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Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era

May 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The COVID-19 era dramatically impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 
  • If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. 
  • Founder and CEO of  Teknicks, Nick Chasinov, shares three marketing trends that can help businesses meet consumer demand and capitalize on the industry dynamics.

Today, marketing shifts happen without warning and seemingly overnight. The novel coronavirus caused the initial wave, and now the industry is impacted by the surf. People under stay-at-home orders are spending more time online, leading to Facebook traffic spikes, Google search adjustments, and the rise in popularity of social channels like TikTok. The COVID-19 era impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 

Before the internet, changes in the marketing space occurred at a glacial pace. Marketers would develop best practices for the rare emergence of a new channel and stick to them for a long time. For example, TV induced the creation of video commercials in the late 1940s, but those advertisements remained mostly unchanged for decades. 

However, the most successful marketing campaigns of all time leveraged new innovative marketing strategies. If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. Here are three marketing trends that apply during the COVID-19 era: 

1. Featured snippets

Search evolves quickly, and thats made even more evident by how were searching amid the COVID-19 era. People have specific questions they want answers for, such as Can I freeze milk? or Does X restaurant deliver?”. Because of this, featured snippets — boxed search results that appear at the top of the screen — are extremely coveted. 

These spots provide instantaneous answers to user queries, and they provide more than a twofold increase in click-through rate, which means more traffic and potential leads than the piece that ranks in the coveted number-one position on the SERPs. Additionally, in a 2019 search algorithm update, Google announced that it would prioritize high-quality educational, authoritative, and trustworthy content over traditional SEO factors like keyword density. Marketing and advertising professionals need to be aware of how this trend will impact the industry moving forward. 

If you want to land a featured snippet, create content that answers very specific questions relevant to your audience (especially questions for which the current featured snippet is held by a low-authority webpage). Definitions, tables, step-by-step types, and lists are the four most common types of featured snippets. If youre wondering what people are looking for right now, check out current coronavirus-related search trends. 

2. Mobile optimization

While quarantined, more and more people are turning to home delivery, video games, online shopping, and social media. Despite the economic downturn, retail jumped 34%, and large companies like Amazon are hiring more employees in order to keep up. The coronavirus is having a huge impact on ecommerce. 

There are more mobile browsers than ever before, yet desktop conversion rates are almost double what they are on mobile platforms. Current events and Googles 2018 decision to make site speed a factor in page rank underscore the urgency of a lightning-fast browsing experience. A site that takes just one second longer to load can reduce conversions by 7%, while sub-second load times boost conversion by 15% to 30%.

Now is the time to invest in a new mobile website built with user-friendly formats. Progressive web apps, for example, can give your brands website app-like speed, instant logins, and seamless page transitions. PWAs speed up the purchasing process when used in conjunction with accelerated mobile pages and server-side rendering. Not only will your customers have a better mobile experience, but theyll also have a more pleasant time shopping. 

2. Shoppable social

Since everyone began practising social distancing, social media has seen a huge uptick in traffic. In particular, Instagram has been buzzing with new trends like Dalgona coffee, house party, fitness videos, and more. If youre a marketer for a small to midsize brand, you should consider creating shoppable posts to meet people where they are. 

A few years ago, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms began enabling consumers to make in-app purchases by clicking a call to action in a post. In-app purchases allow social media users to buy products theyre interested in without ever leaving their feeds. 

Marketers were initially sceptical about the strategy, but these posts are here to stay. One study showed that 72% of Instagram users have purchased something on the platform. This marketing technology trend is the lifeblood of influencers who monetize their personal styles and promote other brands. Next time you post a flat lay to Instagram, tag products from the share screen. Your customers will appreciate the easy access, and youll be able to collect data on your buyers, which you can use to create other targeted shoppable social posts. 

If youre not sure where to focus your marketing efforts amidst the COVID-19 era, start with one of these three trends. Its time to meet consumer demand and capitalize on the growing momentum of these marketing methods.

Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of  Teknicks, a research-based internet marketing agency certified by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.

The post Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy

May 2, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for ecommerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.
  • The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving.
  • Some things the search trends have shown is that consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for.
  • leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month.
  • Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward.
  • As a “topic”, interest in instrument playing tutorials has increased by 72%.
  • Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.
  • Director of SEO at Stella Rising, John Morabito shares lots of insights and shines a light on how businesses can use these trends in their content creation.

With the coronavirus pandemic now nearing its peak in many parts of the U.S., search trends are rapidly evolving in ways many search marketers have never seen before. Changes are happening almost daily, and traditional search volume as a monthly average metric has become practically useless. Google Trends, however, offers useful, daily analysis of what’s trending in search. At present, Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for e-commerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.

In this post, we’ll cover ways that search marketers can use Google Trends and other tools to discover opportunities in today’s fast-moving landscape, and review how the team at Stella Rising has been using Google Trends to inform our strategy during the pandemic. 

The obvious Google Trends

Medical suppliers will be aware that, amidst the overall demand for masks, behaviours have shifted from favouring N95 masks to surgical masks. The CDC recently revised their recommendation. In this case, we see that search demand for masks is already starting to decrease.

Surgical Masks (7 Day View) – Down 68% (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 Google Trends

Full Year View

 The less obvious: Search evolution in unexpected places

The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving. For example, at first glance, one might not think that the beauty segment would find success in a pandemic. However, social distancers are turning to self-care. “Peel masks” are seeing a huge increase in interest with a 58% increase in over the last few weeks. Google Trends - Peel masks search

Searches for skincare are skyrocketing, as are those for foot care. Consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for. Note the following trends from Spate:

Search trends - Foot care search graph by Spate

Source: Spate.nyc

Hand moisturizer has similarly seen an even larger increase, jumping up 156% since February (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 search trends - Moisturizer Leveraging the trend

When it comes to the growth in demand for skincare products, skincare brands have a number of options at their disposal when it comes to their content efforts. Make sure your product pages are being listed in Google shopping’s new free listings, and ensure that you have robust on-page content for each of your skincare product or category pages. Lastly, in a time where making returns is not an easy task, and consumers want to minimize contact with the outside world, content that helps guide users to the right product selections can be extremely valuable.

For example, this article from Bucklers Remedy, a skincare brand ranks top three for “choosing the right hand lotion”. In another example, we see a Vaseline article about how to deal with dry cracked hands ranking for a total of 1,100 keywords.

Example - Vaseline hand moisturizer search trend

For apparel companies

Apparel companies should shift their messaging as consumers browse for clothing on their devices. Right now, leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month. 

COVID-19 Google Trends - leisurewear is the king

Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward. 

"how to look good on zoom" search trend in COVID-19 times

Leveraging the trend

Everyone from publishers to apparel and beauty brands can get in on the need for Zoom/video conferencing related content. If you fall into one of those categories, consider producing looks and tutorials for your captive audience.

For instrument makers

For instrument makers like Fender and Les Paul, there has never been more interest than now in learning how to play the guitar. 

instrument related search trends

Leveraging the trend

Fender and Les Paul both offer instructional content, but now is the perfect time for them to ramp-up efforts and even consider partnering with musicians who are out of work and can easily produce tutorial content on their behalf. 

