Search Engine Marketing – Should You Be Using It?

Search Engine Marketing – Should You Be Using It?

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The competition for visibility in online search results is fierce, making it essential for brands to show themselves as a presence to be reckoned with online. Alongside search engine optimisation, search engine marketing can increase the visibility of your brand on the results page, meaning if you’re not there, your competition most likely will be.

Even though most search engines are now offering paid advertising, by far the most popular is Google AdWords, totalling around 80% of paid ads on the internet. Google AdWords has some great features, including;

  • You only pay when someone clicks. One of the reasons search engine marketing is so popular, is because you know exactly where your money is going. You will only pay when someone clicks on the ad.
  • You set your budget to control costs. With search engine marketing, you set the budget to whatever suits you. You can put a cap on what you spend daily and it’s flexible for you to change at any time.
  • Targeting. Search Engine Marketing allows you to target your ads by location, language, keyword, and audience.
  • Fast results. Organic search traffic is important for long-term website marketing, however it has a longer cycle to prove ROI. Search Engine Marketing can show results fast; you can start a SEM campaign on Monday and start seeing results in terms of traffic the next day (depending on a variety of factors, obviously).
  • Tracking. You can easily track how well your advertisement is doing online by viewing how many people you have reached, how many people have clicked on your link and how they have interacted with your site.

When set up correctly, you are almost certain to see the effects of your campaigns through increased traffic to your website, with the intent to increase conversions. But when set up incorrectly, Google AdWords can eat through your budget quickly, by either being badly targeted or being poorly managed.

One client we are working with has recently experienced just this. An employee had set up a Google AdWords account using a personal email, meaning no one else had access to the account, then kept campaigns running which were no longer necessary. The campaigns were later discovered and turned off, but by this time the company had already suffered a loss of around £9,000.

Correct management of your account decreases the risk when running PPC ads, and can increase your chances of running a successful campaign. If you’d rather outsource your online marketing to a specialist, make sure the company you choose are fully trained and certified, for example Google Partners are approved by Google to manage PPC campaigns.

Outsourcing to a specialist can also save you time and they will be able to provide advice and solutions that otherwise may not be available.

If you wanted more information on PPC campaigns or Hyphen’s Google Partner status, contacts us by calling 0116 232 5931 or send an email to hello@yourhyphen.co.uk

Until next time,
Sian

Understanding Google Rankings

Understanding Google Rankings

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Businesses everywhere are competing to optimise their website, in the hopes of appearing high in search engine results. In such a competitive area, the first thing you need to do is understand Google Rankings.

 

How do Google Rankings work?

There is a three-stage process for how Google works, which are:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Providing answers

Crawling

Google uses software known as ‘web crawlers’ to discover publicly accessible webpages, the most well-known crawler is called ‘GoogleBot’.

These crawlers (also known as bots, or spiders) look at webpages, and follow links on these pages to other pages/ websites. Much like you would do if you were browsing the web. They follow these links, and bring back data about the pages they have been on to Google’s servers.

The crawlers start by re-visiting pages from previous crawls, as they look for links they pay special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links.

 

Indexing

Pages gathered during the crawling process are then put into an index, so we know exactly how to look things up. Google’s index is over 100 million gigabytes and staff have spent over 1 million computing hours building the index so far.

When you search for something in Google, the algorithms in place look up the search terms in the index to find the appropriate pages.

Googles indexing systems will look at different aspects of a page, such as:

  • When they were published.
  • Whether they contain pictures.
  • Words and their locations.
  • And much more.

Pages with a variety of media will be given a higher quality score, as no one who searches for the term ‘design’ wants to just see a page full of the word ‘design’ and nothing else.

 

Ranking

Google rankings is the term for how your search results are displayed in Google.

The algorithms look at your query and use over 200 signals to decide which of the millions of pages and content are most relevant answers for the search query. Google rankings are constantly changing and the algorithms that are used see over 500 improvements per year.

Examples of these signals include:

  • The freshness of website content.
  • The number of links to your site and the authority of those links.
  • Words on the webpage.
  • Synonyms of your search keywords.
  • Quality of the content on the site.
  • URL and title of the webpage.

 

Spam results

Google works 24/7 to fight spam, in an attempt to keep your results relevant and the majority of spam removal is automatic. If spam is found, manual action is taken and they attempt to notify the website owners. Website owners can fix their sites and let Google know.

 

By understanding how Google rankings work, you can start to piece together why it’s important to use effective SEO and how to implement it.

