5 Things I Learned About Digital Marketing in 2015

Fun Fact: Each month when it’s time to write a new blog post, I head over here to the KoMarketing blog and take a look at my previous posts to 1) ensure I haven’t already written something similar and 2) see if there’s an opportunity to refresh an older post. Yes, friends, that’s called repurposing and it’s magical!

So, this month, as my publishing date approached, I did what I usually do and lo and behold, last year I wrote this post about all the things I learned about SEO in 2014.

The high level summary of the post was this:

  • Client education is a must
  • Google can be a real pain in the …
  • SEO isn’t dead
  • Social is important to search
  • Mobile is here

To be honest, all of those things still hold true but I also learned a few new lessons this year. Let’s take a look:

1. Change is Happening Now

Since the beginning of my SEO career, I’ve always been amazed at how the industry is constantly changing. From algorithm updates to strategies to overall search growth, there’s always something new to look forward to.

This year however, it felt different. It felt…faster.

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When it comes to algorithm updates and search results, it’s always seemed as if we’d hear about changes and a year or two later we’d see them in action. This year, it felt as if we’d hear about changes after they’d already been pushed live.

To me, this is a good thing as it forces us to think proactively, focus more on the customer, and worry less about black and white animal algorithm updates.

2. Brands Do It Better

It’s no secret that people look to buy from brands they trust. In fact, there are hundreds of stats out there around the idea of trust and brand loyalty.

Search engines are no different. Search engines are always looking to give the user the best experience and part of that experience, is showing them results with trusted brands.

How do you become a trusted brand?

By getting people to talk about you, search for you, share your content, and oh right…link to you.

I’m not going to dive too much into this but if you want more info, Moz did a Whiteboard Friday back in May and the guys at Stone Temple covered it in June.

I highly recommend watching (or reading the transcripts of) those two videos.

3. People Want SEO…But Also Maybe Not SEO

 If you’re saying to yourself, “Casie, that makes no sense,” bear with me. This year more than ever, I experienced situations where clients wanted SEO help, but not really in the traditional scope of SEO.

For example, one client signed on for an SEO program but after we got started, decided they didn’t want help with anything on their website or blog. They did however want us helping with third party editorials and community building.

Another client came in looking for an SEO program but ended up wanting us to focus on the social media side of things.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, SEO has evolved into many things and while there have certainly been arguments made about what SEO is or is not, in my opinion, SEO now goes beyond technical website changes, keyword research, and link building. In my opinion, it goes back to #2…building a brand and a holistic online marketing strategy.

That being said, as new clients come in, the education of what an SEO program will actually entail has become more important than ever. 

4. Google Has the Answer Right Here

One of the biggest changes this year has been the growth of rich answers in SERPs.

In fact, according to an October study from our friends at Stone Temple, Google rich answers accounted for almost 31% of search queries in July 2015 vs. 23% in December 2014.

What’s interesting to me about these snippets is while they show up mainly for questions, they also tend to show up for broad terms like B2B marketing or firewall where someone is likely looking for high level information.

Why would Google do this? Because as we’ve already covered, Google wants to give people the best experience. It turns out, they think the best experience is giving people answers to their queries directly within search results…not sending them to your site.

This is a big deal for brands who were previously targeting these broad terms to reach customers at the top of the funnel.

How do we compete with Google?

The bottom line is brands have to rethink how they connect with and reach buyers at the top of the funnel. While there still may be opportunities in search (ahem…become the direct answer), businesses also have to think about where else customers are.

Find out where they are asking questions, looking for recommendations, and talk to them there.

5. There Can Be Too Much of a Good Thing

According to the CMI/Marketing Profs B2B Content Report, 76% of B2B marketers will create more content in 2016 versus 2015.

That same report tells us only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing and only 44% say their organization is clear on what content marketing success actually looks like.

So let me get this straight…despite the fact that most businesses don’t know how to make their content marketing strategy effective, they are going to produce more content.

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We have spent more time than ever this year evaluating content effectiveness and the bottom line is this – more content isn’t always the answer. The answer is the right content. The answer is creating content your audience is actually looking for.

How do you find that? Here are a few posts to get you started:

On to 2016…

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are always changes happening and lessons being learned in this industry. It’s one of the things I love. So as we move into the new year, I’m going to do what I can to be prepared for what’s next and look forward to what 2016 has to offer. Cheers!

 

“KoMarketing is instrumental to the success of CDNetworks global search marketing efforts. The relentless attention to detail and strategic approach continues to push us toward greater results.”

William Vuong — William Vuong, Senior Marketing Manager

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