People are also interested in learning about all sorts of topics. As a “topic”, interest in tutorials has increased by 72%.

Leveraging the trend

If you’re a brand with a product that has any sort of instructions or bares any type of explanation in how to use it, I would recommend using this time to produce tutorial content for each of your products or for the things your products help people to do. For example, makeup brands can not only product tutorials on how to use a specific product which can help them to rank for both nonbrand and branded terms, but they can also target things like “zoom makeup looks” which can help them to rank for an even broader set of nonbrand terms.

Sometimes, search trends are influenced by necessity. We’ve seen more interest in “how to cut your hair” than ever before. 

The not so fun part

While there are search trends dealing with keeping consumers busy, there are also new trends around more serious subjects. Some of our clients at Stella Rising are writing about these. One of our clients in the small business formation space is writing about how their customers can get loans and stay in good corporate standing. Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.

Estate lawyers may want to consider online-only services as “get a will online” has seen a steep rise. 

How to get started

Now that you’ve seen some of the ways that search trends are evolving—and how to check—start by inspecting your website’s most valuable target keywords and see how searches are moving for those items. You may be surprised by what you find. Finding interesting trends can be tough, so think carefully about how behaviour will evolve in the future, not simply how it has changed today. 

Bonus tool tip

Explodingtopics.com is a tool that shows exploding topics using Google Trends data and provides two key metrics: gradient and exponent. Essentially, the exponent is a mathematical expression that defines how much like a “hockey-stick” a curve is. The tool breaks up Google Trend data by category and presents which topics are “exploding” versus which have peaked in interest. This analysis is useful when wishing to stay relevant with content writing.

John Morabito is Director of SEO at Stella Rising. John has over nine years of experience in SEO, PPC, and other digital marketing channels. 

The post Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Understanding The Searching Trends of Coronavirus

April 8, 2020 No Comments

The Google Trends chart below is an indication of the searching behavior for the Coronavirus and related terms. As you can see, the interest within the USA started roughly around the same time the first the WHO (World Health Organization) was alerted something was going on China.

Below is a Timeline of events, according to the ABC News Article entitled: Timeline: How coronavirus got started The outbreak spanning the globe began in December, in Wuhan, China.

Dec 31, 2019 – WHO says mysterious pneumonia sickens dozens in China. Health authorities in China confirm that dozens of people in Wuhan, China, are being treated for pneumonia from an unknown source. Many of those sickened had visited a live animal market in Wuhan, but authorities say there is no evidence of the virus spreading from person to person.

Jan 11, 2020. China reports 1st coronavirus death. Chinese state media reports the first death from novel coronavirus, a 61-year-old man who had visited the live animal market in Wuhan.

Jan. 21, 2020: 1st confirmed case of coronavirus in the USA. A man in his 30s from Washington state, who traveled to Wuhan, is diagnosed with novel coronavirus. Japan, South Korea and Thailand also report their first cases one day prior.

Starting on February 26, we start to see a major shift in searches with the 1st case of suspected local transmission of the virus. On February 29th, the USA reports it’s first death and then CDC lifts restrictions on testing.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


Five social media trends that are shaping 2020

March 11, 2020 No Comments

Every year the social media marketing community turns into fortune tellers — we collectively try to predict what trends, features, and innovations will take place in the upcoming year. Of course, trying to predict social media trends is much more trustworthy than fortune-telling even if you’re using astrology as a framework for that. 

Most social media predictions stand on the existing trends and research, which makes them highly likely to actually be accurate. It’s a common truth that social media platforms are constantly changing, they come up with new features, change algorithms, review their respective policies, and it all affects the way we do marketing on social. But it’s not like these changes come out of nowhere — they are all the results of social media company’s vision and business model or external circumstances. 

To identify trends that will dominate social media this year we need to consider all of these internal and external circumstances. And that’s exactly what I did to make up this list of five major trends that will be prominent in 2020. In addition to simply describing what to expect in 2020, I also give some recommendations on how to use these trends to your brand’s advantage.

1. Let data analysis lead your strategy

Social media trends using data for social listening

 

Source: Screenshot from social listening tool, Awario

Knowledge is power, and social media companies want to empower their users and brands, or rather attract more investments. That’s why they are giving social media managers more and more access to insights and data analytics. Facebook is constantly expanding Creator Studio’s and Facebook Insights’ functionality, Twitter is adding more insights to Media Studio, and Pinterest is adding Pinterest Trends to inform brands on user behavior. 

This year we are likely to see more ways to access user trends on different platforms and tap into this data for marketing and social media research. At the same time, due to trend number three on this list, brands might have to change the way they used to do social media marketing, especially with targeted advertising. There are ethical and unethical ways to use data, and the upcoming year will probably be the time to rethink these terms. That may encourage brands to get more involved in the research of the publicly available data with the help of social listening, for example.

How to be on-trend

  • Make sure your social media strategy is based on insights gained through data research, not a blind guess. Use the insights provided by platforms like Facebook and Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, and so on to find what content performs best, when you should post, and what resonates with your audience. Your KPIs should respond to your goals – if you are raising brand awareness, pay attention to the number of followers, if you’re focusing on community building, keep track of the engagement metrics. 
  • Collect and analyze publicly available data, this is the most ethical way to conduct marketing research without invading anyone’s privacy. Social monitoring and listening tools such as Awario or Brandwatch break down the sentiment, reach, demographics, and user behavior trends behind any phenomenon you want to research on social media. 

2. Make your communication more private

Making social media more private

In 2019 Mark Zuckerberg claimed that “the future is private”. This was a surprising turn of events for the company which started out as a service to meet people and connect strangers. Facebook’s CEO announced that from now own the platform will prioritize ways to build and sustain smaller communities and tet-a-tet communication meaning more focus on Groups and Messenger as well as WhatsApp. And it’s not just Facebook, social media apps have been introducing more privacy-driven features lately including Instagram’s “Close Friends” list, various updates to DMs functionality for Twitter and Instagram, more ways for brands to manage social messaging. With the upcoming redesign of Facebook feed (expected to be fully rolled out in Q1 and the new ability to limit replies to your tweets, it’s obvious that 2020 will be the year of private social media. 

The turn to private communication is, of course, motivated by user behavior. People simply got much more into messaging their friends and interacting in small interest-based communities. Social media companies took notice of that and are now giving people what they want. However, taking into consideration how many privacy scandals we had in the last couple of years, it’s easy to imagine that the turn to privacy was also prompted by the intent to improve ones’ reputation, especially when we are talking about Facebook. 

How to be on-trend

  • If you don’t have a Facebook group for your customers yet, it’s high time you start one. 
  • Use the “Close Friends” list on your Instagram account to share exclusive content with your most engaged followers. 
  • Go beyond the big three by looking into smaller communities on Reddit and Quora for better opportunities to engage with the audience.

