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6 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore This Year (and Beyond!)

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, 6 SEO Trends You Can't Ignore This Year (and Beyond!)

Whether you’re a business owner or a marketing manager, you’ve probably heard about the importance of SEO for your company on more than one occasion. Maybe you’ve even already put in the leg work toward kickstarting your SEO and creating a solid plan to grow your online presence.

But, having an SEO plan in place isn’t enough. It needs to constantly be looked at, tweaked, and changed in order to fit with trends and algorithm changes. Google made headlines in 2019 with its BERT algorithm update, and the search engine shows no signs of slowing down on changing the way it promotes pages and content.

That’s just one example of how quickly things can change and how fast technology moves. If your company isn’t keeping up with it by allowing for an adaptable SEO strategy and by using quality SEO services, it won’t take long for you to fall behind in your marketing efforts.

So, what are some of the trends you need to keep up with in the world of SEO, in order to stay relevant?

1.  User-Focused Content

For years, you’ve likely focused on keyword strategy and link-building. While those things aren’t just going to disappear overnight, it’s important to start shifting the way you create content. For example, with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and people’s desire to form more relationships with businesses, rather than just be target demographics, content is going to have to focus more on user intent.

It’s not going to be enough to piece together words and phrases people might search for. Even keyword research tools may become less useful as time goes on.

So, what can your business do to keep up with the change in where content is going? Listen to your customers, clients, and followers. Focus on their questions, concerns, and comments through every aspect of their journey with your company, whether they use your product/service or not. By really listening to what people are saying about your business, you can hone in on what they’re looking for, and develop your content accordingly.

2. High-Quality Content

It’s no coincidence that the top two spots on this list focus solely on the content of your website. Content is king for a reason, after all.

Not only is it important to shift your content more toward the reader, but it’s equally important to make sure that content is readable.

What does that mean?

Simply put, if the content you’re pushing out on a regular basis isn’t easy to understand, it’s going to start to rank poorly. Google might not be advanced enough to play the role of editor yet, but there’s no doubt that day is coming, soon.

In the past, releasing new content regularly was a good tactic for boosting your rankings. While updating your content regularly is still a must-do, it’s not enough to put together poorly-written pieces just for the sake of a ranking. Instead, your mindset should be to have the best content on the web, consistently. If you don’t feel that someone on your team has the writing skills that will continue to get you noticed, it’s worth it to hire professional writers, even on a freelance basis.

3. Managing Your Reputation

As more businesses and websites compete for high-ranking spots, your reputation will start to play a big part in where you’re found on that list. Google will look at the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) of a business based on its digital impression.

You should only be publishing content about things you know. With words like “fake news” trending in today’s society, it’s easy for people to be skeptical about things they read online, so you have to prove yourself as a trustworthy source of information. Always double-check what’s being published to make sure it’s accurate and true. One false statistic or exaggerated claim can end up causing a lot of damage.

Your reputation will also be scrutinized when it comes to negative comments and reviews posted about your business online. Negative comments may have deterred potential customers away before. But, now? They could turn Google off from giving your site a high ranking.

If you have other people writing for you or contributing pieces of information to your website, it’s just as important to make sure they have a solid reputation, too. Quoting someone who has been proven to be a fraud or someone with no authority in a particular subject could make your content (and business) seem just as ill-informed.

So, do your research, write what you know, and work hard to preserve positive customer experiences.

4. Focus Your Attention on Mobile

Did you know that 60% of Google searches are done on a mobile device? Or, that over 2 billion people use their smartphone exclusively to access the Internet?

If you’ve been ignoring optimizing your website for mobile, it’s time to make it a priority. Mobile search is only going to become more popular over time thanks to a society on the go, and consumers are growing used to instant gratification. If your website doesn’t load quickly on a phone or is impossible to navigate, they’re going to turn away in a matter of seconds and look elsewhere.

It’s worth it to higher graphic designers or web designers who specialize in mobile web development to make sure your site is easy to work through, even on a smartphone. It used to be the norm to create a site on a desktop and later optimize it for mobile. Now, the trends are showing us that it may be time to start flip-flopping that old rule of thumb.

5. Building Your Brand

More companies are starting to focus on paid advertising, especially on social media. There was a time where spending very little on social media could get your business heavily-noticed. Now that the practice is becoming more saturated, the ROI is reduced. It’s also likely that the cost will go up, so you’ll have to spend more to get less.

