Latest updates from the Veracity team

UNC vs. Duke: March Madness at Veracity

March 10, 2017


It's about to be March Madness, but Veracity has already won the big game.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ryan's alma mater), brought in Veracity to build bluevblue.com, a joint fundraising site for both UNC and Duke's business schools. 

While #BlueVBlue was a competition, unlike in the Big Dance, both teams can win. Veracity's "Giving Day" website raised almost $1,000,000 for the two business schools, by creating an easy-to-use, mobile-responsive website, challenges by which donors could match contributions, and a "scoreboard" that was updated in real time as donations came in. This amount far surpasses previous Giving Day records at both schools!

While Veracity mostly works with non-profits and political campaigns, higher education is one of our team's priorities, and we're proud to have helped UNC beat Duke (while helping raise money for both schools!) in the 2017 #BlueVBlue Giving Day. 

If you'd like the Veracit-team to help you build a beautiful, mobile-responsive, socially-integrated website, shoot us a note at contact@veracitymedia.com. (And Go Heels!)

BlueVBlue HeaderBlueVBlue Scoreboard

 


Veraci-team on Design Edu Today

February 02, 2017


It’s not often someone really wants to talk about the nitty-gritty of your job. So when Gary Rozanc—Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and host of the Design Edu Today podcast—reached out to the Veraci-team we were happy to put on our digital and design nerd hats and chat with him. Veracity’s COO, Marne Pike, and Creative Director, Mike Brophy, spent an hour covering everything from the interplay between design and message, to what makes a powerful digital strategy team, to the logistics of working for social good. One of our favorite moments…

I loved all the typography and imagery that the Hillary campaign was putting out but it feels inauthentic from a certain perspective because it’s been over-worked... So there’s been a rise of this sort of anti-design...The Make America Great Again hat is basically the epitome of anti-design.” - Mike Brophy

Check out the full podcast here.

PodcastGraphic_1a.jpg


Triple Dog Dare You

June 29, 2016


In the United States, women make up more than half of the population. So you'd think that they hold at least 50% of the elected offices, right?! Welp, wake up people. Women in this country only hold around 20% of the seats. Yep, you read that correctly. Women in the US are underrepresented at almost every level of elected office.

As an organization that believes democratic representatives should reflect the citizenry, we’re passionate about helping to fix this gender disparity in politics. That’s why we team up with organizations like VoteRunLead and IGNITE, to spur folks into action.

We’re proud to have been a sponsor of VoteRunLead and IGNITE’s most recent event - Dare to Lead. Dare to Lead was an historic women’s leadership conference rooted in diversity, and driven by tech (it is the 21st Century after all!). It brought together more than 1,800 women online, and 400 women in-person across the country, at all stages of their leadership plan, to take a step forward for change. It was awesome hearing these women’s powerful stories of leadership, and to be in a room full of badass ladies declaring their ambitions to lead.

Both Dare to Lead and VoteRunLead’s general mission is to support the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders. #GoGetters! This mission lines up directly with Veracity’s aim to inspire a new generation of leadership, and use our digital-first strategy to help aspiring leaders navigate their own path to elected office. 

Events like Dare to Lead - that challenge women (and all who are underrepresented in politics) to participate in our democracy as leaders - are an important piece of creating a truly representative democracy. In an election cycle dominated by conversations about which candidates authentically speak for women, it’s more crucial now than ever that we make sure women's, minorities’, and millennials’ voices are heard and presence is felt in the system.

The only way to ensure that our voices are heard and that our interests are represented, whatever they may be, is to both recruit and help elect those who identify with us, and to run for positions ourselves. YOU WON’T DO IT (trying out some reverse psychology here)!

Check out our Storify of the Dare to Lead event below!

<3 Marne


A Look at Aspen Challenge’s Website and Digital Learning Platform

May 25, 2016


The Aspen Challenge is a program of the Aspen Institute, created in partnership with the  Bezos Family Foundation, that aims to motivate high-school students to solve big challenges in their communities. Teams of students are issued challenges from leaders working in an array of industries and given the tools to craft solutions to those challenges. With just seven weeks to design and test their ideas, solutions are then showcased to a panel of judges who select top teams to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival.

