Adroyt White Papers
We at adroyt have combined our white papers into one document so potential clients can vet us for our knowledge of content creation and content strategy. This represents ten of dozens of white papers we’ve composed during the past decade of creating content for digital platforms. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. If you clicked through from our services page or our about page, you can return directly to them through these links.
Content Management Missteps
We at adroyt love content, and we take great pride in crafting content for our clients in the home furnishings market that they love. Ours is a very visual industry but a content management system on a website is one of the few places where a picture is not worth a thousand words. That’s because bots and spiders that crawl and rank your content cannot make their way through or rank a photo or a pdf. Their only diet is words. If your content creators are leaving any fields blank, you could be missing out on getting that [fill in the blank] in front of the eyes of an eager buyer. This first of our white papers includes six costly content missteps you should know about:
Missing Content in Media Files: If the professionals who manage your website are not paying close attention to the content in your media library, this is a critical mistake because online shopping is entirely driven by visuals. We’re betting you haven’t bought a lamp that you never laid eyes on! If the product or project images on your site do not have straightforward titles, alternate text, and meta descriptions in them, you’re being short-changed. Google made this very clear when they tweaked their Penguin algorithm in September 2015. This update sends images that have messy or no content to the back of the line. We include this in our white papers because it’s never too late to rectify the damage and we are pros at this.
Underscores in Image Titles: If you are using a system that includes underscores in image titles, you are hurting your chances of getting any traction with your images. A title that reads “manufacturer_name_product.jpg” is seen as a haphazard string of letters to a bot or spider. Use “manufacturer-name-product.jpg” instead, which the crawlers can read.
Putting the Same Alt Text in Too Many Photos: If you have five images of the same table lamp on your site, make sure the content in the alternate text field varies. If your content creators are putting something like “manufacturer’s baby blue table lamp” in every field, four of those could be seen as duplicate content and get kicked out of image search by Google. Best to have a different rhythm for each of the other four in order to avoid any problems with rank. After all, you want all of your lovely images to come up in search, not just one.
Missing Content in Meta Description Fields: If you don’t craft a meta description for a page or product profile on a site, Google will do a default move that will not serve you well. If no meta data is there, the search engine scrapes the first words on the page or profile to use as the snippet you will see under your URL. If this is a page describing your company or services, or if it is a product you are selling, the snippet serves as a veritable elevator pitch to your potential clients but only if it is properly crafted.
No Focus Keywords Chosen: If you manage a WordPress blog for a company and you are not choosing a focus keyword, you are dropping the ball bigtime. It’s this all-important field in a blog CMS that tells the bots and spiders what you are writing about. Leave it blank and they might assume any number of words in the post are the ones that should set the tone. If you are an interior designer, for instance, and the post on your blog is about your project on a tropical island, you may find your content ranking for a travel piece rather than a post that showcases your design prowess.
Avoid Duplicate Content Issues: Many of our clients who sell their products on their own sites have agreements with large e-commerce platforms to offer the same products simultaneously. One of our strongest stances with content strategy is that the language we’ve created for our clients’ sites remains only on that site for at least 30 days, and ideally at least 60 days if possible, because the first site to be crawled will be the owner of that content. This concludes the first of our adroyt white papers.
Strategy Hacking Shines a Light on Sales
With the explosion of digital data and the cross-pollination of content promotion, understanding how marketing efforts are faring can be a daunting task, which makes it a great subject for white papers. It’s a remarkable fact that almost 46% of marketers don’t even look at analytics to see whether their efforts are benefitting their online platforms. This inspires one question: “Why would anyone want to work blind?” User experience (UX) has become such a hot topic, it’s important to remember that the end-all/be-all for success is the purchase. When we put our Strategy Hacking skills to work for a client, we study a site’s analytics with regularity to see how sales are faring, often making sideways moves that help them thrive.
One example is a client in the luxury lighting distribution business who hired us to identify the company’s audience. Our depth of experience in the home furnishings and interior design industries made this a relatively easy exercise. Once we identified the customer demographics, we began a mix of content optimization that was meant to increase sales. Because the client’s ideal customer is an architect, an interior designer, or a lighting representative, we know they are seriously busy. This means we had to hit them purposefully. The next two paragraphs in these white papers are among the most important we’re sharing.