Chances are, you’re going to have to continue to spend something on social advertising, just to stay relevant. But, it shouldn’t be where you focus all of your attention. Instead, shift your goals toward building your brand and promoting brand awareness.

Both Google and Bing have made it known that linkless mentions of your business are used as ranking signals. So, the more people that are talking about your company online, the better.

When you utilize social media listening, you can pay attention to how often your brand is being talked about and what people are saying. It also gives you a great opportunity to interact directly with customers and followers of your business. When you give your business a personality by talking directly with your audience, you’re developing trust. That can help you to stand out among competitors who are simply following the normal trends with canned responses and limited social interaction.

6. Voice Search Optimization (VSEO)

By 2022, voice-based shopping is expected to reach up to $40 billion. That’s just one of the staggering stats associated with this phenomenon that continues to grow in importance. VSEO is huge among teenagers and young adults, so it’s undoubtedly going to take over the next generation of searchers.

What does that mean for your business? Since people are asking more direct questions via voice (and typically doing so using full sentences), you’re going to have to consider exactly how those questions will be asked.

What makes VSEO different from traditional search is that when someone is typing, they’re more likely to use snippets of a phrase, or just one to two words in order to get the information they want. Since searching via voice tends to feel more conversational, they’re going to use longer questions and phrases. Those same questions and phrases need to be brought up in your content in order to be seen. Think about how most questions start, with the same few words:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • What?
  • When?

If your content isn’t including those key terms or the answers to the questions people are asking, you’re going to become less relevant when it comes to your overall ranking.

So Many Changes, So Little Time

With technology changing so quickly and Google coming out with new algorithms all the time, it can feel as though it’s hard to keep up with the latest SEO trends. But, there’s one major theme that you can probably see through all of these trends: The user should be your focus.

When it comes to the content you produce, the trustworthiness of what you say, the ease of which people can view your site via mobile, and how well your brand connects with consumers, it all comes back to user experience (UX).

So, while keeping these trends at the forefront of your marketing/SEO plan will help to keep you from becoming stagnant in your efforts, the most important thing to keep in mind is how those efforts are targeted toward the people searching for you, and those who have already discovered you. That’s a “trend” that will only continue to become more important each year.

Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

The marketplace model of eCommerce is one such breakthrough that allowed everyone to become a part of the new ecosystem of online commerce. There was a time when the entry of an online alternative in a market would scare the hell out of small offline retailers. The consumer behavior was changing and the prices were getting aggressively competing; it was not easy for small retailers to keep up with their online counterparts.

Then came the marketplace model that allowed even small retailers to claim a share from the multi-billion dollar pie of eCommerce. Now, instead of competing with the offline retailers, the eCommerce sites were connecting third-party retailers directly to their customers. We called this model the pure marketplace ecosystem, where the owner of the marketplace did not maintain the inventory but simply connect the people with inventories to the people who want to purchase. The marketplace was just an intermediary, which would make money from the commissions they charged on each sale generated for their retailers.

The time changed, markets evolved, competition became even harsh, and marketplaces required more innovative ways to make money than the mere commissions. This gave birth to different sub-classifications of the actual marketplace model, which still exists:

  • E-Bay: A peer-to-peer marketplace that sales only from the third-party inventories
  • Amazon: A hybrid marketplace that sales from both in-house and third party inventories
  • Walmart: A hybrid combined with the physical model to sell both in online and offline ecosystems

What’s next in the marketplace model of eCommerce?

The meaning of an online marketplace is changing as we speak. Today, the boundary that differentiates a physical marketplace from its online counterpart is as thin as a thread. The biggest names in the marketplace ecosystem, such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, have established both online and offline presence and securing major shares of the pie through their Omni-channel manifestations.

Today, the marketplace business is no more about massive catalogs of different categories of products. Instead, marketplaces are creating ecosystems for their customers. They are driving customers towards the business from all possible sides and earning customer loyalty by offering everything at one place on any channel. Take Amazon for example. Is there anything that Amazon can’t offer to a common consumer? From entertainment to finance, grocery, vegetables, electronics, home furnishing, and cloud services, Amazon is the best example to understand the rapidly evolving face of the marketplace model today.