With programs in four large cities, and plans to continue expanding nationwide, the Aspen Challenge needed a robust website that would be engaging for stakeholders as well as high-schoolers, and a scalable digital learning platform: that's where Veracity came in. 

When the Aspen Challenge reached out to Veracity Media to build its online presence, their goal was twofold: revamp the Aspen Challenge’s website and migrate the program’s static, text-based curriculum to an interactive online learning platform. 

 

Step 1: The Website

 

The website needed a fun-yet-professional design that would be user-friendly for program participants, while also showcasing students’ incredible work to stakeholders and first-time viewers. Using compelling images from past competitions, parallax effects, a clean design, and the Aspen Challenge’s vivid brand palette, Veracity built a modern, scalable website that students can easily navigate on their phones. We also designed custom branded interior pages that the Aspen Challenge team could update throughout the course of the competition. 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 4.04.59 PM.png

 

Step 2: The Digital Learning Platform

 

Using Blackboard ProSites, Veracity designed a robust, multi-city e-learning program. We took the Aspen Challenge’s existing text-only curriculum and used gamification, social media integration, data analytics, and discussion board features to build an interactive digital learning program that engages students throughout the seven-week program.

Throughout the competition, the Aspen Challenge staff was able to track student progress in real time and collect feedback through surveys, student blog posts, discussion boards, and social media submissions. To encourage student participation, Veracity built a series of online incentives that the Aspen Challenge used to create awards for high-performing teams and students during the final competition.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 10.43.05 AM.png

 

Step 3: The Competition

 

With their new digital tools, the Aspen Challenge was able to interact with students at every step of the competition and provide ongoing feedback to help teams prepare for the final competition. In under a year, Veracity provided the Aspen Challenge with the tools necessary to transform their competition into a scalable, fully-digital operation.

Want to see more? Check out the Aspen Challenge’s Website, and reach out if your organization is looking for a new custom website or an online learning platform built by a certified BlackBoard Specialist.


Yet Another Instagram Logo Review

May 17, 2016


instagram-logo.gif

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or somehow have a life outside of the internet), you’ve probably heard that Instagram updated their app icon logo for the first time since launching in 2010. In a similar vein to Uber’s recent redesign, Instagram’s new direction has polarized the internet, causing the petty backlash only the web-denizens are capable of, including an assortment of memes and petitions to change it back.

 

Is it possible the internet overreacted to the change? Of course! So what’s a non-inflammatory reaction to the logo from a design perspective? Read on, my friend.

 

All in all, I actually like the new logo. It's definitely a huge departure, and of course the internet is up in arms about anything different, but that's always a reaction with an identity change — people don't like having to 'learn' a new thing. There are a few legitimate criticisms, the most logical one being that it looks fairly generic, like it could be any number of 3rd party apps. But design doesn't happen in a bubble, and Instagram, being the social juggernaut that it is, won't really have a problem pushing this identity.

 

Will anyone jump ship because of the new logo? Probably an inconsequential amount, if any. In a few months, people will say such-and-such 3rd party app looks like the Instagram logo, not the other way around. But it is definitely part of the growing pains of a new brand - there's no doubting that the old logo was iconic and it will take people a bit to get used to the change.

 

You could also argue that it blends into the default iOS apps, but I personally don't see that as too bad a thing, and the new icon is still a bit more restrained than Apple’s stock apps. Regardless, it’s better than that fake leather texture sticking out like a sore thumb. My apologies, though, to anyone else who was forced to rearrange their apps because the new logo clashed with their app color scheme.

 

Now for the positives. The skeuomorphic icon had to go eventually - it's just plain out of style (so 2010). It’s also difficult to scale to small sizes because of the detail, requiring the existence of the now-defunct glyph which dilutes the identifying elements of the brand.

