Make it Instagramable; a new world of social selling

There is an area in Miami called Wynwood. Wynwood has been, for many years, a part of town that you don’t walk through, ever. Not even in broad daylight. Even most South Florida residents wouldn’t walk through Wynwood. It’s a rough area with high drug and crime rates, and there’s always a story of someone who just got killed in Wynwood. However, there is one main street in Wynwood, and maybe three other side streets that are safe to walk down and are known for their beautiful graffiti murals. It also houses the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum that came later, showcasing large-scale works by some of the world’s best-known street artists.

Just about every inch of the Wynwood Walls are an Instagram bloggers dream. Bright colours, incredible patterns, potent messages are fashion bloggers answer to dull brick backgrounds. Once a few fashion bloggers discovered the walls, word spread, hashtags were added and suddenly, Wynwood is described as ‘the most happening’ area in all of Miami. Artisan coffee shops have sprung up, whole food bakeries and every type of craft beer imaginable suddenly has a home in this particular, once avoided, part of Miami. Derelict warehouses have been turned into bakeries, art galleries and stylish bistros, not to mention late-night bars and craft breweries, while every new start-up is vying for real estate. Once upon a time you could easily drive down the main street, however, the queues of traffic and throngs of people have made driving through Wynwood a myth.

Of course, there’s multiple factors at play, but so much of the success of this particular area is down to its fame on Instagram and as the need for beautiful backdrops rises, the masses flock to Wynwood. As consumers spend more and more time on the platform, hoping to find cool spots, great views and recommended products from their favourite influencers, social selling on Instagram becomes more and more important for brands. People will look for holiday destinations on travel blogger pages like Gypsea_lust and Doyoutravel before deciding their next holiday. Interior design ideas are garnered from bloggers like Alyssa Kapito and young millennials get life advise from the likes of Caroline Calloway. No matter what it is, we want to see it on Instagram before we buy it, the social platform becoming the new try before you buy.

The coffee shops and areas of London that suddenly become Instagram famous because of a cool light instillation or a bloom of flowers around the door tell brands and businesses that if you want to attract crowds, make sure that your setting is Instagram worthy. Make sure the walls are painted, preferably in bright colours, the unattractive elements covered up and everything so picture worthy that it can’t help but attract hordes of people who are living that #gramlife.

It’s easy to roll your eyes and logically think it’s ridiculous behaviour, and it absolutely is, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s happening every day. Entire areas of cities are making money, and having money poured into them in business development and real estate projects, and all because enough people on Instagram liked it.

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Thought piece: 5 steps to success for brand partnership campaigns

 

Thought piece:

5 steps to success for brand partnership campaigns

Written by Laura Martin, Senior Client Executive, Capture.

There are several reasons why partnering with another brand is a great idea for a shopper campaign. Increased visibility, reduced media costs, out of aisle exposure and the potential to reach a new audience to name but a few. However, the implementation of brand partnerships is notoriously tricky, and various hurdles must be over-come to ensure a campaign is delivered successfully and with all brands involved benefitting.

Our vast experience in brand partnerships means we’re well equipped for bringing brands together collaboratively, and we’re true believers in the power of a partnership. Below, we’ve compiled our knowledge and put together a shopper brand partnership step by step guide.

 

#1: Choose the Perfect Partner

As apparent as it may seem, ultimately the success of a partnership rests on the idea and reason behind brands coming together. We’d always recommend partnering with a brand that has similar brand values to yours, or, when brought together becomes a natural pairing. Tea & cake, bacon & ketchup, or gin & tonic are all synonymous to a usage occasion. A partnership doesn’t always need to be as obvious as this, but always make sure you’d consider your brand to be in a similar market to your own, with comparable brand values, target audience, health credentials and price. This way, it’ll be an easier job to grow incremental sales for both brands. We like this pairing between Kleenex & Piriteze, two brands you wouldn’t automatically associate together, but, through a simple idea and clever creative the pairing makes obvious sense.

