Visit to Kangaroos

Kangaroos visit image 1

With less than a week to go to the Artemis team’s charity Bike Ride to raise money for Kangaroos, I thought it a fitting time to pay a visit to one of the Kangaroos groups run for children and young adults with special needs.

Last Friday, I attended the Pals group, held at the Ashenground Community Centre in Haywards Heath. I can honestly say I was amazed to see first-hand the wonderful work that the Kangaroos charity is doing.

Kangaroos run several different groups at various times throughout the week, on Saturdays, during school holidays, and after school and in the evening during term time. The Pals group I visited is a Saturday and Holiday play scheme for children with special needs aged 6 to 12.

The staff at Kangaroos are incredible – so friendly, empathetic and engaging. The team is made up from paid workers and volunteers, and the number of staff almost equals the number of children attending the group. Nearly every child is allocated one-to-one support.

Kangaroos visit image 2

It struck me how calm, safe and nurturing the atmosphere felt. The children were relaxed and encouraged to free play, communicate and join in group activities. In this session Dan, one of the paid workers, had made bubble mixture. The blowing and popping of bubbles was great fun for many of the children.

Chatting to Operations Manager, Jenny King, I was able to find out how much goes into running the groups. She said, many people and businesses fundraising for the Kangaroos charity often ask what equipment the group needs, but the biggest need for funds is in the operational costs.

With the high staffing levels, I can see just how important operational funding is. Kangaroos don’t have their own premises either, so as well as staff costs, there are office space, community centre rent and storage, which add heavily to on-going costs.

There’s also the cost of training staff. Paid and voluntary staff receive specialist training. Paid staff are trained to handle chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. They also receive training in managing adults with special needs, which has a different set of challenges.

Many of the staff can communicate with children using sign language and there are many props at the centre enabling children to express how they are feeling, such as small cushions with happy and sad faces.

It’s also great that Kangaroos offer the same level of respite to families and support to young adults who have been attending Kangaroos since they were children.

Kangaroos visit image 3

I can’t express enough how wonderful it was to see Kangaroos in action. This is a fabulous charity with a fantastic team of people enabling children with complex needs to participate in a wide range of activities and challenges. Children can enjoy day trips, residential overnight stays and challenges you just wouldn’t have thought possible, such as rock climbing.

At Artemis we are really proud to be supporting such a great charity. I for one will be pedalling my socks off next Sunday. If you feel inspired to sponsor any of our team, or make a donation, simply go to www.justgiving.com/kangaroos.

Kangaroos are a fine example of a charity making a huge difference to people’s lives, both the children and young adults who attend the groups, and in the respite given to families. Thank you to Jenny, Dan and Emily who showed me around and gave me a flavour of how vital these services are to the community. For more information about Kangaroos, see www.kangaroos.org.uk

Man searching on smartphone

Google’s Core Algorithm Update

Man searching on smartphone

In March there were a couple of significant announcements made by Google which are worth discussing in more detail. These are:

Core Algorithm Update

Although Google makes daily changes to its algorithm, most of these changes generally have a very low impact on search results. Most people would never even notice the effects of these updates.

However, this month Google confirmed that it has made a significant adjustment to its core algorithm. It’s rare for Google to confirm that a core update has taken place, but the result of the update on the 8th/9th of March had a significant effect on some websites and it seems Google saw the need to confirm that a “broad core update” had been rolled out.

What’s interesting about this update, compared to previous confirmed updates, is this public comment from Google:

Google SearchLiaison March update tweet

And then followed up by this one:

Google SearchLiaison March update tweet follow up

“There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well” and “benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded” and “There’s no fix” and “Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages”.

So what does this mean?

Historically, updates such as Panda and Penguin have always demoted websites with low quality content or toxic backlinks. However, this core update appears to be working the opposite way and is instead rewarding websites that deserve to rank better, hence the “no fix” comment.

However, the sentence of most significance is probably this one:

“Over time, it may be that your content may rise relevant to other pages”

Over time! In other words, there is “no quick fix”.

What this update appears to have done is adapt the core algorithm in line with artificial intelligence (AI) data that Google has been exponentially accumulating over the last couple of years, since the integration of “RankBrain” into its ranking algorithm.

Google’s AI data is powerfully analysing enormous datasets of user behaviour and the insights from this data has enabled the core algorithm to be adapted to better focus on useful, relevant, correct, engaging and valuable content. Rewarding engaging content is what this update appears to be focused on.

The reason why there is no quick fix is because in order to improve rankings it is necessary to satisfy Google’s AI that a page is better, more relevant and more engaging than the others in the search results. It takes time for this data to accumulate and for the benefit to be applied to the page.