3. Take up more social responsibility

Taking up more social responsibility will be a social media trend

Source: Twitter

This will probably be the most prominent theme in the news coverage of social media companies for 2020. Once again, it’s not a new trend — the pressure to sort out the issues with spamming, misinformation, manipulation of the algorithm, and the social media impact on users’ mental health has been there for a while. 

In 2020 we can expect more regulations on ads, more sophisticated algorithms for discovering spammers and bots, and more ways for users to control what they are seeing on the timeline. In 2019 we saw some actions taken not just by the platforms themselves but also by the state — there were several court cases around creating fake engagement and selling followers and likes that could become precedents for creating legislation around this matter. 

Both Facebook and Twitter CEOs publicly stated that the ultimate framework for dealing with misleading ads and handling users’ data should come from the governmental actors and independent expert committees, not the social media companies. California Consumer Privacy Act is the first attempt at such legislation. This will certainly affect the way brands advertise on social and conduct marketing research (see trend number one).

Social media companies also face a bigger challenge – how to avoid locking people in their own social media bubbles and creating echo-chambers that skew their view of the world? Admittedly, this is a broader challenge for our society in general. However, we can’t ignore the fact that social media contributes to exacerbating the political and social divide between people, and it might be the time for platforms to rethink the core functionality and algorithms behind them.

Another area where social media companies are encouraged to take on more responsibility is mental health. By now it is obvious (and confirmed by research) that social media can have a negative effect on users’ self-esteem and mental health, especially among teenagers, and social media companies need to take notice of that. Some platforms have already made steps in the right direction by informing users about how much time they are spending on the app. The next big change will concern vanity metrics (see below). In 2020, it’s expected that there will be more platform regulations that aim to protect users from abuse and bullying and more ways for users to filter the information they don’t want to consume.

How to be on-trend

  • Make sure your ads comply with the platform regulations.
  • Discard sketchy growth hacks such as buying followers or using third-party tools for follow-unfollow tactics in favor of genuine engagement and community building.
  • To make interactions with your audience actually genuine, understand when those interactions are welcome. The best way to start engaging with people on the internet is by commenting and replying to their public posts: and of course, your comments should be meaningful and relevant. You can find people and posts to engage through social media monitoring — simply monitor keywords and phrases appropriate for your niche.
  • Use social listening, competitor and hashtag research to find accounts related to your niche and engage them in the comments. Offer your expertise or start conversations discussing relevant topics. 

4. Focus less on vanity metrics

Less focus on vanity metrics
This trend is partly related to the previous one. In 2019, we saw several experiments around hiding vanity metrics, mainly like count, on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter’s CEO has also been vocal about his desire to move away from vanity metrics. Moreover, both Instagram and Twitter have slightly tweaked their design to put less emphasis on the number of followers an account has. The rejection of like count is probably motivated both by moral and practical reasons, comparing your number of likes to someone else’s is proven to damage one’s self-esteem.

Hiding vanity metrics from anyone could eliminate the pressure of competition people feel and make social media less stressful. Instagram has also revealed that during the tests they discovered that discarding like count leads to more content on the platform and that’s what any social media company wants. 

That’s the logical outcome of the previous point, if people feel less pressure to get the most likes, they will feel more at ease with posting. All in all, prepare to say goodbye to like counts in 2020.

How to be on-trend

  • For social media managers, discarding vanity metrics means new ways of doing competitor and influencer research. You can use Facebook’s native functionality (Brand Collabs Manager, Insights) or social media analytics tools to compare your brand with your competitors or find and evaluate influencers relevant to your niche. 
  • Track the number of followers, engagement rate, and ads placed on Facebook through “Pages to Watch” and “Ad Library”.
  • Use social listening to compare your social media Share of Voice with your competitors.

Share of voice of top 10 UK universities calculated

Source: Screenshot from social listening tool, Awario

5. Try TikTok

Social media trends - try TikTok advertising

In 2019 TikTok became one of the most downloaded apps in the app store. The swift rise of the social media app drew a lot of attention from social media marketers, and will surely draw even more attention this year. The greatest thing about TikTok is its feed algorithm which allows you to reach a significant number of users right from the get-go, without having to gain followers for a long time. 

The platform is tailored for viral content: easy sharing, trends, and challenges enable you to easily create videos with a huge potential reach. Moreover, the platform is constantly developing its business capabilities, just recently TikTok rolled out the ability to run ads on the platform for everyone. 

TikTok is the app to keep an eye on, as it is one of the fastest-growing social media networks, it surely has bigger plans for the upcoming year.

How to be on-trend

  • If you’re not TikTok yet, create an account right now.
  • See what trends could be useful for your industry, check out what your competitors are doing, examine the latest trends. A lot of TikTok’s content is focused on viral songs, dance challenges, and certain editing techniques. So you should research those if you want to create popular content.
  • Try advertising on TikTok! TikTok Ads is not the only way to promote your product, you can also partner up with TikTok creators to reach new audiences.  

In conclusion

Social media trends don’t just pop out of nowhere and it’s not difficult to predict what will happen in the upcoming year. However, knowing something is only half the battle — you need to actually adjust your social media strategy to the ever-changing circumstances to get the best results. 

In this article, I tried to demonstrate the broader trends but also shared actionable tips to implement in your work. Some of the trends that will play out in 2020 may seem like an impediment for social media marketers, you can’t use targeting, you can’t see how many likes an influencer gets, and people are getting harder to reach since they are all hanging out in private communities. But it’s actually a chance for building genuine and trusting relationships with your audience — and you can do it by using these trends to your advantage.

Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.

The post Five social media trends that are shaping 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020

January 30, 2020 No Comments

The internet has transformed the way we view and experience the world. Nowadays, we use it for virtually everything, from making a phone call to paying off our credit card bill. Smartphones have revolutionized how we shop and do business. With them, we can interact and socialize with people from around the world using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on. 

From personal experience, I can tell you that I would have never guessed that my smartphone would become a priority for me. I remember thinking that Blackberry pin-to-pin messaging was a disease. Now, I can spend hours upon hours browsing idly through my Instagram feed. Well, the joke’s on me, right? 

The same goes for businesses. Most were limited to operating from a storefront or office, and they could only rely on printed or TV ads, and local networking to get customers. Today, however, the world is any business’ oyster. And digital marketing is the magic wand that makes it possible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. 

Digital marketers are facing new challenges every year. The interaction between businesses and prospects or customers is evolving as new devices, apps, and social media platforms become available. 

The end of the decade brought the time, to sum up, what this ever-changing industry has in store for 2020. 

Here are three marketing trends to keep an eye on this year. 

1. Paid voice search

Voice search advertising has been on most marketers’ radars for a while now. However, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants has gained momentum in the last couple of years. 

So, adopting digital marketing strategies to increase your businesses’ presence in voice searches will soon become a necessity:

And don’t forget about the benefits of paid voice search for local businesses and ecommerce sites:

  • 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business weekly and 53% of them do it every day.
  • More than 20% of voice-based orders are for groceries.
  • Voice-based purchases are expected to increment to $ 40 billion in 2022.

