The New Year is coming up fast, and that means everyone’s favorite… New Year’s resolutions! What are your digital marketing and SEO resolutions? Do you know that 2018 is going to bring radical changes in the way Google ranks searches? The strategies that once catapulted your websites to ranking success may not work as well next year; they may even become totally obsolete!
If you aren’t sure about 2018 Internet Marketing trends, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you’re going to know exactly what the New Year has in store, and how to make next year your most lucrative yet.
Here are 7 keys to focus on for 2018:
1) Artificial Intelligence
2) Customer Journey Mapping
3) Mobile Web Design
4) Shift to Google AdWords Alternatives
6) Voice Search
7) Knowledge Panels
1: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are poised to have a huge impact in 2018. According to Bloomberg News, Google Rank Brain is now amongst the top three of the hundreds of factors that affect your Google searches. This means that Google is using AI to understand search context (i.e. what queries really mean) in an effort to give you only the most relevant search results.
But the importance of AI doesn’t stop there. Here are some AI-related tools that will put your marketing mix above the competition in 2018.
1) AI generated content
2) Chat bots
3) Voice search
5) Programmatic media bidding
6) Ad targeting
7) Lead scoring
8) Marketing automation
AI is here to stay. It’s up to you how to best take advantage of this tremendous technology…or to risk falling behind the pack.
2: Customer Journey Mapping
Before we talk about the importance of customer journey mapping in 2018, let’s look at the numbers.
Aberdeen Group found that correctly implemented customer service mapping can:
• Increase your marketing ROI for year-over-year by 54%.
• Boost Social Media positive mentions by 24%.
• Fuel upsell and cross platform sales up to 56% year-over-year.
These are just a some of the reasons that customer mapping is critical to your marketing strategy.
We predict that the customer journey focus for 2018 will include personal mapping, dynamic content, custom landing pages, and personalized emails. These are definitely areas to watch over the coming year.
3: Mobile Web Design
Research shows that people are spending the majority of their search time on mobile sites. The average American spends 87 hours per month on their smartphone. This continued shift to mobile presents a number of opportunities for your marketing plans in the coming year.
With mobile-first indexing probably coming out in 2018, the Google search algorithms will soon be tied to your mobile website, even if someone is visiting your desktop site. This is a major change, as Google will prioritize mobile sites and mobile responsive websites and will be updating its mobile index more frequently than its desktop search index.
One outcome of this change is that if you have a lot less content on your mobile site, your ranking may suffer. This is a further reason you need to put your 2018 efforts into improving your mobile design and mobile-optimized websites.
Secondly, there are also important changes coming concerning what type of mobile website is best for search. Progressive web apps are Google’s mobile design of choice, and they will almost certainly rank higher then responsive mobile websites.
Beyond the ranking metrics, Google says that 53% of users will leave a site if it doesn’t load fast enough. Progressive web apps are faster, more reliable, and can increase conversions by over 100%, making it a necessary focus for any digital marketing campaign.
Another important mobile trend for 2018 is a search preference for adaptive over responsive site design. All these factors will have major effects on SEO rankings and customer conversions next year.
4: Shift to Google AdWords Alternatives
AdWords is a very powerful channel for PPC advertising, and it will be a mainstay in digital advertising for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, due to competition and new ad policies, the price of AdWords campaigns has been increasing, and we predict this will continue in 2018.
This means you should start looking at other paid channels to try and get a better return on investment. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest seem to be increasingly good alternatives to AdWords.
Another major source of paid advertising is Amazon. This year over half of online Thanksgiving weekend shopping was done on Amazon. Thanks to innovations like the Amazon Echo, this dominance doesn’t look like it’s going to change over 2018. This makes Amazon a good place for e-commerce businesses to spend their paid advertising dollars.
People watch ONE BILLION HOURS of YouTube videos a day. No, that’s not a typo. Online videos are poised to beat out TV for hours watched in 2018, so it’s definitely one area you should be considering in the New Year.
That means that if you don’t have videos integrated into your content, you’re missing one of the top ways people prefer to learn things about your company. We predict this trend will increase throughout 2018, and the importance to Google rankings based on your video content will increase as well.
6: Voice Search
One of the top trends of 2017 was voice search, and this will continue into 2018. In fact, over 20% of search is done through voice, and that number will continue to rise.
How do you strategize for voice search? One important factor to remember is that people search differently with their voice than they do when they are typing! Seems simple enough, but it can have a big influence on how keywords are built into your content.
People may use local slang when using voice searches, so it’s important to optimize for those terms. For example, if you’re looking for customers for your sandwich shop in Philadelphia, you might try to rank for the word “hoagie”. On the other hand, your sandwich shop in LA should focus on another keyword, such as “sub-sandwich,” that is used more often in that locality.
Additionally, when focusing on voice search it’s important to keep in mind what type of business you are advertising for. Certain businesses get a lot of voice searches, while some get very few. When it comes to impacting local search, voice search is shown to account for 82% of local search queries. This means that if you have a restaurant or movie theater, local search is very important, whereas if you are running a hedge fund, local voice search may play a smaller role in your overall marketing plan.
7: Knowledge Panels
Knowledge panels are those panels that show up when you make a Google search. They give you quick information about a specific subject or website. What’s important to know is that these panels are not just useful for the searchers. They also can affect your Google rankings.
If you want to create effective knowledge panels that will grab eyeballs, you need content-rich snippets of information that will provide quick answers. Also, reviews have a powerful effect on influencing your customers and improving your Google search rankings. Integrating them into your panels will make them more relevant, valuable and user-friendly.
No one can say for certain what will happen in the digital marketing world of 2018. That said, we strongly believe these are the trends to bet on.
Each one of these trends is very powerful on their own. When used together as an integrated strategy, they can fuel your sales funnel, improve ROI, and raise customer retention rates.
Did you see your favorite 2018 digital marketing trend on our list? Let us know what trends you’re excited to put into play in 2018!
Here at National Positions, we have been an industry leader in Digital Marketing nearly 15 years, and we are committed to taking your business to the next level. If you want to experience your most profitable year yet put “Team up with National Positions” on your list of resolutions.
This is one resolution we know you’ll happily keep all year long.
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