 

old-glyph.png
Previous Instagram Glyph

 

As a side note, it’s interesting that the design team opted not to use this glyph as the basis for the new logo, as I always thought it was a decent flat version of the full icon.

 

But there's just something about the rounded corners of the new icon that feels really unique and Instagrammy the more I look at it, especially in the desktop version. It’s quite pleasing and friendly.

 

ig-desktop.png

 

 

One of the other great things is the unification of the sister apps’ branding. I'm sure I wasn't the only one surprised that those 3 random apps were Instagram’s. It will now be much easier to pick out these apps as distinctly “Instagram” in an increasingly-crowded app storefront.

 

old-v-new.png

 

 

When you think about Instagram's evolution, the change actually makes sense. When they first launched it was mostly about the retro filters, hence the Polaroid-style icon. But now it's a full fledged social platform with a diverse audience, especially artists, photographers, filmmakers, etc, and the overall brand update reflects this community more accurately.  

 

All in all I think they could have gotten the new icon a bit closer to the previous shape (the square flash and the contrasted top/bottom of the camera body were two fairly iconic elements that they could’ve preserved), but I still like the new one, and it’s grown on me every day since launch. They also might have gone with a bit more retro-colored gradient as opposed to the popular 'bright' palette to retain that element of their old brand.

 

So there you have it. The new icon could have been more refined, but it's also not that bad, and is a decent evolution of the Instagram brand.

 

Let’s make America gradient again*

*Gradients only where appropriate please

 

-

 

Mike Brophy
Mike is the Creative Director at Veracity Media 


Build an Image Generator with html2canvas

March 18, 2016


marco-mag-blog.jpg

 

From the countless riffs on a photo of Jeb Bush pointing in front of a green screen during a campaign stop late last year to an image of Donald Trump's lips Photoshopped over his eyes that went viral last month (disturbingly, he looks exactly the same), there's huge potential in image editing for sharing messages and poking fun at political opponents.

With the enormous ecosystem of photo-editing tools available, it's no surprise that photo manipulation has become a weapon of choice for aspiring political satirists this election cycle. But the high cost of professional tools like Photoshop and the prohibitive learning curve of graphic design raise the barriers to entry to produce images like these. Many developers, sensing opportunity in this knowledge gap, have built tools that make it easier to caption images and produce commonly shared memes.

When Time Magazine put Marco Rubio on the cover in February, calling him "The Republican Savior," the image was just begging for snarky photoshop shenanigans. I put together an image generator in CodePen allowing users to make their own Marco cover. If you've got some front-end development skill, you can build an image generator, too (this tutorial assumes some familiarity with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery). A jQuery plugin called html2canvas makes them relatively straightforward to build.

Here's how.


Step 1: Preparation and dependencies

We'll need to create an HTML file, a CSS stylesheet, and a JavaScript script. We'll need to link the stylesheet and script in our HTML, along with two dependencies—jQuery and html2canvas.

Fortunately, CloudFlare's cdnjs.com provides both dependencies as CDNs. So we can put them right into our HTML:

  
    
    <script type="text/javascript" src="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/html2canvas/0.4.1/html2canvas.js"></script>
     <script type="text/javascript" src="script.js"></script>
     <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css">
  

Now we're ready to start building the HTML structure.


Step 2: HTML

Before we dive into the jQuery, let's think about all the pieces we'll need for our generator and have them ready-built so they're good to go when we start implementing the script.

We want the user to be able to type a message, watch as that message is dynamically appended to the background image, and then press a button to take a 'screenshot' that turns the message and the background image into a new image the user can save.

So, we're going to need:

  • An input where the user can type in their message and submit it to generate the image
  • An image preview section where text from the input is appended as the user types, so the user can see what their image will look like
  • A method of delivering the newly created image to the user—either in a new browser tab or in a section of the current tab

For that last one, in order to avoid dealing with security restraints involved in opening a new tab on a user's browser, we'll use a simple lightbox overlay that shows the new image.

