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We exist to make your business thrive and our greatest reward is our returning clients. Our focus is and always will be on our clients and not on industry awards and accreditations, which could account for why we’ve won so many of them…
SEO in 2018.
As 2017 fades away, thoughts turn to what may be in 2018. Lots of things will happen, no doubt, that no one anticipated, but what of the world of SEO? Well here’s my prediction:
Fundamentally? I don’t think anything will change. For a site to rank well, it will continue to need to be well constructed, content rich, engaging, have some high-quality backlinks.
There are a couple of areas though where we should be concentrating our efforts.
Voice search is nothing new and has been around for some time now. However, until now it’s fair to say that it has mostly been the preserve of early adopters and fans of all things techie. However, Amazon have announced that the best-selling product for the 2017 Christmas period was the Echo Dot while it’s Alexa app also appeared at the No. 1 spot on the App Store. Along with Google’s Home Mini, these smaller speakers are far cheaper and therefore accessible to the masses and that means that voice search use is likely to spiral.
For sometime there has been talk of the need to optimise your website for voice search, but 2018 is the year when we need to stop just talking about it and put it in to practice, thinking about the differences between how users use search differently when speaking rather than typing and how we need to make the information they are looking for accessible.
Rich Snippets and Schema
As mentioned before, I feel SEO fundamentally will not change, therefore website owners need to look at other ways to make sure their sites stand out against their competitors (assuming all else is equal).
We’ve been pushing Schema mark-up for a while now, recommending its addition to our client’s websites as this enables to search engines to better understand information on the site and therefore they are more likely to use content from that site as a rich snippet or rich answer. There are two reasons why you should pay more attention to schema mark-up in 2018.
- Google appears to be making a big push towards schema. It has recently rebranded all additional listings in search results as ‘Rich Results’ and has introduced a new testing tool, though this is only limited to certain types of results at the moment. Before Christmas, an algorithm update dubbed the Maccabee update had an impact on a large number of sites. Though unconfirmed, one suggestion is that the presence of Schema may have been a consideration, though this would be a huge change as previously Google has stated that it is not a ranking factor.
- Going back to voice search, schema is an important factor in promoting the use of a site in voice search. Marking up as many pieces of information as you can will mean that search engines are easily able to understand and therefore use this information.
Want to learn more about how Sagittarius could help you to optimise your SEO strategy? Speak to one of our digital experts today on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01233 487800.
Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.
A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.
So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance.
What is a Content Strategy?
It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.
But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business.
Who are my Audience?
You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.
So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context.
Do I need to tailor content?
As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.
Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:
What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?
Who are they most influenced by?
What voices influence their behaviour?
What type of content do they consume?
Where do they consume content and engage with brands?
Different Content, Different Objectives
All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.
There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.
Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale.
Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels.
Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.
Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.
Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.
How do I manage all this?
Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.
Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.
Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.
If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.