We have previously posted about the basics of SEO, which may help to give you a little more direction for your digital marketing. However, we know how complex SEO can seem, especially as trends are constantly changing, and time is often short in your working day, so our experts at Hyphen are always here to chat. We would be happy to meet up to go through what you are looking to achieve from your website and help put a plan in place to boost your Google rankings.

If you found this blog useful, be sure to share this with the buttons on the left!

Until next time,
Sian

Top Design and Marketing Trends of 2017

Top Design and Marketing Trends of 2017

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Here at Hyphen, we are looking forward to another year full of new designs and projects. We believe that the subjects covered in this blog will be the design and marketing trends of 2017 to watch.

 

Web Design

 

Gradients

It looks like gradients are going to be making a comeback this year, but in a slightly different way than we have seen before. Before the era of flat design, we were used to seeing subtle gradients, such as Apple’s iOS icons. This time, gradients are coming back stronger than ever and making an impact with their bright, bold colours.

 

Another way gradients are being used is as an overlay for pictures. This is being done to add excitement and depth to images that either aim to switch up your look or to make a photo more intriguing.

 

Gradient Website Trends of 2017

https://designmodo.com/web-design-trends-2017/

 

Simple Homepages/ Exaggerated use of Space

Website designers are opting for simplistic homepage designs with exaggerated use of negative space, to grab attention and make viewers want more. Information that would normally be visible straight away has been moved to below the fold. This is no extra effort for visitors as we are used to scrolling more on websites regardless of device, thanks to plenty of scrolling on mobile websites.

 

Simple Homepage Website Trends of 2017

https://designmodo.com/web-design-trends-2017/

 

Custom Typography

Typography is constantly changing and just keeps getting better. With an increasing number of web fonts becoming available, more designers are experimenting with their typography by using interesting and novelty typefaces. By using custom typography, we take a break from the same few sans serifs that seem to dominate designs. Lettering needs to be readable to make sure that users can understand exactly what you are trying to say, easily.

 

Custom Typography Website Trends of 2017

https://designmodo.com/web-design-trends-2017/

 

Graphic Design / Branding

 

Colours

2017s colour of the year award, by Pantone, was granted to the colour ‘Greenery’. Pantone says ‘Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew’. We are expecting to see this being used this year and making an impact.

 

Pantone Colour of the Year, Trends of 2017

 

We are also expecting to see colours influenced by rich and earthy minerals and materials, such as brick reds, olive green, maroon brown, khaki and charcoal grey.

 

Focusing on the Product

As a society, we are becoming more concerned with where our food or product has come from and the process involved in production. Food packages especially are now starting to use transparent packaging and easily readable ingredients, to combat society’s concerns. This is also being adopted by technology companies to show what goes into their product.

Companies are also becoming concerned with sourcing materials ethically and providing good working conditions in manufacturing factories.

 

Transparent Packaging Trends of 2017

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/features/graphic-design/visual-trends-2017-these-are-this-years-must-know-colour-design-branding-photography-trends/

 

Simple/ bold logos

Flat design is still going strong with the latest version (flat 2.0) introducing a degree of depth into the designs. Flat design is still influencing the newest logos to be released, as well as being inspired by simplistic and bold designs. Some well-known brands to recently take this direction are the Co-op (which you can read more about here), Natwest, Kodak and BT.

 

Co-op New Simplistic Logo

 

Digital Marketing

 

Mobile Video/ Live Streaming

 Around 61% of businesses are now using social videos to reach their customers and we are expecting this percentage to carry on rising this year. This is making it increasingly important for businesses to put social video at the top of their agenda for this year. Live streaming is also very popular as it adds a sense of raw authenticity. Instagram has followed in Facebooks footsteps and has also integrated a live video option for their app.

This is making it easier for businesses, some of which may not have a large video budget, to make videos for social media, as it is no longer necessary to have expensive and professional equipment.

 

Facebook Live Trends of 2017

http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/6/11374988/facebook-live-streaming-video-tab-redesign-periscope

 

Short Lived Content

Snapchat is extremely popular and claims to see over 100million users daily, making it a go to platform for social media. Other businesses, such as Instagram, have also taken a step in this direction by adding a story option to the top of the news feed.

More people are using these short-lived content options to add a sense of exclusivity to those who view your content in time.

 

Snapchat Trend 2017

http://news.softpedia.com/news/snapchat-ceo-hates-microsoft-no-official-app-coming-to-windows-phone-dev-says-498610.shtml

 

Be sure to integrate these design and marketing trends of 2017 to your marketing plan for this year and you will be giving your business the best start possible.