#2: Understand the shopper media guidelines

Understand guidelinesWith so much on offer within shopper, navigating the many options can prove tricky for just one brand, let alone two. Extra considerations must be made due to the rigid retailer templates and creative guidelines brands must adhere to; not all touch-points can feature more than one brand and we typically see POS only allowing room for pack-shots and minimal information. Choose touchpoints at relevant points along the shopper journey that allow for higher share of brand voice to effectively communicate a brand partnership. Tanqueray Gin & Fever Tree did exactly this with their experiential activity. And remember, online shouldn’t be forgotten either; bundle deals (online multi-buy promotions) are an option for partnering brands and some retailer sites offer fully branded touch-points too.

 

#3: Align on promotions

Capture would always advise aligning partnership activity to promotions, however with some retailers offering different promotional timings across different categories, this isn’t always achievable. If this is the case, price call outs aren’t recommended unless activating as a bundle. Initial partnership conversations should take place as early as possible to try and align promotions, with both brands engaging with relevant trading teams to get foresight of promotional plans. Lead times are key, and as a golden rule, brands should allow for more time than you would as a solus brand to get bookings confirmed.

#4) Use bespoke creative

Shopper creativeDeciding on creative can be the most turbulent part of a brand partnership campaign process, and so to allow for this, brands should lay the groundwork early. Creative vision and a single-minded message should be decided from the outset, and the actual uniting idea should take priority over individual brand values. With FMCG brands, the most popular messages often centre around meal solutions and usage occasions, although some clever creative has been seen to use the brand names as part of the campaign copy too. We’d recommend using bespoke creative which is designed from scratch. This ensures brands are more likely to have an equal share of voice, and the creative will sit independently of anything that has been done before. A good example comes from Homepride & Happy Egg’s recipe inspiration; the message is clear and concise, with both brands having similar feature.

#5) Understand effectiveness of the campaign

Here at Capture, we believe understanding whether a campaign has been successful is crucial for any activity that has taken place. But when brands have invested time and resource into a partnership, it becomes even more paramount. Where possible, evaluating touch-points is the most accurate and efficient way of understanding the full impact a campaign has made. One of our standout partnership campaigns achieved a total ROI of £1.85 across retailers, and because of this have had ongoing partnership activity since. With any of our partnership campaigns that are evaluated, we’ll always ensure we use learnings to optimise future activity with existing or new partners; understanding whether it’s right to repeat again, or whether improvements could be made.

Following these five steps is a great place to start when considering a brand partnership and we think it’s vital to consider each one carefully when managing a campaign through. Deciding on the perfect concept and clinching the ideal partner to share it with can be an exciting prospect, but unless key steps are adhered to a campaign may not land the way initially imagined. Creative and promotion aligning can be the most difficult obstacles to overcome, but with dedicated time, the right team, and a shared vision, partnership greatness can be achieved.

To hear more about landing a fantastic partnership campaign or even to work with a relevant FMCG brand within our network, please get in touch via hello@capturemarketing.co.uk or call us on 0203 553 5555.

 

 

The post Thought piece: 5 steps to success for brand partnership campaigns appeared first on Capture.

We’re hiring: Creative Motion Designer

We’re after someone pretty special to create stunning visual content for our social media clients, including Fox’s Biscuits, Pukka Pies and Belvoir Drinks. If you’re a brilliant designer and skilled animator, read on. You could be just who we’re looking for.

Requirements

We want someone with at least 5 years’ experience who has worked in agencies. To fit the bill, you’ll definitely need to be…

  • Experienced in After Effects and Premier
  • Able to design and animate concepts from start to finish
  • Adept in Illustrator and Photoshop (you should know both like the back of your hand)
  • Experienced in creating content for social media
  • Organised and motivated

It’d be a big bonus if you were also…

  • Handy with a camera
  • A talented illustrator
  • Interested in social media

 

Responsibilities

Your main role will be to create beautiful content, both static and animated, for social media. But it won’t always be social; aside from designing attention-grabbing graphics, GIFs and videos for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, depending on your portfolio you’ll also design for packaging, print and digital. We work for a huge range of household-name clients, which means you’ll always be kept on your toes.

 

Why apply?

For one thing, we’ll pay you a competitive salary and give you a decent chunk of holiday to boot. But as well as that, our agency is genuinely a brilliant place to work. Our team is close knit and super friendly and we’re set slap bang in Nottingham City Centre, so it’s an easy commute – and even easier to find a spot for after-work drinks.