Source for the above-mentioned stats: QuoraCreative

But how can your business take advantage of this new advertising niche?

By establishing a solid strategy for voice engine optimization. To get ahead of the game, you need to understand how your audience asks questions. Check out the details below.

  • Adapt the tone of your written content: Question words are widespread among search queries. That is, How, When, Who, Where, When, and Why. Most people use question-based keywords when implementing voice search. So, adding these words to your written content can put you in the spotlight quickly.
  • Focus on long-tail keywords: When asking smart speakers and voice assistant questions, users tend to speak naturally. That’s why voice searches tend to be more specific. Instead of using “cheap hotel in Vermont,” a person would search for “What is the cheapest four-star hotel in Vermont?” – using long-tail keywords will allow you to rank better for voice searches.
  • Use Schema Markup: This lets you contextualize your content and helps search engines understand exactly what your content is about.

Guy Sheetrit, CEO and Co-founder of Over the Top SEO, predicted the increasing importance of voice searches last year. 

When asked about SEO trends for the near future in an interview for Brandwatch, he mentioned that,

“The combined growth of voice search and the ability of Google to deliver a specific answer to a search query… is going to have a significant impact on how much exposure your website gets.” 

This has been slowly but surely turned into a reality. And the ever-growing popularity of smart speakers will just make it more prevalent as time goes by.

2. Interactive content

We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”. And yes, informative blog posts, killer copy, or social media posts should continue to be key parts of your content marketing strategy. However, they are slowly being outpaced by interactive content. And it makes sense. 

In a world where we are bombarded by information right, left, and center, audiences have become more and more demanding about the type of content they’re willing to consume. They expect content to be engaging, relevant, and accessible via any device they use. And they expect this 100% of the time.

I asked Shreetit about the impact of interactive content to which he said,

“If you’re not optimizing your digital marketing strategy with interactive content, then you’re already losing customers.”

He asserted,

“For any business to succeed in 2020, it needs to keep up with what users are craving. And interactive content is one of the most innovative ways to consume information.”

We’ve been using interactive content for a while. Think about online quizzes, surveys, and social games.

However, as technology advances, so does the way users want to experience the world. Investing time and money on incorporating interactive formats to your digital marketing strategy can have tremendous payoffs. To do so, include some interactive infographics, white papers, case studies, or ebooks.

But why is interactive content a trend for the start of the new decade? Why should you invest in interactive content now?

  • For starters, it’s proven to positively impact KPIs. Interactive content helps increase brand awareness and its connection with users by way of branded experiences.
  • Because it is immersive. Prospects engaging with a brand through interactive content tend to spend more time on a business’s website. 
  • It also increases page views, boosting engaging metrics, increasing time on site, and decreasing bounce rates.

Not sold on it just yet? Check out these figures:

  • Interactive content generates double the conversions when compared to passive content.
  • Over 90% of B2B prospects prefer interactive content over static content.
  • It is 93% more effective than static content.

In the era 2.0, where the average users’ attention span is eight seconds or less, keeping potential customers engaged may seem like a herculean task. Consumers are exposed to so much branded content that it can be nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Planning and implementing an interactive content strategy can help you cross that bridge, effectively closing the gap between traffic to your site and conversions.

3. TikTok advertising

TikTok is not new. However, its increasing popularity is. It was launched into the international market in 2017 and last year it took over musical.ly. A smart move that eased its way into the American teen and tween market.

But what exactly is this social app about?

The concept is rather simple. Users can create short videos and edit them to add filters, effects, and other features. They can then share them on TikTok’s platform or other social media.

And believe me, this single concept has taken the social-media-sphere by storm:

The outreach potential for this app is enormous. If you want to benefit from what TikTok has to offer, I suggest you consider the following tactics.

Create a brand TikTok account

If you create a brand account, you can take advantage of hashtag challenges. These are hugely popular within the platform and will give you a chance to leverage user-generated content. This type of content has become invaluable in today’s marketing world and it’s a nearly foolproof way to reach your audience. Not to mention TikTok’s format has a huge potential for virality. Another way to increase your brand’s presence is by utilizing branded lenses. They are the equivalent of Snapchat or Instagram’s 3D filters. With TikTok, your brand can also create posts with 2D and Augmented Reality (AR). These filters bring a significant level of user engagement by letting your audience actively interact with your products.

Partner with an influencer – someone who already has an established audience 

In this case, you need to make sure their demographic and type of content coincide with your target audience and brand. You also must evaluate their engagement metrics to ensure a successful partnership. 

Use its paid advertising features

TikTok introduced its biddable ads feature earlier this year and it currently only has one ad type – the in-feed video ad. The platform allows you to target these ads by age, gender, and geographic location (to state level). And, the developer has stated that more granular segmentation will be available soon. You can also create customized audiences by manually adding a CRM list, and whitelist or blacklist specific audiences as well.“As soon as I realized the potential TikTok had, I knew it was an app that could add enormous value to any marketing strategy” Shared Guy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok changes the digital marketing world entirely and end ups displacing Snapchat.”He also said it was a sure-shot way to gain some track within the teenager and college-age demographic. If they’re your target audience, this is your shortcut to boost your exposure. 

To sum it all up…

Keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing industry is no easy feat. Things tend to change at the drop of a hat. However, if you stay up-to-date with trends and follow what the experts are buzzing about, you can stay on top of your business’ digital marketing strategy. Adapting it to the shifting online environment to benefit your brand is key to stay ahead of your competitors.

Pius Boachie is the founder of DigitiMatic, an inbound marketing agency.

The post Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Five simple content marketing trends for 2020

January 11, 2020 No Comments

How can you improve your content marketing strategy in 2020? Here are five simple and useful content marketing trends to follow in the new year.

We’ve welcomed 2020 and it’s the perfect time to start thinking of the best way to maintain a successful content marketing strategy over the next 12 months.

New channels, tactics, and trends emerge every day but the challenge is to decide on the ones that you want to include to your own strategy.

There are many posts that focus on the latest big trends and how you could revolutionize your tactics for 2020. We’ve decided to go back to basics to review how simple tactics and trends that can improve your content success.

1. Focus on the experience

It’s not enough to increase the frequency of your blogs to improve your content marketing success. In a digital world full of new content, the challenge is to stand out from your competitors.

A good way to achieve success is to focus on the experience. Your content should be relevant and informative but it should also facilitate the user experience.

Content experience is a growing term that refers to the role that sits between content marketing and UX. It’s about reviewing how you can improve your content, your website and even your strategy to ensure that your readers are spending more time on your posts.

There are many ways to improve your content experience:

  • Test the mobile version of your site
  • Aim for short paragraphs that are easy to read on mobile
  • Enhance the “readability” of your content by allowing your text to “breathe” with images and sub-headings
  • Review your loading speed
  • Aim for personalization

Not all changes require too much of your time. What’s important is to acknowledge how your team, your tools, and your processes can gear up towards improved content experiences in 2020, one step at a time.

2. Include visual data

Visual content can improve the reading experience. It can also help you get the main data to stand out. Infographics, for example, help you summarise your key points in a more visual way. They can even help you enhance the “shareability” of your post.

