28 Aug 5 Things You Need To Add To Your 2017 Digital Marketing Plan
It’s a new year, which means a new you. It’s a chance for you to get a fresh start on your digital marketing plan. Maybe you want to get into a new social media platform or release a new product. Or you might be entertaining the idea of hiring an SEO company to help you boost your ranking. One thing is certain, you want to continue growing your business, and you know you’re on the right track, but something is missing.
No matter what your plan is, you have to have your mind set on a goal. Guy Sheetrit, CEO of Over The Top SEO and a respected speaker at last year’s Ungagged U.K. conference, has some important tips for what business owners should be focusing on in the upcoming year. Keep reading to get a feel for what’s important and how to handle each of these new digital marketing areas. He shared a lot of wisdom in response to my subsequent questions.
Brian Rashid: As a leader of an SEO Company what do you think will be the challenges this industry will face in 2017?
Guy Sheetrit: Well, many people have been speculating on what major search engines have in store for us this year. But we can confidently say that drastic changes are highly unlikely.
That said, those who have not been paying attention to elements like mobile friendliness or content quality will suffer dire consequences this year in terms of rankings and sales.
SEO teams should now focus on having outstanding content creators that actually contribute with Google´s knowledge vault if they want to ever be featured on the coveted knowledge graph. Keywords are losing ground to what is now known as “rich answers.” Users don´t want just information anymore, they want direct responses to their questions, and Google favors sites that provide them.
Rashid: Google has put emphasis on switching from “http” to “https.” Can you explain how the switch could help business owners with an online presence?
Sheetrit: Switching to “https” used to be debatable. That was until Google came out and said that they’re going to start favoring websites that have an SSL certificate. This is mainly to keep users safe. But more importantly, it’s going to show Google that you’re just as concerned with user experience (UX) as they are.
Have you noticed that sometimes, while loading a website on your mobile phone, there is an option to make the page mobile friendly? This is because a great UX keeps people coming back to your website. However, the main reason for switching to “https” is to protect your customer’s’ information. If they’re ordering a product or service from your website, SSL certification tells your customers that their sensitive information is safe.
Rashid: How would a business switch from “http” to “https”?
Sheetrit: Google has an entire section dedicated to this. You can find information on it here and here. If you need help installing an SSL certificate, you can always contact your host provider. They can either do it for you or walk you through it.
One important thing to note is that switching from “http” to “https” is treated like a site URL change. This means that your rankings are going to bounce around a bit. This is nothing to worry about as they are going to eventually stabilize.
Another thing that is of concern to many business owners is free SSL certificates versus paid ones. If your web host is offering free SSL certificates then you can use those. But if you decide to go somewhere else just to get a free SSL certificate, you need to do your research first. My advice? Just don’t do it. A few dollars a year for a paid SSL certificate will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Rashid: Many people are emphasizing the importance of video marketing for brand awareness and SEO for 2017. How do you think businesses and website owners can take advantage of that?
Sheetrit: There are so many different types of videos you can use for marketing now. There’s really no reason for any business to avoid doing video marketing. Facebook has live video streaming now, and some people like to have their audiences choose what they’re going to do next while they’re watching. This is definitely a great year for businesses involving food or art.
Many are using live video streaming to answer questions or allow people to watch while they test out a product (think new video games) or order something from a website. Users absolutely dig watching other people´s experiences, and it greatly improves sales if done right. It really depends on your niche and what you’re trying to achieve as far as your branding is concerned.
If you know who your audience is and you know what they like to see, you can create videos that cater to them. It doesn’t necessarily have to be live videos. However, those seem to be very popular, and this trend is likely to go up on 2017.
Rashid: As far as social media is concerned, do you think businesses should start using Snapchat? Why or why not?
Sheetrit: Snapchat is a pretty busy platform with a lot of different features. Most of their users are in the 18-34 age range. A lot of businesses have been taking advantage of this in order to spread their brand awareness.
Snapchat reports over 10 billion video views every day. Similar to Twitter and Facebook, you can place ads on Snapchat. Or you can take advantage of other features like their Stories or Sponsored Lenses.
However, Snapchat requires a bit of studying before jumping into it. It’s a unique social media platform with its own culture and etiquette. A lot of things that go on there are just for fun. This means that you will have to figure out how to be creative, playful and genuine at the same time to get everyone´s attention.
Just like SSL certification, branding on Snapchat used to be optional. However, the way it’s growing means that businesses can no longer ignore it. But fear not, it’s not as tall of an order as it sounds. It just takes a bit of research to get it right.
If you’re really at a loss, just look at what your competitors are doing on Snapchat. See what works, and build on that.
Rashid: Some sources say that SEO for desktop is dying. It’s all about mobile now. Should businesses put more focus and resources into their sites’ mobile experience? Or is it still important to have good user experiences on both platforms?
Sheetrit: The short answer: It is very important to still have good UX on both platforms.
Many so-called SEO experts like to try to rush technological development with speculation, but most of their fear mongering predictions fall flat in the end. Definitely, the desktop isn’t dying anytime soon. Don´t get me wrong. Mobile is unmistakably on the rise. But when people get home, they still fire up their laptops and desktops and continue searching the web.
While mobile is still limited to what people can and can’t do with it, its increasing use is something that should never be ignored. Let´s not forget that mobile optimization is actually one of Google’s ranking factors. But this doesn’t mean that you should neglect SEO for desktop devices. Unless desktops and laptops suddenly become completely obsolete, you should place equal emphasis on both.
After our conversation, I felt inspired to look at my own digital marketing plan. If I want to compete in a 2017 market, I have to be up to date with these suggestions.
Brian Rashid is a professional speaker and writer. Visit him at brianrashid.com or say hi at email@example.com.