Paid Media & Privacy: What’s Changing & What It Means for Marketers

My Post - 2020-02-17T185119.218.pngPrivacy. This is a word that’s likely to elicit different reactions from consumers versus those of us who work in marketing.

For marketers who live in Europe, the last eight years or so have been spent trying to wrap our heads around different pieces of privacy-focused legislation and how to best be compliant.

Our cousins in America have watched this process with feelings ranging from relief, to bemusement, to mild envy.

For all the change we’ve seen so far, 2020 is going to be the year where we see the biggest shifts yet.

It’s likely to have a profound impact on anyone who works in marketing, but particularly for those of us who work in paid media – regardless of which side of the Atlantic you live on.

So what’s going on?

Let’s take a quick look at what’s covered by GDPR and the upcoming e-Privacy Regulation, which affect Europe, but also take a look at the California Consumer Privacy Act and how this is likely to affect our industry.

Europe

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018. In a nutshell, it covers how we collect, store and use personal data.

If you’re a company based within the European Economic Area (covers slightly more countries than are in the European Union), or you’re based outside and the EEA and ever process the personal data of someone who lives in the EEA, then it applies to you.

It covers personally identifiable information – anything that relates to an identifiable individual and could be used to trace or distinguish them – such as:

  • Name.
  • Social security number.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Biometric data.
  • Education history.
  • Anything financial, medical or employment-based.

In the EU, it also includes your IP address.

As scary as GDPR been, there’s something even scarier on the horizon – the E-Privacy Regulation (ePR).

ePR is significantly more impactful when it comes to digital.

The last time regulation specific to the Internet was put in place, was 2003 and the online world has changed so much in the last 17 years.

ePR will apply to your business if you use online tracking tech, engage in electronic direct marketing, or provide online communication services.

It also expands the definition of PII to include anything that can identify an entity online – including cookies and metadata.

CCPA

The good news for those State-side is that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is much closer in scope to GDPR than it is ePR (lotta Rs in that sentence) when it comes to what it counts as personal data.

It applies to your business if you’re based in California and meet at least one of the following:

  • Has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million.
  • Buys or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers or households.
  • Or earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

If you’re one of the companies covered, here are some of the things you’ll have to do to comply (I cheated and copy-pasted this for legal ease!):

  • Implement processes to obtain parental or guardian consent for minors under 13 years and the affirmative consent of minors between 13 and 16 years to data sharing for purposes
  • “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on the home page of the website of the business, that will direct users to a web page enabling them, or someone they authorize, to opt out of the sale of the resident’s personal information
  • Designate methods for submitting data access requests, including, at a minimum, a toll-free telephone number
  • Update privacy policies with newly required information, including a description of California residents’ rights
  • Avoid requesting opt-in consent for 12 months after a California resident opts out

So, it’s similar to GDPR, but also more specific when it comes to handling the sale of data.

Check and see if it will apply to you and what work you’d need to do in order to become compliant.

What Does This Mean?

Ultimately, the key thing that both of these pieces of legislation covers are ways that we track users which aren’t personally identifiable.

GDPR in Europe generally applied to information that could be used to pinpoint someone based on their real-life identity – so anything that would help a company keep track of me, Arianne Donoghue.

What it didn’t cover, and is now going to be covered, is anything that tracks me as an entity online.

To many data and tracking services, I won’t be known by my real identity – but they’ll have a user ID that identifies this 35-44-year-old woman who lives in the north of England, loves cats, and spends far too long browsing Wholesome Memes on Reddit.

They’ll know almost everything about me – except who I actually am, but they don’t need to.

If you have a Google account it’s always worth taking a look at the Ads Preferences and information Google has stored on you. It highlights how well services are able to profile us without knowing who we are. – Read more

How to Create a Newsletter Landing Page

My Post - 2020-02-17T184539.101.pngThe old adage tells us that “consistency is key,” but what role does consistency play in our marketing? Why is it a necessity rather than a nice-to-have?

