As 2013 turns into the home stretch, I thought I would take a few minutes and reflect on the major changes that have happened (and will be happening) in online marketing. Hope this information will be helpful to you.
Video – Entertainment vs. Search Engine Optimization
Everyone enjoys watching an entertaining video, evident by the number of them that show up on Facebook. But how does that translate to your website and your online marketing plan?
First, it’s important to look at some statistics. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Video attracts 2 to 3 times as many monthly visitors, doubles the time spent on a website and shows a 157% increase in organic traffic from search. Having a video on the landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of Google.
Video, while once a “nice-to-have” feature, is now a “must-have” for every website. The human brain processes images and video 10,000 times faster that text alone. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
While almost everyone has the ability to create a video today, video is still not widely used. There are several reasons ranging from business owners don’t like the sound of their voice or their look on camera to service type businesses don’t have anything visual to show. Other excuses are the time it takes to create a video or write a script that’s effective. Finally, the cost of a professionally produced video is prohibitive for most small businesses.
While videos don’t have to be a professional, TV produced commercial, the better the quality, the more impressed your customer will be. The same way you wouldn’t put a poor picture or bad grammar on your website, you don’t want a low quality video either. If future articles, here in the Ninja Marketing Dojo, I’ll offer up some tips for creating effective videos.
As part of our ongoing efforts to help our valued clients, 800biz Ninja Marketing has expanded our services to include affordable video services. With prices starting at $300, we can produce an effective video for your website, blog or social media sites. For more elaborate, HD or commercial quality videos, we have partnered with a video production company to offer that level of video as well. Contact us to discuss the various options and to see how 800biz Ninja Videos can help you.
Capturing The Local Search Market
We love local businesses. They are the bread and butter of our success. So we are always keeping a watchful eye on trends that will help our clients stand out above the competition. A couple of significant changes are happening now that will impact local businesses.
First, Google is beginning to filter out duplicate listings in their search results. What this means is for businesses that rank well in both the organic search results and also have a top listing in the map listings (called Google + Local), one of those listings is being removed. Typically it’s the organic listing that no longer appears. This makes it vitally important that business have an optimized Google + Page for their business. Without it, browsers may be able to find your business info, but may not be able to get to your website.
A second change is in the link popularity factor many businesses employed over the years. Creating inbound links (links from websites other than your own site) was a very successful SEO strategy. Many of the SEO companies (you know, the ones that call and email you regularly with offers to make you #1 in Google) employed this technique because it was the easy way to achieve fast results. However, we are now seeing businesses take a severe hit in their rankings as a result of that strategy. In one particular case, a client that was ranking in the top 3 for major national terms all of a sudden found their site dropped below 150, in some cases below 300. If you had a linking strategy in the past, I would advise you to check Google to see what sites have links back to yours and begin a process of removing them. Do a Google search for “links: www.yourdomain.com”. If you find links from directories or sites with little or no content, those may be considered low quality sites and Google could penalize you for having your site there. A future article will go into more details about the process.
Finally, mobile searches continue to be huge in terms of local businesses. Not only should your site be mobile friendly, but you also need to make sure your site is listed in the mobile databases. Most mobile devices use a specific database rather than Google for their information. If you have not claimed your listing in these databases, your info may not be correct, if it’s even listed at all.
Search queries from mobile devices are also getting the attention of the big G. Previously, when someone typed in “How do I choose a good social media expert?” in their search box, Google would eliminate all the words except “social media” and possibly “expert”. But with their latest Hummingbird update, Google is moving towards using the entire string and, especially if sent from a mobile device that has geo-location turned on, assume the searcher is looking for a local expert. This means we should be reviewing our web content with these types of search queries in mind.
Social Media Is Not Going Away
For those of you that keep thinking social media is just a passing fad – think again. We tend to think of social media in terms of advertising and marketing, but the non-business person sees it as social engagement. They don’t care that your business page doesn’t get seen by every one that likes the page. Nor do they care that your carefully crafted marketing message mostly falls on deaf ears. They only care about participating with their friends, sharing stories, pictures and videos that entertain or move them.
What does that mean for businesses trying to tap into the massive audience that’s available? First off, it means social media is not going away just because it’s frustrating to you. Our mission is to learn how to play the game effectively. Posting shameless plugs for your business won’t cut it. Neither will posting positive quotes to satisfy the need to have a consistent presence. Our challenge is creating content that is educational and informative and still be entertaining and will invite engagement. Not an easy task but it’s the only strategy that will make social media payoff.
Social media signals are crossing over into search engine optimization as well. Google and the other major search engines rely on popularity of a piece of content to determine if it’s worthy of ranking well in a search result. Articles that get shared from within social media channels add credibility and weight to the search results. Having an active, content rich social media presence can add significantly to your website presence.
At 800biz Ninja Marketing we strive to stay on top of the ever-changing online marketing world. Feel free to follow my blog for the latest information.