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New Year Alert: Stay on Top of Digital Marketing Trends in 2017

Digital marketing trends change annually. Ever-changing consumer behaviour is one reason why marketing trends transform each year. Customers have changing needs and wants; daily activities alter. If you have a website, it’s essential to keep up with changing trends to stay on top of your game. When digital marketing trends mutate, keeping your high search engine rankings is not that difficult. You just have to work hard.

 

In this article, we share valuable tips on how to promote your business online. 2017 may be a few months away, but when it comes to implementing a digital marketing campaign, it’s never too early. You can start now to increase your sales and leads this coming year.

 

THE INCREASING NUMBER OF SMARTPHONE USERS IS A SIGN TO GO MOBILE-FRIENDLY.

 

Catalyst Canada survey shows 76% of Canadians have a smartphone.

smartphone adoption in canada
Source: Catalyst.ca

 

With the growing number of smartphone users in Canada and around the globe, having a mobile-friendly website will truly help your business become more accessible to consumers. Work with your website developer and make necessary changes to your site.

 

Do you have a mobile-friendly site?

 

Try to check if your website is mobile-friendly using Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Friendly Test. Simply enter your website URL and click “Analyze.” In a few seconds, you will get results.

 

You’re lucky if your website turns out to be mobile friendly…

mobile friendly test

 

If not, don’t worry. The results share issues you need to fix.

mobile friendly test

 

Once you’ve addressed those issues, your site will become mobile-friendly. Just follow the list and analyze your site again (using the Google tool) to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

 

Does your website load fast enough on mobile?

 

If your website is already mobile-friendly, make sure it loads fast. Not all mobile devices have the capability of loading sites quickly — especially if a website is heavy with graphics.

 

In the results from Consumer Barometer with Google, 56% of Canadians use search engines on their smartphones every week. 28% of them look for product information weekly, using their smartphone.

online activities

 

Making your website load fast makes it easier for consumers to find information they seek. If your site loads quickly, people enjoy convenience and confidence, especially when they’re looking for information about your products and services.

 

Google PageSpeed Insights tool can help you check your site’s speed. Just enter your website URL and click “Analyze.”

mobile speed test

 

The results of the analysis show your site’s speed score when accessed by mobile devices. It also provides a list of issues to fix. The list will help you make necessary improvements and improve site speed.

 

Use the Mobile Friendly Test and Google PageSpeed Insights as your guides to improve your site and make it more accessible to mobile users.

 

CONSUMERS WANT CONVENIENCE; START IMPROVING YOUR SITE’S USER EXPERIENCE.

 

Everyone wants convenience. If people are searching for a certain product or service, they prefer to get information quickly and easily. Improving your site’s user experience will increase convenience and save time for consumers visiting your site.

 

Your website MUST load fast.

 

Refer to the Google PageSpeed Insights tool again to check your site’s speed, both on mobile devices and desktop. You need to have a score of 85 points or higher. A high score indicates that your website is performing well (in terms of speed).

 

Take note: The size of your website pages could be why your site takes too much time to load. As you make changes to your site, make sure that pages/pictures/etc. load quickly.

 

Here are some methods to improve your site’s page load speed.

 

  • Compress multiple code files into a smaller number of files.

 

If your site has multiple code files, compress them into a smaller number of files. Multiple lines of code can be combined into a single line as well. Combine your HTML and CSS files into a single file if possible.

 

Compressing files is like placing your code files in a .zip file. The file size is reduced but still functions the same  — when done correctly.

 

  • Optimize images before uploading them to your site.

 

Most of the time, webmasters upload large, high-quality images to their site. When they use the images, they scale it using CSS. Some webmasters think that it’s great for the site’s aesthetics. However, it’s not a great idea if you want your site to load fast.

 

Browsers end up downloading the full-size image and scale it afterward. Scale the image to the correct size before you upload it to your site. By doing this, you will no longer need to scale an image using CSS. Browsers will no longer load more than necessary, which makes your site load much faster.

 

  • Take advantage of browser caching.

 

Browser caching allows you to temporarily store data into the site visitor’s computer. Since there’s data temporarily stored in their computer, your site visitors will no longer need to load the very same elements every time they visit. By taking advantage of browser caching, your site will load faster each time someone visits.

