Reach Digital – Reach Blog http://reachblog.co.uk Articles from Reach Marketing Communicatons Ltd Fri, 19 Feb 2016 10:15:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Things to know about SEO http://reachblog.co.uk/things-to-know-about-seo/ Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:50:41 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=932

To ensure your website is as friendly as possible to the major search engines, it’s important to follow the rules: Unique search engine friendly URLs …

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To ensure your website is as friendly as possible to the major search engines, it’s important to follow the rules:

  1. Unique search engine friendly URLs (clean URLs)
  2. URLs which reflect the website hierarchy and folder structure
  3. Sensible H1 Page titles for every page relating to the content of the page
  4. Unique Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions for each web page
  5. Ability to change Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions on each web page
  6. Ability to add Title, Description and Alt Tags to every image
  7. Responsive layout to ensure website performs well across all platforms including tablet and mobiles (making use of native features where relevant)
  8. Ensure mobile layout elements are large enough to be accepted by Google guidelines for mobile search
  9. Return either the www. version of the site OR the non www. version of the site, not both as guided by Google
  10. Correctly formatted sitemap.xml files with submission to Google
  11. Correctly formatted .htaccess to ensure correct URL rewrites where necessary
  12. Correctly formatted canonicalisation of pages (this ensures any duplicates are not indexed by the search engines)
  13. Correctly formatted robots.txt to ensure readability (or hiding of) of all necessary files (including css and js files) by major search engines
  14. Low file size ensures quick page load times where possible
  15. Open Graph Social Meta tags to ensure site is added to the social graph for ease in sharing content
  16. 301 re-directs for re-built websites to ensure old pages are re-directed to the most relevant page on the new site and established rankings are kept
  17. Google Analytics implemented on all websites and client access given
  18. Websites are added to Google Webmaster Tools to monitor any issues arising from Google updates

Basic SEO tips and considerations

Meta Title, H1 Tag, Alt Tag

Without a doubt the most important ranking factor for a web page is its Meta Title. The Meta Title of a webpage should be unique and focussed on the subject matter of the page. It should be no more than 70 characters in length, and should contain at least one or two keywords which relate to what you want the page to be ranked for. If you are targeting a localised audience (search) then the region you are targeting should also be included.

The H1 Tag (the on-screen title of the page) should also be unique and should relate to that page’s Meta Title. It should also be written in a natural way and not sound like it has been written for the search engines i.e. no overboard keyword stuffing, it should simply make sense as a title.

You should also give your images correct titles and most content management platforms like WordPress will let you add an ALT attribute within in the IMG tag. Any time you use an image, add an ALT tag or ALT text as this will provide a clear text alternative of the image for screen reader users, thus making your images SEO-friendly.

Content is King

While there are many ranking factors the search engines use in their algorithms, after the Meta Title and H1 Tag the main focus of your web page should be it’s content. This can be in the form of pages, news stories or blog posts.

Content should be written in a natural way, and should stay focused on the topic of the web page.  There is no need to stuff the page with keywords or keyphrases. As you write, these words and phrases should appear naturally in the content.

The major search engines are now extremely sophisticated and are extremely good at identifying content that may be over-optimised. If you read the content out loud and it doesn’t sound natural then you must edit it until it does.

Do not plagiarise content from other sources in order to quickly populate your website, as you will undoubtedly suffer ranking penalties.  Search engines will always give preference to the original source material and will be able to tell who has copied who.

Content on each page of your site should also be concise and easy to read, a good rule of thumb is to keep it between 300 and 40 words where possible.  If you have content which exceeds that amount, try to break it up over several pages, each with its own unique URL.

For every significant keyword or keyphrase you want to be searched for – say a short list of around 10 for best targeting – there should be a relevant landing page dedicated to that topic.

Please note, even if over time you become a few ranks higher than a competitor, if their content is better and more engaging, then the user could still be more inclined to contact them over you. Therefore, content is of ongoing importance to the success of your website.

Avoid Black-Hat techniques

Black Hat techniques are those which go against the major search engine rules and guidelines, and those which can get you quick results, but also will get your website penalised in the search rankings in the end.