Visual quotes can also help you get your point across in a way that stands out to the reader. You can also include videos in your content to provide an alternative content format for your story.

Another idea that is very helpful in SaaS marketing is to include GIFs when talking about your product. It’s easier for your readers to understand what you’re referring to.

Using visual data in your content marketing can help you simplify complicated ideas and we’re seeing more brands using videos and GIFs to present their data.

Content marketing trends 2020 using story telling

Visual storytelling is growing stronger and it’s useful to experiment with different formats to find out what works best for your readers.

3. Write long-form content

There is a constant struggle on the internet to grab someone’s attention. Not everyone is spending a lot of time on a page, which pushes us to come up with new ideas of bite-sized content. This is actually a good approach in many ways but we also need to remember that long-form content is not dead.

There are many reasons to create long-form content in 2020:

  • Build trust with your readers
  • Go in-depth in the topics that you’re writing about
  • Showcase your writing style and your personality
  • Improve your SEO

Medium got popular as a platform that focuses on writing rather than distractions. You can find the content of great quality and many writers are not afraid to go in-depth in the topics that they’re covering. The Medium looked at their most successful posts to find out that the ideal blog post on their platform is around 1600 words and it takes seven minutes to read it.

 

Medium's stat showing long-form content length content marketing trends 2020

Moreover, creating long-form content is also helping your search ranking. Long-form content is helping you cover in-detail a topic that you want to serve as the authority.

Not all your posts should be too long. But it’s still a good idea to dedicate some time every month to produce a few pieces of more than 1000 words.

4. Read your content out loud

A simple method to improve your content writing in 2020 is to start reading your content out loud. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts when writing content. What seems to be making sense to you might not necessarily do so for anyone else.

Everything you are writing should sound natural. Start creating content that feels more conversational to “hack” a more successful writing style.

Once you start applying this idea to your content marketing strategy, you start realizing that online writing should not be hard to understand. The idea is to help your readers enjoy your content in a simple and authentic way.

Reading your content out loud is pushing you to review the way you’re getting your message across. It is a practice that helps you improve your writing along with the reading experience. Next time you’re planning to create content for your customers, read it out loud before you publish it. You might be surprised by the difference it can make.

5. Make your SEO smarter

It’s time to make your search engine optimization smarter for 2020. How about being more strategic with SEO to focus on what matters?

You can start by making small changes that can have a long-term impact:

  • Stop focusing on the most popular keywords and start discovering the long-tail keywords that can help you stand out
  • Spend more time on improving your content rather than making sure that you stuff it with your focus keywords
  • Invest in the tools that can make SEO easier
  • Stop aiming for position one ranking in SERPs and explore the different ways to stand out (for example, visual ranking or featured snippets)
  • Write more conversational content to increase the chances of showing up in the featured snippets and the question boxes

What’s important is to start thinking of SEO as another element of your content marketing strategy that addresses your readers’ needs. It’s not just about ranking at the search results. The end goal should always be to deliver a great experience.

What’s next?

Not every content marketing trend should be groundbreaking. Sometimes even the simplest change can lead to great success.

Look at your existing content marketing strategy and what worked in 2019. Start exploring the areas that you want to improve on and find small wins that you can implement.

Look at these five trends as the starting point to simple changes that you can make to improve the understanding of your audience and their needs.

The post Five simple content marketing trends for 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Quantum supremacy and nine SEO trends that’ll flip 2020 on its head

January 2, 2020 No Comments

Get ready because SEO trends will undergo revolutionary changes in 2020. Make sure you are on the side that embraces this revolution, rather than the one that resists it.

Google has achieved “Quantum Supremacy”, this means that they have built a quantum computer capable of performing tasks that would take modern-day supercomputers 10’s of thousands of years to accomplish.

In 2020 Google will start using these new breakthroughs for commercial purposes. This will make Google’s search algorithm exponentially more powerful since the quantum processor is fully programmable and can run general-purpose quantum algorithms and machine learning applications.

I know, scary, right.

Quantum Supremacy might affect SEO in several ways:

  • Making search more relevant
  • New tactics to overcome black hat SEO
  • Lightning fast and reactive algorithmic updates
  • Rankings that are truly based on relevancy and merit of website content (instead of backlinks) 
  • Dramatically change Google Image search results

This is just one aspect of the future of SEO, let’s talk about the rest.

1. NLP oriented content

Google just released a new update in October of 2019 called BERT (which is based on NLP), which has impacted the ranking of more than 10% of queries in Google.

What is NLP?

In computer science, natural language processing (NLP) is a field in machine learning which focuses on the ability of a computer to understand, analyze, manipulate, and potentially generate human language.

Bonus

Do you want to learn about the basics of NLP? This paper from Stanford University can surely help.

Furthermore, NLP is changing the landscape of businesses since it has the ability to extract critical information from unstructured data (mainly in the form of invoices, online customer chats, emails, or any plain text).

BERT is a deep learning model in NLP used to analyze large bodies of text to provide interesting results and insights to users. The best part is that it’s open-source, which means anyone with Python experience can train the model.

If you’re interested in learning more BERT then check out this official explanation of BERT from Google.

This breakthrough has the capability to understand a sentence based on concepts, intent, and context (not solely on keywords). Moreover, It looks at words that come before and after a sentence when understanding context.

In a nutshell, what makes BERT different is its bi-directional approach that wasn’t implemented in the preceding algorithms of Google, like Word2Vec and GloVe.

Let’s understand it with an example

Sentence-A: The man went to the shop.

Sentence-B: He bought a PlayStation 5.

Label: IsNextSentence

BERT can perceive the relationship between Sentence-A and Sentence-B based on the word ‘the man’ and ‘He’ and ‘the shop’ and ‘PlayStation 5’. Previous algorithms couldn’t understand the left and right context in sentences.

Thanks to BERT, Google can now understand longer queries better than before. Moreover, it can detect the opposite as well. Have a look at the below example:

Sentence-A: The man went to the shop.

Sentence-B: Google is changing the gaming industry.

Label: IsNotNextSentence

Sentence-A and Sentence-B have no relationship, and they are entirely dissimilar.

But what is BERT’s takeaway?

There is no official explanation from Google, but according to the real SEO experts like Bill Slawski and Ryan Jones, who have been in the SEO industry for more than ten years, you should ignore advice from so-called SEO experts.

Bill Slawskis tweet about BERT being one of the big SEO trends in 2020

Bill Slawski's tweet about BERT being one of the big SEO trends in 2020

 

Are you thinking BERT can’t be implemented practically until you are a Python geek?

Boy, do I have some news for you.

Let me show you the Google NLP API tool that you can use to optimize your content.

This tool helps businesses identify unique entities from invoices, live chats, emails, or any plain text.

The part I love about this tool is that it can recognize your content against your competitors’ content and Google is using the same technology in ranking websites.

Follow the steps

Go to Google NLP Tool that looks like this:

Google's NLP API tool

Type anything that comes to mind. I’ve input my author bio and clicked Analyze.

