How does this affect you?Well, if your business up to this point has relied Google searches to generate revenue,the following emerging trends are something you should keep an eye on to make sure yourbusiness doesn’t take an unexpected hit.
1.Organic reach is down
Although Google is still the dominating force in search-engine traffic, consumers’ intelligence level and frame of mind have changed big time in just the past few years.First, organic reach is down.Organic reach is the number of people shown your post through unpaid distribution — and it’s down because users are searching elsewhere (see the next point).This has arguably created cynicism in many users, who avoid clicking on paid ads altogether even though they’re often the best source of the information they seek.Since competition has gone up for many keywords, driving up the prices on ads and causing a frenzy of mixed information in organic-search results, users have begun trending toward internet searches, where they can confirm and mirror their peer groups’ opinions and decisions.
2.People want what their friends have
The days are fading of people typing their searches into Google and trusting anything it spits back at them.This has people searching in new ways.Facebook’s move to step up its search options poses the largest threat to Google’s market share.Google was too slow to adapt this trend and so it now has to either catch up or get left behind.Consumers are more likely to care what their friends’ favorite restaurant is than what restaurant is on the first page that comes up on a local Google search.
3.Mobile apps and social networks are taking market share
Consumer traffic online is splitting into niches faster than reality-star couples are splitting up.With more competition online, app developers have seen great success in appealing to specific niches exclusively.How does this affect SEO?
The reason that this trend toward splitting-up is one of thebiggest killers of traditional search engine strategies is that it gives tech-savvy users a much more targeted search option.Likewise, a consumer who in the past may have searched for the latest fashion trends on Google is now more likely to search Pinterest.Therefore, as a marketer or business owner, it is more important to know where your customer is looking for your product, than to rely solely on your product appearing at the top of Google.
4.Facebook has faces
You may not agree, but many people just don’t trust Google the way they used to.Facebook has the advantage of faces.Google lacks the incorporation of social proof.Although Google tried to to catch up by rolling out its Google Plus social network, and although it was forced on us like the Kardashians, the feature never could deliver benefits to users enough to justify using a second social network.Social proof is one of the biggest driving factors in consumers’ decisions today and there is just no way to force or fake that.Search engines, specifically Google,will likely always be the place we go to get the information we need.However, the point is that now that customers have so many other options of where to search, it is important that businesses which traditionally relied fully on SEO to pick up customers be aware of where their customers are trending to — or get left behind.
As social media marketing becomes more challenging and time-consuming, it’s time to get more organised when managing your brand’s social presence.
It’s not easy handling a brand’s social presence, but its successful management can lead to great results. Social networks keep growing and they are heading into a more mature phase, which means that the challenges grow for every brand that tries to stay competent.
There are many reasons for a brand to invest in social media marketing and the results depend on the set goals:
1. Increase awareness
2. Reach a new audience
3. Boost engagement
4. Increase traffic to the site
5. Explore new business opportunities
6. Gain new leads
7. Work with new clients
No matter what goals you set for the new year, you still need to stay on top of your brand’s social media marketing and the right checklist may help you with all the tasks you need to do at the beginning of the year.
This is the initial stage that you’ll think of all the new ways that can boost your social media marketing.
* Explore the latest trends and see if any of them fits in your own strategy
* Learn more about the new platforms or examine whether the old ones are still suitable for your audience
* Be creative and think outside the box
* Come up with new content ideas and experiment with them on each platform
* Ask for help from other team members to broaden your perspective.
Right after your brainstorming session, it’s time to evaluate your planning to see whether it’s effective enough to help your social media marketing.
*Go back to your content calendar and see whether it was effective enough to use it frequently
* What needs to be improved to the existing content calendar?
* Decide on the channels you’re using. Should you add new ones?
* Examine whether the frequency of the content has been effective up to now
* Organise your goals and your KPIs
* Do you know how to justify your social marketing efforts?
Now you’re ready to check the practical aspect of your social media marketing. The evaluation of the implementation phase helps you understand whether your plan has been successfully in action.
* Are you happy with the way the posts are published?
* Is the content calendar followed?
* Is the engagement the one you expected?
* Are you replying to the users’ comments?
* Are you monitoring your brand’s social accounts?
* Do you use all your social accounts consistently?
* How is the collaboration between the team?
* Is there a plan to deal with urgent situations?
* When was the last time you dealt with a crisis and how can you avoid another one?
* Do you need to use social media for customer service?
The last but still important stage in the evaluation of a social media marketing plan is to examine whether the measurement is effective.
* Start by going back to your initial goals. Are these met? Are they realistic?
* Keep your social reports up-to-date and prepare them for the year ahead
* Check each platform’s native analytics to stay updated on their insights
* Use your own analytics platform to have an overview of your social media marketing performance
* Find the best performing platforms and raise the expectations in the new year
* Find the platforms you need to focus on and come up with new content ideas to improve their performance
* Plan the year ahead with new KPIs
* Consult with the team on the best ways to track the KPIs
* Align social media marketing KPIs with your wider marketing strategy
Although the checklist and the questions you need to answer seem to be time-consuming, the actual process is faster than what you think. This can even be an annual task, helping you create a successful social media marketing strategy, with a clear plan, goal and measurement. You can still add it to your new year’s resolutions.
Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities.
In a move that hasn’t attracted a lot of attention online, Angie’s List followed through on their March announcement and removed their paywall last week. Anyone can now become a member without paying the previous ~$40/year fee, and reviews are now accessible by anyone. This change, which did fly under the radar, does have strong implications for the online reputations of many businesses.
Angie’s List has always done well in the home services market: think plumbing, landscaping, HVAC, roofing, concrete and the like. And while Angie’s List did have an impact on their reputations, less than one percent of the US population were members, which meant the vast majority of people couldn’t see the rating or reviews posted on a company profile. Unlike Yelp, businesses could get by with bad Angie’s List scores and negative reviews because a lot of people couldn’t see them. Now, everyone can.
1.It is going to rank better for company names
Content, content, content. Angie’s List has it. Angie Hicks, the site’s CMO and namesake, has credited the success of the website to the fact that members “tend to give really meaty reviews.” The depth of these reviews is why people sought out info on potential contractors there. And now, with the site opening up, these meaty reviews will add value in another way: rankings.
It has always surprised me that Angie’s List ranked fairly well for businesses despite providing little more than NAP information on the publicly accessible page. The domain is strong and trusted, and now with it having deep review content, we can expect it to climb in the SERPs. If you don’t have a strategy to get positive reviews on Angie’s List, you need to start building one.
2. Your monitoring tools might not work on it
If you use a review monitoring tool, there is a good chance that it is not able to pull in your Angie’s List reviews. Because their content lived behind a paywall, they’ve resisted creating an API which would free up access for developers to get at the review and rating data. What this means is that the review platforms can’t pull your Angie’s List data in.
What you’ll want to make sure you do is claim your profile so that you are notified of any new reviews. Claiming will also make it easy for you to respond to reviews. Additionally, for our clients, we always save a copy of reviews as they come in, just in case the user deletes or edits their reviews. Having the original review has come in handy for disputes, so it is a best practice to save them.
3. More markets and industries are likely to follow
In the same way that Yelp started out with restaurants and has expanded into many other consumer businesses, we can expect that Angie’s List will try to grow into other markets as well. Angie’s List is a publicly traded company and is trading 75 percent lower than it was just three years ago, so management is definitely under pressure. Making the platform free is a drastic change, but likely just step one. They need to increase revenue, and that comes from page views. They can get that by covering more types of businesses.
I’m not expecting Angie’s List to become a restaurant review site (although anything is possible), but I could certainly see it getting into the health care space, B2B reviews and maybe even software reviews.
Time will tell how this all shakes out, but we are fully preparing to work on Angie’s List in the same way that we help our clients with Yelp and Google Reviews. I can’t see their rankings declining, and with their meaty reviews, they are bound to have a larger impact on the reputations of many businesses.
Google has said that mobile visits to travel sites now represent 40 percent of total travel traffic. Responding to this shift in consumer behavior, Google is introducing a range of new mobile hotel and flight search tools.
Mobile users will also see new deal labels when a room rate is below traditional price levels. This is similar to a feature that Google previously offered with desktop hotel search results. The company will also provide money-saving “hotel tips.” They appear to be based on travel date flexibility:
We may show Tips to people when they could save money or find better availability by moving their dates slightly. For example, you may see a Tip like, “Save $105 if you stay Wed, Jul 13 – Fri, Jul 15.“
Finally, Google will now offer airfare price tracking. Users can track fare changes on specific routes, airlines and dates. Travel searchers will then receive email alerts and Google Now notifications when prices “either increase or decrease significantly.”
Starting now, these changes will roll out first in the US and later across international markets.
The issue was that the verification method became invalid for a large number of sites in Google Search Console, and then Google had to reverify those sites. So during that process, it resent verification notifications to those users.
The email notification read, “Google has identified that [email] has been added as an owner of [domain name].” If you got these, Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter not to panic — just check to make sure that all those who are verified for your website should be. This is probably a good thing a webmaster should do on a periodic basis anyway. To do so, log in to your Search Console, click on the gears icon, and then click verification details screen. Make sure those email addresses listed there are users you want to have access to your account.
Back in November 2015, Google first publicly released the guide it provides to human raters who help it determine the quality of search results. Before then, some leaked copies were available online, but this was the first time Google had officially released them. Then, in March 2016, these guidelines were updated.
At SMX Advanced 2016 in Seattle, panelists Jennifer Slegg, Jenny Halasz and Ruth Burr Reedy talked about Google’s guidelines and the insights to be gleaned from them in a session entitled, “What Advanced SEOs Should Know From The Google Raters Guidelines.”
My top 21 takeaways from this session:
- Raters don’t impact the actual search results. Instead, Google uses these for experiments to see what needs to be adjusted in the algorithm.
- If you are an online store, you are held to the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) standard, which is the highest standard because it means the pages could have an impact on the current or future well-being of the person viewing them.