Some examples of this are:

  • Hidden text which is stuffed with keywords (e.g. white text on white background, text so small it is unreadable, or text that is placed off the visible browser window)
  • Keyword stuffing in titles or content (over-optimisation)
  • Plagiarism of titles or content
  • Bad link building practices (link buying, and listing on too many directories, especially bad neighbourhoods which are only online to seduce you into paying to list for rankings)

While it may appear these techniques offer significant and fast ranking gains, in the long term it will result in penalties that can be as drastic as your website being removed from the search engines index entirely. Be aware that Google is very strict with this.

Link Building

The major search engines all have the same goal – to ensure they provide the best and most relevant content for the user, by providing the most respected sites with the most relevant content, at the top of the search results.  The way they acknowledge this is by looking at a website and seeing if other people in that field consider that website to have authority.  If other people are linking to a website, the search engines believe this means the website is trusted and valued by others – especially if the website with the link is an established website in itself.

Links are analysed to see where they have come from and given their own weight of authority. So a website with a lot of links will not necessarily get to the top of the search engine either. It is quality over quantity. The more authoritative the link ‘profile’ is, the better your rankings will be.

For example if your website is about pet care then having 100 links from all kinds of site like plumbers or cycle shops will not gain you rankings and may actually result in a penalty. However if your website is about pets with 2 links from authoritative bodies or educational institutes, this will ensure the search engines see your site as an authority on the subject and thus your prospects of ranking highly will improve.

Paid-for links are bad

Never pay for links. Anyone buying from websites which sell bundles promising to get your site 200 links for a minimal fee will eventually get penalised. This will result in a lot of work in getting those links removed plus more time convincing the search engines to forget about them. An SEO specialist would have to get involved for as long as it takes and this will cost you a monthly fee.

These kinds of offers generally get you links on known ‘bad link neighbourhoods’ with a track record of link buying practices. A few years ago Google did a Penguin update which heavily penalised a lot of website, including household name websites, for this type of ‘black hat’ activity. (see Interflora article)

Build good links

There’s no easy solution to this but the best way is to write content for your website that people want to read and share with others. (see Content is King section above).

There are other safe ways to get good links which include, guest blogging on someone else’s website (must be relevant to your own website topic), or simply by asking for them. But be careful as some genuine requests can be seen as Black Hat (for instance if you offer something in return). This will be seen as paid links and can get you penalised.

To Summarise

Basic SEO (the things covered in this article) will give your website a good foundation for search engines to find you and start ranking you. Use unique page titles and H1 tags, write content that is authoritative and relevant to the webpage it’s on.  Write for your site’s users and not the search engines. If your website and content are good then the rankings will come. For the first 6-12 months of your website going live, you will simply have to be patient.

Don’t do anything shady to try and manipulate the search rankings. Don’t be fooled by offers like “I can get you to the top of Google in 3 days” – schemes like this very rarely work these days, and if they do, it’s usually for very obscure keywords that people aren’t really searching for.

If switching to a new website domain or updating / rebuilding your website with new page structure, implement 301 redirects from old pages to new pages so that users are redirected to the right information. Not doing so, will mean users will face error pages and you lose your established search engine presence (see Ryan Air article).

If after 6-12 months you are looking to boost rankings beyond the results you are gaining organically, then it is always best to get an SEO consultant involved and perhaps try some pay-per-click advertising.

If you would like to discuss your website and SEO further, contact us by emailing info@reachdigital.co.uk or by ringing 0116 2335565.

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Creating content using the 5 Ws http://reachblog.co.uk/creating-content-using-the-5ws/ Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:00:30 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=903

Creating regular and relevant content is a must for any business online, it is good for organic search rankings and adds value for the customer …

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Creating regular and relevant content is a must for any business online, it is good for organic search rankings and adds value for the customer or client. However, to add value to your business too and make it worth your time and effort, the best thing you could do is research your audience and start targeting your output.

Good research allows you to build a strategy where you can confidently create relevant and appealing content, publish in the right places at the right time and leverage your company’s expertise within your industry. Your content should engage clients and customers and consequently build brand awareness which in turn will help you to achieve your business goals in a tangible way.

So with this in mind, here is how you can use the 5 Ws as a guideline to create your content strategy:

1 – WHY are you creating content?

Content marketing is about getting the attention of new visitors (brand awareness) and developing long-term relationships with existing customers (brand loyalty and advocacy).