This powerful tool shows four critical sections: Entities, sentiments, syntax, and categories – each section has significance for understanding content.

As it’s evident, in the ‘entities’section, Google can understand ‘Ata Khan’ is the name of a person. Entities can be the name of any person, a place, an organization, a number, and so on. Google is rapidly growing its entity library.

In ‘sentiment’, Google can understand the context of any sentence from being positive to negative.

‘Syntax’ is the technical part of language forms the grammatical structure of sentences.

The ‘categories’section is my favorite part which lets you know if your content is written for the right industry or not.

Let me explain all this with an example

Type your keyword that you want to rank for in Google. I’ve used the keyword “Best Smartphones 2019”. I opened the site that was ranking for the number one position and copied the content.

I then pasted into Google NLP. Now comes the best part, you can check whether you’re writing for the right industry or not.

Paste your content into the box to compare the results with your competitors’ content.

You should aim for a confidence score of 90% or higher in the industry you want to rank for.

But what happens when it doesn’t show the right industry? Double-check to see if you are using industry buzzwords and words used y by experts in your field (by observing the content ranked by Google).

Want to see an example of why Google ranks the ‘Car Movie’ Wikipedia page?

The 'Cars Movie' Wiki page

The reason is simple – the page contains words that are all related to movies, words like :

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenplay
  • Actor

The secret to a better ranking is to include as many entities as possible in your content, as per Bill Slawski.

2. SEO semantic HTML

Semantic HTML is a crucial part of SEO which most marketers ignore.

What saddens me is that most companies hire web developers that don’t have any SEO experience. This, of course, presents huge problems down the road.

I believe every good developer should know SEO, primarily technical SEO (which helps earn better rankings in search engines).

Below is a developer’s style of writing code that doesn’t possess SEO skills

<html>  

    <head>

        <title>Example</title>

    </head>

    <body>

        <div id=”header”>

            Here goes logo, navigation, etc.

        </div>

        <div id=”main-content”>

            A place for website’s main content

        </div>

        <div id=”footer”>

            Footer information, links, etc.

        </div>

    </body>

</html>

Now, look at the below code, which is perfectly written for SEO. It has <title>, <main>, <p>, and <footer> that aids Google in identifying important elements on the page.

<html>

    <head>

        <title>Example</title>

    </head>

    <body>

        <header>

            Here goes logo, navigation, etc.

        </header>

        <main>

            <p>A place for website’s main content</p>

        </main>

        <footer>

            Footer information, links, etc.

        </footer>

    </body>

</html>

What is the main advantage? Semantic HTML helps in getting a featured snippet of your website on search results pages.

According to my research, most featured snippets are taken from the <p> element.

Look at this keyword “Why people fall in love”.

Example of semantic search SEO trends 2020

Now take a look at the HTML version of the answer.

What do you find? The featured snippet is taken from within a <p> tag element.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen businesses hiring writers who don’t have any basic knowledge of HTML and end up publishing content that doesn’t rank well.

They write on Microsoft Word or Google Doc, and they use different features to make an article look better, but at the cost of poor HTML structure.

Need a real example?

Take an article written in MS Word and I paste it into the visual editor of WordPress. It looks something like this:

Such a messy code isn’t likely to be featured as a snippet by Google.

3. Schema implementation

As of November, 45% of websites on the internet don’t use Schema at all.

Stat showing schema implementation as one of the big SEO trends in 2020

This is a great opportunity to increase your organic traffic as few businesses are utilizing this great traffic source.

And here’s what a search listing with featured snippets look like:

You can mark up any information with schema tags that are relevant to your business, such as reviews, ratings, and prices as compared to normal snippets which only contain a title, URL, and meta description. The greatest benefit of utilizing rich snippets is that they attract more clicks because of the larger real estate they take when displayed on SERPs (as well as providing additional useful information for searchers).

For some people, the implementation of schema tags appears to be a daunting task…But it’s not! Google tag manager makes this process very easy. Check out this tutorial which breaks down schema tag implementation step by step.

4. Voice search

Voice search is becoming more useful to users because it’s more personalized. Now, you can talk to your personal assistance as if it were a real human. 

SEOs have been talking about voice search for a decade, but they still don’t know how to optimize their content for it.

If you want to be picked up by Google Assistant, you need to optimize for featured snippets because more than 40.7% of the voice searches are taken from featured snippets, according to Backlinko.

Why is voice search the future?

The reason is simple…people have become lazy. People love to shop online. And people love to chat with friends instead of meeting at a physical location. 

So how do you optimize your featured snippets to be presented in Google Voice Search? Simply write the answer to the question but be sure that specific words from the questions are mentioned.

Need an example?

Look at the keyword below. The words in the question are included in the answer. This has helped to get the snippet featured.

Featured snippets may contain:

  • Paragraphs
  • Numbered lists
  • Bullet lists
  • Table featured snippets
  • Youtube snippets

You should try to use as many of these formatting types when writing your answers. Check out this detailed guide on getting featured snippets picked up by voice search.

5. The speed update

This is a pretty common trend, so why did it make this list? Because despite Google addressing its importance, corporations continue to ignore it.

So what has Google done so far?

  • Made speed a ranking factor.
  • Investing time and money on AMP technology across Google.
  • Built the new speed feature in Google Search Console.

  • The latest chrome version now labels slow websites with a “shame” badge.
    The shame badge

So why is Google coming down hard on page speed optimization? Does it really matter? Well, Amazon is a great example of the importance of page speed optimization. They found that every 100ms of latency cost them1% in profit – that’s a staggering $ 4 million dollars in sales.

That’s a tenth of one second! Imagine what Amazon could achieve if it increases its speed by 1 second!

Ever wonder why this happens? It’s because our brain makes decisions in milliseconds, not seconds.

6. Creating branded queries

Branded queries are a direct sign of your business’ credibility since users are searching for your brand name in Google.

According to the ranking factors report by Brian Dean, branded search is a ranking factor.

The founder of Backlinko has created an astounding SEO blog that has become a brand in the SEO industry. 

These branded queries provide a hint to Google that users love their blog which has helped them gain higher positions in the SERPs.

Have a look at the below Google Analytics report, 40% of monthly traffic is coming from returning visitors. It’s become a brand.

Moreover, you can also use Google Search Console to see your branded search queries by clicking New>Query>Type your website name>Apply from the Performance Report.

But the real question is how will you make your website a brand?

There is no secret. You’ll need to focus on providing excellent content to your audience that no one else can provide.

According to my experience, blogs with their own unique voice and personality (that no other blog can replicate) have the highest chances of becoming a brand.

Here are some tips to make your blog a brand:

  • Keep the website name easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and easy to speak.
  • The shorter the domain, the better (and .coms are best).
  • Promote your brand name on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Write your own unique content. Branded topics perform substantially better than non-branded ones (like the “Skyscraper Technique” by Backlinko).
  • Survey your visitors and customers to understand what they need from your industry. 

