Happy New Year to you! I hope you’ve had a nice break over the Christmas period and are raring to get stuck into making headway on-line with your business. We here at Lime Canvas certainly are!
In this post I will summarise the digital marketing resolutions I feel most businesses should consider this year. So lets jump right in to it:
1 – Resolve to create EPIC content
Yes the quantity of blog posts/video’s/podcasts/slide decks/etc that you produce is important but not at the cost of quality. The biggest effect you can have from an inbound marketing/content marketing point of view would be if you were publishing an absolutely EPIC post every day, however unless you have a team of staff tasked with creating content it is unlikely you will have the resources to achieve this. Publishing 3 posts per week will get you 67% of the effect.
Think about your business and brain storm to come up with ways to create valuable blog posts quickly. For example we do an Ask the Experts post from time to time where we email a panel of people we know who are experts in their fields questions, which they answer. The answers are collated into a post but to create this post takes less time than writing a whole post from scratch, so there is a time saving but not at the expense of quality.
Obviously the time required to achieve a posting schedule will vary from writer to writer and business to business but the more you do it the quicker it will become.
This post from Hubspot shows you some techniques on how to turn up the remarkable factor of your content creation.
Remember: Consistency is super important. Not just for Google but for your readers.
2 – Resolve to guest post more diversely
Guest posting is where you write a post that somebody else publishes on their site. Typically this post contains a link back to your website which brings you Google link juice and also (if the article is epic) direct visitor traffic as people read your guest post and decide to check you out because they like the cut of your jib.
2012 was absolutely rocked by Google unleashing a bunch of black and white animals on the SEO world. Penguins and Panda’s with the teeth of sharks ran riot in the streets of the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Issues like duplicate content, and what you put in the anchor text of the links that point back to your site became much more important. Leading experts are predicting that 2013 will be filled with even more updates of this nature.
What that means for you and your website (particularly if your website is young) is that your best strategy for guest posting is to post on as many different blogs/websites as possible. This will offer you the highest chance of link diversity and also will open your site up to new audiences each time.
3 – Resolve to make your snippets richer!
Rich snippets are not a new phenomenon but Google has implemented a number of new features in 2012 to make their SERPs richer. You may have noticed sometimes when you search now in the results you will see a thumbnail picture of somebody’s face beside the result?
Sometimes you will see stars, or a video, or a whole bundle of additional links. Tweaking things so that your website’s snippets are more rich won’t increase your SERPs position in its own right (yet), but they should increase your CTR (Click Through Rate) as they make your website’s result stand out more.
The good news is that you can tweak your website and Google+ to maximise the richness of your snippets!
4 – Become a Google+ Ninja
It’s definitely the most well-designed of all the social networks. It looks great and it’s incredibly effective, but yes Google did get to the party a bit late. They don’t have the active user base Facebook has although it is growing still. If you want your business to get traffic from search engines then I have some well-established facts for you to consider:
- Google owns the largest and the second largest (YouTube) search engines on earth.
- Google has something in the region of 80% of the market share for search
- Google have already incorporated Social Factors in its ranking algorithm
- It now has a social network its hell bent on growing
When you put all the above together with the signals coming from Google about the direction they are planning to take things you can only come to the conclusion that being active on Google+ will help your search marketing efforts.
5 – Resolve to only conduct effective link building
I’m not going hysterically declare that link building is dead because it is not. Far from it, in fact high quality links pointing back to your website are still the most straight forward way to increase your site’s SERPs placement.
However, there is a small penguin shaped caveat to my comment above: you’ll need to take a much closer look at all your old link building tactics as they may not still be effective. Link building still works, however now it’s significantly more complex to do effectively and doing it wrong can have negative side effects.
Once upon a time Link Building was a strategy in its own right, now in my opinion it should only be undertaken as part of a larger Inbound Marketing strategy. If you are already employing a Link Building Agency, now is the time to sit down with them and get to grips with exactly what they are doing for you on your behalf.
6 – Implement a Local Places strategy
Is your business local? In other words does your business serve a market place that, geographically speaking, is near your office? If yes, then you would be madder than a bag of ferrets to not be doing something with Google Local Places. It’s free and both easy and quick to set up.
After you’ve set up your account Google will post you out a postcard with a verification code on it. Once you’ve plugged that in to your local places account, you will be up and running.