Therefore, the focus has to be, as Google puts it:

“to remain focused on building great content”

Apart from that, some additional insights from this update include the following:

• Avoid competing pages on a website
• Avoid poor internal website structure
• Ensure pages are engaging
• Ensure pages are completely relevant to the search query
• Ensure pages have accurate information and data
• Ensure pages have “high value”
• Ensure pages load quickly
• Ensure pages are considerably better than the competition

There may not be a quick fix, but there’s always a fix.

Mobile-First Index Rolling Out

At the end of March, Google announced that after 18 months of testing, the mobile-first index is now slowly being rolled out to all websites.

A notification will appear in Google Search Console when a website is migrated to the new index, as such:

Mobile First Index Google Search Console Notice

The move to a mobile-first index is in line with the majority of searches now being made on smartphone devices.

Google’s intention is to not affect rankings with this update, hence the slow rollout, and for most responsive websites that will be the case. However, for mobile websites that offer a different crawl path to search engine crawlers or different content when compared with the desktop version, they may see a negative effect from this change.

We have worked with our clients for many months to ensure there is no impact from this change and we continue to monitor results and the transition to the mobile-first index.

We will notify clients when their websites are added to the mobile-first index and will monitor their subsequent progress in search as a result of this. We don’t anticipate any impact in rankings for our clients.

Writing on a laptop

Great Content Deserves Great Links

Writing on a laptop
Here at Artemis we have always focused on helping clients acquire the highest quality and most relevant links to their websites. Links are still a very critical component for successful rankings, particularly in competitive industries.

Ever since Google became the dominant search engine with its links-based algorithm, people have tried to fool Google into ranking their websites using spam driven link building methods. Over the years, Google has become exceptional at recognising spam backlinks and demoting websites that don’t deserve to rank because of their spam link profiles.

As Google now understands what constitutes a spam backlink, the attention has very much shifted towards rewarding “earned” links. Links cannot be bought, bartered or acquired in an unnatural way that contravenes Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Getting links to a website today is much more time consuming and complicated than ever before. The standards required for links to have a positive effect are now so high that many agencies no longer offer link building services.

Earning Links

In 2018, a link is no longer a link; a link has to be earned and the website receiving the benefit of that link must be deserving of it. Link building, on-page optimisation and content cannot be looked at in isolation.

When Google finds a new link to a website, it will calculate both the value of the link where it is and the value of the page that it’s linking to. From this it will then determine what value, if any, to pass through the link from one site to the other.

A link on an irrelevant website, or in an unrelated context, or in a badly written article or where it appears that it may have been placed there for SEO purposes, this type of link will just be ignored by Google.

However, should the link appear on a good website, in context, in a good article and not appear to be for SEO purposes only, then Google will look to see if the receiving page for that link deserves to benefit from that link.

The receiving page needs to:

• Be of a high value
• Have relevant and useful content
• Have unique content
• Have fresh content

In other words, why should the receiving page merit the benefit of the link? There has to be a reason. Freshness signals are particularly important. In many cases, static, often outdated content, should not be worthy of a fresh new link.

Links cannot be looked at in isolation. Links must be earned and that means that pages that links are pointing to need to be regularly refreshed with new, up-to-date content. Alternatively, creating new pages with new content that is “link worthy” is a natural way to build fresh links to a website.

Websites never get penalised for having too much great content! Great content deserves new links.

Here are at Artemis we are constantly working with clients to ensure the continuous generation of quality content for their websites to complement the high-quality links that their websites are earning.

Are you using jargon responsibly?

Many megaphones shouting at a businessman

Want to know what’s killing your content conversions? One word: jargon.

We’re all familiar with management speak, like being asked to employ “360 degree thinking”, or to reach for “low hanging fruit”. Jargon isn’t just limited to these meaningless clichés though, and if you’re not careful, it could be costing you customers.

‘Jargon’ refers to any language that can only be understood by those familiar with its context. It’s often used to talk about technical terms, and may be found in similar contexts around the world or used exclusively within a single company. Jargon can be constructed in all kinds of ways, including acronyms, shorthands and the re-purposing of old words.

For example, if you overhear digital advertisers talking about leaderboards, skyscrapers and banners, you might understand the words you’re hearing, but may not be able to follow that the discussion is about specific spaces for adverts on a webpage.

Why do we use jargon?

When we’re talking to someone with the same level of contextual understanding as us, jargon is usually used to quickly and precisely communicate situation-specific ideas. This is particularly common in workplaces (the medical community often uses phrases that confuse the rest of us), but it can also occur between hobby enthusiasts, for example.

