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SEO in 2015: the core elements

Earlier this month, SEO watchdog Search Engine Land released their 2015 updated SEO ‘periodic table’, the third edition since the table began.


The idea behind it is to give SEOs a highly visual guide, indicating the shifting tides (and occasional tidal waves!) in the industry year on year – a valuable tool for a job which can often become bogged down in data and code.


With 200 ranking factors it’s a job in itself to keep up to date with Google’s processes, and nigh impossible to understand the weighting of each factor and its relationship to the other 199. But what the periodic table does is to simplify SEO into important elements – more holistically than algorithms – and place them in terms of their impact (+1 to +3, -1 to -3). Seven categories from site architecture to social media produce thirty-seven distinct factors which range from crawlability to duplicate content.


Changes to the table: SEO in 2015


In terms of what to prioritise, what to avoid, and what to downright forbid, the table shows the factors that should be a focus – for reasons good and bad – in 2015.


New elements


The table saw three brand new elements in 2015, showing the rapid changes in SEO as Google seeks to evolve its offering and market dominance. These new factors are born from the following changes we’ve seen in recent months:


•    Richer SERPs – video, images, news, and now even tweets appear in search results (depending on search terms and location), so it comes as no surprise that vertical search (Cv) has been added to the periodic table with an impressive starting impact grade of +2. Getting on board with Google’s changing trends is a bad thing, said no SEO – ever.

•    Direct answers – linked to the diversification of SERP results is direct answers (Ca). SEOs are divided on the impact of direct answers: will they hinder traffic? Does site authority and trust increase if you are considered a direct answer-worthy source? Time will no doubt tell, but it’s clear that with a box at the very top of search results that they are a force to be reckoned with.

•    HTTPS – secure connections were outright confirmed by Google themselves to have SEO benefits in August 2014. Whilst HTTPS (Ah) remains a relatively unexplored due to complexities of migrating to an HTTPS site, they enter the periodic table with a +1 impact grade. At the moment, the padlock icon on tabs, signalling an encoded HTTPS site, is fairly rare. Watch this space…


Changes


The most obvious one is the increased importance of optimising for mobile search since the update in April, meaning that websites not considering the UX of their mobile users will lose out in rankings.


Targeting is becoming an ever more important theme with consistent +3s. Knowing your audience, and therefore the purpose of your digital channels, is vital to your business but also now vital to Google. From setting your target country and language to geo-specific SEO, localisation is gaining weight.


Factors like content, titles and links remain steady, despite concern that links may have numbered days. Link spam is now well and truly an SEO’s kryptonite, advancing to a glaring -3.


How to use the SEO periodic table


Whilst the table provides little technical insight and zero practical tips, it’s pinned on my wall as a daily reminder of the direction we should be heading in, and how to prioritise my time. Clients with smaller budgets can see which activities they can afford to do on a less regular basis, and those which should be seen as run of the mill maintenance.


If anything, it makes a complex task feel a whole world more manageable, and who ever complains about a bit of colour coding?


Find Search Engine Land’s full report on the 2015 table here.

Interdirect Shortlisted in BizTech Awards

Interdirect is delighted to announce it has been shortlisted in the BizTech Bright Sparc Awards for best innovative use of technology in business.


To showcase its technological capabilities the agency put forward its Exhibition Manager tool, which was implemented for the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) event at Millbrook and was shortlisted alongside four other Milton Keynes based companies.


Interdirect’s Exhibition Management tool was developed within the existing DVD website’s content management system, SiteMachine, enabling Millbrook’s event managers to take complete control of the event organisation. The system allowed for increased efficiency and confidentiality for the high profile and high security event, organised by Army Headquarters and DE&S Land Equipment with involvement from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).


Due to the secure nature of DVD, there are many stages to the exhibitor application process, and Exhibition Manager allowed all organising parties to have one central management tool to coordinate the event in the most efficient manner.