 

Ready to send your application? Great. Email hello@togetheragency.co.uk with your CV and a brilliant portfolio and/or show reel, with ‘Vacancy: Creative Motion Designer’ as the subject line. Or, if you want to know more, give us a call.

The post We’re hiring: Creative Motion Designer appeared first on we think.

Our work: TRIBE X MOR Case Study

User-generated content is the holy grail of marketing these days, especially on social media. Social validation comes from people believing what they are seeing on social and that comes from real people, really enjoying products and really honestly sharing it. So how do you get this? Isn’t it really hard? It was logistically a bit of a nightmare and very time consuming before great platforms such as TRIBE came along. We have run some very successful influencer Instagram promotion campaigns via TRIBE, check out our most recent one below!

What is TRIBE?

TRIBE is a self-serve Instagram influencer platform where brands are in total control of the content that is created. Create a brief including which hashtags to use, the messaging for the campaign and anything else for the influencer to mention. Sit back, relax and wait for the submissions to appear in the inbox. Approve or reject the posts and only pay for the posts that are chosen to be published with a small fee per post from TRIBE.

Hands up if you’re craving brunch? 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏼‍♂️ We’re talking about fresh sausages topped with a fried runny egg in a toasted focaccia… mmm! 🍳🌭 • We’re so happy to have discovered these Mor Chicken, Sundried Tomato and Basil sausages. These sausages are gluten free and packed full of veggies. They’re also lower in fat than usual sausages. Can you believe they are only 76kcal per two sausages?! 😄 They are loaded with flavours and eating them you could definitely tell only high quality ingredients are used. They taste absolutely fantastic. Think we’ll also be using these sausages for dinner too now 😁 @mortaste #mortaste #morsausages #glutenfree #ad ———————————————————- 📍Two Hungry Peas’ home sweet home, London @twohungrypeasinapod • 🍴Homemade sausage with fried egg in warm focaccia. • • • • • • #foooodieee #breakfasttime #infatuation #thefeedfeed #fryup #brunchtime #breakfast #lefooding #noleftovers #londonsbest #londonfoodie #breakfastofchampions #dailyfoodfeed #foodbeast #bestfoodworld #eatfamous #eater #sausage #breakfastlondon #londonfood #eatmunchies #brunching #friedegg #eeeeeats #breakfastlover #homecooked

A post shared by LONDON & NYC | FOOD & TRAVEL (@twohungrypeasinapod) on

Why is it awesome?

    • Firstly, the influencer will already own or want to buy your product as TRIBE does not provide the samples. Therefore, the influencers are naturally an advocate for the brand or the product.
    • Influencer will be confident that they can create the content that is needed and has not been specifically approached for the job so will be more likely to make an effort with the image in order to be chosen by the brand to work on the campaign. Basically, you know that the influencer really wants to work with your brand.
    • No expensive sampling costs, influencers will factor the cost of their product into the whole fee for the post.
    • Full approval of posts before they go live. No nasty shocks!

What did we do?

We worked with our FMCG client MOR to receive 45 submissions of which 20 became approved and published posts with engagement rates of up to 9% and over 11,000 engagements. The combined reach for the Instagrammers that we worked with was over 380k and the whole campaign was complete from start to finish within 10 days.

The brief

“UK food & lifestyle influencers. Showcase how delicious and versatile MOR sausages are. Use any (or all!) varieties of our 4 sausages in a recipe post on Instagram. Breakfast, brunch, BBQ, lunch or dinner – go wild! The visuals must look delicious, be colourful and well shot. Videos, stop motion & Boomerang would be awesome but static images are just as fab.”

And that’s exactly what we got!

What did we do?

We worked with our FMCG client MOR to receive 45 submissions of which 20 became approved and published posts with engagement rates of up to 9% and over 11,000 engagements. The combined reach for the Instagrammers that we worked with was over 380k and the whole campaign was complete from start to finish within 10 days.

The brief

“UK food & lifestyle influencers. Showcase how delicious and versatile MOR sausages are. Use any (or all!) varieties of our 4 sausages in a recipe post on Instagram. Breakfast, brunch, BBQ, lunch or dinner – go wild! The visuals must look delicious, be colourful and well shot. Videos, stop motion & Boomerang would be awesome but static images are just as fab.”

And that’s exactly what we got!