  
    
  <form class="message-form">
        <input type="text" class="message-box"/>
        <button type="button" class="message-submit-button">
          Save PNG Image
        </button>
      </form>
      <div class="image-preview-wrap">
        <div class="image-preview">
          <p class="image-message">
            Default text here
          </p>
        </div>
      </div>
      <div class="lightbox">
      <a href="#" class="close-lightbox">&times;</a>
      <img src="" class="new-image"/>
      </div>
  

The CSS to make this work is fairly simple. We'll need a background-image on the and some font and color styles on the to make the generated image look interesting.

We'll also need to set the .lightbox div to display: none; position: fixed; z-index: 99 to make sure that it's hidden by default and that, when we use jQuery to show it, it appears on top of the rest of the page.

A word of warning: certain styles can mess with html2canvas's ability to render the image preview properly. For example, setting background-size: cover on a background image on or within the preview element can cause that background image to appear transparent or solid black in the image html2canvas creates. If you're getting similar errors, try playing with the styles, and especially consider testing with a simpler version of any dynamic or experimental styles, which may be less likely to render.


Step 3: jQuery

Now that we have our HTML structured, let's think about what we need our script to accomplish. There are 6 primary tasks:

  • Appending text from our message box to our image preview in real time
  • Preventing our form from triggering the default submit event so we can hijack it with jQuery to build our new image instead
  • Using a listener on the submit button to tell html2canvas to construct our image
  • Displaying our lightbox
  • Outputting the image html2canvas gives us as a source for the blank image in our lightbox
  • And finally, attaching a listener on the lightbox's close button so users can return to the app after they've created an image

To accomplish that, we'll need a couple blocks of jQuery. We'll use this to append text to the image preview:

  
  $('.message-box').keyup(
    function(){
      var value = $(this).val();
      $('.image-message').text(value);
    }
  );
  

jQuery is smart enough to know whether we intend to use its functions to grab an element's content or replace it with new content. So all we need to do is attach a listener to the input box that triggers on every keystroke. Each time a user hits a key, jQuery will look at the contents of the input and append them as text inside the element in our image preview.

Next, we'll need a code snippet that cancels the default response when a user hits the submit button:

  
  $('.message-form').submit(function(e){
    e.preventDefault;
    return false;
  });
  

By default, browsers will assume you want to send the contents of the form's inputs somewhere and load a new page when a form's submit button is triggered. But html2canvas actually doesn't look at our input boxes at all. It's entirely focused on making a copy of the image preview area. So we want to override the default response and replace it with our own script.

Our final two code blocks involve attaching an .on('click') event listener to the submit button and lightbox close button. Because we need to wait until the page has loaded until we can do so, we need to wrap both of these blocks in a $(document).ready function like this:

  
  $(document).ready(function(){
    [ First code block goes here ]
    [ Second code block goes here ]
  });
  

First, we need to make the image, swap it in for the missing image in the lightbox, and display the lightbox.

When the submit button is clicked, we'll trigger the html2canvas function, which we set as an argument in jQuery's .on('click') function. The html2canvas function takes two arguments: the element we want to convert into a canvas, and an object that allows us to configure options. The onrendered key allows us to set as its value a callback function that waits until the rendering is complete and then triggers, with the canvas that html2canvas has created passed through as its argument:

  
  $('.message-submit-button').on('click', function(){
    html2canvas($('.image-preview-wrap'), {
      onrendered: function(canvas) {
        var myImage = canvas.toDataURL('image/png');
        $('.lightbox').fadeIn(200);
        $('.new-image').attr('src', myImage).fadeIn(200);
      }
    });
  });
  

Now we have the element as a canvas, and although it's not yet an image, it's simple to parse it with JavaScript and return a data URI, which the user will see as a regular png image file they can save like any other. We just need to use the canvas.toDataURL function, with the file type as our argument(you can also pass through 'image/jpeg' for a jpg instead of a png.)