The nature of your business after that will determine what the best strategy for accumulating citations and reviews is for you. Simply put, you want your happy customers to review your business, but to do that they’ll need to be in front of their computer/laptop/mobile device.
If you have a “shop front” business where your customers come in to buy your products/services then perhaps you could create and print a QR code which links to your listing. You could simply then ask your customers to scan it and leave a review. Maybe offer a once off 25% discount, that they can claim the next time they are in after they leave a review, which you can easily check and confirm by browsing to your local places listing on Google+.
For office based businesses there could be a synergistic relationship between growing your email list and also growing the number of reviews you get. Ask your clients (or send them a link to an opt-in form) if you can add them to your after care customer list. Set up an auto-responder to have a series of post-sale communications. This is something every business should be doing anyway to maintain the relationship with their existing client base.
Your first message to them could be a thank you mail with a “We’d love to hear how we did – click here to review your experience with us” link in the email to your Local Places page. Don’t forget to in some way incentivize customers to make the effort of writing a review.
7 – Resolve to examine your business in the context of “mobile”
The use of mobile devices for the web is increasing at a massive rate, and some are forecasting that mobile device use will overtake desktop use in 2013. What is your business doing on mobile? Is your website responsively designed? Would a mobile app make sense for your business?
Have you contacted whoever looks after your SEO to see if you need to do anything to make sure that your site is optimised for users searching on mobile devices?
Are there any opportunities for your business to take advantage of by your prospects using their mobile devices? For example perhaps you have a lot of branches and your prospects might find a Google Maps feature that would navigate them to the nearest branch?
8 – Resolve to implement a (not provided) workaround
Once upon a time when you logged in to your Google Analytics account, the software would tell you what keywords were referring traffic to your website. This was really useful information for site owners because it allowed us to make informed decisions about keyword choices and landing pages.
Google have begun stripping this keyword data out of Google Analytics, allegedly for privacy reasons. If you are a paying Adwords customer you can still get this data so it seems more revenue motivated than privacy motivated to me.
At the moment it’s between 27% and 39% (depending on who you read) of the keywords that send your website traffic that Google are not allowing you to see. Instead they present the keyword group labelled “(not provided)”. Rand Fishkin is forecasting that this will increase to circa 80% of all keywords in 2013.
To be able to maintain some form of business intelligence about your customers search behaviour additional efforts will need to be made probably in the form of clever landing page design.
More on this on this (not provided) work around on this blog through the year as this situation evolves, so sign up on the right to get our weekly digest of posts in your Inbox
9 – Put a bullet proof social media strategy in place
The worst thing you can do as a business is to go about your social media higgeldy piggledy. Know exactly what social networks your business should be on to achieve maximum benefit and remember that the whole world is watching.
Have clear and precise policies for dealing with customer complaints and general moans. If possible have more than one person who monitors and updates your social media accounts. In the event that another user says something negative on social media about your business it is absolutely essential that you have somebody who is not emotionally attached to the conversation to step in and provide the best customer service that’s ever been seen come out of your company.
Otherwise something like this might happen to your business. More on how to avoid these types of PR disasters on the blog in the coming weeks.
10 – Resolve to re-purpose your content more
Many of us in the industry have been saying that Content is King for years now but never has this been more true. Time and again Google have signalled that what they want is high quality, relevant, original and unique content.
High quality backlinks are becoming more and more difficult to come by so it makes sense that if you’ve spent time creating a really detailed blog post that you repurpose the content and distribute it via other channels. For example say you’ve written a 2000 word guide on how to build a deck in your back garden.
You’ve already done all the hard work, so why not turn the content you’ve created into a presentation and host it on Slideshare? You could also make a step by step video and host it on YouTube. Every time you do this you’re essentially creating a new piece of content in Google’s eyes and more than that you are giving a different set of Internet users the opportunity to be exposed to your brand, company and content.
11 – Create a new 2013 Digital Marketing Plan
Once you have considered all the points above you will be in a good place to create a workable Marketing Plan document. If you already have a plan from last year then you simply need to set some time aside so that you can re-evaluate your existing plan. What worked? What didn’t? Where there activities you didn’t get around to last year? Perhaps you could shelve some of the things you did last year that didn’t get any results, and try some of the tactics you never got around to?
If you have never had a Digital Marketing Plan, now is the best time to start one.
There’s a useful post here that will show you how to get started.
How many of these resolutions are you planning to implement in 2013? Any I left out?