7. Cumulative optimization

Cumulative optimization is the process of continually optimizing your website and pages until you achieve your goals. The idea is that you never stop making improvements and analyzing your customers’ needs and wants.

Let’s talk about a case study by Ahrefs.

Ahrefs attempted to rank number one for the keyword “free backlink tool”, but they failed. The webpage kept at the 8th position on the SERP despite them doing the following:

  • On-page SEO
  • Page speed optimization
  • Image optimization
  • Internal linking
  • Paid traffic
  • Guest posting

The first rule of optimizing is to ask the question, why are you optimizing in the first place? Maybe you’re not getting the rankings you deserve, maybe you’re not generating sales, or maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, make a note of it.

Once you’ve identified your issue, you need to type your keyword into Google and observe the top-ranking pages. Specifically, you should observe:

  • On-Page SEO with comprehensive content analysis
  • Off-Page SEO with no-follow and do-follow backlink breakdown

Ahrefs recognized that the top-ranked pages were providing backlink tools free of cost, but Ahrefs’ cost seven dollars (as a trial demo). 

A week within the day Ahrefs made their backlink tool-free (which allowed anyone to check the backlinks of any website – along with other useful information), Ahrefs gained the number one ranking. They didn’t create a new page, they simply updated their existing page.

That’s why if you’re not getting the desired ranking for your page you’ll need to audit the page and find out what you lack that could be holding you back.

8. Video SEO 

Businesses that utilize the power of video marketing get 49% more revenue year-over-year than those that don’t.

The reason? People love watching videos. 

Leading blogs in the SEO industry like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Backlinko focus on making videos to generate quality leads.

Small businesses don’t focus on making video due to it being expensive But thanks to freelancing platforms it’s become cheaper these days. Moreover, you can use video tools that can help you further to create engaging videos.

You’ll need to understand that making videos on just any topic isn’t an effective way of video marketing (you must fuel it with keyword research).

Keyword research is a crucial step in finding topics that can be picked by YouTube and Google. 

You can also find great topics on YouTube. Go to any channel in your industry, click “Sort By”, and choose “Most Popular”. You’ll end up with a list of topics that are popular – create videos for those.

Another fantastic way to find topics is by YouTube Search Predictions.

*Note – Do you want to copy the keywords from the suggest list all at once without any tool? Click on “Report search predictions” at the bottom of the suggestions list. It will pop up like this:

Once you do that there will be an option to select all keywords and copy.

Are you eager to make successful videos? Follow these tips:

  • You have five seconds to persuade users to keep watching your video.
  • Retention is a ranking factor. If you are getting more views, but only a few users are watching the entire video.
  • Most of the views on YouTube come from suggestions. It means you need to invest time to make a good thumbnail to attract users.
  • Invest in writing a script. Nothing can beat a good script. As an example to learn, watch the best videos in your niche and download subtitles.

9. E-A-T centric website

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness three factors help Google whether to trust a site.

Recent Google algorithms have penalized many health sites because misleading health information can lead to the death of a person. Many blogs hire cheap writers to write thin content and then rank those blogs with black hat techniques.

Google hired more than 10,000 search quality raters to discover thin websites, and they follow the instructions mentioned in the official PDF.

Every SEO should read this entire document to have a better understanding of the future of SEO.

Healthline strictly follows the instructions in the document and gets traffic in millions.

But how?

As we know, “Expertise” is the number one element. Healthline only hires professionals who are experts in their niche.

The second element is “Authoritativeness”. Healthline provides strong references to prove the authenticity of a topic. 

“Trustworthiness” is the third element and it looks at the website’s UX and UI, age of the website, reputation on social media and online reviews.

It indicates when you should focus on:

  • Hiring expert writers in your niche. Not all writers are equal. If you write yourself, make sure you follow the E-A-T rule with an impressive author bio.
  • Must have an “About Us” page to show your testimonials from clients, awards, and qualifications. 
  • Content should be written to help users, not Google. If you make your users happy, Google will reward your website with higher rankings.

Wrapping up

SEO trends keep changing with the advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but the main mission of Google remains the same – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

So don’t let your competitors have all the fun. Execute these aforementioned SEO trends and watch your site climb the ranks.

Here is a short summary of what we just covered

  • Using Google’s NLP tool to optimize your content
  • Implementing Schema to cover more space and clicks from users
  • Making use of featured snippets to get traffic from voice search
  • Speeding up your site to avoid Chrome shame badge
  • Writing quality content to entice users to remember and search for your brand on Google
  • Focusing on improving a webpage that is not performing well until it achieves abetter ranking
  • Making interesting and compelling videos
  • Making your website E-A-T Centric (that is, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)

What do you think the future of SEO will look like in the year 2020? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ata Khan is Co-Founder of Xoobo, a digital marketing agency that is on the bleeding edge of the industry.

The post Quantum supremacy and nine SEO trends that’ll flip 2020 on its head appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Top eight SEO trends for 2020

December 14, 2019 No Comments

As new businesses spring up each day, the competition for the reader’s attention heightens. Staying on top of the latest SEO trends will enable you to meet specific requirements that search engines use to rank websites.

Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithms every year. While most changes are minor, they could affect your search ranking. These are some of the SEO trends I expect to see in 2020.

1. Voice search: People search how they speak

“Google, can you find the nearest taco place near me?”

There were 33 million voice search queries in 2017 alone. Data from March 2019 shows that 20% of mobile queries are voice searches.

As voice search becomes increasingly popular, more people will type search queries the same way they speak.

Notice that most of these search queries are long-tail and very specific? Users want an accurate answer to the exact question they asked.

Users who search long-tail keywords are in the consideration stage and are more likely to convert than someone in the awareness stage.

Bullet lists Increase your chances of ranking for voice queries, and most voice queries are local. Hence, optimize your website for local SEO.

2. Featured snippets will continue to dominate search results

A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a search query. Google displays it at the top of the SERP result, above paid and organic ads.

They’ve been around for a few years and have led to significant changes in Google’s search engine result page. Almost half of all searches result in no clicks because users get the answers they need directly from SERPs. In fact, an Ahref study of 2 million featured snippets revealed that featured snippet gets more traffic than the first organic search result.

Aim for question-based search queries and keywords. Use questions from the “people also ask” section as it offers insight on related questions for a more in-depth answer.

3. More marketers will leverage influencers for SEO

17% of businesses spent over half of their entire marketing budget on influencers. The statistics highlight the importance of influencer marketing for companies, especially those in fashion, beauty, ecommerce, travel, and lifestyle.

Online users are overwhelmed with ads. They are looking for authentic information they can trust. Most times, the source of that information are reviews from influencers. They are more likely to trust information from an influencer than an ad.

So, what’s the relationship between influencer marketing and SEO? Working with an influencer helps you generate traffic, increase your online visibility and amplify your content reach.

Many companies do not see the return on their investment in influencer marketing because they don’t plan or execute their sponsored content properly. Your marketing fails if it doesn’t align with the needs of your audience.

To get the most bang for your buck, partner with influencers in your niche who already engage with your target audience. The backlinks you gain from influencer sites also show authority to Google and enhances your SEO efforts.