Remember to click the buttons to the left to share this with your friends.

And as always, if you need any advice, please contact us.

Until next time,
Sian

The Crucial Guide to Understanding the Basics of SEO

The Crucial Guide to Understanding the Basics of SEO

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Have you been struggling to understand what SEO is and how it can help your website? Through this blog were going to break it down for you and put you on the path to understanding the basics of SEO.

 

Understanding the Basics of SEO: What is it?

 

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the activity of making your content readable by search engines, to increase your search engine rankings.

When someone types a query in to a search engine, results will be pulled up for websites which are highly relevant and authoritative. SEO is all about showing search engines that the content on your website is highly relevant and should be shown in the search engine rankings.

 

Why is it important?

 

The most popular search engine by far is Google, who see an impressive 5.5 billion searches per day, that’s 63,000 every second!

Only 8.5% of people making those searches makes it past the first page. When broken down, each page receives the following traffic:

  • Page 1             91.5%
  • Page 2             4.8%
  • Page 3             1.1%
  • Page 4             0.4%

As you can see, most traffic stays on the first page of results, which means you want your website to be in, at least, those first 10 results. But, ideally you want to aim higher than this and try to rank in the top three. Searches that make up results 6-10 on the first page of Google are clicked on, about 12% of the time combined. Compare that to the top three spots, which receive 50+% of the clicks. The first spot on page 1 receives almost 30% of the average traffic share.

 

Google Rankings - Basics of SEO

http://www.smartinsights.com/search-engine-optimisation-seo/seo-analytics/comparison-of-google-clickthrough-rates-by-position/

 

By being on the first page of results you give your website the best chance of being seen and potentially clicked on.

 

Where do I start?

 

The first thing to remember is that you still need to be writing your content for humans, not just to appear on search engine rankings.

By writing good content for people, there is the increased chance that they will share your website with others. This may happen in the form of social media or direct links from another site, which act as online references. When people link to your website, it is basically them saying that they like your website, and search engines see this as your site being authoritative. By doing this you will be increasing your chance of appearing higher in search engine results.

 

Can I do it myself?

 

There are many complex steps to optimising your website for search engines, the basics of SEO can be picked up by doing a lot of research.

Alternatively, depending on your time commitment, your willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website, you may decide you need an expert to handle things for you.

 

Is there any other way I can help my website be seen?

 

In conjunction with optimising your website it is recommended to boost your search engine presence by using Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising service which allows you to target specific searchers and bid to appear above the organic searches at the top of the results page.

 

Google Adwords

http://neilpatel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/image01-32.png

 

Hopefully, by reading this blog you will be on your way to understanding the basics of SEO. In the future, we will explore this subject more and help you progress further than the basics of SEO.

 

So, check back to read more!

Until next time,
Sian

Carlsberg Export Rebrand – Did they get it right?

Carlsberg Export Rebrand – Did they get it right?

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Carlsberg Export has recently undertaken a rebrand for their British consumers, that showcases their Danish roots. The Carlsberg brand was founded in 1847 by J. C. Jacobsen, with the company’s first headquarters located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The company’s flagship brand is Carlsberg Beer, which was named after Jacobsen’s son Carl. But, it also brews other well-known beers such as Tuborg, Kronenbourg and Somersby cider. Below we’re going to take a closer look at the Carlsberg Export rebrand and see whether it was a smart move by the company.

Carlsberg Export Rebrand Logo

The Carlsberg Export rebrand features a new logo and packaging for the beer, and it is quite different from its former look. The previous logo focused on the colour green and a hops symbol, which has been completely replaced, and is a bold move by the company to step away from the familiar brand colour.

The founder’s signature, J.C. Jacobsen, has also been added underneath the name, which adds a personal touch and also adds to the feel of getting back to the brand’s roots. A slashed ‘o’ has also been added to the word Export, which is said to be a playful reference to the letter used in the Danish alphabet.

 

Carlsberg Export Rebrand Packaging

https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/5-11-december-2016/carlsberg-export-goes-back-danish-roots-rebrand/?cmpid=dwnews_2882193&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=dw_daily

 

The new look uses a colour palette of white, copper and a wood effect, which links to their Danish roots as these materials are often used in contemporary Danish design. Cleverly integrated into the design is the use of a cross symbol placed towards the left of the packaging, which is subtly inspired by the Danish flag.

