We’re always staying on top of the SEO and social media trends at Compucast, and part of that includes going to conferences. Last week, four of our team members attended PubCon in Las Vegas, where some of the brightest minds of SEO and social media marketing gathered to discuss industry trends, best practices and predictions.
We met some incredible people, and we learned a lot. Almost everything we learned is applicable to small businesses in New Orleans. We don't want to overwhelm you, so we've boiled everything down to five tips that we think local businesses can apply to their marketing strategies right now:
1. Authority does matter, and will only matter more in the future. If Google’s Matt Cutts mentions something in a keynote, then you need to take note. Being viewed as an authority in your field online – whether you’re a company or a person – does play a role in search engine rankings, and will likely play a bigger role in the future. As Google tightens the guidelines for who will be considered authorities, spammers, as well as marketers who push out stale, generic content, will suffer.
How do you get Google to view you and/or your company as an authority? Create a following. Write interesting content that people will want to share, be active on social media and create an online community around you and/or your brand. Also, be sure that you have a Google+ account, that you post there regularly, and that you are actually engaging with other users. If people are engaging with you online, then Google takes that to mean that you are influential and care about what you have to say.
2. Social media is now 100 percent social. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? What this means is that you shouldn’t be pushing your brand on social media; you should be engaging people. Yes, it’s fine to talk about something going on at your business every now and then, but the best way to market your company is by not marketing your company. Establishing more personal relationships with your followers online will lead to a lot more business then posting “We have a sale!” every day.
When you do post about your company, make sure it's engaging and doesn't sound like a sales pitch. For example, instead of writing, "Sale, sale, sale! Come to our business on Labor Day and get 25 percent off everything," you could write, "What is everyone doing for Labor Day weekend? We'd love to see your pictures! We're having a 25 percent off sale on everything in the store, so be sure to stop by and bring the family." See the difference?
3. Don’t get caught up in search engine rankings. That’s short term thinking. Google is constantly changing, and it’s not good business to constantly change your SEO strategy. That is not modern SEO.
Don’t misread that – they still matter, but they shouldn’t be your number one focus. Now, it’s all about business objectives. What you should be focusing on is the amount of traffic your site is seeing and how much of that traffic is converting to sales, leads and business down the road.
If you have to look at rankings, focusing on compare how your site is doing in relation to your competitor’s sites in the rankings. For example, if you drop a couple of numbers in ranking and so did all of your competitors, then there is no need to freak out. However, if you drop in rankings but your all of your competitors’ rankings went up, then it’s time to investigate.
4. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then you’re already behind. Seriously. Mobile web traffic is growing at an incredible rate, and if your site doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices, then you’re toast. Not only will it create a terrible user experience for potential customers, but big search engines like Google won’t even display your site in generic search results if the customer is searching on a mobile device.
We recommend getting a responsive site if you don’t have one already. Having a responsive web design means that your site will automatically detect what kind of device the visitor is using and display accordingly. You don’t even have to have a separate mobile site anymore – it’s all in one.
If you’re interested in having a responsive site (which again, we highly recommend), then we can do that for you. Even if you don’t want a complete re-design, we can take your current site and make it responsive.
5. The five, three, any-year marketing/business plan is obsolete. The internet has changed the way we have to think and work, and it’s not changing back any time soon.
Today’s marketing plan succeeds through the placement of small “bets” throughout the ecosystem, whether on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or even your website. Content now comes in many forms; it should be the core message and then distributed through search and social media.
Once you send something out, it’s not enough to sit back and wait for something to happen. Instead, engage and listen to users who are providing feedback in real time.
There are so many other things that fall into these categories that we'll be happy to go over with you. If you or someone from your company would like to sit down and discuss a plan for your website, social media strategy, SEO strategy or digital marketing in general, then we would be glad to help. Just contact us.