 

  • Make sure your content is direct and to the point.

 

Direct content helps users easily find the information they’re seeking. People visit your site and look for information. Most of them are not interested in reading long, random content. People just want a certain product or service, and, if they’re interested, they’ll buy it! Don’t bounce potential customers by distracting them.

 

When writing on-page content, make sure that the “above the fold” content has basic information that site visitors need. It should also have a strong call to action that points your guests to the next step. If you can’t avoid having long content, use headings to label each paragraph.

 

By improving the quality of user experience on your site, consumers will visit again and find relevant information. If your site doesn’t load quickly, visitors will have a bad impression and (worse) they’ll quickly find another site that provides what they need.

 

CUSTOMERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA — GO SOCIAL.

 

Acknowledge the power of the increasing number of social media users. Your social media followers may not be a ranking factor on sites like Google, but having social media accounts is a great way to directly interact with consumers.

 

  • Create a LinkedIn company page.

linkedin account

Create a LinkedIn company page and provide accurate information about your business. Keep descriptions short and direct, and users will easily understand your message.

 

 

Regularly post “evergreen” content that followers can easily share. Make sure the content is original so more people will “like,” “comment,” or “share” it. You can also use it to introduce products and services to your followers.

 

When you create a LinkedIn company page, make sure to manage it regularly, build your network, and gain quality leads. It will also help build a positive reputation for your company.

 

  • Create a Google My Business account.

 

Set up a Google “My Business” account. This allows you to create a listing on Google Maps. Fill it out with accurate information about your business. Once you set up everything, you can now start optimizing.

 

Create a custom URL that incorporates your brand name. Having a custom URL increases your visibility on search results. Don’t forget to encourage your customers to add positive reviews about your business. People like seeing positive reviews so having them on your page will help increase conversion.

 

Don’t forget to integrate your account with Google+. This helps you gain better results — especially on local search. Use your Google+ page to further interact with customers and build brand awareness.

 

google plus

When we say “go social,” you don’t have to register with every social media site you can find. Just register on the sites your customers use and really make the effort to connect with them.

 

CONSUMERS LOVE QUALITY CONTENT. CREATE MORE AND GAIN LINKS.

 

Consumers love quality content. Aside from being able to provide information that’s valuable to your readers, you will gain links in a natural way.

 

Create quality materials.

 

Create evergreen content. Evergreen content stays current for a long time since it’s based on information that has less chance of being changed in the future. Evergreen content is always “fresh” so the information you publish stays relevant to readers for a long time.

 

Aside from evergreen content, creating videos and infographics is a priority. Videos are a great way to advertise your business and the products and services you offer. It presents information visually, which helps people remember your brand.

 

Local Search Association says about 44% of users watch videos before buying a product or service. 71% of those users made a purchase.

online video usage

 

A video communicates information visually. Keep the video short;  a long video will quickly lose viewers’ attention.

 

An infographic makes information (no matter how complicated) easier to understand. It has been a popular visual among online marketers for years. It is said infographics are 30 times more likely to be read by users (compared to text content). Infographics are an effective way to communicate. Also, they can be easily shared. The more people sharing the infographics you create, the more site traffic you can gain.

 

Allow other bloggers to use your content as reference.

 

One of the natural ways to gain links is to allow others to use your content as reference when they write blog posts related to the topic. This can also be a great start for collaborating with those writers. You can ask bloggers to review your product or create stories related to your products and services.

 

Bloggers have an existing audience who help drive more traffic to your site. Make sure to work with bloggers who are related to your niche.

 

DO NOT FORGET THE POWER OF LOCAL CITATION SITES.

 

Make your business more visible to the local audience by creating business profiles on local citation sites. Through local citations, you can make important business information readily available to potential customers. This information includes:

 

  • Company name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Link to your website
  • Opening hours

 

Make sure the information in every business profile is accurate and consistent. Having inaccurate details will only confuse customers. A survey done by Bright Local shows about 90% of experts say it is critical (or very important) to have accurate details on citations.

citations graph

 

Aside from providing accurate information to customers, search engines understand your business. It increases certainty, allowing your site and your information to show up in relevant search results.