When you are focused on thoughtfully building the reputation of your brand, you’ll quickly realize how important it is to provide consistent value to your audience.

It’s not enough to capture their attention once and never connect with them again. You’ll need to keep their attention by consistently delivering content in order to leave a memorable impression.

The best way to keep your brand top-of-mind is to start an email newsletter.

By starting an email newsletter, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with your subscribers on a consistent basis with personalized, educational content.

To start collecting email subscribers, you can use a newsletter landing page to attract visitors and persuade them to join your list.

The benefits of creating a newsletter landing page

Think of your newsletter landing page as the “gate” between where your audience is right now and where they want to be. If you can position your email newsletter as a solution to a core problem they are experiencing, you’ll be able to keep an engaged email list.

So, why should you create a newsletter landing page?

Not only are landing pages the best way to grow your newsletter, but it will also allow you to accomplish these specific goals.

You can turn social media followers into email subscribers

If you rely on social media platforms to communicate with your audience, you won’t always have a direct line of communication to them.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook only show your posts to 2-3% of your followers (without paid social media advertising), but an email service provider (ESP) will deliver your email newsletter to every subscriber without the hassle of changing algorithms.

It’s also a good idea to turn your social media followers into email subscribers because they can be worth 15 times as much when they join your list.

Email subscribers are more likely to convert on your offers than a social media follower, so the main goal of your social media platforms should be to grow your email list. A newsletter landing page will help you do that.

 

You will provide consistent value to your audience

Instead of only creating automated email sequences to nurture your email subscription list (which we recommend utilizing), you can use an email newsletter landing page to communicate with your audience on a regular schedule.

Email newsletters are usually sent on a consistent weekly or monthly schedule, but you can adjust the schedule to fit your email marketing content strategy. Once you choose how often you want to email your subscribers, it’s time to outline what kind of email content you want to send.

Many creators send regular updates about their business, clients, or new projects through an email newsletter. Others send educational lessons on niche topics, helping their subscribers learn something new that they can implement into their life or business. Others tell personal stories that inspire and motivate whoever is reading them.

No matter what kind of email content you create, your newsletter landing page will help you build your email listincrease your brand trust, and grow your brand awareness once you publish it. – Read more

12 Best Free Keyword Research Tools for 2020

My Post - 2020-02-17T183922.056.pngKeyword research isn’t just about a “keyword”; it is about phrases and questions your target audiences are using to find the answers, products, and services they need. These phrases and questions a critical component of any form of a marketing campaign.

While gathering this data can be very time-consuming when you have completed your keyword research, you should have valuable information you need for:

  • Creating better SEO strategies
  • PR campaigns
  • Content ideation — video, text, social, etc.
  • Audience research
  • Paid advertising
  • Local search campaigns
  • Competitive research
  • Keywords and phrases to ignore
  • Brainstorming sessions

Keyword Research Tools

There are a lot of free tools for you to use that can help you gather this essential information. I am going to break down 12 tools that are free, easy to use, and full of valuable data marketers and businesses can use to improve their marketing strategies.


Google Trends

Google Trends will help you see the relative popularity of keywords, provide valuable data on regional variations, and is a great source for evaluating seasonality and trends in changes with search engine volume for specific keywords over time.

This data is valuable because it will help you avoid jumping on a trend that has passed and will let you see what matters to Google users now.

Comparisons:

You can compare multiple keywords to help you determine audience interests over time.

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Related Queries

Google Trends will also give you a set of related queries that will give you additional ideas for keyword research, content, and marketing strategies while giving you regional insights:

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Keyword Interests or Trends by Country or Worldwide:

This data will help you determine keyword/topic interests by region, which is extremely valuable information.

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QuestionDB

Reddit is a massive platform utilized by millions daily to discuss issues they are having, find answers, or to find solutions they need. QuestionDB has created a massive database based on questions asked on Reddit that assesses relevance by a keyword also by the category.

The tool recommends using a broad keyword term. Here is a short set of questions people asked for related to the term “BBQ”: – Read more

8 Things That Are Wrong with Google Search Today

My Post - 2020-02-17T183208.888

Regardless of what you do with your days and nights, you’d be hard-pressed to never have used Google at some point in your life.