Like all relationships, you’ll need understanding, communication and patience. You need to understand the needs of your target audience before communicating how you can fulfill that need. Your approach needs to be patient with a big-picture mindset because the goal is never immediate conversion.

2 – WHO are you trying to reach?

Collect all the demographic and location information you can then answer a set of questions using various data sources like Google Analytics, Social media in-built analytics, Social media management tool analytics (e.g. Hootsuite) if you use it.

Question 1: What needs does your site currently fulfill for visitors?

Answer: Examine top hit pages, top search clicks and on-site search terms. Reference bounce rates call-to-actions and goal completions to see if your visitors are actually following through.

Question 2: What needs do your blog posts, social media, email campaigns and other resources fulfill?

Answer: Review the most popular posts and demographic information. Focus on this audience first because they have already opted in and demonstrated engagement potential.

Question 3: How do they compare to your competitors’ website visitors and social media fans?

Answer: Check top keywords and associated search terms on Google Insights compared to your website content and social media profiles.

Question 4: How do they compare with the overall category audience?

Answer: See the top level keywords and associate search terms at the category level.

Question 5: In what format do they prefer to experience content? (e.g. Video, images, tweets, how-to articles).

Answer: User demographic data and on-site behaviour to determine likely online behaviour whilst cross-referencing existing client/customer persona data.

3 – WHAT do you want them to do

You want them to buy your products and services, but by understanding your audience you are essentially identifying how to communicate the best of your offering to them and give them the most easiest and preferable ways of contacting you or buying online. You therefore, need to create goals and specific call-to-actions to tie your marketing channels to your business objectives.

4 – WHERE are you trying to reach them?

During your customer research you should have learned where your potential clients/customers are spending their time online, so you need to reach them via these channels.

If social media is a top choice, focus on the channels most relevant to your audience rather than your product/service. If they enjoy videos, make videos and maximise your Youtube channel. If they are more likely to share images, use sites like Facebook and Instagram. If they like live information and news, perhaps Twitter and online advertising across local news publishing websites is a good call.

Ensure your content is optimised for all devices including desktop, tablet and mobile. Especially, the device category that most relates to your target audience.

5 – WHEN should you publish and promote content?

To maximise the performance of your content you need to be publishing at peak search times, which you should get to know in your audience research. Keep in mind that this may not be at the same time as when your peak sales are. A lot of people look at content more than once before finally making a decision to take action.

On a final note, you need to track your content in order to measure how well its working for you and to keep learning about your audience. Therefore, identify the metrics you will be tracking from the start, understand your analytics capabilities and communicate key performance indicators (KPIs) across the organisation, at least on a monthly basis, to set expectations.

For advice on content marketing, please contact Reach Digital by emailing info@reachdigital.co.uk or telephoning 0116 2335565

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A fun way to develop your team http://reachblog.co.uk/a-fun-way-to-develop-your-team/ Tue, 22 Sep 2015 09:46:33 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=895

We have brought to life, a team development tool created by our client Greengage Consulting who are specialists in developing high performance leaders, teams and …

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We have brought to life, a team development tool created by our client Greengage Consulting who are specialists in developing high performance leaders, teams and organisations.

When Greengage came to us with an idea and a name, we set to work creating a beautiful brand  which we rolled out into print material. The core of the service is a pack of branded playing cards with an educational twist. Each card contains a positive and a negative character trait. The user is to go through these and keep the five that most relate to them whilst discarding the those that don’t, making for an interesting and engaging way to get them to think and be self-aware.

The five cards kept sum up the person’s approach to work and leadership style, enabling organisation leaders to understand their staff and build successful teams that combine complimentary sets of strengths and weaknesses.

The website is now live and features a fun and animated overview video, a high quality promotional video and online registration (data capture) to play the game online. The user can also save and print their StrongSuits results to share with their manager and team.

StrongSuits workshops are also available, so take a look through the website to learn more about this engaging service and play the game to learn what your dominant character trait is, in the work place. www.strongsuits.com

strongsuits

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How to use Snapchat in marketing http://reachblog.co.uk/how-to-use-snapchat-in-marketing/ Wed, 09 Sep 2015 11:48:00 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=872

Snapchat has gained popularity in marketing for brands and public figures who want to engage with their audience in a fun and creative way Snapchat …

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Snapchat has gained popularity in marketing for brands and public figures who want to engage with their audience in a fun and creative way

Snapchat is unique and popular social media platform which challenges traditional rules by letting you share photos and videos in a time-constrained manner. This gives your audience an element of excitement.