We experimented with monthly homepage changes that gave these cultivated visitors to the platform new eye-candy to consume because the most valuable real estate on any site is the homepage above the fold. We supported the homepage changes with e-blasts that featured the product in the top slide within trend collages. We put tracking codes into these so that we could tell how our campaigns were faring. Invariably within 30 days, the product featured on the new landing page would become the most downloaded product pdf. Within 60 days, the product often became the company’s bestseller.
This proves the adage “what gets measured gets managed.” The knowledge that the effort brought the client has been invaluable for planning campaigns. It has even shifted the types of products he sources. This means the focus on sales begins at the most important moment in a company’s process, the point of acquisition. Are you hacking your strategy in order to move your company to greater profitability? If not, you should be. This concludes the second of our white papers.
White Papers Explain User Experience
Given the din of content that is unleashed online every day, there is a serious need for companies to deepen their commitment to high-quality messaging if they expect search engines to take them seriously, which makes user experience an important conversation in white papers. After all, this is the first step to attracting consumers who’ve never heard of a brand. This is even truer for businesses with smaller footprints on the web. With every algorithm tweak, Google’s mandate has been aimed at giving visitors a fabulous user experience (UX). How important will UX become? Search Engine Land’s Ryan Shelley goes so far as to say, “Google is obsessed with the user—and you should be, too. As search results become more and more customized, user experience (UX) is going to play a larger role in search. If your content is not engaging your users, you will lose out, no matter how great your information is.”
We advise that you take this to heart because we have seen the benefit to our clients first-hand. During the last Hight Point Market, our founder was standing in a client showroom when a respected design blogger approached and asked if adroyt was creating the content for the client’s website. She replied that we are. To her delight, the blogger told her how she suspected this because the quality of the language is so superb she kept clicking on product profiles to enjoy the lyrical language that awaited. Not only did that result in some excellent dwell time for the client, it proves that exemplary content does matter. What should this say to you? If you are having someone who doesn’t have exceptional writing skills to fill in product profiles with all the pertinent information, you’re cheating yourself out of profitability.
This may be adequate to attract a crawl from Google but if potential consumers are clicking through and feeling ho-hum about what they see there, they will bounce off sooner. This tells Google the site is not offering a great experience to that visitor. Providing a fantastic user experience is where we at adroyt live as content strategists, and we are grateful the blogger let us know how strongly we are succeeding. An added benefit to our client: the blogger featured their products because she was so enthusiastic about the content. This ends the third of our white papers.
To Blog or Not to Blog
We gain a great deal of satisfaction from working with all of our clients to help them strengthen their online footprint. Some ask us to create and maintain blogs for them while others prefer not to put their resources into an ongoing effort like weekly or even monthly posts. We have one particular client who has revisited the idea of long-form blogging for several years, and with each review she says the effort wouldn’t have the level of pay-off she would require for the amount of work involved. We are thrilled when our clients dig into issues like this and make heartfelt and solid decisions before they begin (or, even worse, begin and abandon) the effort. We are dedicating this point in our white papers to those who feel a blog is nothing more than a slog.
We brought up blogging with this client because she has a project-based business. This means there were no content adds going up on her site continuously. Because text that would entice Google to come back to the site to crawl was not being added with regularity, we needed to create opportunities for that to happen. One of the things this client is supremely good at is gaining publicity for her efforts so we decided to set up pages for her different projects onto which we were able to add excerpts when she landed reviews that linked back to the full article. The strategy here is meant to help a client who doesn’t want to blog, per se, but who wants to strengthen the presence of a brand on the web.
Sometimes it’s important to be creative when looking for ways to create assets that may not be as powerful as a site generating continual long-form content but can make a difference all the same. As always, our desire is to have our clients care about content creation, so much so that they strategize with us to make their platforms the best they can be even when the online footprints remain relatively small. This concludes the fourth of our white papers.
Speed Is a Ranking Factor
When Google rolled out the “Speed Update,” an algorithm tweak that makes the amount of time it takes your website to load a ranking factor for mobile search, we immediately began notifying our clients. If you are a potential client, we would do the same for you, as well as sharing white papers that explain it to your staff. Here’s how the Google Webmaster Central Blog stated the announcement: “People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible—studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.” Google goes on to say that the affected pages will be the ones that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only impact a small percentage of queries.
