Tag Archives: Top tips

Nicola Peaty

Top Tips…How To Write Content For A Top Google Listing

By Nicola Peaty

All websites need to reflect the brand, tell the target market what you do and have effective ‘Calls to Action’ in place. But then, it’s all pointless if no one can find your site in the first place. This is where content is king – as is knowing how to write content for Google – which has changed and, we feel, improved over the years. 

When we wrote content for the first VG&A website in 2010, we probably went through at least five drafts before we decided upon the final ‘live’ version. We found it hard to write for our audience, comply with good SEO practice and at the same time, succinctly communicate our services. If only we knew then what we’ve learnt now! Ah, but we do know so much more now and that really helped when writing for our new website last year.

Write for your customers:

Firstly, we now know that content has to be written for your audience and not just a bunch of SEO terms. By writing in a language that your audience actually understands (and not just the Google bots) obviously also help attracts them to your site and gives your customer a good experience. Think about the search terms your users would use to find your website and make sure you incorporate these words within your content.

Quality:

Content should also be as high quality as possible. That means writing articles or blogs which are original and relevant. Where you can, give your own review, some depth and insight into your knowledge of a particular subject matter.  Your customers are looking for something unique and added value by choosing to visit your site and not just read duplicate content they can find on other sites. This will help reflect well on your business and give confidence to users who may be new to your site. Your objective is to engage your users so that they will stay on your site, return to your site and even recommend your site.

 Accuracy:

The last thing you want to do is deceive your users, so make sure the content you write is accurate so that visitors are not disappointed when they reach your site. This also relates to the <title> elements and ALT attributes which should give a very clear and exact description of what you are offering. There is no point including words which have no real relevance to your core site. Users will get annoyed and simply bounce straight back to the Google listing to find a site which delivers what it writes. This term is sometimes called cloaking and can lead to you ultimately being banned from Google, so be warned!

No more tricks:

When we first learnt about how to optimise a site nearly ten years ago, there was a completely different set of rules to make sure your site appeared on the first page of Google listings. Now Google is far more genuine to its users and it’s all about good user experience. No more should sites be using keyword density, copying duplicate content across multiple pages, using competitor trademark names for keywords or linking to spam sites to improve ranking.

Another ‘trick’ is Doorway or Gateway pages which have seen a recent rise in optimising techniques. This is when you create specific pages for certain key terms to attract users. They can hold very little content and are usually there in the guise to lead you on to other areas. This is not necessarily relevant, can be quite annoying and a waste of time. Google is far more sophisticated and will detect this and catch you out. It’s now all about being relevant and honest with your customers. Build a simple, well-structured site that keeps both your users and Google happy.

New ideas:

There will always be new ways to help get your site noticed and listed higher than competitor sites. It’s important to keep up-to-speed with these new ideas and try and stay ahead of the curve to take advantage of quick and easy (legitimate) techniques. For example:

  • Internal linking within your own site content on certain terms will help Google index and rank specific content.
  • Using Google+ will also help rank content, especially if you share content via Google+ and users click on the Google + to show they like your content.
  • Slideshare is a fairly new and popular way in how to display your content which Google can index in literally seconds.
  • Optimised images can often be missed but is another simple way of attracting visitors to your site especially if images are the best way to view your product. However, ensure to use the relevant keywords in the name, title and ALT tags so that users can easily find the images and Google can index the content.

 Ask the Experts:

Google has its own really useful guidelines for design and content as well as technical and quality: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en

Top Tips:

We posted this infographic on our Facebook page last year (Source: Content Verve). It’s a great list of top tips we think will help when writing content for SEO purposes. SEO-Copywriting-–-10-tips-for-writing-content-that-ranks-in-2013

Nicola Peaty – Director, VG&A

Mel Rees

Top Tips…How To Brief a Designer To Achieve Great Results

By Mel Rees

We asked creative director, Mel Rees, to have a think about what clients can do to help their designers meet their creative objectives and make the whole process as smooth as possible. We think they’re pretty straight-forward, but not thinking them through at the outset can make the whole experience slightly more stressful – for both parties! Graphic design

1. Make sure you know what you want: It may sound obvious, but many people without marketing experience (and some people with it!) begin the design briefing process without having a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Write down your objectives for any campaign so you are able to explain them clearly and succinctly to yourself before trying them out on anyone else.

2. Make yourself easy to understand: Your business and brand is obviously clear in your mind, but it may not be clear to anyone else. Don’t expect your designer to be a mind-reader. Tell them all about your business – even if you think it’s irrelevant. Many descriptive words and expressions are subjective. What is ‘funky’ to one person may be ‘traditional’ to another. If you have specific design preferences, be clear or better still, use visual examples.

3. Let your designer be the designer: Don’t commission a designer and then immediately start designing the project yourself. When writing your brief, concentrate on your marketing objectives and allow your designer to interpret them. By all means be a part of the creative process and never let your designer bully you – but make sure your roles are properly defined.

4. Write it down: Have you ever phoned your designer, given them a 10-20 minute spiel and then expected them to deliver an award-winning campaign? And have you ever received totally unexpected results following this conversation? It simply doesn’t work. A written brief gives you both a point of reference when evaluating creative work. And it encourages you to explain your requirements in depth.

5. Plan ahead and understand your budget: To achieve value for money and the right results you need to understand how much bang you’ll get for your buck. Agree exact costs for each design element up front. Give your designer a really accurate project plan and check each element off, making sure you both understand where you are in the project at every stage.

Check out our creative briefing template here.

Mel Rees – Creative Director, VG&A

Vaughan Gordon

Welcome to the new VG&A blog.

By Vaughan Gordon

Just to give you an idea of what to expect, we will be posting news, views, ideas, thoughts, research findings, success stories, case studies, top tips (the list goes on…), all designed to help your businesses develop and grow.

If anything you’ve read here resonates with you, gets you thinking and helps your business, then I think we’ve done our jobs pretty well.

More importantly, we want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts about our posts or the things that keep you awake at night.

To ensure you don’t miss our regular updates or to find out more about what we do at VG&A, don’t forget to bookmark the site: www.vgandassociates.com

To meet us in person, we’ll be exhibiting at the Kempton Park Expo on June 22nd – Stand 120.