This year has been full of surprises and challenges in the arena of digital marketing. For instance, there were quite a number of sites who were caught off guard by some of Google algorithm changes, including the Fred update, which affected mostly websites with thin and low-value content as well as excessive ads. Some popular sites, in fact, experienced 75% drop in ranking. We were surprised as well on several social media shake ups, particularly when Facebook pounded hard on “engagement bait” posts. Truly, lots insights to learn as well as to draw some inspiration from those changes in digital marketing landscape in 2017.
As we welcome the new year, now is the most ideal time to reflect from the past particularly the strategies that were effective in 2017 and how they will affect next year. Will they still be effective in our goal to stay engaging to customers in the competitive market?
Mobile-friendliness. Based on comScore data, as reported on Marketing Land, mobile now accounts for nearly 70% of digital media time; seven out 10 minutes spent with YouTube videos were on mobile devices. As more and more people are owning smartphones, this trend is expected to continue in 2018 and beyond. What does this mean to your business? It means we need continue to work on our website mobile-friendliness. We should optimize our sites for mobile users, more specifically if your business is locally-focused where customers are searching products and/or services and expecting real-time results.
Website security. Google tends to give more weight on websites that have transitioned to https or the secure version of a site. It has emphasized this as early as 2014 in their post titled “HTTPS as a ranking signal,” which means secure websites have better chances to ranking higher than their unsecured counterparts. We predict that this will continue in 2018 not only because we believe that this is the way the digital market should go, but because, Google, in the first place, provided a hint on that, saying, “For now it [https] is only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content—while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
We believe that more and more websites will be transitioning to https or secure version in 2018 (as we should) particularly those sites that process payments online (i.e. e-commerce sites) where secure transaction and consumer information protection is of utmost importance.
Content quality. We have said it several times and we say it again that quality content is king, and it has been a very effective way to engage your customers. Whether your online business is targeting local customers or not, content with better quality will help propel your website not just to the top of search engine results, but in terms of building website followers. Indeed, quality and useful content will still be one of the pillars of effective digital marketing next year and beyond.
Social media for business. The ones used primarily for online socialization have transformed into an effective platform to grow a business. The social media will continue to be an effective tool to reach your target audience for your business, and to bring your customers down to final step in your sales funnel until they convert into paying customers, increasing your return-on-investment.
The year 2018 will still be an exciting year for businesses doing online campaign, yet, digital marketing, as we know it based in our experience, comes with full of surprises. So, be ready.