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SEO Trends That We Will Continue to See in 2018

While the landscape of digital marketing is in no way static, a lot of people overestimate the pace at which things change in this field. While it is true that today we see new technological marvels like biometrics, virtual reality and augmented reality, which was in the prototype stage just a while back, the truth is that not that much has essentially changed. Sure, virtual reality marketing promises to make a huge revolution in the world of resales, in reality, trends like social media marketing, email marketing and content marketing are still going strong.

A similar thing happens in the world of SEO, as well. So, let’s take a moment not to look at digital marketing prototypes which may or may not be huge in the future but reflect on SEO trends that will continue being relevant in 2018. That being said, here is a brief list.

1.    Voice recognition SEO

In 2015, Google embarked on the path towards enhancing their search engine by adding a completely new dimension to it. We are talking about voice recognition. You see, the option to initiate a voice search is present for a while now, yet, a huge portion of the internet has chosen not to use it in the past. The reason behind it was quite simple. It was in a crude form and it was incredibly inefficient. In the end, you would most likely be forced to type in the term you are looking for so why bother?

Today, however, things have drastically changed. First of all, Google engineers started working closely with their linguistic team in order to try and enhance the engine with the ability to understand context. Still, in order to get there, they first had to rely on the GPS of the user in order to understand the geopolitical circumstances of the area, as well as to recognize the language that was spoken. The result was overwhelmingly positive.

Needless to say, this resulted in a major shift in the popularity of this feature and in 2016 about 55 percent of the teenage population was reported using voice search on a daily basis. Furthermore, 41 percent of adults used it in the same manner as well, which was on its own quite staggering.

On the other hand, it took SEO companies a while until they figured out just how important this new trend was about to become for their field. However, they were quickly on their feet and on their way towards devising voice search strategies of their own. In 2018, the growth of this trend’s popularity can be expected to continue on, pretty much, same intensity as in the previous several years.

2.    Domination of long-form content

In the past, the size of an average blog post was somewhere between 600 and 1000 words, however, a lot of things have changed since then. Nowadays, it has been noticed that posts that contain more than 3000 words receive far more traffic than their smaller counterparts.

 

While this may seem a bit puzzling, in reality, there is a method to this madness. You see, the time spent on your page is one of the metrics that Google uses when determining your SEO rank. Needless to say, the longer your post is, the longer your audience is bound to stay on the page. Furthermore, spending more time on this piece of content will give you a chance to cover a topic more thoroughly, which means that your audience won’t have to go anywhere else.

3.    Visual content gets the upper hand

It is undeniable that the world we live in is a mobile one. Therefore, mobile-friendly formats get much higher conversion rates. Sure, this doesn’t mean that textual content is getting outdated but it is incredibly inconvenient to read on the move while holding the tiny screen of your phone on the palm of your hand. However, if you were to present your content through an infographic or a video, you would have a much better shot at appealing to your visitors.

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According to experts behind a prestigious SEO company, the greatest issue with this particular idea is the fact that, in order to pull it off, you need to have an in-house team capable of delivering such a content on a regular basis. This alone is one of the major obstacles that a lot of people have in the face of SEO.

4.    Focus on user experience

Finally, you need to keep in mind that, no matter how Google changes their algorithm, the UX (user experience) will always be at the forefront. Like any other provider of services, Google remains No. 1 search engine, due to the fact that they offer the most user-friendly results.

Needless to say, this answers to all the other questions you might have about SEO. For instance, why is responsiveness important? Because it improves the overall UX. Why are long-tail keywords efficient? Because they give more specific answers to the questions asked by users.

Overall, whenever you are in a dilemma on whether a trend is SEO-friendly, try to imagine yourself as an average Google user. Would you wait for 6 seconds for a random page you’ve just entered to load? Would you enjoy the page with an unreadable font or a content crammed with links? The answers to most of these questions are fairly simple.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that SEO is intuitive or easy to understand, still, a lot can be learned through a simple role-play or a change of perspective.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, while the world of SEO is constantly evolving in order to adjust to the daily changes in the algorithm, some of its basic principles are quite durable. Of course, when you look at the early 2000s (keyword cramming and similar practices) and compare that situation to what we have today, this is a completely different story. Nevertheless, bear in mind that this was nearly two decades ago. Needless to say, when it comes to 2018, there is no reason to believe that, at least, these afore-mentioned four trends (especially the last one) are going to diminish in significance.

Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystems

Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem

The word “ecosystem” has meaning outside of a biology textbook. At its most basic definition, it means a collection of living organisms in a certain location that all depend on one another for survival. They form a complex network of interdependency in which removing one organism would have dramatic repercussions on all the others. For example, killing all the grass on the African plains eventually would cause lions to die.

Without the grass, there would be no herbivores to keep the lions fed. Based on this definition, an ecosystem can be described as any kind of complex system in which each component is necessary for others to thrive.

This may already seem familiar to Internet marketers, who manage immense ecosystems of their own. These ecosystems are their online lead generation campaigns, which depend on the coming together of multiple complex systems to form a much larger system that generates new sales leads for their businesses.

These lead generation campaigns need to have all their components functioning in perfect harmony to deliver the best results. If any element is misaligned or missing, it can result in failure of the entire system.

However, keeping everything running smoothly can be extremely challenging for Internet marketers due to the sheer number of components that go into these campaigns and their complexity. With all the reasons why visitors come to lead generation websites, it’s crucial that lead generation campaigns be constructed to capture and convert as many of those types of visitors as possible.

That’s why it’s essential for Internet marketers to have a blueprint as they construct their campaigns. In nature, ecosystems develop slowly over millions of years of evolution. Internet marketers don’t have the luxury of time. They need to know how to build successful lead generation ecosystems right away.

Building the Perfect Ecosystem

We at Straight North, an Internet marketing company based outside of Chicago, have spent a lot of time trying to put together something Internet marketers can use as a blueprint for building a successful lead generation campaign.

Through the research of our professionals, we have identified the most important components all successful lead generation campaigns must have to convert as many website visitors as possible and developed the infographic below.

For instance, many visitors come to a website to research a product or service. They may not need convincing that they should have that particular product or service, only help finding the one that’s right for them. For these visitors, content such as testimonials from past customers can be very persuasive. Other visitors might only be curious about a product or service, not yet entirely convinced that they would want it.

For these visitors, a lead generation campaign can convert them with dynamic, eye-catching content such as videos and high-quality photography. Other visitors don’t even know they want that particular product or service yet, but well-crafted social media posts shared by their friends can inspire them to visit the website to start investigating.

Road Map to Greater Success

These and other elements can be found on the infographic below, and it’s easy to see how they all feed into the main objective of creating new customers and driving more business.

Any online marketer who wants to have the most effective lead generation campaign possible needs to be aware of how essential these elements are and how they fit together. Using this infographic as a road map can help online marketers build their campaigns from the ground up to be as effective as possible.

Initially, this blueprint was created to serve as an internal training tool for Straight North’s Internet marketing professionals. In time, however, the value of this infographic to serve as a useful resource for Straight North’s clients and other Internet marketers became apparent.

Many times, marketers know they need to have myriad kinds of content and elements to attract and convert visitors through their websites, but they don’t know the sheer scope of all those elements. Being able to visualize the lead generation process can help these marketers build a campaign that works.

Whether you’re building a lead generation campaign from the ground up or working to rebuild an existing campaign to become more effective, this flowchart representing the Internet marketing lead generation ecosystem can be a powerful resource to help you along your way.

Ecosystems in nature take thousands upon thousands of years to develop into fully functioning, interdependent complex systems. However, you don’t have to wait that long for your lead generation ecosystem to take shape. Use this infographic to guide your efforts, and you’ll be able to see a more effective and efficient lead generation process emerge from the chaos.

 

Infographic created by Straight North, an internet marketing company

Author Bio:

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing firm in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC. and web design services. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications including Entrepreneur, Moz and Forbes.

 

5 Biggest Website Mistakes Ecommerce Business Owners Make

5 Biggest Website Mistakes Ecommerce Business Owners Make

Running an ecommerce business seems like a straightforward affair – you have products that people want and you sell them online. You do a bit of marketing here and there and you’re off, right? Well, not exactly. Ecommerce is a fantastically competitive sector with millions of stores vying for the attention of customers.

It soon becomes very obvious that you have very little room for error which can be a problem considering how easy it is to make mistakes as an ecommerce business owner. The worst among these are website mistakes that can effectively destroy your online store.

