2016 was a big year for digital marketing
Hoo boy. It’s been quite a year, huh? It’s been a year of big changes all around, and the digital marketing world has been no different.
SEO was shaken up in 2016 by a series of Google updates. Between the update to Penguin, the unconfirmed “Possum” update, and Google doubling down on their commitment to mobile-first search, a lot of people saw their rankings change in 2016.
We also saw Google’s RankBrain really start to make a huge impact in the search results (and elsewhere, like in Google Translate). RankBrain, using machine learning, is helping Google better understand the content and purpose of websites as well as understand searcher intent better.
This was also the year when marketers went crazy for online video. Video has been a digital marketing staple for years, but with Facebook and Twitter jumping on the autoplaying video bandwagon, video boomed in 2016, with nearly every marketing expert recommending that every brand get on board.
2017 looks like it has the potential to shake things up just as much as 2016 did. Let’s see if we can make a plan for successfully marketing your business in the year ahead!
Here’s your plan for making the most of 2017
Of course it’s impossible to predict the future – maybe Google’s AI will become self-aware, eat the internet, and none of us will have to worry about digital marketing in 2017. But aside from (hopefully) unlikely scenarios like that, we think that you can guarantee good results in 2017 if you cover your bases.
Make sure your website design is up to date
More and more, Google has been focusing on user experience. This is the motivation behind their "mobilegeddon" updates - they want to be able to guarantee that when users click on a link in their search results, they find the information they're looking for quickly and easily. This means that Google wants to deliver websites that load quickly, are properly formatted for the display, and generally work well.
If it's been a few years since you last updated your website design, the new year is a great time to take a look at it and make sure it's performing up to current standards. Check out Google's PageSpeed and Mobile-Friendly tests. They'll let you know if there's trouble, and should give you an idea of how to fix any problems you have.
If you're not taking social media seriously, get started
In 2016, social media has taken center stage for digital marketing, stealing the spotlight from search engines and email. If you're trying to market your business online, you need to make sure you're working to build a community around your brand on social media.
The fact is that your customers are on Facebook and Twitter, so you need to be there too. In 2017, users are going to continue to consolidate around these spaces, and if you haven't put in the work to build a strong presence, you're going to be left out of the conversation. If you engage with people and promote your content on Twitter and Facebook, social media can be a big win for you in the new year
Commit to content
Content, as ever, is the key to attracting customers, but it's even more important now that the focus is shifting from search to social media. If you want to earn visibility for your company, you need to be creating the type of content that people want to share with their friends.
That means doubling down on blogging, but 2016 was the year of video in online marketing, and video is going to be even more important in 2017. If you haven't started yet, it's time to look into creating video content to promote your company. It doesn't necessarily have to be polished - live, off the cuff video on Facebook has been hugely successful for some companies already.
Having a plan is half the battle
The most important thing for your small business's digital marketing in 2017 is having a plan. When marketing isn't your full time job, it's easy to fall into a habit of just doing what seems right at the time, but that's no way to get good results.
Create a plan and set goals. Commit to publishing one blog post per week, or that you'll post your first video by the end of January. Simply having the structure for what you're trying to do will put you ahead of most of your competition.
We'll see you all in 2017
2016 has been a great year for LinkNow Media. We were rated the fastest growing marketing company in Canada this year, and we're making plans to bring that momentum into the new year.
I want to send sincere thanks to all of our customers and all of you reading this. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without your support. We're grateful to have you here, and hope you'll stick around with us in 2017 to see what we're working on. Happy holidays and happy new year!