Jargon not only makes communication more effective, but it can strengthen bonds between those that understand the language. It shows that we share knowledge, think similarly and can be helpful to one another. This is true of jargon that we use with each other face to face, to our colleagues over email, and for our customers via our websites.

So… why is it bad?

There are a number of reasons why it’s a bad idea to use technical jargon or ‘occupational dialect’ on your website.

1 – You’re sabotaging your search traffic.

Your financial services might be focused on assisting with stocks and shares, and mutual funds… but your potential customers are all searching for ‘savings’ or ‘investments’. Trying to be clever – or even just more technically accurate – about the products you offer can prevent genuine customers from ever finding your site.

Using Google Analytics can help you choose better keywords, and you might be surprised at the difference in traffic just a few small tweaks can produce.

2 – You’re alienating people.

As much as jargon includes those who understand it, it quickly excludes those that aren’t in the know. Using technical terms without an explanation will make it difficult for the everyday reader to understand whether your product does what they need it to, making it more likely that they’ll shop elsewhere.

If you’re producing your own web content, try to look over what you’ve written from someone else’s perspective. Would it still make sense to someone that had never worked in your industry? If not, re-write the most confusing parts in a more conversational way, or use a common analogy to explain them.

3 – You look shifty.

A study conducted at New York University asked its subjects to read two sentences, one which used plain language and the other which relied on complex terminology. Despite conveying exactly the same facts, readers judged the simpler sentences to be more reliable, because they could better visualise the ideas involved.

In many industries, using complex language is only going to convince your reader that you’re trying to hide your shortcomings. Being able to explain what your product does in layman’s terms is far more accessible.

Is it ever OK to use jargon?

Yes, as long as it’s used sparingly and appropriately. Jargon might be a part of your product’s identity, driving you to use a specific term to differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, Apple choosing to advertise a ‘Retina’ display is a decidedly better choice than trying to market ‘a screen with a higher pixel density than most other screens, making text appear sharper’. See what we’re saying?

Maybe you’re writing for a niche audience. If you sell specialist labels for laboratory test tubes, your customers are probably interested in whether they’re made from vinyl, polyester or polypropylene – even if everyone else would just see ‘plastic’. There may also reach a point where your jargon becomes part of a lingua franca. Computing terms like ‘byte’, ‘download’ and ‘RAM’ used to be alien to most of us, but over time they have entered our accepted vocabulary – few people need to have them explained.

Abusing jargon is what will drive your customers away, not the words themselves. We see this every day in SEO, where technical terms aren’t going away any time soon. While more people are becoming comfortable with the concepts of PPC (pay per click), CTR (click through rates) and UX (user experience design), we know that a few reminders here and there help to keep everyone on the same page. Consider your target audience, your business goals and, if in doubt, dial it back.

If you need assistance with writing content for your website, website design or search engine optimisation, we would love to help. Why not give Artemis a call on 01444 645018 and book a free consultation?

Kangaroos - Amex Banner photo 2017

Artemis Marketing supporting local special needs charity Kangaroos

Kangaroos Logo
Reg charity no: 1150202.

We are delighted to announce our partnership with local charity, Kangaroos. At Artemis we think it’s important to support our local community, and we couldn’t think of a better way than to partner with such a great charity. Kangaroos are a local charity based in Haywards Heath providing valuable support to children and young adults with a wide range of learning disabilities and complex special needs in and around Mid Sussex.

The charity runs a variety of fun after school, evening and holiday clubs and trips out all year round to give those with special needs the chance to enjoy a huge range of activities and exceed in things many wouldn’t have thought possible, as well as a vital social life with friends, that we all take for granted. The clubs also give families a much-needed break from the day-to-day of coping with a child or young adult with complex needs.

Kangaroos - Amex Banner photo 2017

Samantha Norgate, Community Fundraising and Communications Officer at the charity, said “the importance of local businesses supporting our charity couldn’t be stressed highly enough. With funding and grants being squeezed, the support of the local business community is essential for future fundraising. Many children and young people in Mid Sussex and beyond benefit hugely from the services provided by Kangaroos and to many families we are a lifeline.”

Our fundraising activities for Kangaroos kicks off with The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride on Sunday 15th April 2018. We’ve assembled a team and we’ve started the training. We’re really proud to be supporting such a worthy charity in our local area and are looking forward to a fantastic fun day of cycling in April. Come along and support us if you can. We will keep you posted on more of our fundraising activities soon.