The Carlsberg Export rebrand has been cleverly executed to combat a recent identity crisis and decline in sales, by attempting to attracting a younger audience.

Our branding experts here at Hyphen think that this new look is a good move for the company, giving it a new lease of life. We think the new design has a clean look, and has been modernised well to inspire a younger audience, as set out by the company. We also think that it could attract a more mature audience, that may have previously overlooked Carlsberg or thought that the branding was outdated.

The new branding and packaging for Carlsberg Export begins rolling out in February 2017, and is only rolling out in the UK market. It may roll out even further depending on its success in the UK. A £15 million marketing and advertising campaign will be accompanying the new look. The size of the beer bottle is also being increased from 275ml to 330ml, showing that they are responding to the marketing, as during these financially tough times people are wanting bigger and better deals.

Carlsberg Export Rebrand Bottles

We think that Carlsberg are definitely taking a step in the right direction with their Danish inspired new look and believe that this will reflect positively on their brand.

If the Carlsberg Export rebrand has inspired you to refresh your business’ current look, to keep up to date with modern designs, click here to see how we can help.

Until next time,
Sian

Is your brand digitally prepared for the festive period?

Is your brand digitally prepared for the festive period?

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Mobile Optimisation

An increasing number of festive shoppers are heading to the internet to find the best deals, compare prices and find the best gifts before purchasing. It is becoming increasingly important for your online information to be easily accessible, clear, attention grabbing and provide mobile optimisation to compete with your competitors.

Around 92% of the population are internet users, that’s a staggering 59,717,200 people in the UK alone. In 2015, 77% of internet users bought at least one item online, which encouraged online sales to increase by 16.2% and it’s expected to grow a further 14.9% this year.

Mobile Optimization

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/device-use-marketer-tips.html

Despite nearly double the percentage of people exclusively using a smartphone rather than a desktop, there are nearly twice as many conversions on a desktop because websites do not provide effective mobile optimisation. Smartphone users will switch site if it doesn’t suit their needs (around 29%), this could be that they can’t find the information or the site is too slow.

The well-known company Walmart noticed this was as issue for them too. So, to combat this, they took off 4 seconds from their website load time and got a 2% increase in conversions.

So, as you can see it’s increasingly important to effectively provide mobile optimisation. But, what does it mean to have your website mobile friendly? Standard sites do not render well on mobile devices, so it is essential to make your site responsive, which means it will automatically adjust to fit on a smaller screen and format the content in a mobile friendly manner. This is done by:

  • Larger and easier to read text.
  • Mobile friendly navigation.
  • Touch friendly buttons.
  • Faster loading speed.

It is important to make sure that all your customers have positive interactions with your website regardless of the device they are using. It is also beneficial to use mobile optimisation to get better search rankings, as in 2015 Google started giving preference to sites that are mobile friendly. The better the experience that you can provide to your customers accessing your site on a mobile device, the more likely they will turn into new business.

It is relatively easy to check if your site is already optimised for mobile users by looking at your site from a mobile device and seeing if the content adapts to a smaller screen. Alternatively, Google have a Mobile-Friendly test which anyone can access and it will inform you how well your site is optimised.

Checkout Optimisation

Although around 68% of internet users buy at least one item a month online, it appears that around 39% of these users have abandoned their online basket at least once in the last month. Which means checkout optimisation is becoming increasingly important. Checkout optimisation will help you to streamline this process and provide a positive experience for your customers, in the hopes of reducing abandonment rates.

Checkout Optimisation

www.ecommercenews.eu/79-european-consumers-abandon-online-purchases/

Some things that may deter customers from completing a sale may be either having to create an account at check out or there being too many forms to fill in, which means around 23% of people will abandon their basket and go elsewhere.

There are even more procedures which appear at checkout which can increase the number of people abandoning their site such as:

  1. Signing in

When asking your customers to sign in or create an account, you are creating an unnecessary barrier between them and the ultimate goal, buying your product. It adds more fields for people to fill out and prolongs the payment process. To make life easier for potential customers let them check out as a guest. It is possible to store a customer’s email address in your system and you will be able to recognize a returning customer, then offer them a quicker way to log in.

  1. Brand consistency

If your checkout page suddenly looks different from your main website, then customers will become very skeptical and may be reluctant to continue with their check out. From a branding perspective, you will want the same colors, fonts, and design on your checkout page as on the rest of your website, so you can raise brand recognition for your business.

