It’s axiomatic. Every year marketing and SEO professionals need to take a hard look to determine whether all or parts of their current practices need to be updated or changed. Business owners that handle marketing and SEO in-house need to be even more diligent to avoid draining precious financial resources in the wrong direction.
To help you take off on the ground running, we’re going to review the most debunked practices and provide insights on what to review, what to change and how to update your SEO and marketing campaigns with the least amount of effort. While many companies continue to use outmoded and ineffective methods, you can stay ahead of the pack by making these changes sooner than later.
Myths to Ditch in 2020
SEO techniques and methods must constantly change to accommodate updates from Google, Facebook, and the like. Because of these constant tweaks and changes, SEO and marketing professionals need to alter their practices accordingly, which requires constant awareness of when algorithm modifications are made and the specific adjustments that must be made to coincide. If it sounds complicated, just think of the payoff. You will learn what is now considered to be wasted energy and also that which is the most likely to make a noticeable difference.
Myth 1 – Keywords are the highest priority
Gone are the days when the use of high ranking keywords was the answer to increasing leads, visitors and conversions. Since 2013 (Google’s Hummingbird algorithm), phrases and natural language processing has become increasingly important for searches. People tend to use long-tailed search queries, therefore Google is constantly improving the search engine’s ability to understand and cater to them so it can zero in on more pertinent results.
Therefore, it no longer pays to rank the highest within one-two keywords. Topic clusters are this year’s solution. (See Tip 1 below to learn about Topic Clusters.)
Myth 2 – Avoid Outbound Linking
On the contrary! When you are providing value to your readers/visitors, it is important to come from an authoritative and professional perspective, therefore providing links to other sites that offer additional information and value is only natural. Obviously, avoid linking to ads and other spammy possibilities.
Myth 3 – Meta Descriptions Help Improve Search Ranking
Many professionals are under the impression that a strong meta description can help improve search engine rankings. It is simply not so. However, they do contribute to the likelihood of having the link clicked or not, depending on how well the descriptions attract the curious minds who are searching. (See Tip 2 below to learn how to write great meta descriptions.)
Myth 4 – On-site Pop-ups Are a Ranking Problem
It may seem counter-intuitive since pop-ups are relatively disruptive, but it all boils down to whether the pop-up is viewed as quality or a nuisance. For example, some sites have pop-ups that never seem to pop-down, no matter where you go on the site. They get in the way of viewing content and provide little more than an annoyance.
In January 2017, Google rolled out a new policy that penalized “intrusive interstitials”, better known as the pop-ups no one likes. If the pop-up does not disrupt the experience of the user, then it is generally okay. However, if the mobile user has to dismiss a pop-up before getting into the meat of the page, Google will likely penalize the site. The user needs to be able to access the page’s content. (See Tip 3 below to learn how to develop an effective pop-up.)
Myth 5 – Only ONE H1 per Page
Google’s Master Webmaster John Mueller has confirmed the reality about the use of how many H1s per page is best, “Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.” Enough said.
Myth 6 – An Effective Homepage Should be Copy Heavy
Your homepage is your calling card. Visitors should be able to understand what your company does, what makes it different and what you want them to do when they are on your site. That’s the simple guideline. So heavy copy… light copy… isn’t the issue. Content that answers those questions quickly, succinctly, and without confusion is the most effective solution.
Myths 7 – More Pages are Better Than Less
Once again, it all comes back to having really good content. Content needs to serve a purpose, such as answer questions, educate, or even provide humour. Content that is simply a regurgitation of what every other competitor is writing about is not considered high quality.
Interesting to note, Google doesn’t index each page and even when a page is indexed, it may not show up in a search if it is too much like content that was previously indexed. Therefore only add more pages if/when they are needed! (See Tip 4 below to learn how to make your website more discoverable.)
Myth 8 – Local SEO is No Longer Important
That is simply not true. Local SEO is very important and can be extremely effective, particularly if your brick and mortar location is where you want your customers to stop and shop. Local optimization should be an SEO and marketing priority now and as far as we can see into the future. Think of it like a local “Yellow Pages” listing where customers in your area can physically find blur company in person as well as online. Never overlook the importance of consistent local SEO practices.
Myth 9 – Optimizing Images is a Waste of Time
If you want your website to have a better chance of being discovered, optimization is essential – and that includes images. Adding descriptions in the alternative text area is important for two reasons:
- It provides image accessibility for those who can’t see them.
- It provides information to Google so it can better understand the image.
Images that are recognized by Google are in these formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SVG and WebP. Remember, the faster the image loads, the better. Avoid lag time as it counts against you in rankings. (See Tip 5 below to learn about best practices in image optimization.)
Myth 10 – Videos Don’t Help with Google Ranking
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world? Knowing that changes everything, right? Its search engine is powerful and manages to sort through and rank content based on its algorithms and users’ search queries. In its most simple form, Google ranks popular videos higher to make it easy for other viewers to find them so strive to increase views and viewers. (See Tip 6 below to learn how to best optimize video content.)
