PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to use when determining your current loading speed time and whether or not it is fast enough. As an added convenience, it will also suggest ways in which to increase your page speed - don’t ignore this part. Heed the advice and increase your page speed in any way that you can. You may also want to consider that your page speed is more important on mobile for Voice Search as consumers will more often than not be using mobile devices for Voice Search especially when they are out and about.
In addition, Google does consider page speed when ranking sites so if your website is far too slow, you may not even rank at all which would be devasting to your conversion rate and sales. Mobile users are even more influential to your ranking now as pages are indexed and ranked based on their experience, so it’s not just all about desktop these days. Moral of the story - your website must be quick and provide a positive experience for the user no matter what screen or browser they are using.
If your page speed is too slow and you don’t know where to start in terms of getting it up to speed, contact us today, we are happy to help.
If you have tested your online presence with various Voice Search devices, you will probably notice that an awful lot of information is being pulled from your online business listings so it is imperative to optimize your business listings to ensure that Voice Search consumers are receiving accurate, up-to-date contact information and directions for local queries. In turn, this will help increase your chance of ranking for Voice Search queries.
As a result, you must optimize the following online business listings and if you don’t have any of the following, you should probably set up an account pronto to increase your chance of being found via Voice Search, if not, you may lose a customer to the competition.
• Yelp listing (they have partnered up with the increasingly popular Amazon Alexa)
• Google My Business Listing (ideal for Android devices)
• Apple Maps Connect (ideal for IOS devices)
• Bing Places (Cortana - Microsoft computers)
You don’t want to miss a beat on this because a customer could be using Voice Search through any number of devices such as IOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft (there are probably more out there but these appear to be the ‘big boys’ in the industry). By having business listings across the board, you are increasing your chances of ranking high in local Voice Search quite significantly.
But remember, all your information should marry up across the board. Make sure your links work, check your telephone numbers and your location pin on Google/Apple maps (there’s nothing worse than relying on Google Maps as a Sat Nav for example and then finding out the place you need to be is half a mile up the road).
If you need help managing your online business listings, contact us today.
As it’s early doors, there’s no great manual with all the juicy gossip on how to get your online presence optimized for Voice Search so that you rank above your competition. However, by spending some time testing devices to see what comes up when you ask various questions, it is quite telling. Testing is very important in finding out where you are in the ranking and what you need to do to improve your ranking, for all products and services...across your entire business. (eeek)
Voice Search can be used on a whole host of different devices including Smart Speakers, Smart Phones, Tablets and more. All these devices have different Voice Search systems such as Cortana, Siri, Ok Google and Alexa. They all communicate with various apps, websites, maps and online business listings etc. What a crazy little technological world we live in. Moral of the story, you need to test them all to find out where you appear and if your information is up-to-date.
Note down what results are being generated and where your answers are being pulled from. Imagine you are a customer, think about what questions they may ask and what comes up if they were to Voice Search these queries. Keep an eye on where you are ranking and where your competitors are ranking. If your competitors are ranking above you, take note of what information they have provided which gets them the top spot so you know what you have to improve.
Sounds like a big job, well you’re right, it is a big job however if you can nail this now you will be better off in the long run.
If you need help auditing your online presence for Voice Search, contact us today, we will be happy to help.
1. To obtain information - general queries and random questions, you might have your hands full so you so say ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Alexa’ tell me what this is and boom, you get your answer immediately without even having to touch your device. Clever stuff.
2. Now, this is a big one - consumers use Voice Search for navigational purposes, specifically if they are searching for a destination or product. Often enough people are in their car when they need directions and it is a little bit frowned upon (and illegal for that matter) to use their phone while driving, so by being able to Voice Search, the consumer can get the answer they need without breaking the law or accidentally playing bumper cars with a nearby lamp post.
3. Consumers are also using Voice Search to buy something or to make contact with a person or business. Now, this is incredibly important because if you appear in their search results with the right details (correct phone number for example) you will be making contact with a potential customer, which if you follow the yellow brick road to the transaction point, you end up with another happy customer. Ka-Ching!
This is where it gets a little bit competitive. In Voice Search, only three results appear on top for mobile where as smart speakers only provide the consumer with one result. Therefore, you have to ensure your business is ranking at the top and you have to make sure this is happening now! Why? Because by 2020, nearly half of all search activity will be through Voice Search and time is running out.
3. We appreciate that time is money, so we are proud to be able to produce quality artwork in very little time. Got a tight deadline? Don’t worry, that’s our thing.
