Ever wondered what it's like working in a graphic design studio? Here's a sneak peak of a day in our South Wales Design Studio. Where we produce an array of quality design for print, web and video. If you are in the area pop in for a coffee and a chat to see how we can help your business grow. Or get in touch with us we have customers all over the UK and are happy to work with our clients remotely too.
SEO in 2018 is looking pretty futuristic. With search engines getting smarter, Google answering more queries directly on results’ pages and the increase of voice-activated search, some are worried their optimisation strategy may need to change drastically. Here's what you need to know. Search engines like Google and Bing are learning to understand content better and are aiming to satisfy users’ needs as best as they can. This is exactly what you should have in mind if you want your website to rank higher in search results next year.
Let’s see what interesting SEO trends 2018 has in store for us, and what you can do to be ready:
More people are using voice search
What happens when you’ve got a burning question but no one’s around? Just ask your phone, all the cool kids are doing it! Seriously. Voice activated search is increasing rapidly thanks to voice recognition software used in mobile devices and home speakers. Already 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search on a daily basis, plus it’s predicted that by 2020 half of searches will be voice activated. The rising popularity of this trend is inevitable. The mere fact that you no longer need to type a query in a search box to get answers makes voice search fast and convenient for busy bees. In addition, multitasking addicts have increased flexibility as they are able to ‘Google’ something while doing any other activity, like searching for “pizzerias near me” while writing a blog post perhaps…
What does this mean for you?
We’ll let you in on a little secret: most of the voiced results are actually results that are displayed a featured snippet. Just remember this: if you rank well organically, you’ll stand a higher chance of being read out as a voice result. Having Highstreet Media's SEO service will for sure help with the first part of getting found organically.
More focus is put on searcher intent
Searchers come to Google The Wise to ask for many different things. Whether it’s “why does a mosquito bite itch” or “evening party dresses,” it’s important to understand what the user’s intention is, and what type of answer should be provided. For example, if you search for the latter, I doubt you’d want the definition of “evening party dresses,” but rather, the option to purchase a dress. In this case, the results will show you a selection of e-commerce shops. Or, if you type in the query “makeup tutorial,” the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) will show you videos rather than plain text results. Why is that? Many suspect that Rank Brain is involved in providing better results and is closely watching searcher’s behavior. So for example, if many click on one result over the other, it will understand that this is the type of content the user wants to see, and it will show more of those type results. Just so you know, Rank Brain is not one of the new ‘Marvel’ villains, but it’s actually an artificial intelligence program made by Google and is used to process queries. In addition to being able to understand user SERP behavior, they have a mechanism for understanding semantics, and relationships between topics and queries. This means that it can understand that ”evening party dresses” and “wedding guest outfit” are very similar in meaning. It’s still important to use keywords in your content, but search engines are getting much smarter, which means you don’t need to fixate on ranking but rather on the searcher’s needs.
What does this mean for you?
If you look really closely, Google is trying to give us subtle hints as to what searchers want to see as results. Back to our “makeup tutorial” example, if you know that videos are in the top results, you know you should create a video if you want to compete for this keyword. Or if you want to target “evening party dresses”, creating an infographic about “How to Make an Evening Party Dress” will not perform very well on the results page. Video is going to be huge in 2018 so let us help you create some video content for your business.
More importance is given to mobile
Yes, you’ve heard us say this a lot, but it’s too big to ignore. Mobile matters. Period. Based on the stats (and the scene at most coffee shops), you’re probably reading this from your smartphone too. Mobile devices are not only used to check your Instagram likes, but also to ‘Google’ things on the go. Already more than 50% of searches are done via mobile devices, and this number will only continue to grow. Mobile search has grown so much, there has been a lot of talk about starting to rank websites by their mobile version, instead of the desktop one. Although the change will happen very gradually, you should know that your mobile site has an impact on your SEO. On top of this, Google is also on the lookout for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) pages. This format, dedicated to blog posts and articles, enables super fast loading when clicked on from search results. On top of offering the readers a better experience, it also improves the SEO of the websites using them. A win-win situation.
What does this mean for you?
First of all, you need a killer mobile website. Fortunately, if you use Highstreet Media for your web design, we can create a beautiful mobile site for you, that will be user friendly and SEO ready. So if you don't have a mobile responsive website already - this should definitely be top of your list for 2018
If you want to discuss any of the above with one of our friendly team please do't hesitate to get in touch - we'll be happy to help
Are you on page 1 of google for your keywords? Many people think that it’s super important to be on page 1 for google (and it is) but not if your keywords are not profitable. Keywords are a crucial part of any business’ online presence, as they drive web traffic to your site for free, that’s £0. If you do it right, using the correct keywords then you can FastTrack your business sales and be ultra-successful online.
Now, some of you at this stage may even be thinking, “what’s a keyword?”
Well keywords are not only individual words, but phrases that search engines use to identify what people are looking for. For instance, if you typed in Graphic Design Corby, on that list you would find Highstreet Media along with other graphic designers. In this instance, google has identified what you’re searching for an provided a list of results it thinks best matches your need.
Now there are some keywords that get thousands and thousands of searches per day, while others get a couple of hundred… or less. A great deal of these high traffic keywords are competitive because many businesses are trying to get traffic and referrals through search engines for those keywords.
When you’re chosing keywords for your business, it is very important to put some time and effort into research, and not just guessing what you think will work There are some good free tools that you can use online, like Wordtracker or Google Keyword Research which can help you find the right ones for you and your business. By using these you can get useful insights about how many users are searching for keywords, and how much competition there is around them. This method will give you a good sense of what keywords you should be using on our website, and most importantly how effective they will be in marketing your site.
