Online marketing techniques that were effective in 2013 will need to be re-evaluated as key players in the digital space are predicting new trends for 2014. As the New Year approaches, take a moment to evaluate what is and isnâ€™t working for your digital marketing campaigns. Itâ€™s time to ring out the old, stale digital strategies and bring in new, fresh ideas. The following list highlights 10 Digital & SEO marketing components that experts say are crucial for success in 2014.
1. Google and Bing â€“ One-Two Punch! Be on top of your game. Research the latest Social Signals and SEO guidelines that will positively influence your rankings in the major search engines. According to ComScore, as of July 2013, Google holds the largest market share of search at 67%, Bing at 18% with Yahoo and the other search engines combined at 15%.
Surprisingly, as shown in the “Bing SEO Ranking Factors 2013” chart provided by Search Engine Land below, it appears that brand involvement on Google+ is as much a high priority ranking factor to Bing as it is to Google.
2. Quality content for all: Back in the day, you were able to rank purely on over-optimized, keyword stuffed content with a complete disregard for quality and relevancy â€“ times have clearly changed. Not only will poor content get you penalized in the search engines, your audience wonâ€™t buy into it either. In 2014, more than ever, your online marketing goals should be focused on providing quality, relevant content not only for your targeted audience, but for the search engines as well. It is of utmost importance to optimize your digital and content strategies for people first and tweak it ever so slightly with targeted keywords for the search engines second.
3. You only have seconds to engage a visitor with your content: Results from recent research conducted by Responsys shows that typical consumers spend only 30 seconds or less absorbing digital marketing content at one time. Within these crucial seconds you need to capture the attention of your prospective customers, show them who you are, what your value is and what you want them to do. Informative, easy to read quality content and a seamless user interface can draw your prospects further into your site towards a conversion. Rather than writing exhausting mounds of text about your services and benefits, include easy to absorb bullet points, visual images and infographics. This will make your message and content clear, concise, lighter and easier to read.
4. Identify and use your brand personality in your marketing efforts: Make sure that your customers have a unique experience when doing business with you. Your brand personality is reflected in your customer loyalty, the benefits you offer, the way you communicate, and also in your logo and website design. Carry your brand personality across all digital and social channels to present a unified image. Users look for qualities that positively distinguish you from your competitors.
5. Focus on your target audience and SEO, quality backlinks will follow: Your online strategies should be created with your targeted audience in mind. Develop a memorable presence that resonates with your audience. If it does, everything associated with SEO â€“ increased web traffic, brand recognition, social sharing, quality backlinks and improved search engine rankings will flow naturally.
6. Usability impacts conversions: Usability and SEO go hand in hand. Good website usability, i.e., making your site user-friendly and fully functional is the key to better SEO. Simple tactics can be implemented to improve site usability such as:
- Guiding your visitor with clear, easy to use site navigation.
- Providing easy-to-read, sharable and optimized content.
- Have value-add, industry specific resources residing on your site.
- Creating strong “Calls to Action” with clear paths to conversions.
7. Share content on all relevant social media and social bookmarking platforms: As you try to engage followers on Twitter and increase likes on Facebook, donâ€™t ignore other Social Media and Social Bookmarking sites like LinkedIn, Google+, SlideShare, Pinterest, Vimeo and StumbleUpon.
In 2014, the social networking platform Google+ is poised to dramatically increase their monthly users currently at 343 million. Google+ which impacts SEO, social signals and Google Authorship, is one of the major components of Googleâ€™s overall plan to provide a more personalized user experience. According to the Business2Community diagram below, B2B Marketers distribute content across a wide range of social media platforms with LinkedIn coming in at #1.
8. Make sure you have a user-friendly, mobile responsive website: With Mobile usage and mobile web browsing expected to continue to soar in the year 2014, you need to make sure your website has a mobile responsive design. A user-friendly, mobile responsive website provides the optimal user experience across all mobile devices. Mobile Responsive sites are equipped with advanced features such as fast loading time, location mapping features, clear calls to action, and prominent geo-targeted, optimized content and contact information.
9. Search engines need the right code to index your site properly: A quick and somewhat easy way to improve your search engine rankings and CTR is by implementing optimized Title and Meta tags with engaging text sprinkled with targeted keywords. Also, adding rich snippets into your siteâ€™s code, helps search engines identify and categorize specific characteristics of your products, books, events, recipes, authorship etc. Schema.org is an initiative from Google, Bing and Yahoo that supports a unified set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages.
10. Seek professional advice: If you want to create a successful online marketing plan, but are unfamiliar with SEO, Social Media or anything digital â€“ seek out expert advice. Teaching yourself can be extremely time-consuming and confusing. There are internet marketing experts who can break down each marketing strategy into easy components. If you are overwhelmed and donâ€™t know where to begin, rely on professionals that will thoroughly explain the basics and help you create a viable online marketing plan.
The above SEO strategies can help you create a foundation for building a strong brand presence online in 2014. Keeping up on the latest digital marketing strategies and trends will set you apart from your competition and on the road to success.