4. BERT is here to stay

BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) enables anyone to train their own question answering system. This is the first major change Google has made to its search algorithm since RankBrain in 2014. 

BERT will impact one in ten queries. SEO marketers who apply BERT models increase their chances of ranking on the first page for featured snippets in Google SERP.

BERT will have the most impact on conversational queries where prepositions like “to” and “for” matter to the meaning of the search query.

Just to clarify, you can’t optimize for BERT. Google uses BERT to improve its understanding of natural language.

But you can optimize for the intent behind search queries because intent matching is crucial to creating successful content.

Before writing copy, analyze the top ten content ranking on the first page of SERP for that specific keyword. Is the result informational, transactional or navigational? Create content that matches the user’s intent based on your analysis.

5. People will want digital experiences

44% of companies have moved to a digital-first approach to improve customer experience. Whereas, 56% of CEOs said the improvements led to revenue growth.

Page load speed is an important ranking factor. Great content means nothing if your web page doesn’t load quickly or you have a complex user interface. 

Successful businesses understand that building a long-term relationship with customers hinges on customer experience, and customer experience invariably affects search ranking because only users who have a good user experience will spend time on your website.

Focus your user experience on helping customers find the information they need. Make it easy for visitors to proceed to the next step.

To provide the best user experience, you’ll need to wear the visitor’s shoes to identify roadblocks that cause poor experiences. Do not use complex words they do not understand. Lack of clarity in your messaging also increases the bounce rate and negatively impacts your site’s SEO.

6. Video will be the new king of content

Google loves video. It’s a crucial part of your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts. According to a Forrester Research, video is 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of SERP than a web page with plain text. Also, 62% of Google universal searches include video.

Create helpful YouTube videos that support existing content on your website. It’s not a guarantee for first page results but you’ll enjoy higher traffic when Google indexes your video.

Embed videos on your website to get more traffic. Remember to optimize your video to your blog’s width. Add copy on the page to help Google understand what your video content is about.

7. Content length will determine search rankings

Only high-quality content can help you beat the competition to page 1 ranking. But you will also have to consider quantity alongside quality.

There’s a lot of arguments around the ideal length of a blog post.  Research shows that the average length of the top 10 results is at least 2,000 words. That’s because web pages with long-form, high-quality content enjoy more visibility.

However, your content must comprehensively answer the question the user asked as well as questions related to the main search query. 

Lengthy articles increase dwell time, which tells Google that users enjoy your content. You build authority and Google increases your ranking for the search query.

8. Mobile search will continue to take over

 87% of internet users are on mobile phones and 40% of transactions occur on mobile. Google moved to mobile-first indexing on the 1st of July 2019 to improve the mobile search experience.

You can’t get far on search engine results if you haven’t optimized for mobile. Think beyond responsive designs to rich snippets.

If you’ve optimized for voice search, you’ve also optimized for mobile. Besides incorporating long-tail keywords for on-page SEO, modify the content structure and representation for technical SEO.

Conclusion

Just when you think you fully understand SEO, algorithm updates happen. Today’s SEO is a holistic process that requires both offline and online marketing strategies to succeed. Invest in SEO as a long-term strategy for lead generation and stay on top of the latest SEO trends to avoid getting left behind.

Would you like to add to this list of SEO trends in 2020? Drop them in the comments.

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Hootsuite social trends report for 2020

December 14, 2019 No Comments

Vancouver, BC – December 11, 2019​ – ​Hootsuite​, the leader in social media management trusted by more than 18 million customers and employees at 80 percent of the Fortune 1000, today released its ‘​Social Media Trends 2020’ report. The company’s fourth annual report on global social trends reveals the biggest opportunities for brands to deliver winning social marketing strategies in the coming year.

“The new year is a time to refocus and energize your strategies for the year ahead,”

says ​Hootsuite VP Corporate Marketing Henk Campher​.

“The social trends we’ve identified at Hootsuite provide the sharpest tools needed to create the most exceptional and meaningful employee and customer experiences in 2020 and beyond.”

Brands are starting to act more like people on social, sometimes interacting one-on-one and sometimes in groups. The key is for organizations to make the experience seamless across both worlds.

Brands are also taking a stand on the most important issues facing our planet, becoming beacons of trust to their employees, who in turn are using social to amplify their company purpose.

And TikTok, the short-format video sharing platform, is shaking up the social media landscape in unexpected and delightful ways. Even if TikTok’s Gen-Z user base isn’t your target, marketers should think about diversifying their audience targeting beyond just the major social platforms.

Campher further added,

“Combined, these trends represent tremendous new opportunities for brands to establish deeper, more authentic, and longer-lasting connections with customers, with social at the center of everything they do,”

Hootsuite’s 2020 social trends for businesses large and small

1. Brands strike a balance between public and private engagement

The rise of private behaviors like 1:1 and group messaging has not diminished the importance of public social media feeds, which remain a critical space for brand discovery and customer acquisition. The key is ​creating multi-touch, personalized, and ​seamless experiences across both worlds, while balancing automation at scale and human connection to build deeper customer relationships.

2. Employers take center stage in a divided world

As our world becomes increasingly divided, employees are looking to their organizations to take a stand. Globally, employers are significantly more trusted than NGOs, businesses, government, and the media. Progressive organizations will take advantage of this new role, building strong internal cultures while amplifying their company’s purpose with employee and customer advocacy.

3. TikTok shakes up the status quo

With more than 800 million monthly active users and a median age of 16-24, TikTok continues its incredible rise. Whether or not it lasts, TikTok’s popularity brings valuable insight into the future of social culture, content, and collaboration. Social marketers should keep an eye on TikTok while using these insights to adapt their strategies on established networks for the next generation on social.

4. Social marketing and performance marketing collide

As social marketers face pressure to expand the scope of their skill sets, established champions of brand awareness and community building must also become fluent in performance marketing, finding a balance between driving short-term conversions and long-term strategies to build brand equity, customer happiness, and differentiation.

5. The social proof gap closes

New social commerce features are bridging the top and bottom of the sales funnel, creating a wealth of data around the conversion side of the customer journey. This bottom-of-the-funnel data can now be added to brand awareness activities, giving an invaluable holistic view of how people move through the entire buying journey.

Conducted in the third quarter of 2019, Hootsuite’s ​’Social Media Trends 2020′ report is based on a survey of more than 3,100 marketers and interviews with industry specialists. The research report includes not only the trends but also Hootsuite’s recommendations for seizing the opportunities that the trends represent, along with comprehensive examples of best-in-class brands getting it right. Hootsuite’s 2020 Social Trends report can be found ​here​.

Hootsuite is the leader in social media management, trusted by more than 18 million customers and employees at more than 80 percent of the Fortune 1000.

The post Hootsuite social trends report for 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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PPC In 2020: 2 Experts Weigh In On Future Trends [Video]

December 12, 2019 No Comments

In this video, Hanapin’s Danielle Gonzales and John Williams discuss the future of PPC and what’s on their wishlists for 2020.

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