“We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted in the BizTech Bright Sparc Awards”; said Nicholas Mann, owner and managing director of Interdirect.


“The shortlisting recognises our commitment to bespoke digital solutions and the expertise of our dedicated digital development team. Congratulations to all other businesses shortlisted, and we look forward to the ceremony.”


The awards will take place on 24 June at the Stadium MK. To find out more visit the Bright Sparc Awards website.

The Truth about Internet Retailing

 

Speaking to customers is important. And speaking to them in a voice that they really receive is vital. But doing this through their preferred channel is just as crucial.


A shocking figure regarding digital customer service in ecommerce came to light this week – just 55% of customer questions posed through web channels are answered. These channels include web, email and social portals such as Twitter. If that figure wasn’t bad enough, add to it the issues of promptness, quality and controls.


Just as customer facing employees are brand ambassadors, so are your digital portals: every touch point should be seen as a vital moment where customer interaction can make or break your business. With internet retailing passing the £100bn mark in 2014, the growing number of touch points shouldn’t be an excuse for poor execution if you want your brand to survive.


So just what did Eptica find in their 2015 Multichannel Customer Experience Study?


Customer questions & answers via the web


Web came out as top dog in the survey, perhaps unsurprisingly as it takes little maintenance and low levels of real-time interaction. On average in the internet retail industry, answers to 65% of customer questions can be found on the company website. As a base, this is a stable start, however it lacks the personal and tailored interaction that customers have grown to expect.


This figure also ignores how long it might take the user to find said answer: whilst they could have found it themselves, people are busy (newsflash!) and frequently find it easier to blast out an email, tweet, or post. Whilst this seems frustrating, the customer is king and today’s king loves Facebook, Twitter, and online chat.
A personalised message can take seconds and makes a huge difference compared to an unanswered question and frustrated customer. The bottom line is that web is not enough and hasn’t been for a long time.


Customer service via Twitter


Twitter continues to absorb communications from many industries, acting as a conversational hub -just take a look at our article on the impact on journalism as an example!


Eptica’s survey might lead you to think that responding to customers on Twitter has improved hugely in the last 12 months, which in one sense it has. Average response times are down to just 4 hours from 13 in 2014 – undoubtedly a great step forward.However only 43% of tweets receive a response. That’s 57% of queries which have the potential to result in a purchase, media exposure, or useful relations that go ignored.


In addition, lots of companies have a Twitter profile but haven’t dedicated the resources to engage with their new community. This is a completely wasted opportunity, and many would say a backwards step: you’ve attracted followers but proceeded to ignore them, which could lead to brand disengagement.


If Twitter is truly going to benefit your customer services, it needs to be managed by a dedicated social media team who can get behind your brand, tone of voice, and understand your customers efficiently.


Responding to customers via email


According to Eptica’s survey, response times bombed in 2015 by 23%. In the internet retail industry, the average waiting time for an answer is just under 44 hours – 43 hours and 52 minutes to be precise. Of these responses, many don’t actually answer the question or are of general poor quality.


There is also a huge gap in response times between retailers. In collecting data, Eptica’s team discovered that whilst one retailer took an impressive 9 minutes to respond to an email question, another took over 30 days. If your customer is looking around for your product or service, you can bet they’re emailing your competitors, and if they’re responding faster than you, you’re already losing.


Flowing conversations on multiple channels


A seamless customer experience is the name of the game, whether they’re repurchasing or submitting a query for the first time. It should also be irrelevant whether a customer asks a question on twitter, by email or via an online chat box – response times should not allow the conversation to stagnate or cause frustration.

We’ll finish with a fact: just 1% of retailers are conversing via Email, Twitter and online chat. Of those, how many are using it effectively to boot?

Agency Makes Moo-vellous mark on Willen's Midnight Walk

ID does Midnight Moo

Interdirect is excited to be taking part in Willen Hospice’s MK Midnight Moo Walk 2015.