Fortunately for us, there is an addendum: “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.” We see this so often in the information Google releases—great content will always make a site stronger even if other ranking factors are not ideal. The blog post goes on to say, “We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics.” News like this confirms to us that our UX Evaluations matter to the most important entity in the room (the spider crawling your site). If you’re not certain whether your loading time is a drawback to your relevancy, contact us and we’ll get the radar gun out. You can see more from Google on the RAIL model and on User Experience Metrics if you want to do some research on your own. This concludes the fifth of our white papers.
Does Your Grammar Spell Success?
Did you know that bad grammar and misspelled words can hurt your ranking with search engines? Most people don’t, which is why we’re publishing these white papers. Bing has confirmed that its spiders use grammar as a factor in the search rankings it returns. When Google released its Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm tweaks in the 2010s, it was the beginning of a series of adjustments aimed at bringing more smarts to its artificial intelligence. All of these moves fall under the umbrella of RankBrain.
Everything travels at the speed of light on the internet, so many content creators see these markers as old news but they continue to impact content creation because Google is continuously teaching their bots and spiders how to recognize quality and intelligence. The way Google expressed it when it began rolling out its Hummingbird tweak is that it wanted all webmasters to think of themselves as publishers who value an excellent user experience. Give them content that resembles a well-written book or a smart magazine article, the search engine giant said.
It touted “freshness of content” as one of the most important of more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that give a website a leg-up when it released its Penguin algorithm tweak. You can see a thread running through all of these if you look closely enough—give a good impression of your brand and the search engines will honor you by moving you ever closer to the front when someone is searching for whatever it is you offer. Put simply, it is critical that you take your content as seriously as they do.
One of the things that sets us apart at adroyt is we are writers who understand the demands of organic SEO, one of which is creating compelling content. When we work with clients, we are not only telling each brand’s story with every piece of content we compose about their histories or their teams, we are infusing content, such as product descriptions, with so much creativity, each is a story in and of itself. If you feel it is time to kick your content up a notch or ten, we take our wordsmithing seriously and we stand at the ready to put it to work for you. This concludes the sixth of our white papers.
White Papers Announcing Mobile First Indexing
In 2018, mobile-first indexing became official. Are you ready? If not, be sure to read this subject in our white papers if you skip the others. “What does this even mean?” you may ask. It means that the mobile version of any given site is the primary one that Google will crawl now. We at adroyt have received our notification from the search engine that their analysis indicates the mobile and desktop versions of our site are comparable so we’re good to go. We thought we would share their explanation of the new parameters so you can judge whether you’re up to speed or not.
Here’s how they explain it: “Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version.”
The reason Google gives for instituting this move is that everyone is carrying a smartphone with them and constantly communicating as they look for information. In many countries, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers, which means that having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence. Google admonishes, “If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, you should. The majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device.”
They have created a tool called the mobile-friendly test that anyone can use to find out whether a site is performing to their expectations. If you are not following the lead Google has established on changes to search like these, you will be doing your brand a disfavor. Our clients count on us to know such things so that they are informed as to whether their platforms are serving them well. Being on top of things is one of our biggest benefits to them, as content for mobile continues to demand more brevity than you would find on a desktop. Now that mobile is master, we’ll be adjusting the length and tone of the content we produce for clients to make it more appealing to mobile users. Those companies we serve who don’t have an e-commerce presence feel less motivated to adjusting to a world where the smartphone is the end-all/be-all in search, which we believe is short-sighted. If this has been your perspective, contact us so we can create content that will make your company expeditiously mobile. This concludes the seventh of our white papers.
White Papers Exploring Voice Optimization
Do you know how people search for your product? Does the content on your site have the user in mind? If not, this subject in our white papers is critical for you. One of the most accurate ways to nail down voice optimization is by experimenting with it and studying the returns. This is a skillset we at adroyt have developed and it has served our clients well.
When searching, put yourself in your user’s shoes by asking how they are going to phrase their query. Focus by asking the questions that are relevant for your business. For example, if a voice search asks for “gold chandelier,” you want to make sure that your titles and product descriptions say “Kiki Gold Chandelier” rather than “Kiki Chandelier in Gold.”