Today, we explore these mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

1. They Ignore SEO

We live in a world where people’s online habits are governed by various search engines, primarily Google. In such a world, not doing search engine optimization for your ecommerce store is one of the worst things you can do. Namely, without doing at least some basic SEO, you are allowing worse online stores than yours to rank higher than you and take your customers.

The good news is that it does not take too much work to get the SEO basics done for your ecommerce store. This will include finding the right domain name, handling your meta descriptions, ALT tags, sitemap and robot.txt file the right way.

In addition to this, you might want to start a blog which will help you rank for certain keywords, as well as start a guest blogging campaign that will be able to target some higher visibility websites which might be averse to linking to product pages.

Of course, you will also want to do your product descriptions the right way, meaning you will be writing them all on your own (or hiring someone to do it) as opposed to just copying manufacturers’ descriptions. Altogether, ecommerce content can get quite serious, but you need to do it the right way.

2. They Don’t Blog

We already touched upon your ecommerce store’s blog, but since it has become so important, we should probably say a bit more about the benefits of featuring an ecommerce store blog.

For one, your blog will provide you with content that you can build on as part of your content marketing strategy. You will be producing mind-boggling content that will set your ecommerce website apart from the competition and even tell a story.

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Your blog can also build you a following if you happen to strike gold, i.e. a way to engage with your readers who will then recommend your blog to their friends and acquaintances.

Your blog will also be a great tool if you decide to build some links to your website which is an integral part of SEO no matter how you cut it. Namely, since website and blog owners are averse to linking to product pages, a smart blog link might work better.

3. Their UX is Appalling

One of the main reasons why people even purchase at online stores is that it is more convenient than getting out and driving to a store. Unfortunately, this condition is not fulfilled if the website is difficult to navigate and if you start pulling your hair out because you cannot find the ‘proceed to checkout’ button.

In other words, the user experience should always be the focus of every online store, no matter how big it is and what it sells.

Imagine if you were the person buying at your online store. Can you find the products easily? Can you find information that you need before you make a purchase? Is it easy to actually purchase the products? Are you being hassled by never-ending ads?

If you feel that your user experience could do with a bit of tweaking, then by all means tweak it.

4. They Lack Visuals

The web has been undergoing a shift from text to visual since its earliest days and we truly live at the age of precipice where the focus is being absolutely put on the visual. When ecommerce website owners are in question, this is perhaps even more important than for some other webmasters.

For one, your product pages need to feature as many images and as HQ images as you can humanly muster. You might not have the budget for it, but rotatable images are even better, especially for products such as clothing, shoes and accessories. They really give the potential customers a clear image of what they are buying.

Your blog should also feature visual content heavily. For example, many lifestyle brands nowadays do not even write articles and, instead, they do videos that cover one aspect of their work – how-to videos, behind the scenes videos, interviews or anything else they can think of.

Another thing to keep in mind is the visual layout of your website and its unison visual identity. Namely, people need to be aware of what website they are on at any given moment In order for this to happen, your ecommerce website has to be visually coherent and homogenous.

5. They Lack Customer Engagement

All the best ecommerce websites are teaming with customer action and interaction. They feature dozens of product reviews where people truly go into detail about the stuff they bought. They also feature lively blog comments sections where people get into huge arguments about the stuff that is talked about in the blog post.

The days of static internet are long gone and people want interaction. Your customers want to leave reviews of your products and your customer service.

User experience is crucial

Let them do that. Not only will your website look more serious, but it will also give Google and other search engines a clear signal that your website has organic traffic. This can do wonderful things for your SEO efforts, providing you with absolutely free content that will play a role in the rankings.

Of course, if your customer service is appalling and you sell products that are subpar in quality, customer engagement may not be the best idea in the world.

However, if you can stand behind the products you sell and you know a thing or two about customer service, let your customers say nice things about you.

In addition, if you’re selling products both on and offline, you run the risk of ruining the customer experience when a product unknowingly sells out. Integrate the on and offline experience with a high-quality eCommerce platform and use a connected portable credit card reader for offline sales. All transactions should be processed through the same dashboard.

 


AUTHOR: James D. Burbank has been in brand promotion for almost two decades. He is the editor-in chief of BizzMarkBlog.

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