Chances are, as we’re off and running in the year 2020, you’re using the “free” internet database and information machine on a weekly basis – most likely daily – and for good reason.

Google is an information powerhouse, serving up billions of searches a day and many-thousands of searches per second. It is second to none.

Its “hundreds of billions of webpages” that have been crawled and make up its always-expanding Search index are proof of that.

But for all its good, Google still gets plenty wrong every day.

Some problems are worse than others, depending on how often you use Google, how familiar you are with the search engines, and, basically, who you are.

A digital marketer is going to (typically) have a much more extensive understanding of how Google works than a middle-aged security guard, a stay-at-home mom, or even a police officer or a firefighter.

When considering the eight call-outs below, it is mostly considered from an everyday, average Google Search user.

That said, there will certainly be deeper explanations for seemingly basic concepts to show just how wrong Google has gotten it on several critical occasions.

1. Always Testing/Changing

Whether you’re an everyday user, sometimes user, or in-the-trenches search marketer, you most likely know Google doesn’t sit still.

The world-leading search engine makes hundreds of changes per year to its platform through thousands of updates that included more than 3,200 updates in 2018, a number that has increased each year for decades.

It has confused users, angered SEO professionals, and ultimately transformed the way nearly every human on Earth interacts with the World Wide Web.

Thus, there is likely never just one reason for any – or all – of the changes Google makes a year.

But, while many average users can easily illustrate examples of why they were ever displeased with a change Google made, there are plenty of times when those changes worked in favor of the user in terms of a better experience on the search engine.

As a search marketer, we not only appreciate many of the changes Google makes due to their impact on the overall search experience; we also appreciate these thousands of changes per year because it keeps us in demand and employs us – directly and indirectly – every day.

2. Glitchy, Like All Computer Programs

Like any technological entity, Google, too, endures glitches, bugs, broken parts, and pint-sized disasters.

In early April 2019, Google had to fix a technical issue that caused pages to be deindexed.

Later that same month, a Google issue caused the search engine to select unrelated canonical URLs that were sometimes reflected in the breadcrumb trails on mobile. In rare cases, this may have prevented proper indexing of content by Google.

The following month, Google announced it was experiencing indexing issues that lasted through much of a day.

While temporary, it was still a major issue that prevented new content from being indexed in search results and make those results far less useful than they typically are.

Search Engine Journal staff writer Roger Montti pointed out how even though “Google has suffered outages in the past, Google has not experienced so many outages in such a short period of time,” as it did in the first half of 2019, suggesting the series of problems could be tied to a larger issue like an infrastructure update.

In July, Google had to fix a bug that caused search results to not fully render for some people over a span of several days.

Then, in the following month, it fixed another a bug that prevented newly-published content from being indexed again (same issue as May).

And, just as recent as February 2020, Google experienced glitches with Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager that caused some sites to become unverified in Search Console.

Clearly, this isn’t a problem most Google users would even recognize, but it was another issue that had some sort of impact on search, its users, and Google.

3. Never 100% Accurate

No search engine is perfect.

But they have all been impressive at one point or another with the results they serve up, and Google is certainly no exception to that.

While it doesn’t need a specific name or entity title to get the answer you’re looking for, Google is able to connect the dots for people more often than not when delivering an answer with a limited amount of information for many informational-type searches.

Other, more-granular searches that are guided with specific details – like a person’s name – can result in a short, simple answer that usually becomes a featured snippet.

These answers are a work in progress – that is, building out the database tied to the entities referenced in those answers.

More often than not, featured snippet answers are correct, or at least mostly correct.

There are certainly times when the answers, or at least parts of the answers, are incorrect, though.

Like the example below (which is now fixed), Google referenced Ice Cube’s net worth, but then suggested some other similar searches, which include a photo of rapper Vanilla Ice as the representation for (a different) rapper, Ice-T. – Read more

Analyzing search results reveals a lot about Google’s view of useful content

My Post - 2020-02-17T181251.678.pngUnderstanding what Google chooses to present can help in assessing the types of searcher intent you can address with your content.

