This week’s expert interview comes from John Pring of Design By Soap Ltd.
QDescribe in a nutshell what you guys at Designbysoap do?
AWe’re a content creation, marketing and search engine optimisation agency.
QWhat do you consider to be your main services?
AWe’re most well-known for our infographic design and promotion service, but we also offer animated infographics, search consultancy, SEO, web design, linkbait development and holistic marketing campaigns.
QI’ve seen your company mentioned a few times in discussions about infographic design services – what features do you consider makes a great infographic?
AFor me, there are a few main elements in a successful infographic – research and data, concept, design and promotion. It’s the sum of these parts that makes a great infographic, as if one of these areas is poor it will let the entire piece down. For example, you can have a fantastically designed infographic with a really strong visual concept, but if the research has produced flawed or incorrect data, or the information isn’t interesting, then it’s not a great infographic. The same goes with promotion, you can have a strong concept, great information and a brilliant design, but if nobody sees it then it’s essentially wasted.
I wrote a post on SEOMoz recently that covers this stuff in a bit more depth: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/indepth-guide-to-content-creation-with-infographic. Probably worth a read for anyone interested in producing a successful infographic.
QWhat do you consider to be the main benefits of companies using infographics to market their products or services?
AI think there are several major benefits to using an infographic – firstly, people seem far more likely to share this kind of visual content (as opposed to a big chunk of text), making it far easier to reach higher numbers of people. They’re also an excellent tool for natural, ethical link-building and encourage sharing on your website; something we call ‘link magnetism’.
It’s also been proven that people are far more responsive to visual stimuli, improving information recall, brand awareness and encouraging higher levels of engagement.
QYour company also offers ‘bespoke web design’. What do you consider to be the 5 most important elements of a great website design?
AWe always pay a lot of attention to usability, navigation and architecture, site speed, visual appeal and clarity of information. As an SEO and digital marketing agency, we also put a strong emphasis on on-site SEO elements and conversion rate optimisation.
QLooking at the clients you have worked with, there is a really variety there. Do you consider infographics to be an effective tool for marketing campaigns of any industry – or would you say they are less effective in certain spaces?
AI think if they’re well thought out and used in the right way, then infographics can be an element in any marketing campaign. With that said however I would certainly agree that they’re easier to use in certain industries. It’s not just infographics though, I would say that marketing in general is easier in some industries than it is in others – it’s all about how creative, innovative and well thought out your marketing plan is.
QWhat’s the infographic that DBS designed that you’re most proud of?
AThat’s a really tough question as there’s a few we’re really proud of. There’s one in particular that I love but unfortunately it was produced under a white label agreement with an NDA so I can’t tell you about it! We’re working on a few at the moment for the European Commission which I think are fantastic, and I’m also really proud of the WordPress infographic we produced for Yoast, as well as the London Olympics infographic, the Orange Business Services infographics and the Halifax infographic. I also think the Ford infographics, the Berry Bros & Rudd infographic and the Friends Reunited infographic have some really nice touches. Picking one is just impossible!
QYour company offers other digital marketing services such as SEO – what do you think of the recent Google update ‘Pengiun’ and it’s impact on web masters. Personally I’m a fan of any algorithm update that stops rewarding lazy link-building techniques.
AOur clients didn’t have any real problems as a result of the Pengiun update or the previous Panda update, as we use content-based link-building that encourages a genuinely natural backlink profile, rather than attempting to manipulate rankings via ‘quick win’ tactics like blog networks and article marketing. Pengiun has had a lot of complaints, but so did the Florida update when it first appeared, and you’ll find that a lot of the complaints are coming from SEO’s who utilised techniques that they knew weren’t a coherent long-term strategy.
I do feel sorry for webmasters who didn’t realise what they were doing was ill-advised and have suffered as a result, and I do think ‘dodgy’ links should be devalued rather than punished (to avoid any potential issues with ‘negative SEO’), but overall I’m a fan of the update. It makes us all work harder to produce content and services that add real value to the online space, and that can only be a good thing in the long run.
John Pring is Director of SEO and Social Media at Design By Soap Ltd one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies.
I can’t end this interview without saying a massive thank you for his contribution, i wish him and his agency all the best for the future.