Search engines are incredible. They keep updating and modifying day by day, making it that much harder to keep up with all the trends. Google, being the worst culprit, changes its algorithm hundreds of times a year. Though, with 1.17 billion users, they’re perfectly allowed to call the shots.
With all this turbulence, it might be time for many businesses to sit down and re-analyse the SEO trends of the year in order to stay on top of your marketing game. How ever are you going to get your content visible to your audience if you don’t know how search engines work anymore? We all know that it is becoming more important everyday to develop an online marketing strategy if you are looking to boost your business. It’s not just about online presence anymore. Everyone and everything is going digital, and you need to make sure you are constantly being innovative if you want to win your target audience.
So, to help get you thinking about your marketing strategy, we are going to try and break this down in the simplest way possible so you can get on board with all the latest SEO trends of the year!
In 1996, Content was King; and it still is.
When it comes to maintaining an online presence I think it’s safe to say you need good content. Ain’t nobody gonna read your stuff if it’s all just gobbledygook. Eek. No one has time for that.
Look, if a billionaire uploads an essay titled, “Content is King” (which has since been taken down but can be read here!!), it’s pretty safe to say people are going to take it seriously. Bill Gates made this iconic statement more than two decades ago and yet it still holds true.
Content helps you connect with your audience and establish the authenticity of your product or service. The more your customers know the better. However, simply having the best description of your service or product is not enough. Search engines are getting tricky with their keywords. If you want your content to be visible, it is important to include relevant keywords in your content that will help search algorithms recognise your product, service or brand. If your content is not relevant and consistent, search engines are gonna dump all your content into a place where it may never see the light of day. Therefore you need to stay relevant. It’s kind of like politics. You gotta stay relevant if you want people to talk about you (and no… we’re not talking about scandals!)
Now that you’ve established the relevance of your content, you need to get promoting on a range of platforms. This is not a hint for you to bombard all social media platforms with your content. You need to figure out which platforms are the best for promoting your business in order to get recognition. Not only that, you need to post different content on different platforms. There are heaps of ways to create content – in blog form, articles, listicles, product pages, guides, videos, infographic, the list goes on. So before you go and start writing throw-away articles haphazardly, it is important to work through your content strategy and figure out the best type of content for the best type of platform. If your content doesn’t appeal to your audience, you may not get the desired amount of hits you are after and you’ll just be stuck in a loop of bad content.
Having content that hooks your audience to your website for longer periods of time is the best way to optimise your rank amongst other sites in search engines, such as Google, as this will get more recognition from algorithms. The Australian Government (yes that’s right, even the government is now involved in everything digital) provides a digital guide for small businesses to help with the initial stages of content strategy development. In summary, their steps include:
- Identifying and communicating the problem
- Researching and analysing your content, users and business
- Developing strategy with purpose
- Cleaning up content that is no longer required
- Setting a stable foundation by considering internal and external users; and
- Maintaining and continually improving content by always focusing on user-centred experiences
Mobile apps are going to take the SEO route soon!
If you are an app developer, or if your business is thinking of developing a downloadable mobile app then you need to start watching out for SEO tricks as well! This too has a nifty little acronym of its own – App Store Optimisation (ASO). Mobile apps are becoming a popular way for customers to interact with audiences. Whether it’s booking a movie from Cineplex or ordering food from a restaurant, almost everything is being converted into a convenient, little app. And we can see why; it is a great way of providing audiences with easy access to your product or service.
However, just like SEO, you need to develop an ASO strategy in order to have your app visible for download. Here are a few little tips for how you can help your app grab some extra attention:
- Title keyword should be the strongest and most relevant
- Understand and maintain keywords relevant and most used by audiences
- Build credibility with positive reviews and ratings (though you have limited control over this, you can consider how you might keep users satisfied)
- Develop backlinks to your app (by linking from your website and your socials, sponsoring or participating in events, making guest posts on relevant blogs, and more)
- Update your app regularly and fix any bugs.
Out with the old and in with the new?