ID's moo-vellous team of Midnight Moo-vers will join the herd and take on the 10 mile walk around Milton Keynes in what is hoped to be the biggest ‘Moo’ to date.

We're also the creative force behind the innovative Midnight Moo website, which was designed and developed using our advanced content management system, SiteMachine.

SiteMachine enables Willen Hospice to have complete control of the website’s content, enabling them to update news, information and registration details efficiently and regularly, which is crucial given the nature of the event.

Hywel Jones, marketing and campaigns manager at Willen Hospice said: “We’re pleased to have Interdirect on board for Midnight Moo 2015 and are delighted with the look, feel and functionality of our website.

“The MK Midnight Moo is one of the big events in our calendar. Year after year it proves a hugely important means of raising vital funds for Willen Hospice, helping us to offer our dedicated and important services to our patients and their families.”

“We’re really excited to be taking part in Midnight Moo, and are proud to have supported the walk by creating a website for the event;” said Katie Burrows, lead account manager at ID.

“We have supported Willen Hospice for a number of years and look forward to be raising valuable funds and awareness for the local charity.”

To support the Inderdirect team visit our Just Giving page - every penny counts!

MK College Student of the Year Awards

This week, Interdirect was proud to a part of the Milton Keynes College annual Student of the Year Awards at Bletchley Campus.

The ceremony celebrates the achievements of students from across the College throughout the academic year, with one student nominated in each faculty and various awards to acknowledge staff and other outstanding achievements.

Interdirect was delighted to sponsor the Digital and Creative Media Award which was awarded to Adam Batt.

"The Awards were a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate the up and coming talent in Milton Keynes; it was a fantastic evening and I couldn't speak highly enough of the College, its dedicated team and the inspiring students." said Nicholas Mann, owner and managing director of Interdirect.

"Congratulations to Adam and all other winners on the night, and thank you to MK College for their unrivalled hospitality."

 

Interdirect Wins Grand Central Birmingham

Interdirect is delighted to announce it has been appointed by Grand Central Birmingham, the UK's higest-profile retail launch of 2015, as the digital development partner for the new premium shopping and dining destination.

The agency was appointed by the client following a competitive pitch process, in which Interdirect demonstrated its expertise in delivering a state of the art digital solution using its content management system, SiteMachine.

Interdirect will develop the functionality behind a bespoke responsive website and touch screen system for Grand Central Birmingham, working with lead creative agency RBH, who devised the brand guidelines, and Fran Raybould Associates, who will design the overall look and feel of the digital elements.

The advanced capabilities of Interdirect’s SiteMachine will enable features of the responsive website to be displayed on numerous touch screen installations throughout the concourse, allowing visitors to explore not just the shopping centre but also neighbouring attractions.

Grand Central Birmingham will bring a unique, premium shopping offering within a striking environment to the UK’s second largest city. The development, which sits above the transformed New Street Station, will be filled with aspirational brand names, including John Lewis, Hobbs, L'Occitane and T.H. Baker, and stylish contemporary bars and cafes.

Danny Herbert, marketing & brand manager at Grand Central said; “I've worked with the team at Interdirect on previous projects, and I am confident that the agency is able to offer us a great combination of technical expertise and project management with a desire to achieve our vision in terms of the website’s functionality.

“In particular, we believe their proprietorial CMS, SiteMachine, suits the needs of a busy centre marketing team very well. We expect the finished product to be a real asset to Grand Central and its potential 50 million customers a year."

“Interdirect is excited to be part of the Grand Central Birmingham development, which is undoubtedly the UK’s highest-profile retail launch of 2015”, said Nicholas Mann, owner and managing director of Interdirect.

“This account win adds to our portfolio of clients in the retail sector, for which Interdirect is a market leader in providing tailored digital and full service solutions to improve the customer experience.”

Grand Central Birmingham will open in September 2015. To find out more visit www.grandcentrabirmingham.com.