Then, we'll use jQuery's .fadeIn() function, which flips our lightbox element's display style on and also animates it so it fades in over a period of milliseconds we can specify. We'll also feed our new image the data URI we just created as its source by calling jQuery's .attr() function and passing in the src attribute and our data URI as arguments.

Finally, we'll add one more block to put on a listener on the lightbox's close button so the user can close the lightbox.

  
  $('.closebox').on('click', function(){
    $('.lightbox').css('display', 'none');
  });
  

And that's it! Our image generator is now ready to go.


Now for the hard part: figuring out what kind of meme to make. We used Marco Rubio's TIME cover and made a generator that lets you put your own spin on it. Click the image below to check it out on CodePen.

Screen_Shot_2016-03-02_at_6.11.28_PM.png


A look at HeadCount.org, Possibly Our Coolest Website Build

March 10, 2016


How do you make voting cool? The folks at HeadCount know: wed it with something people are passionate about - music. Our team was stoked to make HeadCount a new website that rocks just as much as their audience! The new HeadCount.org is probably the coolest site we’ve ever built.

 

HC-Home_optimized.gif

HeadCount is a non-partisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy. Given that they do the majority of their work at concerts and festivals, a uniquely energetic and lively space, their new website needed to reflect that energy, vibrance, and action.

 

Working with HeadCount was a great experience not only because we got to use our creative team to its full extent, but because we always love working alongside synergistic organizations and like-minded teams. It was a privilege to work together to pursue both Veracity’s and HeadCount’s goal of getting more folks participating in our democracy, speaking out, and ultimately heard in crowded spaces. Here’s how they do it:

 

  1. Inform their audience about voting rights and much needed voter info, like how and when to register, and which IDs are needed on election day.
  2. Recruit volunteers who, to take words right from HeadCount, “Register voters at concerts with HeadCount. Meet cool people, see great music, and change the world one voter at a time."

 

Ensuring that both of HeadCount’s priorities were met without overwhelming visitors was key, alongside creating a voter info hub and volunteer hub that are visually appealing, engaging, and above all, easy to use.

 

To emphasize HeadCount’s goals, once a visitor scrolls past the introductory portion of the page (pictured above), with the two main calls-to-action, “Register to Vote” and “Volunteer,” they are reminded again through energetic, eye-catching design and engaging content that HeadCount is a resource for voters and a community of volunteers.

 

HeadCount-Home2-edit.jpg

 

We had a blast designing and developing HeadCount’s new site, and are proud of the work our team put in.

 

Want to see more? Make sure to check out HeadCount’s killer new site, and reach out if you, your campaign or organization is looking for a next-level Veracity custom website!

 


Substance Goes to Aspen

March 07, 2016


If you haven’t heard, Veracity recently unveiled Substance, a brand new NationBuilder theme available to nonprofits, campaigns, business and other groups looking for a professional, clean, and efficient website solution.

Designed and developed by our very own Clara Beyer and Mike Brophy, Substance is built around Google’s Material Design model. The theme is highly responsive, working on any device at any width. The look is fresh and eye-catching, with a straight-forward user experience on mobile, tablet, and desktop. 

Recently, we unveiled our first Substance build for a nonprofit client, The Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries. The site went live earlier this month, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Take a few minutes to check out the new website for The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries: http://www.libraryvision.org.

Substance is also an excellent option for state, local, and Congressional campaigns looking to go live quickly with a professional, mobile-responsive site. Click here for a one-pager on Substance, including cost, timeline, and examples.

Like what you’re reading and want to learn more about Substance? Use the form below to get in touch, and one of Veracity Media’s digital strategy experts will be in touch!


Logos! in the 2016 Election

February 19, 2016


From copyright accusations to conspiracy theories of secret political agendas, voters are surprisingly opinionated about the logos of presidential candidates this election. Logos have been ridiculed and debated just as much as policies, and in some cases the logo conversation has detracted from the campaign message. Campaign successes and failure are proof that it's crucially important to have a strong logo to support your brand. 

