Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was an amazing year for all of us at Wagada HQ and we’re determined that 2017 is going to be just as brilliant. We’re always looking for new ways to help you wake up your website. One of the reasons we love working in the digital marketing world is that it’s always changing and evolving, so that we can keep making your online presence even better.
We thought that this would be a great opportunity to sit down with a cup of tea (and maybe a slice of cake if you haven’t started the new year diet yet…) and review what we believe to be the top digital marketing trends that have grown in importance over 2016. We think our top 5 trends will all be really vital elements of creating a high profile online business that gets your product and / or service both found and talked about in 2017. So read on to find out more about these trends and learn what they can do for your business.
You’ll probably already know that having great content on your website leads to a much higher ranking in the search engines. However, 2016 has seen a greater focus placed not just on content or how much of it you have but on its comprehensiveness. In simple terms, this means how well your content actually helps your users and how well it answers the questions they are asking or gives them the information that they need.
Whilst people used to think that short, snappy content was what time poor users wanted, in fact we now see that longer content actually leads to increased rankings. This is because it is far more likely to be comprehensive and to really get to the core of what your customers want to know! Comprehensive content works well as it means that you are giving users everything they want – so they are less likely to bounce out of your site. It also makes your business appear trustworthy and because you are offering valuable knowledge, your users are more likely to share it with their peers on social media too.
To begin to build comprehensive content, you first need to think about the questions that your target market might want answered. A valuable way to get this is to reach out to your customers and do some market research, in order to understand exactly what they want from your business. Another way is to start to list out all of the questions that are raised with your sales / support / marketing / customer service teams. Once you have the results from your research, you can start to create content that stands out. It could be that you offer free downloadable guides or a series of high quality ‘how to’ videos. Maybe you can take the time to write an in-depth article that other competitors won’t have taken the time to research. Creating comprehensive content can be time consuming and may have a higher cost in the short term but we think it is well worth investing in.
Search engines are continuously getting more responsive and seeking a greater understanding of what their customers want. This means that they are becoming more in tune with user signals, which they interpret to help them gauge how people are searching online. As a business, it is important to understand what these signals are as they will enable Google to decide how to rank your website.
Key user signals are the ‘click through rate’ and ‘bounce rate’ for your site. If Google sees that you are getting lots of clicks to your site, but people are not remaining there for long, it could assume that you are not offering what your customers need. Therefore, you need to consider carefully how well your homepage or landing pages work. Ask yourself – ‘Do users find what they want quickly?’ ‘Are there clear signposts for where they need to go to fulfil their query?’ You should also think about what content you offer – for example engaging videos, a relevant blog or a news section could keep customers interested in staying on your site for longer.
Social signals are also becoming more important to the way that the search engines monitor your website. As social media becomes ever more entrenched in our lives, it has become a key way for people to search for products or services. The number of followers that you have on your social media pages is important, but what is perhaps more pertinent is the way that they engage with you. Shares, re-tweets and engagement with posts show the search engines the validity of your business and reinforce the fact that customers value what you have to offer.
As 2016 progressed, you may have seen a move on both social media and business websites towards video content. A great picture may be able to speak a thousand words but a video can bring so much more to your website. We have found that video works so well because it can really bring your business to life. People get to know the team behind your business, they can view a demonstration of how your products work or even take a 360 degree tour around your premises! In a busy online marketplace, using video can really make your website stand out from the crowd.
Video content is also becoming increasingly popular on social media too. Facebook have launched Facebook Live which allows you to broadcast livestream video onto your pages. This is a fantastic way to engage with your followers, it can really make them feel involved in your daily life. A great example of how video content can go viral on social media was the fabulous mannequin challenge which we had great fun taking part in. We’ve also seen a rise in the popularity of vlogging (video blogging). This takes the concept of blogging one stage further and vloggers are able to talk directly to their followers and share and show them their experiences. Vloggers are now key influencers in the online sphere and it can be a good idea to know which vloggers would work well with your target market.
It is however important to get your video content right and having badly-filmed content can actually have a negative impact on your reputation and your business. It can be well worth investing in a professional video company to shoot some of your footage for you, so that it looks fantastic – and of course think carefully about what type of video content your customer demographic want to see and what they will want to share on social media,
Following on from the fact that content needs to be comprehensive, we have also seen an increase in long form content. This means copy that is over 1,500 words rather than the 500 words often used in web content. It’s only recently that people have started to realise the benefits of longer content, as opposed to shorter articles that can be read and digested quickly. Recent research has shown that longer content ranks really well in the search engines and in fact, even Google – who are often quite reticent about giving ranking information – said in their Webmaster’s blog that “10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
Another benefit of longer content is that it can get more people linking to it. As it’s more detailed, it is more likely to be seen as a valued resource and therefore other sites will be keener to link to it. Longer articles also get more social shares on Facebook and Twitter, again due to the fact that they offer more to the reader. If you are still not convinced, then longer content has also been shown to lead to a greater conversion rate too.
Importantly though, when you are looking to write longer content, you should always make sure that you prioritise quality over quantity. Make sure that you are offering useful information and that you are writing about subjects that your customers want to read about at an in-depth level,
If you run a website for your business, then you probably already know what your keywords are and understand the words that your customers use when they are searching for your product or business. But, as search engines become more intuitive, we have seen how long tail keyword phrases have become far more important and how they are vital to helping you target your key customers.
Long tail keyword phrases focus on the detailed phrases that customers may be using to search for your services. A hairdresser may know that a keyword for their business is ‘haircut’ but that is a fairly vague and wide-reaching term and there will be a large amount of competition in the search engines. Therefore you need to think about phrases more specific to your business, i.e., ‘low cost haircut in St Albans’. Whilst this may not bring in as many hits to your website, what it will do is bring in more targeted hits that have a much higher chance of converting to sales.
Long tail keyword phrases are great for boosting both your organic and paid for search. If you are using AdWords there is likely to be far less competition for more unique and specific phrases which mean you can pay a lower cost per click.
We think that these 5 key trends will really come into play in 2017, so we recommend you take the time to understand how they can help your business. As always, Wagada will be keeping up-to-date with any changes in the digital marketing world and we’re sure that the New Year will bring some exciting developments. We’ll be the first to let you know so watch this space!