As your private data travels from your web server to your web browser, SSL is your protector.
When visiting a website, you want to feel confident that you can trust it with your data and that nothing will be exposed. But how can you be sure that a website is protected?
What is SSL?
If any part of your website contains, receives or transmits personal data, you will need to have an SSL certificate. Short for Secure Socket Layer, SSL is the foundation of internet security, as it ensures the safety of sensitive information as it travels from your web browser to your web server.
When a customer enters their personal details on a website, such as their name, address and often their card details, they need to know that they are using a reliable site that won’t risk their security. Therefore, SSL certificates are put in place to offer privacy and security when completing these data transfers.
Google Launches HTTPS
In August 2014 Google introduced their “HTTPs Everywhere” initiative to help make internet security a top priority for everyone. When accessing Google services, such as Google Search, Gmail and Google Drive, HTTPS encryption is readily available. Google also provides resources for other websites to avoid and repair security breaches.
With this came the SSL Certificate. Websites that show commitment to making their website safe and enforce SSL security, would be rewarded by ranking higher in Google Search results.
Some people often push SSL to the side, thinking that the extra costs are not worth it. However, making room in your budget for this extra cost will come with many benefits. You will find that more online users will be happy to browse and make transactions on your website. It may also help boost your online presence with higher rankings. And it can also represent your business as both genuine and trust-worthy.
The implications of protecting data have never been more important, with GDPR, the new data protection regulation within Europe set to come into force in May 2018. Demonstrating your commitment to protecting your customers’ data by installing an SSL certificate will help you to tick another box on your data audit as part of your GDPR preparation.
Making Your Website SSL Secure
Visitors will stay on websites that they trust for longer periods of time and are more likely to make transactions with you. When you see the green padlock in the web address bar, this indicates that the website is SSL certified. This is important as you know that any data entry is protected and will never be exposed.
This trust is very important with online shoppers and many people will leave your website if they cannot see any kind of mark or seal that represents security. Google have suggested the following tips for setting up your SSL certificate:
- Take time to research the different certificates available to find which suits your website best: single, multi-domain or wildcard certificate
- Make sure you can trust the source in which you are obtaining your SSL certificate from
- Use certificates that come with 2048-bit keys
- Always allow search engines to index your website and stay clear of the noindex robots meta data
- All your other domains should use protocol relative URLs
Here at SEO it Right we offer fully supported SSL protected websites to ensure you and your customers are operating safely. Get in touch with our expert team on 0121 308 0219 to discuss building a new, secure website for your business, or installing an SSL certificate on your existing site.
Does the New GDPR regulation apply to me?
If you find yourself working with data protection on a day-to-day basis, this will be vital for you to catch up on.
The latest changes to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect as of 25th May 2018. GDPR will cover the new changes concerning data protection within the EU and those who fail to comply may be fined.
Data is something that we all come across and use, whether we realise it or not, so carrying out an audit now and making sure you are compliant will save you time and money in the long run, plus it will show your customers how serious you are about protecting their information.
Making Your Website Compliant
The purpose of the GDPR is to ensure that personal data and sensitive personal data are processed securely and appropriately in the best interest of those it belongs to.
Opt in not opt out: If you have any form of opt-in form on your website to capture the data of people when they, for example, download or purchase from you, you will need to ensure that the contact preferences are set to ‘no’ as default or appear blank. If people want to be contacted by you, they will need to tick a box to give their consent to be contacted.
Consent: The consent that you ask for on your website needs to be separated out into the different types of consent you require – for example terms and conditions need to be separated from contact preferences.
Double opt in: To make sure that people have not opted in by accident it is best to firstly provide the tick boxes to allow them to sign up if they wish to be contacted and then email them with a confirmation link that they need to click on to verify that they do indeed want to be on your list.
One box does not tick all: Similarly, if you will be processing data in a different way you will need to specify different consent tick boxes. For example, contacting by phone, post or email or for passing data on to a third party. You will need to clearly name who the third party is.
Be transparent: You will need to let people know how and why you are collecting their data.
Withdrawal: You need to make it easy for people to withdraw their consent or change the ways in which they can be contacted or the frequency of communications.