The post Our work: TRIBE X MOR Case Study appeared first on we think.

Be a cheat to win

 

Thought piece:

Be a cheat to win

By Duncan Campbell, Senior Client Manager, Capture

The human brain is an ignoring machine. It’s fundamentally lazy and will do anything it can to make life easy for itself and not use too much energy. That’s not because it doesn’t want to think about things, it just has so many things to think about that it would take hours to perform a small task if it went through the taxing, rational process of imagining every scenario possible. So it simply tries to ignore as much as it can.

Imagine walking into a supermarket without knowing what food you’re going to have for that evening. Now, think how long it would take to consider every product in the shop to decide what you’ll have, before you eventually choose spaghetti bolognaise. Your brain needs to ignore almost all of the other products in order for you to make a relatively simple choice about your evening’s nourishment. It therefore resorts to automatic processes for filtering out this information, based on everything you’ve experienced in supermarkets previously: knowing what is food for dinner and therefore what is suitable, which aisles to avoid, which products you think are good quality etc.

Further to this automatic process, the brain needs to find answers to questions it doesn’t have experience of, in the fastest possible time. It takes shortcuts, it cheats, it does anything it can not to expend too much unnecessary energy. What should be very interesting to any marketer/brand manager is that you can become one of these cheats and bypass your competitors in a relatively simple fashion.

One of the most important of these to marketers is how the brain will automatically want to default to the easiest solution. In the store environment, one of the most common defaults is price. (Stephen Lomax, Weetabix). Supermarkets now have a whole range of complex messaging, from nutritional information, variations of the same product and multiple points of difference. If a shopper can’t tangibly decipher this they will typically default to promotions, or base cost, to make their decision. Not a great thing when you’re a cheese brand, not on promotion in a category where a high percentage of products are only purchased when on deal.

The idea of defaults has prompted numerous trials to measure its effects. One of the most well-known is the organ donation rate in Austria: compared to the UK, Austria has a donation rate of 90% versus the UK’s of c.15%. Why? Because Austria requires its citizens to opt-out of donating their kidneys when they die, as opposed to England who requires them to opt-in. The brain is happy to stick to the easier option of choosing the default, even in a situation as emotionally charged as donating pieces of your body. It’s powerful stuff.

This behaviour translates to when a shopper is buying a product. Brands have started to manipulate shoppers’ behaviour by becoming a default product. There are several ways in which they can do this: from the simple act of getting their products into a shopper’s online Favourites list, so it’s one of the first products they see when starting their shop, to the more advanced technique of subscription models where a shopper receives their product before they even have a chance to contemplate a competitor.

Gillette’s Shave Club is an excellent example of removing all competitors and becoming the default. They make the process simple by requiring a shopper to select their model, the retailer they’d like it delivered from and then letting them relax, as razors are delivered while they sit at home and make no further decisions. Perfect for the lazy brain and even better for Gillette who win the hard earned razor cash by only having to convince a shopper to subscribe once (maybe twice if they’ve needed to test the razor first). Graze have been doing a very similar thing in the snacking world for years, which works with equal effect.

 

Unsurprisingly, Amazon are at the vanguard of letting brands pay to become a default on their site with their Amazon Dash option. These physical default buttons are a good concept to help make a process of auto replenishment as easy as possible when the consumer is in the right mindset.  There are still some flaws in that having buttons placed around your home is unsightly and (ironically) not always practical – what happens when you can’t find your dash button at the bottom of the cleaning cupboard? Amazon have recently made these virtual so a shopper can have easy access to their defaults on any device which makes for quick, simple links to help their brains not work too hard. There’s still a way to go with this concept, but Amazon make it very easy for a brand to buy into becoming the default option.

To become a default isn’t an easy task: it requires hard work to get on default lists, or encourage shoppers to subscribe to your product, but the reward is well worth it. Playing to the human brain’s natural desire for ease will ensure they never want to think of any of your competitors: a genuine solution to that common problem of standing out in store.

Thank you to Richard Bradford of Wavemaker and WARC, for the talk that inspired this piece and for some of the examples listed.

If you’d like to understand more, give us a shout at hello@capturemarketing.co.uk

 

 

The post Be a cheat to win appeared first on Capture.

