As we round out the year, I’d like to take this opportunity and discuss what’s ahead for SEO and digital marketing in the upcoming year. More than ever, businesses rely on the internet to gain more customers and this trend will only increase with traditional media seeing major decreases all across the board. According to the Pew Research Center: “The vast majority of Americans now get news in some digital format. In 2013, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Beyond that, 35% reported that they get news in this way ‘frequently’ on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet).”
As competition for top online searches increases, we need to find new ways to get our name ahead of our competitors. Here’s a list of five trends I feel are important for 2015.
Content Marketing: It’s here to Stay and Should be Your Big Focus for 2015
Establish authority and gain trust from your potential consumers by creating valuable content that can be shared on a variety of channels such as social media, blog, videos, case studies, and articles. Content should include relevant industry related information that provides insight into what your potential consumers are looking for. As mentioned earlier, the trend suggests that traditional marketing strategies that used to appeal to the masses are becoming less effective. Instead, consumers are looking to connect with the brand and know that the brand cares about them as an individual and not as a mass target demographic.
As a small business owner, I’m a big fan and member of Costco and I actually read their monthly print newsletter. The September 2014 edition featured an article entitled “Boosting Sales by Sharing Your Expertise.” I definitely recommend you read this article since it explains in plain English how a small business embraced content marketing and how it helped save and grow the business.
Earlier this year, I had the honor of hosting a one-hour webinar with Laura Lear, Vice President of Marketing at MGMA. Laura has years of experience leading marketing teams for technology giants and start-ups, as well as entertainment and event planning companies and she’s one of the top content marketers I have met to date. The webinar is entitled “An Introduction to Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing” and it’s available for replay at your convenience.
Social Media Marketing and Social Shares
Build brand equity by utilizing social media channels, and we’re not just talking Facebook. Today, more and more people are using social media to learn about products. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are important to be integrated in, but so are LinkedIn and maybe some lesser well known media channels that are just popping up. It’s important to understand your consumer and the type of social media that would best match them. Beyond just being on these social channels, it’s important that people are sharing your content, the higher the quality the higher the ranking you should see. It’s no coincidence that the top search results are often the ones that have the most shares. The more hits a business website receives, the more valuable the site becomes in the eyes of search engines (though, there are approximately another 250 signals that make up Google’s search algorithm). Businesses need to monitor who and how many people are talking about their products, services and brand and if there are a growing number of interested individuals.
My friend and social media marketing expert Beth Powell of POP! media studio and I presented an hour long webinar entitled “Got Strategy? Awesome Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Just Happen—Do it with Purpose and Goals to Increase Your ROI.” This is a “must-view” webinar if you’d like to ramp up your social media efforts in 2015.
SEO Keyword Research
When deciding on your target SEO keywords for organic search and / or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, we know it can be costly to rank or difficult to get any conversions from high competition keywords. There’s no guarantee that these keywords will convert site visitors to customers and we are mass targeting instead of finding what the individual needs are. Long-tail keyword queries (a combination of 3 or more words) are more relevant and can convert at higher rates because they are more personalized. While taking advantage of long-tail search traffic can take significant time, it’s a promising direction that can yield results in the long run.
I also discussed this topic in a webinar earlier this year and encourage you to view this session: SEO Keyword Research – Find Keywords That Will Improve Search Traffic to Your Website.
Increasing Need for Personalization
As more people are using long-tail keywords, their searches have become more personalized. And, depending on demographic data gathered from engagements, each person may see different results based on the same query. Conversions will go to the brands that can deliver a high level of personalization to customers across all search platforms. A brand’s visibility may depend on its ability to create unique and relevant content that reaches the individual instead of the masses.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone! Be the expert that you are and customize and personalize your messaging so that your content cuts through the clutter and actually adds value. A great way to get started is by developing your ideal buyer personas.
Website Security and Errors
Google recently announced that they are now ranking https as a ranking signal. Read this article to learn more about https and why Google is so keen about it. This could have a big impact on your SEO. Making sure your site is secure and contains no errors will give you more points with Google and other search engines. Google stresses it over and over again: The overall user experience of your website visitors is an important ranking factor so make sure to take advantage of all the data that Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics have to offer.
A winning SEO and digital marketing strategy is based on the following 5 pillars:
- Technical Health of Website
- Website Functionality
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing
- Off-Page Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Marketing
Creating remarkable content that is delivered to your ideal target audience via blog, social platforms, newsletter, website, etc. is the core of a successful SEO, digital and content marketing strategy. Try these tips in 2015 — and see how your consumers react.
I enjoy teaching online marketing and have teamed up with Josh Culver, head of the Search Marketing Department for Carbon8, to present a Web Seminar this February 26, 2015 from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm MST. The online event is entitled “Search Engine Optimization 201 Online Workshop – Power Boost Your Visibility on Google” and I invite you to click here to learn more and to register. Feel free to use code BSM for $30 off the registration fee.
About the Author
Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique SEO training and consulting agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Chris and his team assist local, national as well as international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs.
Chris has 15+ years of digital marketing expertise under his belt and The Online Marketing Institute recently added him to their “Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014” list.