Online payments: E-Commerce website owners need to be aware of any personal data that is collected before details are passed on to the payment gateway. You must therefore modify your site so that it only stores this data for a reasonable amount of time.
Where Do I Go from Here?
If you’re interested in taking further steps to ensure you are compliant with the latest in GDPR there are a few things you can do in the workplace.
Researching the full GDPR regulations to ensure you are confident on new changes is the first step. Then, take your knowledge and share it with others in your workplace so everyone is aware. As a team you should review all your data processing procedures regularly to ensure you are compliant.
We’ve scoured the internet to find some useful resources and checklists so if you need any help implementing your own GDPR audit please get in touch on 0121 308 0219
If you’re trying to get the word out there about your business, there are many tactics you can try. From SEO and advertising to networking groups and social media, if you’ve got the energy to do it, there are plenty of ways you can showcase your offering.
One of the key things you could do, is to write a press release and speak to your local media outlets. You might be wondering what you can talk about, but if you delve deep enough, you’re sure to find something.
Over the course of a two-part blog, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten things to write a press release on, hopefully sparking some ideas of where to find news in your business. For today’s instalment, please read below.
You’re the first at something
Are you the first food manufacturer in the country to use robots to clean your factory? Perhaps you’ve released a product that the world has never seen before? Whatever it is, as long as it’s a big enough ‘first’, it’s likely to be newsworthy.
You’ve won something
If you’ve won a national award, it makes sense to shout about it. How many competitors were you up against? What does winning the award mean to your business? And what did you win? These are all things to include in your press release and can attract the attention of news editors, particularly in industry-relevant, trade publications.
Tie in with the news
If there’s a relevant event or national day coming up, think about how your business can relate to it. Could you create an event to coincide with the news agenda? Can you piggyback off a relevant news story, citing yourself as an industry expert? The news agenda can hold a wealth of opportunities, you just need to think and act fast.
If you raise a lot of money
If your company has been raising money for a charity and the total amount is impressive, why not shout about your feat? Be sure to approach the charity concerned for a press release quote, and don’t forget to get a photo with them!
High profile visitors
Will you be hosting a celebrity or high-profile visitor any time soon? If so, don’t forget to shout about it. Alerting the press beforehand means they might make a trip to come too – taking photos and writing it up into a story.
We’ll leave you to digest those, before coming back tomorrow with another five press release topics that could put your business firmly in the spotlight. If you’ve got any questions on the above, you can call us on: 0121 308 0219.
What is PR, we hear you ask.
PR is short for public relations, a very powerful part of the marketing mix that often gets forgotten about. It focuses on the way that a company builds its public image, sells its products or promotes itself.
PR professionals help to get a business into the media in a positive way, to create a public image or get the public to do something – whether that’s change an opinion or go and buy its products.
Part of the way they do this is through seeking out news stories from a business and liaising with journalists to get them in the press, in a positive light. Unlike adverts, PR content that has been written up by a journalist provides third party endorsement and builds trust with consumers. This means they are more likely to invest in a business or brand’s offering, because someone else has sung its praises.
PR in the marketing mix
PR differs from other forms of marketing because it is far subtler and does not buy the right to be featured. Unlike a paid-for advertising slot, to have your PR content featured, you need to have newsworthy content that is engaging, earning the right to be featured.
Making sure your marketing plan tallies
As a brand or business, you’ll want to ensure that you’re using all channels of the marketing mix to spread positive and united messages to your clients and potential customers.
If you’ve got the advertising team working on one thing, with the PR team working along a completely different line, your brand messages will get confused and diluted. Sharing information from an early stage is key if you want to guarantee success and ensure a joined-up approach to your marketing.
Share your news
If you have a marketing, digital or PR agency, make sure you communicate with them regularly to let them know what’s going on in your business. If you don’t then they can’t ‘PR’ all the good things you are doing, and won’t be able to amplify your business in the way that you would like. Perhaps you have won a new client? Expanded into new territories? Created a new product?
Shout about it!
If you want to increase sales, you need to give yourself the best chance you can by attracting more potential customers – whether that’s through blogging, social media content or creating a news story on your business. By not using all elements of the marketing mix, you’re doing your business a disservice and can miss potential opportunities.