Chasing Status: Keeping Up With The Changing Definition of ‘Premium’

Popping bottles, cruising in flash cars and toting expensive handbags (with six month-plus waiting lists)…no, it’s not an episode of beloved Noughties MTV show, Cribs. It’s how (until fairly recently) we’ve all thought about ‘premium’ products and experiences. But attitudes are changing – and so must brands change with them.

 

We’ve identified the two factors driving this change, and we’ve got four recommendations for staying front of mind in this new age of premium.

 

Like most good stories, ours starts with a digital disruption

 

You may not associate the rise and rise of Uber, AirBnB and Amazon with premium living (at first). But actually, getting exactly what you want – when you want it – at the tap of an app challenges an idea at the heart of traditional premium and luxury brands. By making consumer interactions instant, seamless and personalised, tech brands have turned ‘premium’ from exclusive to empowered. And without the same benefit to trade off, luxury brands have already begun collaborating and experimenting with tech in order to create new products and services – which don’t always come with the hefty price tag.

 

Attitudes change, values evolve

 

As consumers, we think differently now. And our expectations of brands are higher than ever. No longer satisfied with the latest and greatest material things, today ‘having’ has taken a backseat to ‘being’. Experiences beat products, and brands with a point of view win out against those peddling the shiniest goods (or the longest waiting lists).

 

And no generation has been as influential as Millennials. (That’s right, them again.) Accounting for almost 30% of the world’s population and a mighty $2.5 trillion in spending power, this social group gravitates towards brands that reflect their personal values. Usually expressed through art, culture, cause and social good. Millennials buy premium products for themselves, not to impress others – which has affected how we all think, act and shop.

 

Challenge accepted

 

In a world where everything’s in reach, premium brands must find a way to maintain appeal. Walking into this ever-changing landscape unafraid to experiment and challenge their own status quo. Let us walk it with you.

 

Key takeouts

 

Shake up the surface…

 

Where once premium brands were dictated, idolised and policed, today the most successful labels are unafraid to experiment with their brand, challenge the status quo of their aesthetic and collaborate with unlikely partners. Think Louis Vuitton x Supreme for a premium mash-up consumers can’t get enough of.

 

…but stay true to core values 

 

Ahem. There is a small catch. Experiment and tear up the brand toolkit, yes, but never lose sight of your unique brand story. Be meaningful. Offering experiences that chime with consumers as relevant, genuine and true to the spirit you started out with. Who were you before you hit the big time? Strip off the diamond and furs and be that guy or gal again.

 

Make it shareable

 

Social currency always stands. Give consumers something worth talking about and sharing with others. Remember: it’s less about them wanting to show off, and more about what experiences say about them as an individual.

 

Think about what’s scarce, not what’s exclusive

 

Owning an exclusive means enjoying something others can’t. But what’s really scarce for Millennial consumers? How about time, honesty and individuality? Create unique products and experiences that give today’s consumers more of what they feel is lacking in their lives.

The post Chasing Status: Keeping Up With The Changing Definition of ‘Premium’ appeared first on Live & Breathe.

In conversation with… Robert Ball

Every month we feature a different artist in our 3×3 Instagallery. This month, our artist in residence is designer., illustrator, stuntman and liar, Robert Ball.

So Rob, we’re a storytelling agency, how important is storytelling in your work?

Most of my work has to imply some kind of story, whether it’s a book cover that has to sell the inside pages, or an illustration to accompany an editorial piece it’s vital to try and get a sense of tone that’s in line with whatever my illustration accompanies.

Hall_01

What gets you inspired and in the mood to create something?

Deadlines, fear and black coffee!

On a more practical level, how do you produce your illustrations, and has this changed at all since when you first started?

It changes all the flipping time, because I don’t have the discipline to stick to a process, and because I’m always curious to try new things out. I used to work solely on the computer, no sketches, no nothing – straight in. As time has gone on I’m getting less and less digital. At the moment I’m doing a lot of upfront pencil sketches, and working through problems at an earlier stage, which means a lot of work at the start of the process that helps later on. At least in theory…

hall_02

What would you love to see more of in the creative industries during the next five years?

Like everyone I want to see originality and risk taking, and as a member of the creative industries that has to start at home. I would like to be more original and take more risks!