Creating content is a process that has to get smarter all the time. Google is continually improving how it understands naturally expressed human language, as perfectly evidenced in its BERT update from last October.

Google has said – and webmaster trends analyst John Mueller has echoed – that there is really nothing drastically new to optimize for after the update, aside from ensuring that SEOs are writing naturally in their content rather than focusing too much on keywords.

The idea of creating content around topics rather than keywords is not particularly new, and so I am presenting an argument for making sure your content is addressing exactly what users want to see. In addition to all the content-research methods you know about already – performing keyword research, examining keyword intent, and using topic research tools – you should be mining the SERPs to see what Google has chosen to present, especially on the first page.

If there is anything to take from BERT, it is that, for how well Google understood query intent before, it now does it even better. So, the content Google sees as worthy of positions one and zero – as well as all the surrounding ancillary content on the page – is probably worth a closer look by SEOs who want to compete.

With all that said, let’s take a deep dive into analyzing search results for your own content creation, including looking at the various SERP features to see what they mean, discovering the apparent intent of the queries that led you to those particular results, and ultimately understanding and crafting more competitive content.

SERP features and intent

Search for anything on Google and you’ll get about 10 organic results in the form of those famous blue links. Those are the “money” parts of a SERP, of course, but nearly as important are all the images, graphs, boxes and news selections that appear alongside the organic results, depending on the query.

Discussing every possible feature that could appear is beyond the scope of this post, and you already know about meta tags, answer boxes and carousel lists. But since our goal is to analyze searcher intent, let’s look at a few SERP features that can be telling, given the right context.

Knowledge graphs

Knowledge graphs, or panels, present users with basic information about the entity they have searched for, if applicable. Search for “Hyundai,” as you see below, and you get a knowledge panel showing the full name of the company, a blurb describing it, the customer service email and phone number, stock price and so on. That covers quite a bit of information in one concise box. And just to the left, as you would expect, is the top paid result, for the brand’s American division website. – Read more

There is No Benchmark for Crawl Budget

My Post - 2020-02-17T175224.099.pngThere is no benchmark for what is considered an optimal crawl budget for websites, Google’s John Mueller says.

This was stated in response to a Reddit thread where an SEO asked whether there’s ideal percentage of pages that Googlebot should be crawling every day. The thought behind this question is content may be kept fresh if Googlebot crawls it more regularly.

Here is the question in full:

“While everyone talks about crawl budget, I haven’t found a specific cutoff or a range for this. Like what should be the minimum percentage of pages out of total (or total changes made everyday) should be crawled by GoogleBot everyday to keep the content fresh?

I understand that this can vary a lot because lot depends upon static/variable content on the website. I am just trying to understand how to benchmark crawl budget.”

In response, Mueller simply states: “There is no number.”

Therefore, if you’re looking to boost your crawl budget, there’s really no ideal number to be aiming for. However, that’s not to say there’s no benefit to optimizing a website’s crawl budget.

What is Crawl Budget?

Simply put, a crawl budget is the number of URLs Googlebot is able to crawl (based on site speed) and wants to crawl (based on user demand).

A higher crawl budget can help keep popular content fresh, and help prevent older content from becoming stale.

Factors Affecting Crawl Budget

One of the best ways to improve crawl budget is to limit the amount of low-value-add URLs on a website, such as:

  • Faceted navigation and session identifiers
  • On-site duplicate content
  • Soft error pages
  • Hacked pages
  • Infinite spaces and proxies
  • Low quality and spam content

These types of pages can steal crawl activity away from a site’s more important pages. – Read more

5 Ways SEO & Web Design Go Together

My Post - 2020-02-13T165102.133.pngWhen you’re trying to improve your website’s performance, it’s important to remember that you have to focus on numerous factors simultaneously.