- Google search quality raters judge pages based on Expertise, Authoritativeness, & Trustworthiness (EAT).
- Expertise: Related to the author and how well they know their specific topic. Just because you’re an expert at one subject doesn’t mean you’re an expert in everything.
- Authoritativeness: Related to the actual website. The About Us page tells Google a lot about your company. Make sure you keep it updated.
- Trustworthiness: Why should a user trust your website? Does the site look sketchy? Looks matter!
- The search quality raters look to see if the needs of the searcher were met. Are you giving the searcher what they’re looking for?
- If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you automatically fail the “Needs Met” criteria.
- If you want to see if your quality is great, read it out loud and see if it sounds funny.
- Stop obsessing about how long content is. Can you honestly write 1,000 words on how to hard-boil an egg?
- How great is your online reputation? Don’t worry about one or two bad reviews, but rather your overall online presence.
- Does your website have a lot of distracting supplementary content? This is basically any junk that is not your main content, like a newsletter popup that makes you hit an “x” that says, “No, I don’t want to make a million dollars.” Google took a lot of references to this out in the updated version of the guidelines in March, which was probably because a lot of this type of content doesn’t exist on mobile (There simply isn’t room for it).
- Google uses human raters because the searchers are human!
- If you get a medium rating, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong; more likely, it just means that there is nothing special about your website. You’re “fine” but not “great.”
- If you’re offering a product or a service, your site should make it obvious how to get hold of you.
- Showing customer feedback on your website is great. Use a service like Get 5 Stars.
- Make sure your website shows where you are referenced online — news articles, Wikipedia articles and so on.
- The guidelines are for how Google wants the search results to look like, not necessarily how they are. It’s optimism vs. reality.
- Google hasn’t told us how many raters exist currently.
- Think of the rules more as guidelines than actual rules.
- Some of the guidelines are weighted more toward the actual page and not the domain itself.
- Scraped content doesn’t fool Google.
- Trust is built with Google in very small moments. Look for grammar errors, and be careful your ads are not too intrusive.
Understanding why people share content on Facebook will help you create content that is more likely to attract engagement, in the form of likes, shares, and comments. But simply relying on people to share your content isn’t the safest strategy.
You need to reach and attract new customers – and you also need to bring back people who may have visited your website not too long ago without converting.
If you haven’t already, it may be time to start using Facebook Ads.
More than a billion people log in to Facebook every day. Including your customers. While organic reach is always shrinking, Facebook has a staggering number of options to ensure your target audience sees your content.
many people have tried Facebook Ads but declared them a failure. Targeting on the platform can be complex for novice advertisers. But if you get a high enough click-through rate, Facebook ads are pretty cheap.
Basic demographic targeting will show your Facebook ads based on things like location, age, and gender. But then you can add in interests and behaviors so you can make sure you reach the people who are more likely to be interested in the product or service you’re selling.
As with any ad targeting, the danger is to target too broad of an audience, or one that is incredibly specific. The last thing you want to do is waste money on campaigns that aren’t optimized. (And, of course, it’s also crucial to make sure your Facebook ads are actually amazing)
Facebook will soon alter the way its 1.65 billion users discover stories in their News Feed. The social network will give preference to updates from friends and family over brands, the company announced.
Why Is Facebook Making This Change?
In a separate blog post today that tries to define what exactly the news feed is, Facebook emphasized that it’s all about “connecting people with their friends and family.”
It seems people are worried about missing out on important updates from their friends amidst the massive number of articles, videos, and memes people are sharing on Facebook. That’s why friends and family updates are going to the top of the news feed.
Facebook also has done some research and knows that, after friends and family, people expect their news feed to contain informative and entertaining stories. The network promises it will continue to work on personalization to ensure its feeding users what’s most relevant to them:
“Our success is built on getting people the stories that matter to them most. If you could look through thousands of stories every day and choose the 10 that were most important to you, which would they be? The answer should be your News Feed. It is subjective, personal, and unique — and defines the spirit of what we hope to achieve.”
Also, no doubt in response to the claims that Facebook is biased, Facebook wants to make sure you know that they don’t favor any sources or ideas. Because it’s all about what matters to you, you see.
Like hashtags, stickers are also searchable. After you use one you can then click on the sticker to view a newsfeed of other users who have used the same sticker. Because of the search feature, Twitter stickers could be more useful to brands than Snapchat’s filters.
Similar to Snapchat filters, Twitter’s stickers are a fun way to personalize pictures.
How Could Brands Use Twitter Stickers?
While they might seem like nothing more than another silly way to personalize photos, the search feature makes Twitter stickers extremely interesting for brands, particularly if Twitter offers sponsored stickers, similar to Snapchats sponsored filters.
Image if Finding Dory sponsored a fish or aquarium sticker. Pixar could then easily engage with users who use the sticker by retweeting and sharing GIF collections of their favorites. They could then retarget those users with ads to purchase a DVD of the movie or collectibles. They could even add a photo backdrop that interacts with the sticker in the theater to encourage users to share what are essentially branded photos.
Currently, Stickers are rolling out to a limited number of users.