  • As many as 700 million photos and videos (snaps) are shared on Snapchat per day.
  • According to Statista’s Snapchat 2014 Age Distribution Chart, 31% of users are between 18 -24 years old and 19% are over 25.
  • Snapchat provides a way to gain a follower’s full attention all because of that simple USP – the time constrained ‘self-destruct’ feature.

Think about how you could use Snapchat in your marketing strategy.

1. Capture quick moments

Snapchat allows you to share existing media only in conversation windows, but to create real snaps you are forced to use the built-in camera therefore sharing live moments. So firstly, you will need to practice and get into the habit of capturing and creating interesting ‘snaps’.

2. Decorate and eloborate

Snapchat includes a few overlay filters, ability to add text captoins (character limit applies to keep it brief) and a colour and pen pallet. So creatively enhance your snap with decoration to appeal to the eye and use captions to tease your audience or explain your image.

3. Offer rewards / discounts / event invitations

Use Snapchat to put out special notes exclusive to your Snapchat followers. These can be snaps about upcoming rewards and offers as an exclusive pre-sale type hype. Or a VIP invitation to an event before anybody else. You can gain more followers by giving people the incentive of being the ‘first to know’ about things.

4. Provide sneak peaks

Use Snapchat to give your followers previews of new products or sneak peeks into what you and your brand are getting up to. Again, exclusivity is the key to gain and keep followers and the time-constraint allows you to get fun and exciting with your snaps. You can even tease with a series of snaps, instead of just one.

5. Create a story with a happy ending

Snapchat lets you add a photo or video to Your Story. Each snap you add to your story is available for followers to view for 24 hours. This means you can add to it daily and give them additional information allowing you to create a direct and engaging build up to a final revelation.

6. Get your audience to compete

Engage with followers by asking them to send you snaps of them using your products or doing something in relation to your brand / service for a reward. Some companies have been known to use Snapchat as part of their recruitment process to get that elevator pitch effect. Use the time element to announce the competition closed and tell them when a winner will be snapped back. The anticipation of a private snap will keep your followers hooked to their phone to see if they will be the one to receive that vital snap and reward.

7. Recruit followers and follow them back

Snapchat can scan your mobile phone contacts to find users, but it also gives each user a unique Snapcode so you can display yours on your website and other social media channels to allow people to add you (or follow you) easily. It is much like a QR code in that it can be scanned via Snapchat for automatic adding. Follow your followers back so you can get to know your audience through their own personal snaps.

8. Keep it clean

Snapchat does allow you to save your own snaps and also allows a follower to take a screenshot your snap. It will notify you immediately if a screenshot is taken so that you stay informed. Therefore, keep in mind that abusive or discriminating snaps can be exposed and harm your brand. So have fun, but keep it clean!

If you are an organisation that likes to try new things and would like to discuss ideas on how to use Snapchat as part of your marketing strategy, please contact info@reachdigital.co.uk

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Get real with your marketing ROI http://reachblog.co.uk/get-real-with-your-marketing-roi/ Tue, 21 Jul 2015 10:26:41 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=856

Get more from your Google Analytics reporting simply by setting it up strategically… Once you get to grips with the way analytics works and view …

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Get more from your Google Analytics reporting simply by setting it up strategically…

Once you get to grips with the way analytics works and view your reports regularly, you will start to gain valuable insights which can help you with ongoing improvements to your website and your online/offline marketing campaigns to gain better return on investment.

Below are five incredibly valuable features you should definitely be using if you are serious about improving your business.

FILTERS

Filter out visits from fixed IP so that analytics doesn’t count visits from within your (and your web company’s) organisation

ADJUSTED BOUNCE RATES

If your landing page has plenty of info and call-to-actions it may be normal for it to have a high bounce rate.

Distinguish a true bounce by the time a visitor spends on the page by adjusting the bounce setting to only count bounces below a certain dwell time

Click to view how to adjust the bounce rate

View results straight on the dashboard

SITE SEARCH REPORTS

If your website includes a search facility you can check how people use it and gain clarity on popular searches.