 

Logosblog.jpg 

 

As soon as Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for president, the internet erupted over an issue seemingly minor compared to her policies or experience: her campaign logo. Design critics argued that the bold H-arrow resembled a hospital sign or the Fed-Ex logo, while Twitter users mused that the red right-facing arrow implied Clinton leaned conservative. Over time, the campaign has evolved the logo to relate to the day’s issues, and critics have grudgingly accepted the logo’s strengths. The constantly changing logo takes a fun approach to campaign issues – whether it’s marriage equality, supporting Planned Parenthood, or specifically appealing to Iowa – and ties in to the interactive and shareable nature of the 2016 campaign. Clinton’s supporters repeatedly retweet the logo’s new iterations, giving the campaign more attention and interactivity.

 

hillarylogo.png

 

Republican campaign logos received similar scrutiny. Designers panned Senator Marco Rubio’s use of the continental U.S. to dot his last name, while critics on social media grumbled that Hawaii and Alaska were left out and typography sticklers griped about the font’s odd kerning

marcorubio.png

 

You could argue that it’s just a logo, but a logo can set the tone for an entire campaign. A logo determines an organization’s color scheme; used for the website, social media, and printed materials. Most importantly, a logo can decide how a voter interacts with a campaign. Is the organization fun, serious, or edgy? Is it cool to be a supporter?

 

Replicating Obama ’08 will be the goal of any future digital strategy campaign, and one great strength of the Obama campaign was the way voters could interact with a logo. Logobama allowed supporters to add their photo inside the strong “O” logo. Several sites and plug-ins let fans “Obamafy” themselves in the iconic HOPE poster format. In the hands of supporters, Obama’s logo took on a life of it’s own, and defined him as the cool candidate.

 

logobama.png

 

Even not-so-iconic logos can be used to positively define a political candidate’s brand. When the logo-rati piled on Ohio Governor John Kasich for his logo’s resemblance to three strips of bacon, his digital team embraced the joke and turned it into a successful Snapchat geo-filter that garnered positive earned media in the national press. 

 

         kasichlogo.jpg

 

On the other hand, Governor Jeb Bush’s logo highlights how bad design can warp a campaign’s message. The reasoning behind Jeb Bush’s campaign logo is evident. To distance himself from his brother’s questionable legacy, Bush became a one-name, exciting “Jeb!” The exclamation point would invigorate his campaign and appeal to young voters. The strategy completely backfired. Typographers bemoaned that the logo defied basic design rules, and Stephen Colbert joked that Bush’s name must now be yelled. Twitter users happily joined in on the ridicule.

 

                  jebabc.png   jebspanish.png

Presidential campaigns might have millions of dollars, but their mistakes highlight how even small organizations can benefit from a professionally designed logo. A cohesive logo and digital branding strategy supplements an organization’s message, rather than detracting from it. Get a logo supporters are proud to share, and they will carry your message. 

 

At Veracity our creative team helps campaigns and non-profits visually define their brands with professional logos and other design services that can be integrated across digital and traditional materials. If you’re looking for a professional logo and branding that can galvanize supporters, contact us using the form below.

 


What Time Does the State of the Union Address Start?

January 11, 2016


President Obama’s final State of the Union address airs Tuesday at 9:00pm ET on the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), as well as the main cable broadcasters: CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Amazon, Youtube, and the White House will also offer live streams of #SOTU2016, and NPR will broadcast it to radio listeners.

 sotu_graphic3.png__940x492_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale.jpg

 

Why do you need a blog post about the SOTU?

It’s a simple enough answer, so why bother to write about it? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO), which Google itself defines as:

search en·gine op·ti·mi·za·tion

noun: the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

 

Another question: What time does the 'Superbowl' start?

In 2011, a Huffington Post editor named Craig Kanalley noticed a spike in search traffic around queries like “superbowl time” and had a stroke of genius. He published a simple article with a simple title: “What Time Does the Superbowl Start?” The post immediately landed prime real estate at the top of Google’s search results for Super Bowl XLV-related queries.