4. Whether you are a small start-up or a large establishment, we can provide marketing solutions to suit your budget. We offer no-obligation quotes on all our services.
5. From Automotive Dealerships to Nail Salons and Wedding Venues, we have done it all! Our team of experts will always work and adapt to your brand identity or creative vision.
6. Measuring your success. We use expert analysis and tested methods for tracking campaign success.
7. We are a family owned business in the heart of Kent near Maidstone, but wherever you are, we will come to you. We are proud of the relationships we uphold with our clients and would much prefer meeting you in person when possible.
8. Where other agencies may send work overseas, we do not, so you won’t need to worry about time-zone differences or turn-around times.
9. We are always at the end of the phone! We are happy to run through new briefs or artwork amends over the phone, in person or over email - whatever suits you. We’re a friendly bunch and happy to help with all enquiries.
10. Teamwork makes the dream work, we get everyone involved when producing artwork and marketing campaigns and we have an extensive proofing process so that your end product is nothing but perfect.
Alternatively, Comic Sans has the potential to remind everyone of their Primary School PowerPoint presentations. This Font seriously has a childlike quality which is completely unforgivable and will only offer a fast track pass to a big FAIL.
Moving on, we have Lobster, a favourite amongst GCSE Graphic Design students who have barely made the transition from Paint to Adobe. If you are aiming for a Retro vibe and have chosen Lobster for your artwork, there is only one thing you can do now. Boil it. Burn it. Smash it to pieces.
Have you noticed that most movie posters all look the same?
From True Life Dramas to Fictional Witch Craft and Rom-Coms, you will see that Trajan has been used for the Title. Though there are a handful of Designers out there who have tried to be different by using Bank Gothic. Unfortunately, this is one of the only apparent alternatives for Movie Posters and we are still waiting for the day when some innovative little brain out there shakes things up a bit and chooses a typeface somewhat relevant to the Genre.
Next on the list is a Wedding Invite favourite. Zapfino. People think it is so incredibly romantic and whimsical. Fact is, if you are not receiving any RSVPs, chances are your guests can’t read their invitation.
If you search history for Egyptian themed designs, you will probably find artwork absolutely riddled with Papyrus. I can’t even type that without cringing. Apparently, if Hieroglyphics were written in English, this is what they would look like. I’m still cringing.
There are so many criminal fonts out there I could spend a lifetime tearing them apart. But for now, I will just finish with Times New Roman. Because nothing quite says Secondary School English Essay like Times New Roman, for which I am mentally scarred.
Here, I aim to clarify the issue and what it means to the industry as a whole.
What is it that Facebook are being accused of?
Back in 2014, Facebook invited users to find out their personality type via a quiz that was developed by a researcher from Cambridge University called Dr. Kogan. The quiz was called This Is Your Digital Life and about 270,000 participants were collected from it. However, the application developed for the quiz also collected some public data from participants’ friends.
Facebook has since altered the volume of data in which developers can gather, but a whistleblower, named Christopher Wylie, claims that about 50 million records were harvested for a company called Cambridge Analytica (no relation to Cambridge University) before the rules on user consent had been amended.
Mr Wylie’s accusation is that the data sold to Cambridge Analytica was then used to psychologically profile people and deliver pro-Donald Trump materials to them during the 2016 US election.
This claim is in part backed up by a secret recording taken by Channel 4, in which Cambridge Analytica’s Chief Executive says that the London based company ran President Trump’s digital campaign during the election.
The issue with this is two-fold:
1. A company using data sourced from potentially one of the biggest collectors of data on the planet to push a presidential candidate’s agenda is arguably morally bankrupt and gives a private company the power to influence the political landscape.
2. Facebook, as an organisation built on data collection, have supposedly compromised their user’s private information and allowed them to be psychoanalysed without their consent.
It is no secret that Facebook (or any social platform for that matter) hold information about you that is capable of building a psychological profile. We all know that Facebook ads are tailored to our profile, which could be argued is a welcome thing for both consumers and marketeers. After all, consumers don’t want to see ads that mean nothing to them and marketeers don’t want their ads seen by people who aren’t going to engage with them.
That in itself isn’t the issue though. As a marketeer myself, the algorithm built by companies such as Facebook and Google is the ideal platform in which to market on. My ads are sent to a relevant audience without me having direct access to their personal information. I simply fill out the criteria and the algorithm takes care of the rest.