Writing good content

5 tips for writing irresistible opening sentences

Woman typing on laptop

Creating content that goes viral is every writer’s dream. It’s not just the headline of your blog post, article or web page that needs to convey your message and draw readers in. The first sentence will determine whether your readers engage with your content or bounce off.

After your headline, the first hurdle of copywriting is in writing an irresistible opening line. If writing isn’t your thing, get an expert to help you. Otherwise, follow our 5 tried and tested tips to write a tantalising first line your readers will love and share.

Did you know that Artemis has a dedicated in-house content writing team that can help with anything from a blog post to a whole website? If you’d like to find out more, just call us on 01444 645018.

1 – Make your reader your imaginary friend

Before you start writing, picture your ideal reader. What makes them tick? What makes them laugh? What sparks their interest? Imagine the questions your reader is asking (you can answer the questions in your copy). Your reader needs to become your best imaginary friend. Once you understand your potential readers, you are in the right headspace to craft your opening line.

And remember, your readers don’t want fluff. They want to be spellbound, and you want your audience to become addicted. Your opening line should spark curiosity and intrigue. Most of all, you have a short window to connect with your reader, so show that you understand him or her, and that what you have written will provide comfort or assistance. Try using a sentence to conjure up a feeling your reader recognises. Emotion wins followers.

And yes, in case you had pondered the idea, you do need to be a psychologist to understand your audience. Well, not really, but almost.

2 – Keep it short and snappy

What is the aim of your first sentence? It’s simple – to get your reader to read your second sentence. That’s all. The easiest way to do that is with a short, snappy sentence. It can even be a single word. Imagine. That was an example by the way. Or use a question. Do you know how easy it is to write an irresistible opening line?

Long, undulating first sentences are the domain of literary geniuses. Unless you are working on a novel, forget the lengthy prose. At least until you’ve hooked your reader in, then you might just get away with the odd long and beautifully crafted sentence. But, only dabble if you’ve already managed to hook your reader.

3 – Ditch the exclamation mark

Yawn. No more unnecessary exclamation marks PLEASE. Overuse of exclamation marks is a sign of laziness. There are of course appropriate places for exclamation marks. Think of duck! or duck. One of them is a life saving call, the other a cute bird on a pond. So, yes there is a place.

But these days, exclamation marks seem to be used like confetti. Peppered through content, they are used frequently to big up a word, when really all that is needed is a bigger word. Let me explain. Take ‘It’s big!’ ‘It’s enormous’ does the job without the need for an exclamation mark. She’s beautiful! But, she’s breathtakingly beautiful, removes the need for an exclamation mark. Penny dropped?

If that argument doesn’t convince you, Donald Trump is a fan of the exclamation mark. According to the Trump Twitter Archive, from January to October 2017 inclusive, the @realdonaldtrump posted 2,127 tweets. They included 1144 exclamation marks. I rest my case.

4 – KISS: Stick to simple language

Pompous language doesn’t speak well to most audiences, and especially when you are writing for the web. Keep your writing simple. That includes sentence structure and the words you choose. Opt for help, rather than facilitate. Or get, rather than obtain. Don’t flummox your reader with flowery prose in your opening line. It’s unattractive visual noise that’s a real turn-off. If you want your opening gambit to be truly irresistible, you’ll need to pack a punch in as few simple words as possible.

5 – Offer hope

It’s pretty obvious no-one wants to be bored to tears, and unless you’re reporting for a news channel, staying positive is essential. Being playful with your words is one way to make your writing irresistible, but most of all offer hope. Are you about to chuck your stapler at your boss? The question infers you understand what a terrible day your reader is having and suggests you may be about to tell them how to change that. Offer something hopeful, interesting and thought provoking in your first sentence and you’ll clinch the deal.

At Artemis, we’ve been marketing websites and our clients online since 2004. If you need help with effective content writing for your business, website design or search engine optimisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The AI mobile world

The AI mobile world: a new era for SEO

The AI mobile world

In the future we’ll look back on 2017 as the year when the transition from a “mobile first world” to an “AI (artificial intelligence) world” truly began. In terms of SEO news and significant algorithm updates it was a very quiet year; but in the background the influence of AI was really starting to be felt.

This is the most significant change to organic search results since Google first appeared on the scene in 1998, with its link based “PageRank” algorithm, which changed the face of online search and the Internet practically overnight.

Just a couple of years after Google started, we were building our own websites and ranking them successfully based on Google’s algorithm. The focus back then was always on having great content and great backlinks.

Even today, great content and great links are the fundamentals of good SEO and at Artemis we do this incredibly well. However, there is now so much more to ranking a website and in generating traffic to it.