In both life and digital marketing, we tend to give all of our attention to one or two important elements while neglecting something else that can turn out to be equally as important.

If you want to do better in the SERPs, it takes more than just SEO.

Your website also needs to be designed well, or you risk squandering all of that organic equity you have been building.

SEO and web design work together more seamlessly than many people might realize.

Their components mingle and flow together so well that, when executed correctly, your website visitors should not actually notice anything about what you have created; they should simply start navigating through your site.

So, what are those elements where SEO and web design collaborate? Check out these five ways they are used together.

1. Mobile-Friendliness

Anyone who’s even slightly familiar with SEO or web design should already know the importance of making your website mobile-friendly.

In fact, if this isn’t something you’ve taken the time to do yet, you’re already a few years behind.

Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor in 2015. That’s half a decade ago.

The search giant then introduced mobile-first indexing in 2017. It’s clear to see how importantly Google views mobile-friendliness, but many websites still haven’t caught on.

The number of people searching on desktops has been declining for a few years now, while the number of people searching on mobile devices has been steadily increasing.

More than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices, which means that more than half of your audience is also likely to be on their mobile phones.

Without a mobile-friendly website design, you could be accidentally alienating half of your users. That is massive.

A website with a high bounce rate due to not loading properly on a phone or tablet is going to send bad signals to Google, and your rankings could plummet.

2. Easy-to-Read Design

If you’ve been working on improving your SEO, content is likely something that you have spent a lot of time on.

Some people might not realize what a huge impact the design of a website can have on your content, or at least the presentation of it.

Poor web design can make it impossible for users to read what they came to your website to do.

Pages with blocks of content in strange places, with too many hyperlinks that don’t serve a clear purpose, essentially erases any audience that you managed to bring onto your site.

And if no one can get the information they want, what’s the point?

At some point, you’ve probably been on a website that had text that was impossible to read because of the page design.

Maybe it was a light-colored text on a pure white background or a dark color on black. Those kinds of designs recall the often terrible websites of the mid- to late 1990s.

But the issue is not always color. The text may also be too big or small, or written in a hard-to-read font.

Like websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, sites that are difficult to read on any device or desktop are going to turn people away quickly.

Web designers understand how to create websites that make it easy for users to take in your content so you get the most for your money.

White space, line length, and any extra elements such as images can all affect how people pay attention to your site. Also, remember to consider people with disabilities by going for an inclusive web design format. – Read more

The 11 Landing Page Best Practices to Swear By

My Post - 2020-02-13T131148.944.pngIf you’re in marketing, you’re no stranger to landing pages. We’ve all clicked through an interesting ad looking for more information and abandoned the landing page because it was too confusing or didn’t hold enough information. And if we’re paying attention, we usually take note of what not to do with our own landing pages.

But what about what we need to do to keep those visitors? Whether you’re using a plug-and-play solution like Marketo or Hubspot or Unbounce to make your landing pages or you’re having an in-house dev team build them out, you can swear by these 11 landing page best practices for better pages and, of course, more conversions.

1. Align your landing page with the goal of your ad campaigns

Now, I think landing pages are harder to create than ads, so I think this tip should be the other way around. But others disagree. Either way, when you’re setting up a landing page, keep your eye on the prize. What ad campaigns will drive traffic to this page? What’s the goal?

Based on that, make sure the language on the page echoes the language in your ads or vice-versa. If your ad says, “Get free internet! Learn how here,” then your landing page should explain exactly how to get free internet. Badda-bing-badda-boom, you have a new customer.

2. Simplify your forms
Though forms can be an important part of landing page design, I’m not going to dive in too deep since we have another (far more helpful) post on that here. But rule of thumb: Never ask for more information than you need. Try to keep it under seven fields of input. Appreciate white space. When in doubt, always keep it simple.

3. Test your copy and CTA
Speaking of keeping it simple, let’s talk landing page copy. Anytime you’re writing copy for a designed page, keep the layout in mind. You don’t want your audience to be staring down a wall of text that they need to comb through to get to the point. When you can, use bullet points, headers, and subheads to drive your point home concisely.