What to do next
Have a think about your brand or business and all the things you want to shout about, before speaking to an agency that can use the right channels to promote your messages. They can then get cracking on a strategy that makes you more well known, incite change and increase your bottom line.
We all know that Google’s algorithms influence search, but have you considered the other external factors that could impact how your customers find you?
When we talk, in the SEO sense, about search factors, very often we are referring to the guidelines laid down by the almighty Google that may (or may not) help your website to be found in search. These include the content on your website and how relevant it is to what you are trying to sell, the backlinks pointing to your site and the authority of the referring domains and how you encrypt and code your website.
These might be fairly obvious to those in digital marketing, or anyone who has had a website for some time and has employed an external company to optimise it for search. What isn’t so obvious is that these are not the only things that are influencing search.
Here we explore four of the external factors that you may not realise are influencing how people might find your brand online:
Brands running local or national television campaigns can expect to see an uplift in their website traffic during and after their ads have aired, as people go online to search for more information on the products or services they have just seen on TV. However, this isn’t the only way in which television can influence search. Consider the products that are endorsed by celebrities during programmes – it isn’t just these brands for whom awareness will be heightened but also for anyone offering a similar product or solution. Doing your research in advance and knowing what’s coming up in the TV schedule may enable you to take advantage of this spike in awareness to ensure you’re in all the right places – i.e. with a prominent paid advertising campaign – when these viewers start searching.
In marketing, being aware of the latest trends is key if you are going to stay in touch with what your target audience wants. Search is very much dictated by trends, as we often see language evolving so that certain words or terms fall out of favour with an audience. Those keywords that you might have focused on five or ten years ago, may no longer be the terms people are using when searching for your products or services. As the generations evolve, new slang creeps into our language and the mega brands dominate the way we think about everyday items, it’s only to be expected that the way we describe products or services may change. TOP TIP – use Google Trends to see what terms are rising and falling in popularity so you can ensure your website, marketing and advertising campaigns capitalise on the latest lingo.
Over the last ten years, mobile devices have probably had a bigger impact on search than anything (even Panda and Penguin I hear you ask?) because they have totally changed the way we consume media. Whereas before we would have to be in front of a PC or television to be influenced by online marketing and advertising, it is now all around us as the powers of remarketing follow us on our journey through various apps and sites as we check the weather on our mobile phone or catch up on our favourite programmes on our tablets.
The most successful brands have adapted their marketing strategies to be ‘mobile first’ and are capitalising on this by ensuring that their websites can be found well for their most relevant search terms. In short, not making your website structure, functionality and content mobile friendly will see Google put you bottom of the pile when it comes to search rankings.
Remember – Whilst many of us claim to find interruptive advertising offensive we also get very easily distracted by our mobile devices (and their various bleeping notifications), making the path to purchase anything but straightforward. Brands have a fine line to tread if they are going to catch us at the right time and in a receptive mood!
IoT and the growth of voice search
As the gadgets around us become more intelligent and the use of mobile devices continues to rise, the way that we search for the products and services we need also changes. Many typical households nowadays would not find it strange to ask Alexa ‘what’s the weather forecast today?’, whilst many drivers will consider it the norm to use the integrated voice search facility in their vehicle to find the nearest takeaway on their way home. The way that we search, now that we’re speaking more of our queries, means that search terms feature more natural language and are often presented in full sentences or questions rather than staccato phrases or words. Smart brands who want to take advantage of this changing structure of search queries will need to optimise their websites to feature these phrases and to answer these questions.
So, as you can see, it isn’t just algorithms that are influencing search. Sometimes it is the wider revolutions in society and technology that change the way people look for the solutions they need. All you need to do, is make sure you keep up with the times.
Remember, back in the distant past, when we spoke about longer tailed search queries and how search was adapting to deal more efficiently with sentences rather than just staccato phrases or words? Remember when we heralded Google’s Hummingbird update and salivated at the thought of the juicy information we would receive in our Google Analytics accounts? We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the exact phraseology used by the people out there who were looking for exactly what we offer. Of course, we were thwarted quite dastardly in this plan by Google’s perfect timing to make keywords for organic data ‘not provided’ by switching all search to HTTPS. But it was the start of a quite interesting new chapter…
We then all trundled along, finding other ways to dig deeper into the customer search journey and help identify (and of course reach) our ideal target audiences. All the while, voice search was growing bigger and stronger until, BAM! We find ourselves very much in the middle of marketing shift towards the spoken word.