  1. Progress bar

All checkouts look very different to one another. Most of them have a variety of different steps involved to complete checkout, but customers want to know how many steps it will take to get to the finish line. In some checkouts, there’s no indication when the customer gets started how many steps are involved. If the process is too long winded then customers may be put off from completing their purchase.

  1. Information required

When designing your checkout form you should take into consideration whether you are asking for relevant information to the order. Adding in extra information fields to your checkout process is unnecessary and prolongs the process. It is also important to make sure that your required information is in the correct order as it might not be relevant for you to ask customers for a delivery address before you have asked them how they would like to receive their order e.g. collection or delivery.

  1. Payment/ Delivery options

56% of online shoppers say they expect to have multiple options available at the checkout stage. It is beneficial to provide a variety of ways for your customers to pay such as Paypal, Android Pay, Direct Debit, coupons or even Finance options. Customers have also said that they like having options regarding receiving their order. You could consider the following options such as delivery, collection or click and collect.

  1. Deals/ Coupons

If customers are reluctant to pay your prices, then they will most probably start looking around for cheaper deals or will look for coupons that they can add to their order.

They would be less likely to leave your site to look for coupons if you resurface any deals, offers or coupons that you have available as they are checking out.

  1. Errors

It’s very easy to mistype information while checking out. If there are errors on the form you will usually see an error message on the page. It is best to strategically place the error message to appear next to the incorrect field rather than having it appear at the top of the page and confusing customers.

  1. Payment security

58% of customers drop out of the checkout page due to concerns about payment security. You will want to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website in order to provide a secure connection and encrypt credit card information. You will also want to comply with the standards of the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). PCI compliance is enforced by payment card companies, while the council itself manages the security standards for anyone who stores, transmits, or processes cardholder data. You can then have these badges displayed on your checkout page to reassure customers that you are secure and will protect their payment details.

If you put these tips into effect on your website to increase checkout optimisation, then you should expect to see a reduction in the percentage of basket abandonments.

Consumer Behaviour

The final part of preparing for the online shoppers this holiday season, is understanding your customers and consumer behaviour. The first step is understanding online consumer behaviour in general, then specifically looking at your customers.

What you think to be the most important factor for your customers when shopping online, might not actually be true. 47% of consumers say the ability to easily search for and find products was most important to them, ranking higher than product ratings and reviews at 26%. The same percentage of consumers believe that customers only make two searches before leaving the website. So, it is important to make your website is providing accurate search results.

In general, more than 50% of holiday shoppers say they are open to purchasing from new retailers. And, more than three-quarters of them who generally go to the same physical stores, are very open to new retailers and brands online. Mobile devices make it easy to explore a variety of options. In fact, after searching on Google, 76% of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about which retailer or brand to purchase from. Online shoppers will compare prices, check reviews and pick the most seemingly trustworthy business.

Consumers aren’t always searching for a particular branded item, they’re searching for the general product that they have in mind. Does your website show up when people search for generic terms like “toys” or “computer”? By appearing in searches in moments when your brand is most relevant to a customer, a new customer can be won. Generally, online shoppers begin with a broad search and then adjust their criteria as they find which product they want specifically. To be better informed, shoppers repeatedly leave websites to learn more about products and pricing before continuing to purchase the item.

Looking at a combination of traffic from all sources such as referrals, paid searches and social media, most visits to the top 25 online retailers in the second quarter of 2016 came from Google with more than 1.1 billion visits. It is increasingly important to make sure that your website is making use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), so that your brand appears high on Google rankings.

One of the most valuable things to do is to conduct market research on your existing customers, to analyse how they interact with your site. Things to take into consideration are:

  • Are your customers landing on a relevant page to their search?
  • How many pages are your customers visiting in one visit?
  • What are the peak times of visits on your site?
  • What pages are they visiting?
  • Age of your customers.
  • Gender of your customers.

Once you understand consumer behaviour and how your customers are using your website, you can then develop strategies to improve their experience. If customers are provided with a positive online experience, then they will be more likely to purchase.

To re-engage customers that have left your website, make sure that you’re using features like remarketing that can take previous shopping behaviors into account. That way, customers can easily find you again after they have decided specifically which product they like. Offering promotions influences 28% of consumers to spend more, 27% to buy from retailers they would not normally choose, and 25% to make purchases they would otherwise not have made. So, by offering deals/ promotions to prospective customers you can win them over, even those who might not have been inclined to shop with you in the first place.

Until next time,
Sian