5 Trends in Search Marketing You Need to Be Watching

Search mar­ket­ing con­tin­ues to be a high­ly effec­tive way to con­nect with prospec­tive cus­tomers who are look­ing for what you are offer­ing.  I rec­om­mend search be part of every marketer’s arse­nal to gen­er­ate aware­ness, leads and sales.

But search mar­ket­ing changes fast and con­stant­ly. Woe be the mar­keters who take their eyes off the lat­est news.

Here are 5 trends/tips to keep your search mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy cur­rent and suc­cess­ful:

1.       Google made a mas­sive change to its search algo­rithm this fall

In Sep­tem­ber, Google announced that it had rolled out its biggest over­haul in its search engine since 2001. The name of the new release is Hum­ming­bird.

Some of the fac­tors believed to dri­ve Google search results. Cour­tesy of SearchEngine Land.

In essence, this replace­ment of the search engine promis­es to pro­vide bet­ter results. For exam­ple, Hum­ming­bird improves results for con­ver­sa­tion­al lan­guage. In oth­er words, Google can bet­ter under­stand and pro­vide improved results for the con­ver­sa­tion­al lan­guage that most users type into the search box.

Anoth­er big change is for PageR­ank- how impor­tant links to a page are deemed to be. PageR­ank is no longer one of the few major fac­tors in rank­ings; now PageR­ank is one of 200 impor­tant fac­tors.

So, how does this change SEO strat­e­gy? Google says that SEO is about prov­ing unique, high qual­i­ty con­tent. See step 4 on how to best accom­plish this goal.

 

2.       Search is more than Google

While Google is the dom­i­nant search engine, it is impor­tant to diver­si­fy your company’s paid search (PPC) to oth­er search engines.

Bing and Yahoo are gain­ing mar­ket share. And small and medi­um busi­ness­es are find­ing that click-through rates for these two engines are grow­ing more quick­ly. In 2012, click-through rates for SMB mar­keters grew 109 per­cent for Bing, 123 per­cent for Yahoo, but only 32 per­cent for Google.

Smart mar­keters who are increas­ing PPC spend are invest­ing more in their Bing and Yahoo list­ings. You should con­sid­er these oth­er engines as well.

3.      Don’t think just about text-based con­tent – think video

YouTube is now the #2 search engine, with over 800 mil­lion unique month­ly users.  And more than 4 bil­lion videos are

watched every day.  Accord­ing­ly you should con­sid­er plac­ing your paid search spend on YouTube as well.  There is a lot of val­ue in YouTube’s PPC pro­gram.

In addi­tion to PPC, your mar­ket­ing pro­gram should include its own video pro­gram – cre­at­ing high qual­i­ty videos that show­case your sto­ry, cus­tomers and prod­ucts.

And be sure to take these steps in order max­i­mize the return on your videos:

  1. Con­fig­ure your own YouTube chan­nel
  2. Cre­ate a video sitemap
  3. Opti­mize your video pages with key­word-rich tags
  4. Use videos on your land­ing pages

These steps will pay off with high­er search mar­ket­ing results.

 

4.       Focus on qual­i­ty con­tent rather than link build­ing

It used to be that link build­ing was among the most impor­tant steps to have strong organ­ic search rank­ings.  Abus­es by mar­keters, though, led Google and oth­ers to reduce link building’s impor­tance in deter­min­ing results.

Now, qual­i­ty con­tent is a dri­ver for high search rank­ings.

And the way to build qual­i­ty con­tent is through an orga­nized con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. This means cre­at­ing valu­able con­tent (in the form of blog arti­cles, videos, social media posts, pod­casts) that is opti­mized for the search engines.  This rich con­tent will then be shared by your com­mu­ni­ty across email, social media, and oth­er blogs – fur­ther spread­ing its reach. The search engines val­ue  shar­ing and rank this con­tent more high­ly in the rank­ings.

Soft­ware firm Hub­spot is a great exam­ple of a leader in deliv­er­ing on a great con­tent strat­e­gy. They dis­trib­ute valu­able con­tent to their read­ers (who hap­pen to be mar­keters), result­ing in high lev­els od trust and brand equi­ty in the Hub­spot brand.  Plus their unique, high qual­i­ty con­tent comes up very high in the search rank­ings. Check out the Hub­spot blog.

 

5.       If you sell prod­ucts, con­sid­er Google’s new PLA (Prod­uct List­ing Ads) pro­gram

In 2012, Google intro­duced paid prod­uct list­ings with images (see pic­ture to right). They’ve had a lot of suc­cess and have already caught up with text-only PPC for CPC spend.

Bing announced that it was fol­low­ing suit with its own offer­ing in 2013.

If you are sell­ing prod­ucts over the inter­net, then a PLA pro­gram is worth explor­ing.

 

 

 

Search mar­ket­ing changes rapid­ly with new offer­ings as well as algo­rithm changes. Be sure to keep up with what’s hap­pen­ing- it will pay off big in your mar­ket­ing results.

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