The Growth in Voice Search
Voice search is by no means a new concept. Google launched its voice search capabilities in 2008, but since then, voice search queries have grown by thirty-five times! And this growth is set to continue.
If you are lucky enough to own a teenager (or pre-teen) then you’ll be only too aware of the idle fingers of the current generation – why spend time typing a search enquiry on your mobile phone (even though the keyboard size is designed for your smaller, adolescent hands) when you can just ask Alexa? Today’s youth are preoccupied with mobile devices of various sizes and capabilities and when it’s too much effort to use those idle fingers to find the nearest pizza joint, voice search is very much their ‘go-to’ facility.
It all boils down to this – we can speak much faster than we can type and today that means a lot, because today we are all busy, short of time and overworked. Shaving off precious seconds here and there all adds up so step up voice search in its modern state, with around 90% word accuracy.
What does this explosion in voice search mean for search?
Well, for starters, there will be more natural language used and even as we speak Google is developing its algorithms to respond to follow-up questions without the searcher having to again state the context.
Secondly, more searches will be performed on a mobile device. Lets’ face it you’d look pretty ridiculous asking your PC at work to find you a dry cleaner’s to drop your suit off on the way home, but pick up your mobile during your lunch break and it’s easy to keep your dirty laundry private rather than air it in public.
Finally, search will become more local. Statistics tell us that the majority of people who use voice search are using it to find a local product, service or information, so now is the time to ensure that your website can be found in the local area you wish to target.
Voice Search and SEO
What do you need to do to ensure you don’t miss out on vital traffic from voice search queries?
- Make sure your website is optimised using natural language and answers the kinds of questions your prospective customers might be asking – an FAQs page is a great way to include this information
- Make your website mobile friendly – this is an absolute must now that so many people use mobile devices to access the internet. If your website isn’t mobile friendly not only will it be less likely to figure in Google’s search results but it will also be off-putting to visitors due to the difficult navigation and small typeface.
- Improve your local SEO – so that you can be found in the search and map listings for the services you offer in the local area.
Voice search is here and it is the future. There is no doubting that, so don’t ignore the power of the spoken word, make sure your marketing strategy is catering for voice search queries. Speak to SEO it Right today on 0121 308 0219 to devise a plan to get your business where it needs to be.
In digital marketing we have spent a lot of time over the last few years talking about personalisation. When we first started in the big, scary world of SEO (because back then that’s all there really was), content was created to be delivered via the huge dissemination powers of the internet to whoever might come across it. In effect, this was a massive platform on which you could have your say and potentially reach whoever.
Then came Google apocalypse or whatever you want to call the myriad of changes to search that forced everyone (and not before time) to stop manipulating search with crap content and start delivering words, messages and visual media that meant something to the brand. To create content that would engage audiences to the point where they simply have to share it and let others benefit too.
Fast forward to today, where the personalisation of content is virtually impossible to avoid. Google personalises SERPs based on whether or not you are logged in, plus a million other variables which none of us outside the Google circle of trust actually understand. Facebook delivers content based on what we have already liked and engaged with, to the point where a best friend from school that you haven’t engaged in Facebook conversation with recently could announce the birth of their first child and you would miss it because your news feed is prioritising what Tracey had for dinner last night. Netflix tries to tell us what films we’d like to watch and thanks to loyalty cards, your favourite supermarket knows how much wine you drink each week, whether you prefer red or white and how often you have to top up your stash.
Whilst on the surface, this level of personalisation seems to be delivering information that is more useful to us as consumers, when you dig a little deeper you start to realise that someone is putting the blinkers on you. Consider that personalisation is narrowing down our views, rather than doing what the internet is supposed to do – expose us to a wide range of opinions and experiences. By only seeing the content that has been tailored for us, we start to see that single view point as the norm, as the general consensus of the populous, when in actual fact we could be losing touch on what is really happening.