It is however disturbing that this information potentially can be accessed and seen by a third party. The majority of the public would likely agree that they don’t have a problem with Facebook having access to their private information providing that it doesn’t leave Facebook. The beauty of an algorithm is that the control is two ways, marketeers can choose the audience they want to target and consumers can choose the ads they see. Remove that and you essentially have a load of men in suits rummaging through your bins.
Yesterday, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg apologised for the breach in user trust and is taking steps to assure this won’t happen again.
I won’t speculate any legal ramifications that Facebook may face, after all, I’m merely a humble Creative Nerd and my legal knowledge is minimal, to say the least. However, I do think it’s a good thing that this has been made public knowledge. While I don’t think for a second that Facebook will listen to the cries of #DeleteFacebook on Twitter and shut down, I do think this will make other digital companies take a good look at their data procedures and ethics going forward. I’d be surprised if Facebook were the only company to have done something like this with data.
One of the biggest issues we face with tech companies like Facebook is that they are self-regulated. Allowing a company to use your user’s data to push a political candidate without doing the same for any other candidate is essentially an endorsement from the company in which the data came from in the first place. If these platforms are supposed to be for everyone surely they should be impartial?
Facebook certainly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. While it is important that Facebook continues to be a tool for advertising, it is essential that those using their platform are fully consenting to how their information is used. With GDPR rearing its head in May, they really can’t afford to mess up again.
This all forms the basis of the narrative, concept, ideas and direction of a piece. Generally delivered in the form of ‘word overload’ that I scribble down on endless lists that I use as article ammo’.
When writing I like to use a format that takes into consideration; Who I’m writing for, keeping it simple, brand focused, naturally evolving and a true representation of the product.
Each piece I write leaves a little of myself behind, as I write with all of my senses and emotion in hope that this will invite the reader to participate in the experience from a real and relatable place. In turn, giving them a glimpse into ownership of the product. I find this exciting and satisfying as it all comes together to create my textual vision.
My part in the process is only half of the end product, the close working relationships with the visual brainiacs in the studio that interpret my words into images, where we are able to complete the job together as a team.
GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD
Grab your sketchbook and start making a list of all those griping little thoughts and ideas you have. Keep it tidy and highlight anything that really jumps out at you. From this, you might be able to build a coherent game plan.
There are alternatives to this method such as a flowchart, mind map or keep it simple with a bulleted list. Do whatever works best for you.
Sounds simple right? It is what it is. Google all the keywords or phrases that are related to your project or the issue that you need to solve. From there you should be able to generate a list of dozens of sources of inspiration.
They do say there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’. Rope in your colleagues for a little moral support or sit down in a meeting room, a cafe or a pub (preferably the latter) with notebooks at the ready, to bounce ideas off each other. So much can happen when you are ‘having a little bit of banter’. You may find that one person has a good idea but as a team, you can make that idea great.
In this day and age, Pinterest should be your best friend. There is so much inspiration that can be found and while you are looking at things to inspire you now, you might find something else that will also inspire you later.
Get yourself away from your screen and focus on something else for five minutes.
Take a walk around the office, put the kettle on, watch a few funny cat clips on YouTube or do it ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ style and phone a friend. Just make sure you give that brain of yours a break from whatever it is you have been struggling with. Hopefully, when you get back to your screen you will have that ‘EUREKA’ moment you have been waiting for. Ross and Rachel took a break and their relationship turned out great.
There are many more methods that people use in various different working environments but as a creative agency, these pointers certainly work for us and lo and behold, I have written a blog. BOOM.
To employ a Marketing Professional in-house who has experience within the whole Marketing Mix would be a huge expense and commitment and does the business actually need this person on a full-time basis? Can they design materials that you may need or do you need to employ a Creative Designer too? Do they have SEO and PPC skills or do you need an expert in this also? As you can see, the list is endless and it’s enough to give any business owner a headache.
This is where The Imagination Station can come in, a whole team of Marketing Experts all with their own skills – Designers, Digital Experts, Media Buyers and Marketing planners who are at hand to help you the client achieve their marketing objectives within a budget. Many of the team have worked in marketing, both agency and client side for over 10 years, so they really do have a wealth of experience. They can liaise with the Business Owner or the in-house Marketing Manager to create campaigns and be there to offer support and advice. Also, the team are available all year round (where an in-house employee would have annual leave and maybe ill some days) meaning that there would be no delays in achieving objectives. The Imagination Station offers value for money pricing structures, so it really is a great solution.