so having dissatisfied visitors can negatively impact on your ranking. Find out more about our conversion rate optimisation service.

When you undertake any keyword analysis for your website it can sometimes appear to be very daunting. You can be faced with a long list of keywords and search terms but might not always be sure of how to use to use them to best effect on your website. We have found that it can be really beneficial to split the keywords that you find into two groups for narrow and broad targeting. Narrow content strategies focusing on very specific terms which are searched for with a clear intent. In contrast, broad content strategies look at how you can employ more expansive search terms that may have a higher volume of searches.

How to analyse your keywords

When you have your keyword list you can assess each keyword to work out which category it falls into. Here are some of the key factors that you could look out for to help you narrow down where each keyword or phrase belongs.

Narrow Search Terms usually focus on a very specific search term. For example a women’s fashion store may have “blue mother of the bride outfits” on their list. This search shows that the user has a clear idea of the specific product or service that they want to purchase.  There tends to be much smaller search volumes for these terms as they are very particular and are not always easy to expand out into other phrases.

Broad Search Terms are far more fluid and there can be a number of reasons why a user may be putting in those terms when looking online. It could be that they are doing some research, looking to purchase or looking for further guidance.  These broad search terms can be easily adapted to other phrases and often have a very high search volume as they are more general. So our example of the fashion store could have “outfits for weddings” as one of their broad search terms.

How to utilise your narrow and broad keyword terms for search engine success

Once you have assessed your list of keywords and search terms you can then use this to your advantage when planning your website. For the broader terms you can make sure that they are used at a higher level in your site plan. As the terms themselves are fairly flexible you can look at the long tail keyword phrases that could work around them. You could also incorporate them into blog posts.

Then, for your narrow keyword terms, you can focus on using them to help customers find very specific products which they don’t want to spend ages searching online for. These narrow terms can be used to split larger pages into more product specific sections so with our example you may use ‘Wedding Outfits’ as your page title, then direct customers to “mother of the bride outfits” and finally allow them to drill down to their chosen product by colour.

What are the benefits of this dividing search terms in this way?

Using this type of targeting has many benefits both for your customers and for your website. Firstly it really helps you to understand the ways that your customers are trying to find your product or service online. This means that you can create your site map to capitalise on the search keywords, using the broader search terms to inform your heading and page titles, and then building on the narrow search terms for more specific product details.

Secondly it helps to provide the user experience that the customer really wants. So for customers who are researching general terms they will want to be given more wide ranging information and guidance to help inform their choice. Likewise customers looking for something very specific and with a clear intent will want to be taken to that product or service quickly and efficiently and including the narrow keyword terms in the right places will ensure that they can do this. We know that Google really values a great customer experience and so this will positively impact on your website’s place in the search rankings too!

Taking the time to analyse your keywords and to work out where to use them on your site really will pay dividends both in terms of happy customers and a great ranking with the search engines.