5 March 2017,
Keep Your Eye on These Trends in 2017
In the digital world, it is important to recognize trends. I see many “experts” latching onto a small element in the big picture of digital marketing, and going after it like it is a magic pill that will make everything better. Over the 15 years that I have been in this business, these have included numerous ways of “tricking” the search engines.
I think it is better to focus on trends. In the big picture, these are the five developments in Internet marketing that will influence success in the long term:
- The Growth of Mobile—By many accounts, mobile devices are now the tool used in nearly 60% of searches. Google has confirmed that worldwide, mobile searches represent more than 50% of its searches. For that reason, last year Google launched the creation of separate indexes for mobile and non-mobile search engine users. The result is that non-mobile-friendly websites may no longer be indexed for even the most on-point search phrases—for example, their own company name. Bottom line, businesses that want to be found by search engine users must have mobile-friendly, and probably mobile-responsive, websites.
- Advancements in the Semantic Web—Search engines are becoming more sophisticated about semantics and understanding the intent behind a search phrase used. The computers that index websites also now understand synonyms and how words are related to one another. The reason this is an important trend is that it makes having a blog on a website even more important. Continually adding information to a website’s blog is an important way to improve search engine rankings for greater numbers of search engine phrases—both narrower search phrases and phrases suggesting broader themes.
- The Expansion of Remarketing into Social Media—Remarketing is not, in my opinion, an appropriate choice for every business. Remarketing does, however, allow a business more chances to drive a sale from people who have visited their website, and Facebook’s remarketing program offers a way to target potential customers in a new way. By placing a bit of code on a website, Facebook can not only drive remarketing to those who have previously visited the site, but use its database of Facebook profiles and user activities to target other Facebook users with demographics like a website’s visitors. By using data analysis of website visitors and the rich databases provided by social media platforms, advertisers will be able to target new markets.
- The Availability of Great Video Creation Apps—Video has always been an influential marketing tool, but from the early days of television until recently, it was a relatively expensive one. There are still times when there is no substitute for a professionally created and edited video, of course. But social media, especially YouTube and Facebook, have made amateur video both popular and powerful. Now it is possible to create video on the fly with just a cell phone and post it to these popular social media platforms. Business owners can look to video as an easy, inexpensive way to build a strong brand.
- The Increased Importance of Good Hosting—At one time, the primary measure of a good web host was website uptime. No more. Today, the speed of page downloads is one of the many search engine ranking factors that can be impacted by hosting. The search engines are also concerned about web security, and will not direct users to websites that are infected with malware or malicious viruses. Google has signaled that websites using secured, encrypted hosting (designated as https:// in the web address), will be weighted favorably in the search engines’ rankings. The best advice today is to invest in good hosting. It is one of the ranking factors that is easiest to control.