There were a lot of newsmakers in 2013, but some impacted the online business world more than others.
For this article we’re going to focus on the biggest inbound marketing newsmakers of the year.
Inbound marketing is the strategy of creating a reason for people to discover your brand on their own with a little help from you. Instead of interrupting your target audience during their lives you strategically find them when they’re looking for you even if they don’t know you exist.
An example of traditional advertising is probably best shown as a television ad or even worse, a pop-up ad on a website. An inbound marketing effort would be a blog post that someone discovers via search or social media.
Over the years I think the two are becoming more similar with many taking the inbound strategy even with their ads.
So let’s look at the biggest newsmakers of the year and they might affect you going forward.
10. Local SEO
The world is becoming smaller thanks to a variety of technology. You can email with friends and family throughout the world. You can video chat with them no matter where you’re located.
But while we undoubtedly live in a global world, our lives are seemingly becoming more local. We’re focused on things that affect us where we are right now.
Google recognizes this trend and has been making a variety of changes that affect local SEO.
The results pages include local contact information. Map information to local businesses are more prominent.
Take Action: If your business depends on local consumers for business then it’s time to improve your website to take advantage of SEO. Here is a great article on the subject from SEO and Inbound experts, Moz.
9. Blog Marketing
There has been a lot of talk in the inbound world about the importance of blogging. Creating content is one thing and for years the topic of blog marketing or blog promotion has been a trend, but it’s picking up steam.
There have been a number of good articles and guides on the topic in 2013 including:
- The Skyscraper Strategy
- Write Email. Click Send.
- How to Grow Your Blog to 100,000 Visits a Month Within 1.5 Years
Look for the blog marketing trend to continue in the New Year.
Take Action: You need content to succeed with inbound marketing, but the second piece of it is to market that content. Read the articles above and formulate your blog marketing strategy for the New Year. Try a few new things. Experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Then create repetitive formulas once you see what works.
8. Marketing Automation
It seems like there is marketing software for everything. There are all kinds of things you can automate these days and more marketers are taking advantage of everything from email to social media.
7. Facebook Organic Newsfeed
It was only a month or so ago that Facebook officially announced that they were cutting organic rankings for pages and other types of content in thew Newsfeed. Those that depend on Facebook for traffic and sales were angry about this, but Facebook has been doing things like this for many years.
The goal of sites like Facebook and Google is to increase sales and profit. They have no obligation to help businesses get free traffic. They will help businesses do that, but now the focus is more on ads.
Take Action: The best way to make your company able to handle changes like this is to create a blogging strategy that doesn’t depend on one or even on just a couple traffic sources. When you create content exclusively for Facebook you’re at risk. When you create content on a blog and use The Snippet Strategy you can get traffic from a variety of sources.
6. Page Speed
This trend has been happening for a long time and it’s continuing to grow. People are using the Internet more than ever and they want that experience to be fast.
Have you ever used a slow website?
It drives you crazy and if it takes more than a few seconds to load many of us will leave the page. It’s not worth it.
Take Action: Remove unnecessary content from your website. Get a better hosting plan especially if you’re using WordPress. Work with a designer and developer that understand how to make a page faster. Speed will only get more important the more people visit your site from their smartphones. More on that later.
5. Native Advertising
Native advertising has been an interesting topic for the last few years. It’s not a new strategy, but it’s getting more attention this year for some reason.
It seems one of the big reasons Native Advertising is getting more attention is because some companies are trying to trick their own target audience. I don’t think that really makes sense.
Basically, Native Advertising is a company providing useful, entertaining content to a target audience in an inbound format instead of a traditional advertising format.
The best way to do it is by creating your own blog or some type of content platform you own. This ways it’s easy for readers to know that there is a brand behind the content. People trust this type of content. You’re an expert in your industry and people want to hear what you have to say and how it can help them.
Take Action: Launch a blog in 2014. Publish a post every week. Market those posts.
4. Content Variety
There are a number of different ways to create content.
You have blog posts, infographics, videos, videographics, guides and a ton of other content formats.
I think content variety is a very good thing. Different people prefer different content. This is important for anyone online trying to create content to bring in an audience.
Take Action: Start with your business and what your goals are for content (hint: getting traffic and sales). Determine where your abilities intersect with the your target audience’s content preferences. If your audience prefers online video and if you can create video then that’s a good route to go. The same is true for blogging or maybe even creating infographics.
3. Online Video
The stats surrounding online video are crazy. Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic and up to 69 percent of traffic on certain networks.
That is crazy. We just talked about content variety. The biggest part of that variety is probably video in the coming years.
Take Action: Make it part of your requirements for 2014 to research online video. Determine if your target audience is using it (they likely are). Determine how you company can use it and how you will create videos. If you get far enough then it’s time to create some videos. There is no better time to do it than in 2014.
2. Responsive Design
Do you access the web with your smartphone?
How much of the content that you access is offered with a good experience?
Things are getting better, but there are still a number of websites that offer regular desktop experiences for mobile users. People are getting frustrated with this. Those desktops sites have pop-ups all over the place. There is too much content everywhere. The pages are slow.
Responsive design is something your designer and developer will do to your website to make it provide a great experience to visitors no matter what devices they use.
Take Action: Responsive design was a high priority item for GBW in 2013. For 2014, it should be yours. Talk to your designer and get it on the list for the New Year.
1. (Not Provided)
The SEO world got in a big uproar a few years ago when Google took away some keyword data with (Not Provided). Things got even more hairy this year when just about all SEO keyword information was blocked.
Does it really matter that much?
Not really. If you’ve been focusing on building content that your target audience cares about you don’t need keyword data. You know the topics they care about most. You know if your content works because you can track the traffic to each post or each piece of content.
Take Action: Start a blog. Focus on the topics your target audience cares about. Market the posts with the goal of getting traffic from a variety of source and don’t worry about what Google’s doing. I think eventually organic search will disappear. Maybe it won’t entirely, but plan as if it will. You can’t focus on any one traffic source. A variety is better and if you own your content you will always have an asset that people will want no matter how they find it.
There were a lot more newsmakers of the year out there, but these were the ones we thought had the most impact. Hopefully you can go back and look at these stories again and take the action steps to improve your business in the New Year.
Here’s to a great 2014!