I was really excited to attend BrightonSEO this year and catch up on the latest Digital Marketing trends. For those that haven’t heard of BrightonSEO, it is the UK’s largest SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) conference held in Brighton, bringing together some of the world’s most experienced Digital Marketers to share knowledge, promote their own companies and give talks.
This year saw over 1,700 Digital Marketers flock to Brighton Dome from all around the UK and even from different parts of the world to hear the latest trends that included the new Google algorithm mobile update (that comes into effect today, April 21), how to better use Facebook and Twitter’s advertising tools and some interesting discussions on responsive design vs having a separate mobile website.
So, what key trends did I pick up on?
“Embrace the meaning of mobile first”
There were many discussions and talks on mobile and ensuring mobile is at the forefront of a web development project. A mobile solution should be agreed (whether responsive or a separate mobile website) at the start of the project, rather than creating a desktop website and then developing a mobile solution at the end of the project.
Google is hungry for websites that adopt a great user experience for a range of devices and websites that provide a clear customer journey for the user from entering the website through to (hopefully) making contact with the brand. It was also noted that providing a consistent experience across all devices is preferred, meaning that if you switch from, for example, desktop to mobile the transition will be smooth.
Social Media Advertising
Social Media is having more of an effect on how websites rank in Google search results. For example, if an article from your website is shared hundreds of times on Facebook, this sends a social signal out to the wider network and Google, essentially saying the article is popular and possibly a relevant result for a user searching in Google.
Social Media advertising across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon is set to grow exponentially this year, with more businesses trialling how they can reach their target audience through paid social advertising.
Currently Facebook and Twitter control the majority of the Social Media advertising market, as their advertising platforms are much more advanced and can enable a business to quickly identify the number and type of audience they could reach over a campaign.
Erica McGillibray from Moz (one of the world’s leading search marketing companies) provided a great talk on using targeted imagery within paid-for advertising campaigns on Social Media. When creating and selecting social images, make sure they are of high contrast, clean and crisp, on brand, bold and unified. Above all, make sharing easy.
Content Marketing is becoming a part of our lives everyday and is receiving more and more interest from businesses, so much so, that brands are hiring Content Marketing specialists to help support their content strategy in-house. You should aim for creative messaging over content clutter. This means that you receive quality website traffic, not just traffic; make it user focused over results focused; optimise for intent, not for keywords.
“Audits save time and money. For every 5 hours spent auditing near beginning of project, you might save 20 at a later stage.” Kristina Halvorson
If you’ve ever spent more than an hour in Google Analytics you’ll come to realise that there is A LOT of data in one place. This data can help improve all aspects of your online presence and how your business performs online.
Highlights on Google Analytics from BrightonSEO
- Keywords are diminishing even more and shouldn’t be relied on – you should focus on relevancy and context of your content
- Use Google Tag Manager to maintain and manage all of the different tracking within your website
- Create custom groups in Google Analytics by grouping attribution types so that the source of your traffic and data is relevant to your business
Other things to consider within Digital Marketing
- Test the user experience of a new website with internal staff, everyone will access a website differently and this will allow you to ensure you have the best approach
- Run a speed test on new websites (slow websites can receive negative rankings in Google search results) use http://tools.pingdom.com or https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to find what might be slowing your website down
- External links from trusted sources are still relevant to SEO, however an online PR and brand awareness strategy will benefit your business as well
Author: Chris Shadrick
Chris leads on Digital Strategy and works with our clients to enhance their online communications and uses insight to better understand business challenges. His enthusiasm for new technology and digital means he can lead and develop a clear Digital Marketing Strategy for all our clients and has experience working across multiple sectors. Chris is Google Certified, which means he knows his Panda from his Penguin and runs digital campaigns that achieve results. He also runs a fast-growing digital networking group in Exeter and will also be lecturing at the University of Exeter on Digital Marketing in 2017. Chris enjoys escaping for long walks on Dartmoor and is often found getting creative in the kitchen.