Articles written in October, 2013

October 29 2013

Web Content Strategies: Content as Customer Service


Google has been saying for years that the best way to rank is to create great content. While anyone who has spent any time thinking about SEO knows that this is a bit oversimplified, the basic principal remains sound: In order to attract attention, drive links and rank, you’ve got to be doing something pretty special.

Usually, this is providing a service (whether that be information or a tool) for a user whose needs are highly relevant to your business.

The content you create, then, is an extension of your customer service model.

When you think about content in this way, you can refine your content strategy to align with a specific purpose or purposes.

Ask yourself:

  • What do your customers want?
  • What do your customers need?
  • How can you deliver this information better than your competitors?

This content can, and should, take many forms. This includes blog posts, infographics, social media posts, podcasts, and mobile apps, to name a few.

Consider a mobile app that that offers functionality that your customers need; a blog post that answers a question; an infographic that explains a complex idea; a social media post that shares timely information; a podcast that informs and/or entertains.

Think, for example, about the apps you have on your smartphone. You likely have a banking app that allows you to deposit checks, a fitness app that allows you to track your goals, and/or a recipe app that allows you to browse recipes, read reviews and create a shopping list.

Epicurious App

These apps weren’t created out of benevolence. They were created to offer added value for existing customers, lure new customers, and engender brand loyalty.

Consider how your content can do the same.

Whether it’s an app, blog post, infographic, social media post, podcast, or video, your content should be created with your customer in mind.

So, before you create another piece of content – before you think about targeting keywords or sourcing images – take a step back and look at the big picture. What do your customers need? How can you help?

October 25 2013

Defining Your Brand Identity – 3 Steps to Avoiding an Identity Crisis


Your brand is your company’s identity – differentiating you from your competitors and revealing to the world who you are and what you’ve set out to do. But while many people think their logo is their “brand,” it’s just one component – albeit an important one – in a much bigger picture. Your branding is also comprised of your company’s messaging and brand voice, which, ideally, work collectively to help people identify with you. Here are a few ways to create a brand that resonates with the right people.

Get to Know Your Audience

Before defining who you are as a company, think about who you’re trying to reach first. Pick one person from your primary and secondary audiences (i.e. stay-at-home moms, CEOs, animal owners, etc.) and create a profile in your mind of who this person is and what they look like. While people are as unique as their fingerprints, there are some commonalities based on the “roles” they play in life.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this person male or female?
  • What’s the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning?
  • Where do they spend their free time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What do they want from your brand?

Go on a Speed Date As Your Brand

Imagine you’re on a “speed date” … as your brand. This means “you” will only have a few minutes to make a good first impression. In the real world, your target audience might not be so generous with their time.

Consider these questions:

  • How do you want the other person to perceive you?
  • What words would they use to describe you to someone else?
  • If they were to compare you to another brand (outside of your industry), which one would it be?
  • If they had to choose between you and another brand (who also happens to be good-looking and a snappy dresser), why would they choose you?

Introduce Your Brand to Others

Now that you’ve role-played to get to know your audience and brand better, it’s time to get feedback from the real deal: Actual people. Organize two different test groups, one comprised of members of your primary audience and the other for members of your secondary audience.

Show them:

  • Your logo.
  • A few pieces of marketing collateral (brochure, website, blog).
  • A demo of your products/services.

Afterward, have them take a survey about your brand, but also include open-ended questions, such as: “What emotion, if any, did you experience while reading our website copy?” Questions like that can help to ensure that your goals align with actuality.

If you’re still in the development stage of your branding, consider bringing two to three options for your logo design and brand messaging to these test groups. This can help you identify which version resonates with the test group before making your final decision.

What’s your biggest struggle as a brand? Share your feedback with us on our Facebook page.

October 8 2013

Google Hummingbird & Semantic Search


On September 26th Google turned 15 and celebrated by releasing information on their all new Hummingbird algorithm. This was not simply an update to the old search engine algorithm like Penguin and Panda, but an entirely new search algorithm. The new Hummingbird algorithm was launched over a month ago and was switched over almost seamlessly.

You may be asking yourself: Why Hummingbird? Why now? What does it do differently? And, Is SEO impacted? All very good questions.

The reason for Hummingbird is simple, Google is always trying to improve search results. This time they’re improving it by getting better at semantic search, or “conversational search.” With semantic search, Google looks at your entire query, and even a succession of queries, to provide you with results that are the most relevant to your search.

Let’s say you are looking to find out the date/ time your favorite NFL team is playing next. This type of search may have brought up blog posts, news articles about past games and possibly different sports networks you could go through to find out when their next game is. Now with Hummingbird and Google’s Knowledge Graph, you will get results like the screen shot below that gives you the information for the next game with results from your team’s website right below it. Think of it as being fast & precise (hence “Hummingbird”).


Now as far as SEO is concerned, none of these changes are alarming, and they should only help sites that are being optimized properly. If you have been diligently working on an onsite SEO strategy, including both content and technical considerations, there is no need to worry unless you have seen drops in your rankings within the past month. For more information on this, check out our recent post about what Hummingbird means for your content strategy.

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