Got any winning tips for upcoming creatives you wish someone had told you?

I started illustrating full time around my fortieth birthday, after working in branding for umpteen years. It can sometimes feel like your career is a self driving car the destination of which you’re unsure. You can change, explore other areas, take risks. You will be a more rounded and better creative because of it. Sabotage your career!

Hall_03

And last of all, what’s next? Any big plans for the near future?

I’m hoping to build a studio this year, fingers crossed. Ideally, I would like to pay someone to build it for me, of course. I’m a designer, I have no practical skills whatsoever!

 

Thank you Robert, good luck with the studio!

See more of Robert’s work at instagram.com/robertmball

 

Are single page apps killing your SEO?

A JavaScript-based website means that you need JavaScript code rendered/processed before serving thecontent to the web user and any User-Agent.

Traditionally, Google was only looking at the raw text-based content that we’d get in the HTTP response body and was unable to interpret what a typical browser running JavaScript would see. When websites started becoming more reliant on the use of JavaScript, Google initially was unable to read them and therefore unable to give them the benefit of their content in regards to search engine result page rankings.

In order to solve this problem, Google started developing the functionality to understand JS pages. Despite this advancement, even when a page is crawled and indexed properly, there is proof that sites that use large amounts of JavaScript can affect your rankings.

(Will Critchlow saw a significant traffic improvement after shifting from JavaScript-driven pages to non-JavaScript reliant.)

The outlook for JavaScript Based Websites

Angular is the most popular JS framework for Single Page Applications (SPAs). Google support and maintain AngularJS with a community of individual developers, whilst funnily enough, not being able to render large numbers of AngularJS pages.

In the following study, we’ll review Single Page Applications and similar technology rather than AngularJS to understand what you can do to make your angular site more visible in the SERPs.

List of popular JavaScript Frameworks

AngularJS is a very popular framework for Single Page Applications. Angular has been on the market for quite a few years and offers an impressive list of features that will benefit developers such as; two-way binding; templating; currency formatting; pluralization; reusable controls; RESTful API handling; AJAX handling, etc.

a chart showing which spa frameworks are supported by different seo functions

a chart showing that of all the search engine bots only google and ask can successfully crawl the single page app frameworks

Technically, SPAs don’t need to use any fancy framework like MVC, Ember.js, Node.js or AngularJS. It is, in fact, possible to build an SPA using only jQuery and HTML for the front-end display, but it’s not recommended for large websites where data is best managed by a powerful back-end CMS.

So what is the impact for SEO?

Today, Google is able to render a substantial number of web pages more like an average user’s browser with JavaScript turned on. But sometimes things don’t go perfectly during rendering, which may negatively impact search results of a site.

In fact, there is no search engine that can understand and process JavaScript at the level our modern browsers can. Even so, JavaScript isn’t inherently bad for SEO, it’s just that due care and attention needs to be taken to ensure that search engine crawlers get the full context of the pages easily.

John Mueller recently explained how Google indexes JavaScript sites in his newsletter.

“Google supports JavaScript to some extent. Google supports the use of JavaScript to provide titles, description & robots meta tags, structured data, and other meta-data. When using AMP, the AMP HTML page must be static as required by the spec, but the associated web page can be built using JS/PWA techniques. Remember to use a sitemap file with correct “lastmod” dates for signalling changes on your website.”

 

What is a Single Page App? 

A Single Page Application is a web application or website that loads all of the resources required to navigate throughout the site on the first page load. The idea behind SPAs is to create a smooth browsing experience like the one found in native desktop apps. All the necessary code for the page is loaded only once and its content gets changed dynamically through JavaScript.

A single page application is suitable for a simple site that doesn’t have too much data to load, because the data is loaded once, and all the actions are performed client-side. For example, a single luxurious villa holiday website would do the job.

Known tracking issues:

This type of application will often update the URL in the address bar to emulate traditional page navigation, but another full page request is never made. So, for a single page application where the site loads new page content dynamically rather than as full page loads, the analytics.js snippet code only runs once.

Some SPAs only update the hash portion of the URL when loading content dynamically. This practice can lead to situations where many different page paths point to the same resource. In this case, a website owner would require their analytics specialist to configure the tracking code to record virtual pageviews.