The digital world took note of what Deadspin writer Barry Petchesky called “the most legendary act of SEO trolling ever.” In no time, publications ranging from Gawker to the Los Angeles Times began to copy the “What Time Does the Superbowl Start?” (WTDSS) technique. Eventually, Google took charge, supplanting WTDSS articles with its own instant results.

 

 

Nevertheless, WTDSS is still alive and well. Today, enterprising digital journalists can still score a top Google search result placement, such as the re/code piece pictured above, if they play their algorithmic cards right.

 

What’s that have to do with the State of the Union? 

In case you hadn’t noticed, this blog is a WTDSS post. Like Craig Kanalley circa 2011, we were monitoring Google Trends this morning and noticed a spike in search traffic around “President Obama’s final State of the Union Address.” The SOTU 2016 SEO battle is already being fought, so why not throw our hat in the ring?

Currently, WhiteHouse.gov occupies most of the top spots under Google’s instant results, including one for its own WTDSS blog post (from last year).

 

Screen_Shot_2016-01-11_at_2.42.19_PM.png 

However, a few websites were able to beat the President of the United States at the SEO game.

 

Screen_Shot_2016-01-11_at_5.05.23_PM.png

Screen_Shot_2016-01-11_at_2.44.10_PM.png 

Let’s take a look at Politico’s State of the Union 2016 WTDSS post shown above and break down a few of the factors contributing to its top spot:

 

1. SEO-friendly language 

The first sentence of the article: “When and what time is Obama delivering the 2016 State of the Union?” might sound a bit awkward, but its strange construction accounts for the two different ways to inquire about the timing of the State of the Union: “When is the State of the Union?” and “What time is the State of the Union?” 

Indeed, the addition of “what time” may have made all the difference. A quick Ctrl-F of https://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu reveals 0 results for the phrase “what time,” and it just so happens that Politico’s SEO victory came on the query “what time is state of the union.”

 

2. Links, Links, and more Links

The article contains 27 links to relevant pages, such as whitehouse.gov, news articles from other publications, and other Politico stories – one aspect of an SEO process called “link-building.” More on that here.

 

3. Social Traffic 

As of publication, Politico’s “Everything you need to know about the 2016 State of the Union address” article had been shared on social media over 200 times. Because of Google’s recent Twitter indexing upgrade, Politico’s tweets are included in Google search results. In a similar fashion as link building, @Politico’s social marketing likely gives the article an SEO boost.

 

4. All the Right Keywords

The article is also full of keywords that could be included in a potential searches about the State of the Union address, such as “President Obama,” “SOTU,” “guests,” and “Michelle Obama.”

 

5. The Elephant in the Room

Of course, Politico is a major news outlet with a well-tagged, deeply-linked website, which almost certainly contributes to its top Google result. Nevertheless, the principles of SEO are just as important, if not more so, for smaller businesses, campaigns, and non-profits. The battle for a top Google search result is fought every time person searches for something, and you can’t win if you don’t play.

 

SEO and you.

The moral of the “What Time Does the Superbowl Start?” story is that SEO matters.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to search engine optimization, SEO is too important to ignore. As we say at Veracity Media, a well-executed SEO strategy is a behind-the-scenes PR campaign that pays off in dominating search results. At Veracity, we take a digital-first approach to make sure our clients can grow both online and off, and we make SEO an integral part of our work.

Like what you’re reading and want to learn more? Use the form below to get in touch, and one of Veracity Media’s digital strategy experts will be in touch!


Wyatt-web.jpgWyatt Larkin joins Veracity Media from Capitol Hill, where he served as Digital Director for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Wyatt also ran digital for Kyrsten Sinema for Congress, and has led digital trainings for organizations including the Alliance for Retired Americans and College Democrats of America. Previously, Wyatt served as Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Johns Hopkins economist Steve Hanke, where he worked to make @Steve_Hanke one of the top economists on Twitter. Wyatt is an Arizona native who has organized for the Young Democrats of America, the Young Democrats of Arizona, and various state and local campaigns. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Political Science.


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