But as always, test your copy. And test your CTA. And then test some more copy. And then test CTAs again. You’re never going to know what resonates with your audience until the numbers tell you the truth.

You’re going to have to trust me that this landing page has been tested against other copy and different forms and different CTAs. Turns out, competing in AdWords (without just raising bids) is pretty compelling.

4. Keep the design straightforward and easy to navigate
Have you ever landed on a page and just … gotten lost? It’s happened to me. I’ll be looking to buy concert tickets and all of a sudden, I just can’t find the “Buy Now” button because there are too many dropdowns and display ads and distractions.

Don’t lose conversions because of this. Your landing page design should reflect your brand colors and look like something you’d want to include on your website. Along with keeping your forms simple, you want to make the whole page navigable.

5. Leverage case studies and social proof
This tip is easy. Any time you can leverage the nice things your customers have said about you, do it. If you don’t have a large cache of compliments, you can lean on logos instead. Just make sure you have permission!

There are a few different platforms that will integrate with your landing pages to keep reviews fresh, like Yelp, Google My Business, and Trustpilot. You can even use simple embed codes. Keep these reviews at the bottom of the page so you don’t distract from the action you want your audience to take. These should be also related to the headline describing the action, or else your audience will get pretty confused.

Munchery popped in some reviews from Trustpilot on their landing page and magically made the section simple and appealing, without distracting from the action above.

Read more

3 tips and 1 tool to drive your Google Ads performance

My Post - 2020-02-13T130213.797.pngAre you wasting money on digital? It’s a hot challenge to spot the wasted spend and it’s even more difficult to measure the real growth potential of your online business. This overcoming challenge is really important because with the new and future Google Ads automations it will be harder to understand and optimise your performances.

Here are three tips on how to optimise for Google AdWords in few minutes.

First: Rate your market shares

Focus on the impression share KPI : This is the number of impressions recorded for your ads compared to the total number of eligible impressions. It’s important to spot where you lose some shares and filter whether they are on your brand name (notoriety) or on pure acquisition. Each lost impression means a visit for your competitors on a keyword you chose to target. Two reasons can explain those lost impressions: an insufficient budget, or a bad ranking.

Our tips:

– Target an impression share of 90% min on your own brand name

– Target an impression share of 80% min on your profitable campaigns

Tips: you can find those figures directly in SEISO on section “Impression Share”

Second: Spot new Growth opportunities… at the same cost

Every month, search for your top 10 quick wins for growth hacking. The idea is to spot the campaigns that are the most profitable for you but that do not benefit for the full reach they might have (based of the previous impression share split & features).
During a campaign, determine if you lose impressions due to budget limits (if so, then increase your bids on those specific campaigns, you are 100% it’s a high profitability invest) or due to ranking.

Then prioritise your growth marketing work.

1. Focus first on the campaigns where you have the highest percentage of search lost impression share due to budget, in a few clicks you will get immediate results.

2. Then look at your best ROI or CPL and work on their ranking (How to increase your Adwords ranking without increase your CPC? Let’s go to next section)

Tips: We recommend using the automated monthly Adwords report from SEISO, section “Campaigns with high potential”

Third: Track your weighted quality score and work on it

The quality score is a grade between 0 and 10 and defines the quality of your ad on each keyword. The higher this quality score is, the more impressions you will have and the lower your CPC will be.

The standard quality core is set to 7. So be careful with any lower scores and make sure you track your QS as a top strategic KPI for your PPC activities.

This score is available in your AdWords panel but only on a keyword panel. You’ll have to calculate your QS weighted by cost (the most relevant KPI).

TipsSEISO calculates automatically your weighted QS and the business growth potential of its improvements.

The quality score is made of three main criteria: The expected CTR (number of clicks on your ads), the consistency of the ad in relation to the targeted keywords and the consistency of the landing page. It’s important to understand on which of these aspects you are losing points compared to your competitors, and therefore to act on them. – Read more

SEO In 2020: What To Expect For The Year Ahead

My Post - 2020-02-13T124714.689.pngAt the close of the decade and the start of a brand new year, I have taken some time to reflect on SEO trends that emerged in 2019 and those that I believe will define the year ahead.