Looking back just 2 or 3 years ago we didn’t have to worry much (or as much) about other ranking and SEO factors such as:

• Mobile indexing
• Secure websites
• Artificial intelligence
• Structured markup
• Featured snippets
• Click-through-rates from search
• Time on page
• Fast loading pages
• Mobile search behaviour
• High value pages
• Local listings
• Knowledge boxes
• Increased number of ads in results

It is no longer enough in SEO to just optimise a title tag and a meta description, add some keywords to a page and leave it at that.

SEO, historically, has been about the manipulation of the search results, particularly through targeted backlinks. Today, this is much, much harder to do. Results can be “manipulated” to a degree, in the sense that if you optimise a page perfectly it should outrank a competitor page of similar ranking value.

However, as we’ve seen several times now, if the page isn’t actually “good enough” it will quickly get demoted again by Google as it learns that users aren’t finding the page helpful.

The manipulation of the search results is now firmly in Google’s hands with their ever more powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The impact of AI on search is huge and it’s going to get stronger and more powerful by the day.

What does it mean for SEO in 2018?

Google’s AI is learning and understanding what is good, what is popular and what truly deserves to be featured in those 10 key results on page 1 for any given search result.

Every page on every website needs to be worthy of a top ranking for a given search term. The ranking success of a page is based on getting the right:

1 – Relevant content
2 – High quality backlinks
3 – User intent
4 – User behaviour

Points 3 and 4 were never ranking factors before AI became a part of Google’s ranking algorithm, but today they are hugely important. Coupled with this, Google’s move to a “mobile first” index, which is already rolling out, means that 2018 may see some of the biggest changes to search results that we’ve seen for some time.

Here at Artemis, we have already been implementing strategies in 2017 for our clients to benefit from the changes to an AI focused mobile internet and we will be continuing and adapting these strategies during 2018 to maximise rankings and traffic to our clients’ websites.

Our continuous testing and foresight enables us to stay ahead of the game, ensuring that our clients benefit from this during the most significant change to the face of organic search in years.

We are excited about this new era of SEO and look forward to helping you succeed online in this new AI mobile world in 2018!

Email marketing

Is Email Marketing Effective?

Email marketing

Whether you’re using email marketing to reach your tailored target audience or to find potential new customers, there are effective techniques that are ideal for increasing higher open rates and engagement for any campaign. Many businesses rely on automated emails such as sign-up forms and welcome emails (which can be key!) rather than actually planning a strategy on newsletters and how they could drive traffic to your website.

Creating the perfect email newsletter can take time and planning, especially when you want to maximise your open rates as much as possible. Here are five great tips for producing a targeted email.

1 – Content

With content, it’s always best to start with the subject line, as this can potentially have an impact on your open rates in general. Subject lines are important with any email, especially when they’re centred on promotions, sales or new products. Bearing that in mind, it’s best to check there’s something to inspire the subscriber to open the email in the first place, while ensuring it isn’t something that would go straight to the junk folder.

When it comes to better performing subject lines, always remember to include engaging taglines, correct spelling, correct capitalisation and a repetitive call to action.

As for content within the email itself, it’s always best to add information and keywords that you want your subscribers to read about. Ideally, this should relate to the subject line you’ve created beforehand.

But, how much content should you add? Less is more, in most cases.

When adding content to an email, it’s best not to go overboard with packing it out as much as possible. Most of the time, the user won’t scroll too far to read or potentially click on any offers or promotions.

At Artemis, we recognise that writing good content is a skill that not everyone possesses. If you need help with effective email marketing writing, we have a talented team of in-house content writers at our disposal. Why not call 01444 645018 to find out more?

2 – Action-Oriented

When creating newsletters, one the most important things to include is a Call to Action (CTA). Like websites, these are used to grab the user’s attention and can be worded to highlight the link to the promotion or new products.

A few examples of these are:

Shop now
Buy Now
Learn More
Read More
Register Now

How many CTAs should you add to your email?

While it’s tempting to add as many as possible CTAs, this really isn’t recommended. If there are too many CTAs within an email, users may feel overwhelmed and simply won’t know which CTA to follow. Ideally, keep it minimal and include engaging actions in various colours and placements to click, so it’s not too overwhelming.

3 – Imagery

Images within an email are just as powerful as the content and CTA; they can really help with what message you’re trying to send to your target audience. Every image included in the email should be high quality as the majority of subscribers that open a newsletter who see a blurry or broken image won’t continue on any further. This most importantly applies to your header image as it’s the first thing the user sees.

How many images should you add?