Known indexability issues:

The site’s content is not indexed by Google – as explained above, Google’s indexing system does process JavaScript but some issues may need to be fixed to make content accessible.

For example, if you are using new browser features like the Fetch API, ensure that they are polyfilled in browsers without support. “Polyfill” is actually a browser fallback, just like a JavaScript library that brings a new API to an older environment, using only the “means of that environment.”

To test how Google renders your SPA page, simply use the Fetch as Google tool, found within Search Console, to get a preview of what Google will see.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

A Progressive Web App (PWA) offers the benefits of a natively installed app, minus the app store.

The terms progressive in this context means it works for every user, regardless of browser choice because it’s built with progressive enhancement as a core functionality. A PWA has to have a responsive UI which means it fits any form factor; desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next. A PWA doesn’t necessarily need to be SPA, but can be multi-pages if developers put additional efforts to create custom URLs.

This technology shows two specifications that are particularly interesting for the future of SEO & UX:

  • PWAs run faster and perform smoother than mobile websites, which gives them an edge with impatient mobile users.
  • Users can access PWAs more reliably than traditional mobile websites. In an offline environment, PWAs employ service workers to act as a proxy server, allowing you to pre-cache all the resources you’ll need. This means your app continues to work in an offline environment that is exactly when people needs it the most (planes, undergrounds, etc.)

PWAs are SEO friendly as long as they follow a checklist of best practice and don’t take the form of a SPA. For best SEO practice, PWAs should use the History API to reproduce a sort of URL trail instead of page fragments that use Hashbang (#!). For example everything after the #! in https://example.com/#!user/26601.

Available Solutions

Because all the code is loaded only once in a Single Page Apps (SPA), search engines cannot assess page content quality, neither assign properly any page quality score to that webpage (or ‘PageRank’). In other words, Google know the existence of the page since they have the ability to discover it through links, but can’t really say if the copy on that page is able to respond to accordingly to the search intent.

At Harvest, we have investigated different workarounds below to run SEO-Friendly Single Page Apps (SPA). Some options may involve Dev resources and/or additional third-party tool costs.

Host a Sitemap

Overall, sitemaps are particularly helpful if a website site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process — for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images. Even though this is only a partial solution it worth deploying an XML sitemap (if not done yet) on your website. With this sitemap, search engines will be able to follow links and then discover pages. However, a sitemap won’t solve difficulties regarding page content crawl & indexing. In other terms, webpages will appear in Google (essentially) but may appear not to have content in the SERPs if using heavy JavaScript frameworks.

E.g. – Checking Google’s cache for an SPA that only deployed an XML sitemap (but no other solution) tell us that their indexed pages are content empty:

a screenshot of the google search listings showing that cafe rouge has been cached by google

a screenshot from google search console showing that cafe rouge cannot be displayed and the site is not crawlable

Build Custom URLs (Dev Resources)

Depending on the JavaScript Framework, SPAs like Ember.js can be tweaked/optimised to serve custom URLs through dynamic segments. In the case of Angular.js, it will require attention from the developer to configure the location mode to HTML5.

BromBone

BromBone automatically downloads all of the pages from the sitemap.xml then uses a proxy to send HTML pages to search engine bots. No need to install any software.

  • Type: HTML pre-render
  • Dynamic/Static update: Dynamic
  • Deployment easiness: Easy
  • Cost: $129/month
  • Resource: http://www.brombone.com/

Prerender.io 

Prerender.io requires a manual upload of the sitemap.xml and will do the rest. Smaller sites (up to 250 pages) can use Pre-render for free, while larger sites (or sites that update constantly) may need to pay as much as $200+/month. However, having an indexable version of your site that enables you to attract customers through organic search is invaluable.

  • Type: HTML pre-render
  • Dynamic/Static update: Static
  • Deployment easiness: Very easy
  • Cost: $200+/month
  • Resource: https://prerender.io/

 

Conclusion

Will we be seeing more Dynamic JavaScript sites in the future? It is certainly possible. Even with traditional, multi-page sites, having solutions that make development and testing of those sites quicker and easier is always going to be welcome and appealing.

With more and more web designers and developers turning to these JavaScript-powered solutions, we can also expect them to become even easier to use as a whole – which is ultimately great news for everyone looking to design and develop rich web experiences.

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