Still, personalisation is a good thing, isn’t it?
Not always. In a recent study – Digital Innovation: Surviving the Next Wave of Change, YouGov – almost half (45%) of British consumers said they were not comfortable with personalisation of the information, recommendations and advertising they receive.
Much of this discontent could be put down to brands personalising on low frequency searches – just because you have searched once for something doesn’t mean you are happy to be bombarded with remarketing messages for the next three weeks. Timing is also key. Just because you purchased a product today, it doesn’t mean you will be interested in refills, replacement parts or add-ons tomorrow. Patience is the key to personalising your offering.
So even if you take this advice, time your offer correctly, target it in the right place and don’t overdo it. How can you be sure you are even reaching your potential audience?
Well, you can’t.
The pitfall of personalisation is that you may not even be able to reach your potential audience because they are stuck in their own ‘echo chamber’, where the only voice they hear is their own. Where the content they consume has already been personalised (narrowed down) for them by their purchasing and online browsing preferences. Where the only opinions echoed back to them are their own, because there are no other beliefs within their pigeon hole.
Still think personalisation is a good thing?
To be honest I don’t think we can put the brakes on the personalisation bus as brands are just too ‘into’ it. But what we can do, as consumers, is keep an open mind. This means sometimes reading content that is out of our normal safety zone, because there could well be a whole host of products and services out there that would suit us down to the ground but they just can’t penetrate the box we’ve become trapped in.
I read this week that only 9% of small businesses design their website with conversion in mind. However ludicrous that sounds, it is probably true because without wanting to step on any toes, many website design agencies are design-led which means conversion, together with user experience and SEO will often take a back seat in favour of fancy, bold designs and visual elements.
Now let’s clear one thing up to begin with. I am in no way denouncing the importance of visual appeal – anyone who has worked in digital marketing long enough to remember the internet before social media took off and who reminisces about the days when manipulating search was as easy and about as time consuming as making a cup of coffee will agree. Visuals are the best way to engage your audience. They make your offering sexy. And sex sells.
Being visual in your representation of what your brand offers will work in your favour. After all, you need to cater for those audiences who consume content via image, text or video and present your marketing message to each of them in a way they can easily digest.
New Website Considerations
So, you set about designing a new website – focusing on the colours, layout, styling, font, content and images. You spend all your time, and money, in creating something which is eye catching but if you can’t convert your visitors initial interest into an enquiry, then this time and money may well have been wasted.
The clock is ticking
We all have the average attention span of a goldfish. As broadband speeds increase and brand loyalty goes out the window, variety really is the spice of life for the online consumer. No longer do we have to trawl the high street, going back and forth from shop to shop to find our favourite outfit or upgrade our tech. Now we just Google it and expect Amazon (or another one of the big brands) to deliver it by this time tomorrow. This is great. But it also means we are impatient. Very impatient. If a website doesn’t load fast enough or we don’t like the look of it from that initial microsecond-long glance, we hit the back button and scroll down to the next item on the list.
If your website doesn’t captivate, retain and engage at this point, conversion is unlikely. So, what can you do to ensure your website works as hard as possible for you?
Return on your Website Investment
Before you embark on a new website design project it is first worth establishing why you need a website. For most businesses, it will be to reach the target market and increase enquiries and sales. However, some may have enough work for the foreseeable future or generate sufficient leads from referrals and simply want a website to act as an online brochure, in which case optimisation and conversion are less important.
Chances are you will be familiar with the first point and you’ll need your website to turn visitors into clients.
Tips to Improve Website Conversion
If making money from your site is important then here are a few tips to improve website conversion:
- Deliver a good user experience – if people cannot find what they are looking for (and quickly) or find any aspect of your website fiddly or time consuming you have probably lost the potential to convert.
- Be clear and concise – make your objectives clear and avoid distracting your site visitors.
- Don’t be afraid to test – A/B split testing is something we talk about a lot in the digital industry. It’s not that technical and certainly nothing to be afraid of. In fact, if you can embrace the power of testing and apply this to your site layout, wording, placement of Call to Action and even your offsite elements such as Ad text and email marketing, then you will clearly know what works and what doesn’t.