Like CTAs, it’s always best to keep images to a minimum. If your email is filled with mostly images and little text, you’ll likely find your newsletter go straight to the junk folder. Always add images that are related to your brand, email subject and any highlighted products.

4 – Mobile Optimisation

With a growing percentage of subscribers reading their emails through a mobile device, it comes as no surprise that newsletters would need to be responsive for the increase in users to those devices. Yet, many emails are designed on and for desktops, making viewing a newsletter on a mobile much harder.

Many email clients now offer newsletters to be automatically optimised for mobile once created, and the same principles apply to websites that are mobile responsive.

How do you know if your email is responsive for mobile?

Ideally, you would need to test this first before sending out any emails. There are ways you can do this with different providers so you’re able to see how your content, images and CTAs would align on a mobile. If you find you need to scroll along or expand the page to view all of it then you know it’s not mobile optimised. However, with easy implementation you can make your emails more readable for different screen sizes.

At Artemis, we are constantly preparing for Google’s Mobile First Audit, focusing on mobile speed, design and user friendliness. For a friendly chat and expert advice, please get in touch.

5 – Personalisation and Targeting

Many people are unaware that personalisation for emails can be successful for any sender; 74% of marketers say targeted personalisation can increase customer engagement over time. It’s important to understand how personalising a subject line or targeting segmented subscribers can improve open and click rates.

Overall, the subscriber feels more relevant when an email is less generic and more targeted to them. In order to achieve this you can include their name as well as promotions and offers segmented just for them. This enables you to have a clear audience for products and the offers they would be interested in.

What personalisation should you use?

The use of a “first name” within the content is strong enough to make the user feel more engaged in the newsletter itself, feeling that that the email is more for them rather than being generic. Personalisation can also be great for re-engaging your subscribers. Use automated reminders as a way to send out email offers to encourage users to come back to your website.

Email marketing is a hugely important tool that can help your business generate more enquiries, and more sales. Artemis have many years of digital marketing experience and can provide expert help to enable your business to reach a wide yet targeted audience of new and existing customers. Contact us for a free consultation.

Man searching on smartphone

Micro-moments and how they’ll affect me?

Man searching on smartphone

What are micro-moments?

We live in an increasingly “right here, right now” world.

Much of this is due to the fact that the majority of us these days have a smartphone to hand at all times. This means we have in our pocket the modern-day equivalent of an encyclopaedia, a phone directory, a town guide and numerous other reference sources.

It also means that whereas even just a couple of years ago we would have specific periods of the day when we went online, nowadays we are spontaneous.

We are online for short bursts frequently. It’s as if we’ve gone from online marathons to online sprints. Instead of one or two starts, we’re off dozens of times a day, every day.

They are instances when we want to know, buy and do things or go places. We want to know there and then. We expect to do so.

These are called “micro-moments.” For both buyers and brands, they’re a significant shift in the way of doing and thinking about all things online.

Micro-moments defined

Google termed the phrase in 2015 to describe the instant when people automatically use a device to satisfy a query, want or need – those split-seconds when we need help in making up our minds.

It is a phrase to describe a phenomenon that we all do and are part of creating, even though we never knew it. We have all for some years been naturally looking up an array of things on a device – increasingly a smartphone.

We have a micro-moment moment when we get online to learn, watch, buy, see, discover or do. These are instances packed with intention during which our minds are influenced or made up.

Think mobile. Think speed.

mobile search

Those potent little computers we have to hand mostly 24/7 mean that now we expect businesses and brands to give us precisely what we want without any hassle of searching around.

We assume with growing confidence that through the might of our little screens we can get straight to the point rather than looking for a needle in the haystack.

It’s a foundational change in the manner we live our online lives. It’s the next stage and the future.

For advertisers and marketers, it’s absolutely massive.

It means online users will often research something from several trusted sources, and then make their choice. There are no longer just a few sporadic “a-ha!” moments of truth; now there are countless moments that matter. So, for instance, you might look up where to eat at the weekend on your smartphone while you’re having a coffee after the gym. Then you reach work. At lunchtime, you book the restaurant that grabbed you over that morning coffee.

As a business, perhaps more so a small business, it means you need to pull people in at that first instant. People are searching across multiple devices, for multiple reasons….and as a brand, you only really get one chance now.

You likely won’t get a second chance. There’s a huge choice out there. You have to be the best.

Even in 2015, Google discovered that 69 per cent of online consumers acknowledged that the point in time, calibre, or how appropriate a brand’s delivery is swayed their interpretation of the company.