Track what visitors are searching, what page from and how long they searched for by identifying the query parameter q or s in the property view settings

Click to view how to set up site search parameters

View results in Behaviour > Site Search

EVENT REPORTS

If your website gives people information via a range of media, you can check which gets the most usage and also measure lead generation.

Track downloads, video plays, clicks to your social media icons or contact form, phone/email call-to-actions by adding an additional piece of code into your Google analytics naming the action you are tracking.

Click to view how to set up event tracking

View results in Behaviour > Events

You can also use these EVENTS to define GOALS and test what position in the layout of your website gives you better results.

CAMPAIGN REPORTS

Google Analytics by standard does not truly understand where your link referrals are coming from when it comes to email or social link sharing, but if you put the below in place you can then view clear data all in one place.

Track the success of your email marketing campaigns and social media shares by creating a campaign category related trackable URL using Google’s URL builder

Click to view how to set up campaign tracking

You can also shorten the URL using a URL shortener or your very own short vanity URL – create and track this using https://bitly.com/

View results in Acquisition > Campaigns

For more detail and to ensure you get the best out of your analytics, please contact Reach Digital by emailing info@reachdigital.co.uk or telephoning 0116 2335565

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New Website: Visit Friarsgate Lichfield http://reachblog.co.uk/new-website-visit-friarsgate-lichfield/ Thu, 09 Jul 2015 15:46:39 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=853 Reach have created a classy, contemporary and bright new website to introduce the residents of Lichfield to a new city centre mixed-use development and allow …

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Reach have created a classy, contemporary and bright new website to introduce the residents of Lichfield to a new city centre mixed-use development and allow them to comment on the plans…

The website is fully responsive and content managed in WordPress. The theme is custom built as per all our websites and also includes high quality widescreen CGI images, 3-tier masterplan and a customised online public feedback form.

Visit Friarsgate

Reach also designed the logo, brandstyle and brochure for this development for Lichfield City Council.

Visit-Friarsgate-Brochure

 

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New Website: Motion http://reachblog.co.uk/new-website-motion/ Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:08:09 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=847 A brand new scrolling website has gone live for Motion Ltd, a fabulous Leicester print company. The website is fully content managed, responsive and includes …

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A brand new scrolling website has gone live for Motion Ltd, a fabulous Leicester print company. The website is fully content managed, responsive and includes some subtle animated functionality…

Motion-Website

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Commercial property e-marketing http://reachblog.co.uk/commercial-property-e-marketing/ Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:13:48 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=829

Commercial property e-marketing is going down a storm, we are experiencing open-rates of approximately 30% or more – take a look at our recent HTML …

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Commercial property e-marketing is going down a storm, we are experiencing open-rates of approximately 30% or more – take a look at our recent HTML visual communications below:

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Evolution of web design http://reachblog.co.uk/evolution-of-web-design/ Tue, 09 Jun 2015 11:38:07 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=820

Web design has come a long way since the first website was published by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. This infographic is a peek at the …

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Web design has come a long way since the first website was published by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. This infographic is a peek at the evolutionary tale of web design. View the infographic below and let your imagination wander to where web design could be in the next 20 years…

Evolution-of-web-design

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We featured on The One Show http://reachblog.co.uk/we-featured-on-the-one-show/ Mon, 18 May 2015 11:34:46 +0000 http://reachblog.co.uk/?p=803

Reach Timelapse was featured on BBC’s The One Show Reach Timelapse is a leading provider of construction timelapse services for mid to long-term construction and …

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Reach Timelapse was featured on BBC’s The One Show

Reach Timelapse is a leading provider of construction timelapse services for mid to long-term construction and civil engineering projects across the UK.

We recently installed a timelapse camera to film the construction of  a major new 52 metre bridge in South Wales, which was then installed overnight over the London to South Wales railway line, in Slough. Our camera was installed on top of an adjacent car park, which gave us the ideal position to view the full construction area.

Click here to watch the One Show clip

For long term timelapse projects, Reach Digital are also on hand to create a bespoke and responsive online viewing portal. This enables our clients and their customers to watch the project develop in real time. The portal is branded to match the client’s logo and colour scheme, and furthermore can be embedded within the client’s own website.

For more information contact Paul Harris.

Visit Reach Timelapse
Visit Reach Digital

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