Researching your keywords can be time consuming of course and should you not want to invest the time in doing so, we can do it on your behalf, or even run a fully bespoke SEO package for you. However, you get them, once you have your keywords you’ll need to develop a plan for implementing them on your site. After all, knowing the keywords and using them once isn’t going to cut the mustard. For example, if you’re a plumber with a website covering your broad services, who during your research came up with these keywords to target:
Then it would make sense to have pages on your website (live or hidden) that target those keywords by providing enough content and information for the search engines relating to these keywords. We have a vast knowledge of SEO as we’ve been doing it with great effect for the past 5 years. If you need to develop content which is targeted at specific keywords to optimise your site, then we can help. For more information on SEO checkout our blog posts: How long does SEO take to work? And Want to get found on google?.
Businesses even go as far as choosing a domain name that has relevant keywords in it, which is a good strategy if it doesn’t negatively affect your brand. An example of this is excessively using hyphens in your title, I know we have one of course, but any more than one really makes your site appear… dodgy shall we say. I personally would avoid a site that was called www.get-eco-boiler-installed-now.com but www.eco-boilerinstallations.com doesn’t seem so bad does it? If you don’t have a domain name or website yet, then don’t worry we can help you with that too.
Spend some time and put thought into keywords for your website, or pay someone to do it for you (us wink, wink). Either way, whether it’s time or money you spend on keyword research, it is well worth the investment. There are free tools and resources you can use as I highlighted earlier, so you can get thinking about ways to use profitable keywords to get leads and sales from your website.
For more information get in touch with us and one of our friendly team will be happy to help you
From Nike's "swoosh" symbol to Starbucks' twin-tailed mermaid or siren, the world's largest companies take great care of their logos. For most people the logos of such firms immediately connect our minds to the business in question, without the need to see its name. Think of the golden arches of a popular fast-food chain, or the apple with a bite taken out of it representing a certain computer company. This type of instant recognition is the holy grail for a business. Which is why the world's multinational companies can spend millions on their logos - like UK oil group BP, which back in 2000 spent £136m introducing its current sunflower design. Other firms of a similar size, whose logo is simply their name written out in a stylised way, can spend hundreds of thousands on a new font, or a different colour. But how easy is it for a business to pick a good logo, and how important is it at the end of the day?
If you are presented with a design for your company logo that is immediately likeable and resonates with your values, you might be wise to take a long hard look at it, bin it, and start again. That's the opinion of Sagi Haviv, partner at New York graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismer & Haviv (CGH). "It's never love at first sight," he says. "A good logo, a good trademark, gains meaning and power over time." CGH has been responsible for some of the most recognisable US business logos of the past 50 years, such as Chase Bank, National Geographic, Mobile, NBC and HarperCollins. But Mr Haviv says some of the firms' clients had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards accepting what have since become some of the world's best-known logos.
"We remind our clients - and we open every presentation with a slide that says - it's never love at first sight," he says. A recent presentation by CGH for a large corporation was a case in point. The chief executive, says Mr Haviv, could live with any of the six designs apart from number two. "Two hours later at the end of the presentation, he wanted number two and he wouldn't hear of anything else," says Mr Haviv. "This is why the relationship between the client and the designer is extremely important." For Mr Haviv there are three essentials to a good business logo: it must be appropriate to the business; it must be memorable; and it must be uncomplicated in form. "And here I'd add a fourth," he says, "which is that the concept must be original."
GAP's Harsh lesson
Deciding whether to change a logo is also a difficult decision, as clothing giant Gap can affirm.
Back in the autumn of 2010, it unveiled a new logo, switching from writing its name in upper case to lower case letters, and introducing a small blue square behind the letter "p".
Such was the public outcry that a week later Gap did a U turn and scrapped the change. Mr Haviv says: "Gap's original logo was loved by its audience, but it didn't know it." One business which has successfully changed its logo is fast-growing London publishing company Ink. "The [current] logo was designed approximately seven years ago - it wasn't the first logo for the company, it was the third incarnation," says Ink's creative solutions director Jonny Clark. "The reason to create the logo at the time was that the company was expanding. "It had gone from a relatively small business to a small-to-medium sized business, and we wanted to embrace the fact that we weren't just doing [physical] print anymore, but digital work as well."
So the word "publishing" was dropped from the old logo and the ring of colour that surrounds the word Ink was tweaked to add the tones of the RGB colour wheel that is the basis of digital printing. Mr Clark adds: "We didn't have a branding department and the change was done internally by the design team we had working for us. "There wasn't a lot of red tape to go through. In total, the process took between two-to-four months." While Ink cannot quantify the impact of the logo change, over the past seven years the firm has expanded overseas, adding offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Melbourne, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. So the new logo certainly didn't hinder the business.
Martin Christie, of the London-based logo design firm Alchemist, says that simplicity is key. But he also cautions that firms shouldn't rush into a decision.
He says: "It's common sense to spend time on your logo - it's the first thing that people see; it's the look of your company; and it's going to reflect what you do."
For Robert Jones, professor of branding at the University of East Anglia, a good logo will successfully express a company's values. He says: "Your logo is how people recognise you, and it helps express how you're different from your rivals - warmer, greener, stronger, and so on. "And people need an image to look at. As Aristotle said, 'the soul cannot think without an image'. "But [at the same time], people assess you not on the strength of your logo, but on the quality of your product or service. So all of that real stuff matters more." Midlands-based independent brand consultant Rebecca Battman agrees that no matter how good a logo's design is, it will only be successful if the company itself is trusted. "A logo is a simple and functional signpost to help people find and indentify your business," she says. "But for a logo to be successful, the company behind it must be a respected and trusted brand.
"A logo won't allow a company to build a respected brand on its own."
Article by By Peter Shadbolt
If you would like some advice with your logo and branding please get in touch with us at Highstreet Media
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