So the brands that will be successful in the future are the ones that put effort into these aspects. They need to reach potential customers in the right way and at the right time with the right approach. They need to connect.

The changing face of search

Micro-moments are multiplying. Not many of us can even recall what life was like before we could go, do, learn or buy by using our devices, and this is increasingly our mobile phones.

Everyone now knows they’ll get the details they desire with fewer search words. It’s expecting more for less. And getting it.

And it helps marketers realise which moments most matter most. It is the future. Particularly for small businesses.

This “in the moment” mentality also plays a big part in the rise of video. Particularly with today’s younger audience.

We want answers now. Increasingly a video is a quicker way to find the answer regarding certain queries such as how to increase page margins on a Word document, how to fix the oven or how to change a bulb on the car.

Insatiable desire for information and speed

Mobile First SEO

On a daily basis there’s an incessant desire for instant information – and that needs to be super-fast and accessible on various devices. Or people will go elsewhere, within seconds.

But if you get it right… Google recently discovered that 70 per cent of smartphone owners who bought an item in a shop had looked on their device for applicable info before parting with their cash. It also found when people searched on their mobile, 92 per cent made an associated purchase.

In fact, the same Google research revealed that it’s not just about buying things there and then. It found that 68 per cent of people searched to assist their decision-making about something for the future (with 97 per cent of these on mobile phones).

What helps people in micro-moments?

When a query or a want or need turns up, most of us trust our phones to come up with the right answers. In fact Google found that 96 per cent of smartphone users turn to their mobiles when they need to find out something.

Furthermore, in 2016 Google monitored 1,000 smartphone users on what their search usage was. It discovered that when it comes to searching:

• 40 per cent of users had their queries answers by a search engine (87 per cent turn to search first).
• 19 per cent visited a retailer’s app or website.
• 19 per cent went to another app or website.
• 15 per cent visited a store or other location.
• 12 per cent used a map.
• 10 per cent looked at images/photos on a site or app.
• 8 per cent asked someone online or via a call or text.
• 6 per cent watched an online video.
• 6 per cent used social media.
• 6 per cent connected with a business.

(More on this study can be read here: thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data/ )

Does the time of the day matter with searches?

Yes, and the time of searches in the day can be just as vital to customer relationships and sales as to what season of the year it is.
Google did a bit more looking into this and discovered that, not surprisingly, computer and tablet searches most often happen – and overtake mobile searches – during office hours (8am to 6pm). This includes lunchtime. But not all businesses follow these patterns.

Google’s VP of Marketing Lisa Gevelber says:

“Mobile empowers people to be nimble. They can organise themselves as much (or as little) as they like because they know their smartphone is there for them. And, they expect brands to respond by understanding their needs and addressing them right now.

“Consider baby products. In that category, mobile searches reign supreme throughout the day, but show a pronounced peak around 9pm. This behaviour reflects the broader context and mindset of the people behind those queries. After the baby is asleep and parents have some time for themselves, it’s a more fitting time to do some (mobile) research on infant swings and cribs.

“Different queries or subtopics might peak at different times. By digging deeper into various types of intent within your category, you can see interesting patterns during a typical day.”

Its key then to assess these rhythms so websites can be there offering the right thing at the right time. Everything is about helping people as much as possible, and in as personal a way as possible. It’s as if your website or app’s users are your friends.

Why location matters more?

As far back as September 2015 Google’s Lisa Gevelber stated that “near me” or “nearby” Google searches doubled in 2014.

But now she reports that has moved forward – since then searches without the words “nearby” or “near me” have increased by 150 per cent. The reason is that people now expect a search finding to deliver local findings.

Increasingly, we assume that what we are given after a search is relevant to us in terms of place and personality.

“The trends are clear, and we as marketers need to take notice,” Lisa says. “People may be sharing less, but they still expect relevant, accurate information. In fact, people increasingly assume they’ll receive relevant information with fewer explicit inputs.

“They expect a simple word or phrase to deliver the results they’re after when they search. In essence, people are saying ‘don’t make me exert extra effort when you should already know exactly what I want’.”

Companies prepared to go above and beyond will see the best results. For instance, around two-thirds of people searching on their smartphones are much more likely to buy from a brand that has an app or site that is adapted to be relevant to where they are. This is not just desired now – it’s demanded and expected.

So, what’s next in micro-moments?

According to Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, we are going to keep expecting even more useful details that are even more tailored to us – and to get them even more swiftly.

“I like to think of mobile as the force that’s accelerating a train we’re all now aboard,” he says. “We’re heading toward an age of assistance where, for marketers, friction will mean failure, and mass messages will increasingly mean ‘move on’.