 

INVESTING IN PAY PER CLICK ADS IS STILL HELPFUL.

 

Even if you’re doing SEO to further increase your site’s visibility, investing in PPC campaigns can provide a lot of benefit. When you specify who can see your ads, you quickly target the right audience.

 

Run a campaign on Facebook or Google AdWords. PPC campaigns are not as expensive as you think; it’s the easiest way to gain leads.

 

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SITE FOR ISSUES THAT MAY HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN.

 

Most business owners are curious why they are having a hard time getting positive results on their digital marketing campaign. What they don’t realize is that their website itself might have issues that they ignored.

 

As you constantly make changes to your site, you may not notice certain issues. Here are some points to check:

 

Tags

 

  • Title tags and Meta Descriptions

 

Make sure to check title tags and meta descriptions of your on-page content. Your page title should not exceed 60 characters (including spaces). Make sure that page titles are unique throughout the page. Don’t forget to place the main keyword on your page title as well.

 

The meta description should not exceed 150 characters (including spaces) and should describe the content of the page. It should be short and straight to the point.

 

Titles and meta descriptions are important as they show up in the search results. Most of the time, when the query contains the keyword you used in the title and meta description, it will be highlighted. This gives your site a higher chance to be clicked.

meta descriptions

 

  • Headings

 

Headings improve the structure of the page. When you place headings, content is divided into sections making it more readable for site visitors. Google recommends only one H1 on a page but this depends on the structure you desire and the needs of your target audience. If using multiple H1s in your page content cannot be avoided, make sure you do not stuff that same page with keywords.

lss heading

 

  • ALT

 

Fill in the ALT tag for each of your site’s images with a short description. You can add keywords to make sure it will show up when a user looks for related images. ALT tags serve as a text description of unreadable content like images.

 

Keywords

 

Make sure you’ve added relevant keywords to your page content. Avoid keyword stuffing as it will look unnatural in Google’s eyes. It will also make content less readable for your readers so customers end up not finding the information they need.

 

Content

 

Check your on-page content for any duplicate problems/issues. This is the same for your materials. Make sure they are unique and do not have duplicates before you publish. Use Copyscape to check your entire site’s content and materials.

 

Links

 

Remove any broken links from your site. Check articles and other materials to discover if the links are still working and direct you to the correct page(s).

 

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO MONITOR YOUR SITE’S PERFORMANCE.

 

There’s nothing wrong with using tools to monitor your site’s performance. In fact, it is much more efficient to do this, especially when your site has a lot of pages and you’ve built a large backlinks profile.

 

You can make use of tools like Screaming Frog, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Or, consider SEMRush, with a feature helping you audit your site.

 

These tools allow you to:

 

  • Monitor website traffic — Check the number of unique visitors and look at the size of audience you’re reaching. It’s crucial to know your site’s bounce rate, which lets you know the how many users visit and leave immediately. Then, check traffic referrals and discover where most of your traffic came from.

 

By monitoring website traffic you can check if your digital marketing efforts are working. You can also use that tool to determine if there are issues affecting your site — and fix them.

 

  • Monitor your backlinks profile — This allows you to monitor the quality of links pointing back to your site. If you discovered that you have high risk, low quality links, you can immediately take necessary action. If you already built a lot of backlinks then using tools allows you to monitor quality much faster than doing it manually. What’s great about using tools is that they will automatically classify your links based on quality and put high risk links top of the list.

 

  • Monitor keyword ranking — Check if your site ranks for the keywords you have chosen. This helps you assess if your strategy is working. If you are not ranking for those keywords, you can easily determine more keywords that users are using when they search for relevant information. As you continue to monitor your keyword rankings, you can formulate a better strategy using keywords that will work for your site.

 

Aside from using tools, you can manually monitor keyword rankings when you do a quick search using your keywords.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Take note of the methods discussed above to ensure brand visibility, not just in 2017, but in years to come. With brand visibility, more and more people will find your business and understand the products & services your offer. This increases your chance of having more traffic conversions.

 

We applied the steps indicated in this case study to one of our client’s sites. This was the output:

google analytics graph

 

Being on top is not difficult, especially with changing digital marketing trends. But if you work hard, you can continuously improve your rankings. Your new digital marketing campaign will yield results.

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