As we pointed out in the last white paper, it is also critical that your website is mobile-friendly because it is on mobile devices where the majority of voice search is performed and people read mobile content differently than they do on a desktop. This means, first and foremost, making sure your website is responsive, or that it adjusts based upon the size and resolution of the screen being used.
Also be certain you are creating content that is as relevant to the needs of the mobile user as it is to the desktop user, which means you’ll rank better in voice search than your competitors. If your site is slow to load, this can hurt you in voice search, as people querying by voice have multi-tasking tendencies and are less likely to wait around if a website loading-time is slow.
Humanize your content by using language in a natural way. Think about how people would normally ask queries and about what your keyword phrases would be in a more conversational context, such as the example of gold chandelier above. No one searching by voice is going to say chandelier in gold. We understand the intricacies of the different types of queries that enhance discovery so give us a shout if you feel your content isn’t up to speed for the future of search. This concludes the eighth of our white papers.
Hitting ALL the Right Notes for SEM
If you’re paying attention to the quality of the content on your site and buying AdWords, you are hitting all the right notes. If you are putting money into AdWords at the expense of the other aspects of your online platform, the funds you are dedicating to the ads may not be serving you as well as you think, which makes this a timely topic for our white papers. Bottom line is, SEO Affects SEM.
What does this quirky phrase with its mysterious acronyms mean? Search Engine Optimization (the quality of the content on your site and the User Experience it provides) affects Search Engine Marketing (the money you spend on AdWords). In their AdWords training materials, Google makes this telling statement: “The more relevant your ads AND [the emphasis is ours] landing pages are to the user, the more likely it is that you’ll have a higher Quality Score and benefit from having higher quality components of your Ad Rank, such as a higher ad position or lower cost-per-click (CPC).”
Here is how Google sets up the Scenario: “Fiona wants the landing page for all of her ads to go to the homepage of Fine Furniture’s website. The homepage, however, isn’t very customer-friendly—it’s not clear how to navigate the site, there are too many images, and some of the sales announcements are outdated. Additionally, the homepage isn’t relevant to all of the ads Antoine is planning to have the agency’s creative director design. What might you tell Fiona about the importance on the landing page experience?”
We would tell her that it is one of the most important introductions she will ever create. Determining website User Experience (UX), which includes the all-important landing page, is one of the services we offer. If the songs you are singing to attract customers are falling flat, let us help you get back on key. If you’re not sure you are hitting the right notes, we can do a relevancy audit to help you understand how to fine-tune your website. This concludes the ninth of our white papers.
Editing is Part of the Plan
One of the pleasures of working with clients who manufacture home furnishings or who create remarkable buildings and interiors is that we have a front-row seat to watching curation in action. Each furnishing manufacturer curates the products it produces because it knows its customers inside and out. The architects we work with orchestrate the buildings of their clients’ dreams, and the designers we are fortunate to call our clients live and die by the phrase “editing is essential.”
We’ve grown with them as we have watched so much of the landscape online change during the past ten years, creating and strategizing content around the products and projects they realize. We, too, always have one eye on the same motto, and though we may define this differently than our design clients do, the act is just as curatorial when we are working with words as it is when they are manipulating the building blocks that compose the perfectly balanced room.
It gives us great joy to do our part in developing exemplary content for their websites so they can concentrate on the curation they ace as naturally as they breathe. Strength of character is required on all fronts in today’s seriously competitive arena; and it’s fascinating to be involved in the evolution of the digital universe, which has created consumer participation in marketing and has become a force in politics, the arts, and nearly every aspect of culture. We would add to this list that it has also become a purveyor of beauty.
What we know that sets us apart is that if a client wants a successful piece of digital real estate, we understand how to craft a presence in words that will attract consumers who are dreaming of surrounding themselves in style, whether the environment is in a home, an office, a hotel lobby, a restaurant, or a spa. By bringing the right strategy to the table, we become a dynamic force in the editing process that earns the respect of aesthetically astute design denizens the world over. Do you have a team in place who understands how to edit out the mundane and infuse your content with the attractiveness that will set your brand apart from competitors? Contact us. We live our lives with our pens poised! This concludes the tenth of our white papers. If you’d like to see a handful of client testimonials, you can click through to that page from here.