- Put the important stuff above the fold – this becomes increasingly important as time passes and the number and variety of devices we use to access the internet grows. Your website needs to say everything important to that visitor in the screen they can see in front of them, without scrolling. Whether this is on a desktop or mobile phone, if they don’t like what they see above the fold (the bit before you start scrolling) then the chances are they won’t look any further down the page.
- Behold the benefits! – at every opportunity you need to tell your audience how great your product or service is. It is all well and good presenting the features but if you don’t show people how your product or service can benefit them, they won’t see the value in making the purchase.
- Feature a clear Call to Action – your CTA will be the action you want people to take – whether this is to pick up the phone and call you, click the buy now button to make a purchase, request a free trial or fill in an enquiry form for more information. Make this CTA obvious, simple and clearly lay out the path you wish people to take on your site to prevent them from getting distracted.
- Reinforce your credibility – trust is an important issue when buying online, particularly if there is no human interaction in the transaction. This is where your website can be used to your advantage. Make sure your site features testimonials and case studies about how you have helped others so that potential customers can see the range and scope of your capabilities.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you – include contact forms on important landing pages, ensure your phone numbers are ‘click to call’ from mobile devices and include your physical address to reassure everyone that you are genuine.
Your website might be your only shopfront, your only presence outside of your business’s own four walls. If it is also going to be the only way you market your business, it needs to have grown from the right concept in the first place, or all that stuff you do on top – SEO, social media, blogging and paid advertising – will be pointless because you won’t be converting any interest you generate into tangible leads.
Build your site with conversion in mind and the rest will come….well, it won’t but that’s another story 🙂
Need help with your website conversion? Speak to our experts today on 0121 308 0219.
If your company has been using only traditional marketing methods to generate new business, you need to read this!
2017 is the year of change and improvements. Marketing strategies have grown beyond word of mouth and Facebook posts. Let us show you how your business can reach new heights using digital marketing strategies.
Why Digital Marketing?
- First and foremost, digital marketing is a tremendously cheaper marketing method than the traditional offline methods – just think about those print runs, radio campaigns and television ads that you couldn’t afford 15 years ago! Digital marketing is much more accessible, even for those with small marketing budgets.
- It’s a great way to increase your online market share
- **According to Hubspot By 2016, more than 50% of money spent in the US will be influenced by online marketing campaigns. ** How long before we can say the same thing here in the UK?
What is a digital strategy?
Having a digital strategy is, in essence, a plan. It allocates time and money to all the relevant platforms and helps you to gain insight into statistical data which will help you to reach your goals. Market your business using multiple platforms like Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, SEO PR, and so much more.
How to begin building a digital strategy
- The first thing you need to do is be clear on your aims and objectives.
- Analyse how your company performed in the previous year.
- Research your target audience and preferred digital media channels
- Create your content
- Allocate paid advertising budgets
- Create a timeline
- Evaluate and improve your strategy
Why you NEED to set aside a budget for an SEO and digital marketing company to help you
- By now, you must understand the importance of digital marketing. One thing that will help you reach that increased ROI is a thorough and well thought out digital marketing strategy.
- It can be a daunting task to do yourself
- You’ll save money in the long run
- Work alongside a professional to gain a fresh perspective
- Utilise their resources and evaluation techniques
As 2016 draws to a close we’ve got time to reflect back on another year in the digital sphere. 2016 has provided some great opportunities to get your brand out there but it has also been challenging at times, as we come to accept the changes that are constantly put in place by the giants of the internet.
The big online marketing changes of 2016
Some of the changes we’ve witnessed this year include:
- The introduction of mobile-first indexing – Google recently announced that it is experimenting with this and that eventually:
“our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
So, if your site is not mobile friendly you will almost certainly eventually disappear from organic search and if you don’t prioritise mobile content you may become less visible.
- The rise and growth of global spam referral visits – skewing analytics reporting and generally getting in the way of genuine traffic. There are several ways to remove this data and filter the traffic, however, experts never quite got to grips with which method was best. Ultimately it seems easier to ignore what you cannot affect and concentrate instead on your own goals, how you plan to reach them and how you’ll measure the effectiveness of a given campaign.