SEO is one of the most exhaustive topics in the world of digital marketing, and there are a plethora of sources promising the latest information regarding updates to Google algorithms and the dynamic nature of consumer practices. The best advice I can offer is this: Find an in-house digital marketing expert or hire a third-party company that proves to be forward-thinking. When it comes to hiring an SEO expert, look for someone who demonstrates an understanding that trends are constantly changing and is committed to staying on top of the latest updates. SEO techniques from the previous decade will be wholly insufficient in the roaring ’20s ahead.

Did you know that Google, the most popular search engine in North America, updates its search algorithm, on average, 500 to 600 times per year? Your SEO strategy should follow a similar trajectory if you want to have the best rankings. Let’s dive into the most important aspects of SEO and what trends to expect in 2020.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is a marketing approach that focuses on improving online visibility. While the term is widely used, it is also commonly misunderstood. When it comes to SEO trends to watch for in 2020, one of the most significant for organic SEO is the importance of advanced links.

Advanced link-building strategies can increase your website’s Domain Authority (the score given to your site between 0 and 100) and thereby improve your overall visibility online. Advanced link-building goes beyond establishing generic directories and includes guest blogs, paid links and web 2.0 blogs. Each of these strategies involves placing content on third-party sites with links back to your website.

The more websites that point to yours with a substantial DA, the more visible your website will become. If you’re looking for a digital marketing company to promote your brand, ask about their network of partnerships, websites and forums that they use for guest blogging and paid advertising.

Local SEO

Local, or map search, SEO has emerged as a distinct form of SEO over the last few years. Through internal research, our company found that 30% to 40% of customers, on average, now find local companies through maps. As such, strong map visibility is crucial.

Instead of a website, local SEO requires that your Google My Business (GMB) profile be optimized with keywords and links. The strategies for improving local SEO include NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency, link-building, image geotagging and further engagements with your GMB profile (such as reviews).

This year, SEO experts and digital marketers will need to be extra diligent in ensuring consistency and giving the appropriate time and energy to local optimizations, especially for small businesses and local service providers.

Content And Blogging

If one thing is for sure, Google’s updated deep-learning algorithms are getting smarter and smarter. Some experts believe they will soon surpass human understanding in terms of natural language processing. In recent years, Google’s algorithms have been placing more and more emphasis on well-written content, encouraging strategies such as natural language keywords and quality over quantity; 2020 will see this emphasis continue to rise. Google is becoming more sensitive to the nuances of language with a focus on understanding search query intent. Thus, in 2020, content should be concise and informative as well as targeted. As always, content also needs to indicate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

While my team has always helped clients by creating consistent content to add to their websites, our research has found that guest blogging, and building links with additional high DA websites, is even more effective. I would recommend a shift in strategy to include more link-building supplemented by high-quality content that focuses on specific query topics. Answering questions clearly and concisely will go a long way for any SEO strategy (especially with voice search optimization on the rise as well).

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising includes Google AdWords and social media advertising. Pay-per-click ads get your message in front of already-interested consumers. Depending on your industry and budget, getting to the No. 1 result on Google organically isn’t always possible. Utilizing PPC allows your company to show up at the very top, regardless of your organic ranking.

In the field of remarketing, I anticipate two trends to be of special significance in the year ahead. Due to the Rule of Seven, a theory developed by marketing experts that states customers require seven touches with your brand before making a decision, remarketing is gaining traction within the marketing world as a necessity for some industries. If your business is highly competitive with a mid to long sales cycle, a remarketing campaign will effectively follow consumers around the internet until they’re ready to make the decision.

Advertising promotions are also a great way to convert customers. As the economic downturn continues, consumers will be looking for any way to save a few dollars. A marketing company may help determine and implement effective promotional offers and supplement any existing advertising efforts to increase awareness and conversion. – Read more