“Successful marketers will have a much deeper understanding of their customers at every encounter. They’ll focus on acquiring a detailed, data-driven view to really know them and help them along their individual journeys.”

He thinks it’s “critical” to get it right – because shrewd changes made today lay the preparations for the future.

“This future is what we at Google have been building toward for the last 18 years with Search.”


Content is King Illustration

Is content really king?

Content is King Illustration

We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king.” But what does it actually mean? Is it just another meaningless digital-age phrase, banded about to impress those who are digitally clueless?

Well ladies and gentleman, it’s probably no surprise to learn that content is still king, and that king has never been more powerful. When it comes to websites, content is, in fact, the king of all kings. And here’s why.


Google’s philosophy is based on great user experience. They want you to find exactly what you are looking for every time you use their search engine.

To achieve this Google are putting artificial intelligence centre stage and it’s this that is cranking up the pressure on content quality for Google rankings. RankBrain is Google’s name for its machine learning artificial intelligence system that is being used to help process search results.

So what exactly does RankBrain mean for content? Google trawls sites to figure out which pages are the best fit for a search. It looks for signals (there are around 200 different major signals, with potentially 10,000 or more sub-signal variations) including title tags, keywords, keyword prominence, grammar and spelling to name but a mere few. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is complex, and it’s why businesses employ experts such as digital marketing companies to improve their website’s ranking.

But it’s not just the SEO tricks that websites need in order to rank highly. Google’s algorithms are increasingly sophisticated tools, and RankBrain, along with the Panda and Penguin algorithms, are dramatically affecting the extent to which content quality impacts search results.

Google are investing heavily in AI to understand the intent of the search engine user and to deliver better results. This means content quality is more crucial than ever before. Quick fixes and tricks when it comes to outwitting the Google algorithms are a thing of the past. And that is why content really is king.

5 top tips to create content fit for a king (and RankBrain)

It’s pretty obvious that good content contributes hugely to any successful website – catchy taglines, and thoughtful, clear, well-laid out content with great calls to action, as well as enticing link bait, all lead to better Google rankings, potential customer conversions and ultimately profit. To give your content the edge, here are 5 things you simply must do.

1 – Get clever with keywords

It used to be easy to affect rankings simply by adding keywords to poorly written text. RankBrain has a more sophisticated approach. Poor content rich with keywords will no longer suffice. Content not only needs to be of great quality, but the combinations of keywords within the content also need to be constructed wisely. Keywords with different combinations of suffixes, prefixes and phrases (known as long tail keywords) are essential to rank. Voice search is also gaining popularity so the combinations of diction are growing. Now content needs to include concepts and combinations of words that include keywords, as opposed to single keywords.

2 – Create original, conversational content

It’s crucial to make your content original. Why should anyone be interested in your content if hundreds of others have said it all before? Content copied from competitors is a big no-no. Focus on user experience, and write content that sounds human. Tell your story, use case studies, and give it a personal touch. Perhaps even add anecdotes from your personal life. If you’re not a writer, get someone else to create your website content for you. Quality is just as important as originality.

3 – Create valuable content that’s easy to find

Give your readers and potential customers value added information such as an FAQ page, guides, a blog, industry news and case studies. Building a relationship with your readers and providing relevant and engaging content is a powerful way to entice links and keep up with RankBrain.

User experience is very important. If the content on your website is poorly laid out or is difficult to find your bounce rate is likely to be higher. Valuable, user-friendly content that is easy to find is essential for your business and for RankBrain.

Research your competitors. Find out what is trending and what your customers want. Find out which competitors are ranking well and why. Videos and visual content are popular. Valuable content offering practical information is the way to go.

4 – Don’t ignore mobile optimisation

If you only do one thing, optimise your website content for mobile users. Ignore this and you’ll be missing out on a huge audience. Make sure your content works on mobile devices, and keep up with changes. You’ll also need to understand what mobile customers want. Your mobile target market will have different needs to conventional computer users. Mobile friendliness is also a strong ranking factor.

5 – Review, refine and improve content (and the layout of your website).

The worst thing you can do is leave your website alone. No matter how good you think your website is, refreshing content is now more vital than ever.

The design and visual impact of a website is also very important. A poorly designed website will likely lead to higher bounce rates and, over time, RankBrain will rank the site lower in the search results because of it.

If website owners want to convert potential customers to sales and keep up with the Google ranking game, they’ll need to invest in improving their sites, including usability and quality of content, in order to engage visitors and get them to take action.

While strategies for SEO must continue to adapt and change accordingly, the spotlight is on content now more than ever before.