- The boost given to HTTPS pages – at the end of 2015 Google announced that it had changed the indexation system to look for more https pages and the popularity of secure sites has subsequently increased in 2016.
- The removal of ads from the right-hand side of the page in Google search – initial reports seemed to suggest that PLA ads benefited from increased placement and that right-hand ads were never favoured by searchers anyway, but with 10 months gone since the changes were made we haven’t seen any major dramas as a result of this change. Those worried that paid search would become more ‘cut throat’ had a right to be wary, however, CPCs continue to rise anyway and it is more about what you can do with your budget and how targeted you can make your campaign in terms of text, display and video advertising, than it is about the number of ad slots available.
- The introduction of rich cards – building on the successes of rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org markup to display content in an even more engaging way. This is perfect for sites sharing recipes and any other image rich information that you want to stand out in search.
- The continued decline of Facebook organic reach – further to the declining organic reach of the last couple of years, 2016 really saw a nail in the coffin to an organic-only Facebook strategy with publishers’ pages experiencing a 52% decline in organic reach. This means that no matter how many people like your page, a large proportion of them are not going to see the important content you have created, often with them in mind. This is because Facebook needs a way of picking out the posts that keep people coming back. With a new algorithm in June, favouring friends and family in the news feeds, it was a further blow to brands trying to reach and engage their target audience via the social network. All is not lost though, as we are still seeing really good improvements in engagement, reach and referral traffic from our customer’s Facebook pages. Video is also tipped to be a great way to increase engagement so the more video content you can get onto your social pages the more likely you are to retain that audience visibility.
Instagram users have also witnessed a decline in organic reach in 2016 and just last week, Youtube sensation and top account holder PewDiePie announced that he would be shutting down his channel on reaching 50million subscribers as changing algorithms mean fewer people are now seeing his videos.
So, where does that leave us?
Digital Marketing Trends 2017
The New Year will no doubt present its own new challenges but there will also be great opportunities to exploit new technologies and trends. We predict that the following will be key factors to successful digital marketing in 2017:
- Automation – not so much that your activity becomes robotic but just enough so that customers don’t have to wait for an initial response and that content can be drip fed into the public domain even when the offices are closed.
- Continuity – with the very real threat of your social pages being deleted if you stop updating them (Facebook has threatened to do this on a couple of redundant customer accounts this year) and the fact that the consumer can spot a mile off if you are up-to-date and or inactive from the prevalence or lack of blog and social updates, continuity in terms of your marketing strategy has never been more important.
- Integration – many businesses still view marketing channels in isolation but given that the average purchase is usually achieved through a combination of media – including paid search, organic search, social media referral and direct return visit – it is crazy to think of all these channels at your disposal as separate tools. Combine them in the right proportions, at the right time and with the right level of activity and you’ll end up with far better results.
- Going Live – there are few businesses brave enough to live stream at the moment but the marketing possibilities are out there if you stop and think about how this technology can be harnessed to help you reach your target audience. Social media users are demanding to be more ‘in the moment’ and what better way to immerse them in your brand or content than taking them with you? Think live events as a great starting point for live video streaming.
- New reality – from the Virtual Reality gaming headsets that are a popular Christmas list item to the augmented reality of roaming the streets for Pokestops earlier this year, our concepts of what is real has been challenged in 2016 and we predict it will grow and develop further in the coming twelve months.
- Cutting content – we don’t mean necessarily cutting down, but cutting through. There are so many words, images, videos and experiences out there that we are all getting too overwhelmed to bother paying attention. The winners in 2017 will be the brands who can cut through this noise to reach their target audience with specific messages that mean something to them.
What about at SEO it Right?
On a company level, 2016 has been a fantastic year. We started the year dressed up and walking the cold streets to raise money for Sport Relief, celebrated our 6th birthday in April, spent the summer delivering an awesome work experience programme for two local school pupils and an international work placement student and ended the year welcoming a new member to our team – Kostas, who comes to us as a highly-experienced developer,AdWords manager and user experience expert. If you haven’t met Kostas already or received an email from him I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing him well on his SEO it Right journey.
All that leaves me to do is thank everyone, staff, customers and followers for their continued support in 2016. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to an exciting year in 2017!