It’s no secret that people prefer videos and moving images over text these days. Why else would most top selling novels be converted into motion pictures? This shift in video popularity can also be seen in marketing content! Before this day and age, there was a time when television advertising was the only form of video marketing. But now, it is literally everywhere! Even on the billboards down the street! We are truly living in the future. Despite video once being a strategy adopted by only large corporations with expendable budgets, small businesses are now just as capable of getting their video content out as any other business. Not to mention, by utilising social media platforms to broadcast and distribute your video, you can tailor videos to reach a specific demographic, and at a fraction of the price paid for TV advertising.
Video marketing is becoming more popular by the minute. A recent Cisco Report projected that 81% of all web traffic in Australia in 2019 will be video content. There has been an emergence of a range of different video marketing tactics. From demo videos to how-to videos and animations, the creativity does not end when it comes to video marketing. So if you are a small business and don’t have the budget to lash out on video marketing, you don’t have to be too worried about all the complicated and big budgeted content out there. With the advancement of technology, you can easily make a decent video on just your smartphone! And if you do have a budget big enough then consider buying professional HD video cameras from brands such as Canon or Nikon. And you know, if you are going to invest in a professional video camera, you may as well buy supporting equipment like a tripod, boom mic and some stabilisers to make it worth your while.
In saying that, though, it does not make it any easier to receive recognition on media platforms. Your video needs to contain strong content and imagery to keep your audience watching. If you’re after a very in-depth article on producing effective video content, click here. But I’ve got to warn you, it’s long and the attention span of the 21st century population is getting shorter by the day. So here is a condensed list of the basics of video production to help you get started in making a professional, yet engaging video:
- Script your video
- Capture footage/ audio (Remember to consider composition and lighting)
- Edit footage together in a program (iMovie is always a classic, but you want something a little more advanced, consider buying Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro)
- Add music and voice-over (if required)
- Exhibit your video on multiple platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, your website)
- Analyse metrics (likes, shares, comments, view count, play rate, click through rate, conversion rate, etc)
If you are not a pro, all of this may seem a little daunting. Which is why you could also opt to hire a videographer to make the process smooth.
Importance of image optimisation.
What is image optimisation you ask? In simple terms, it’s having a picture of the right size, shape and resolution. This allows for a faster load time for users, which then leads to a lower bounce rate, making your website more authoritative.
Alt tags have a special place for image optimisation as well. Did you know that Alt tags help those that are visually impaired in accessing your website? Having Alt tags consisting of keywords also boost your website’s SEO by adding keywords. It’s sort of like killing two birds with one stone.
So how do you do image optimisation?
- Make sure you download a good quality image
- Resize or compress images (smaller images load faster)
- Apply alt tags
To obtain a step by step process on how you can go about image optimisation, click here.
Meta titles and meta descriptions.
Speaking of Alt tags, there are also a number of meta tags you can add to your website to increase optimisation of your search engine ranking. Meta titles and meta descriptions provide a little snippet of information for anyone that finds your website in search engine results. Having relevant keywords in your meta title and description can go a long way in optimising your content visibility. Meta descriptions should not be over 250-300 words long if you are looking to gain visibility. Therefore it is important to carefully articulate your meta description to help your website appear organically in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This can also help increase your click-through rate.
Backlinking and link building.
Yes, we decided to save the most complicated bit for the last. But let’s try to break this down shall we?
In simple terms, link building is the process of obtaining links to your website from web pages outside your website. So, for example, if you own a small boutique and your boutique’s website is mentioned by a famous beauty blogger, then that link on their blog pushes the authority of your website up slightly. Link building shows Google that you’re an expert as people are referring to you, and therefore, they should push you further up that SERP.
Though being hyperlinked by any just any website won’t help much. It is better to be backlinked by websites with more domain authority. In other words, websites that invite more traffic as opposed to those that don’t. In the eyes of good ol’ Google, websites with more traffic and influence are considered more authoritative and if these websites link to yours, they share the same authoritative “link juice” with you, ranking your website higher on the results page. Sounds a little weird but it’s all about squeezing out as much juice as you can.
For a comprehensive guide to SEO, check out our SEO checklist to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered. Internet trends are changing faster than ever before, making it extremely hard for businesses to keep up with online marketing trends. But with the right agency and team, you’ll be stress-free and smashing all your marketing goals.