SEO & Marketing Trends
It’s been said that the marketing funnel is no longer effective. Simply getting prospects into the funnel does not ultimately result in a conversion. Customers are following non-linear routes at this juncture. Therefore it is more important to increase brand awareness and the reasons that will increase customer confidence, loyalty and sharing.
This graph was developed from a survey of 500 senior digital marketers across North America, Europe, and China by Altimeter Digital Marketing, which punctuates the point that brand awareness has become the primary goal.
The findings also support the ongoing trend toward conversational marketing methods that are developed to capture the attention of targeted prospects while subtly communicating the brand’s unique selling proposition (USP).
The following key findings will also provide insights and a strong direction for marketers in 2020:
- Sixty-one percent of marketers said customer loyalty and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) are their top metrics for measuring digital marketing success.
- Over 60% of respondents said their companies have mapped a digital customer journey, content customization rules, and testing points across all digital touchpoints.
- Websites (56%) and social media (69%) are the best-performing channels for digital marketing.
- Salesforce (26%) and Adobe (22%) are the most popular “primary” digital marketing platform vendors.
2020 Marketing & SEO Predictions
Bluehat Marketing constantly updates our techniques, methods, and best practices to keep our client’s brands top-of-mind within their customers and prospects. That includes ditching old platforms and practices, employing new metrics and analytical tools, and staying abreast of the never ending changes in algorithms and regulations.
As such, here are our predictions for 2020… what you can expect in the coming year and beyond:
- Customer-focused SEO: With the magnitude of detailed information that is now available, SEO will be able to micro-analyze data and custom-tailor methods to increase attraction within the potential purchasers.
- Increased Importance of Influencers: Consumers are trusting influencers more and more, and when their input is followed by marketers the quality of marketing strategies will improve. Hint: Take the time to discover which influencers are being followed by your prospective customers within your industry.
- Peer and Customer Reviews will Continue to Make a Difference: The general population now relies heavily on peer and consumer reviews to make purchasing decisions. This cannot be overstated, as the importance of these factors continues to grow. Methods that are successful at prompting positive customer reviews are more important than ever before.
- Post Videos on Social Media: According to Hubspot, 81% of businesses use video for marketing. Cisco reports that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Insivia reports that viewers retain 95% of a message when it is watched on video, as compared to 10% when reading the same message in text. Lastly, Wordstream reports that 92% of mobile video users share them with others.
- Additional Platforms for Niche Communities: Facebook continues to be the largest social media platform on the planet, but with the rising attention on personal privacy, many internet users are looking to take their daily social habits elsewhere. Stay alert to the rising stars such as Palapaba, so you can find your prospects within their niche communities.
Tips for Stronger Marketing & SEO Campaigns
- Topic Clusters are the next step in SEO, which means marketers will need to determine which groups of shared topics/subtopics their prospects seek. In other words, if you can develop a collection of interlinked articles or pages relating to one popular topic, search engines may provide greater visibility. Creating topic clusters requires research and data analysis to determine the most effective clusters.
- How to Write a Strong Meta-Description: Meta-description headlines are best kept to 60 characters and descriptions should be within 160 characters. Remember, these are the descriptions that show up in response to a search, so keep them conversational and phrased to answer search questions. Always include a call-to-action with a website url and/or phone number.
- How to Develop a Strong Pop-Up: First and foremost, make sure your pop-ups are responsive on all devices. It is frustrating and self-defeating to have a pop-up cover up the text or video that a user is trying to access. Make your pop-up copy short and provide a compelling call-to-action. Do not ask for much more than an email address or the user may shy away from complying at all.
- How to Make a Website more Discoverable: Follow the basic rules and you will see a difference:
- Optimize each page and image.
- Include unique title tags and meta-descriptions for each page.
- Remove pesky 404 errors.
- Make sure the site loads within 3 seconds or you may lose potential users.
- Feature social share icons to ensure your content is easily shared.
- Update your site often, to prompt Google to index current information.
- How to Optimize Your Images:
- Select image names that are descriptive and easy to understand.
- Optimize the alt tag to be in line with the overall strategy.
- Reduce image sizes so they load more quickly.
- Optimize image thumbnails.
- Use image sitemaps to attract Google’s web crawlers.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of background images, buttons or borders that do not pertain to the product/service. They slow down load time. If you prefer to use “decorative” images, consider using a template.
- Test your images to ensure they provide quality viewing and open quickly.
- How to Optimize Your Videos:
- Create interesting, compelling, and descriptive video titles.
- Use videos that are relevant to the site.
- Make sure to upload an engaging thumbnail.
- Avoid embedding the same video in more than one place.
- If you want the video to be ranked, then make sure it is the focus of the page so it doesn’t get lost.
We hope our review of marketing and SEO myths, trends, predictions and tips has provided useful information that will help boost your efforts. Our team is filled with highly experienced professionals that make it a practice to stay on the leading edge of digital marketing. We are always available for a complimentary consultation in any area of marketing and SEO. We’d love to hear from you: 1-866-755-2583 or contact us here.
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