Is the marketplace is a profitable business idea in 2020?

It indeed is. Even the biggest entities in the market cannot cover everything. There are still numerous niches with profitable prospects for the new entrants. It certainly not an easy job to set up a marketplace and compete with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart. However, you don’t need to compete with them, if you identify some niche marketplace ideas. The marketplace model offers an array of benefits to the merchants and the customers, and all of them could encourage them to come along with your platform:

  • A combined channel: You could offer a hybrid channel to small retailers and merchants to generate sales from both online and offline markets.
  • Better exposure: Selling on a marketplace platform reveals new doors to the merchants who have been relying on traditional channels. They can even expand their business internationally.
  • Reduced marketing cost: Merchants need not spend a fortune to build eCommerce sites and then marketing them. They can save all these costs by simply signing up on your marketplace.
  • Established trust factors: Retailers get access to an established platform, which its customers already trust. This trust factor is induced to the sellers of the marketplace, too.
  • Competitive product prices: With so many sellers available for a single product, the prices are l always competitive. It encourages more customers to shop from your site.
  • Multiple revenue channels: As a marketplace owner, you need not depend on commissions alone to make money. You can make money from several non-traditional channels, such as showing featured products, sponsored products, and selling membership subscriptions for added benefits to sellers and the customers.

No doubt, the above benefits for everyone lay down the foundation of the marketplace model, but it’s not all breezy either. There are some pitfalls too that require strategic resolutions:

  • It’s all technology: The core that drives an online marketplace business is pure technology. From the marketplace software to web-hosting, content delivery networks, third party APIs, and compliance with the laws, everything is driven by technology. That makes a competitive marketplace setup quite expensive, complex, and workforce-extensive.
  • Chicken and egg problem: Sellers won’t board your marketplace until you have enough customers to make good sales, and customers can’t purchase until you have sellers. It makes the opening days for a marketplace business pretty complicated. You would need a significant amount of investment to market your platform, and then acquire sellers through handsome incentives.
  • Data security: When you are managing a massive marketplace with so many merchants, customers, and sensitive information onboard, there is a high risk of data security. Since the only asset you have is your platform and data, you have to be very particular about keeping it secure.

How you can start an online marketplace business?

It’s a big question – how to start an online marketplace business? There is the technology and there is business process development, both go hand-in-hand to form a complete marketplace ecosystem. If you have a business plan or a niche in your mind, you need to focus your efforts on handling the following four challenges first, and you could own a great marketplace business:

Note: You need to manage these challenges keeping your customers and sellers/merchants in thought. You can’t start a marketplace by conciliating with the needs of any of the two stakeholders.

Marketplace Software

Marketplace software constitutes your entire platform. You would need a collection of different marketplace solutions that work collectively to build your marketplace platform. One of the major constituents is – the marketplace website.

Marketplace website builder: You can develop your marketplace platform from scratch by outsourcing your project or hiring in-house developers. However, this would be a highly expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Instead, you can purchase a ready-made, open-source, multi-vendor eCommerce script to set up your platform in a few hours. There are various clone scripts in the market; you can get one of them and build your website. These scripts will provide all the fundamental features you need to build your platform. Since they offer open-source code access, you can also customize them the way you want.

Another alternative is using a free eCMS like Magento, PrestaShop, or OpenCart. However, these Commerce platforms are mainly suitable for inventory-based eCommerce sites, as they do not provide multi-vendor support out-of-the-box. You will have to purchase a corresponding multi-vendor module or extension from a third-party vendor to add marketplace features. They are open-source too.

Some SaaS solutions are also present in the market with ready-made marketplace sites. If you are ready to pay a monthly recurring fee, transaction fee per-sale, and can do with limited control over your site, this could be one of the fastest ways to build and launch your site in a day. These solutions are closed-source.

The choice is yours, you can use any of these options based on your preference and requirements. Do some research and select the most suitable option, as it would be a long-term commitment. You can’t switch your marketplace software every now or then.

Branding and Marketing

Be advised that customers don’t remember the seller but the marketplace platform itself. Therefore, every bad experience customers receive from your sellers directly affects your business image. All the discounts, Ads, and promotions, happen in the name of the marketplace platform. If you can’t get your customers to remember your brand identity, know that there is something wrong with your marketing and branding activities.

Supply-chain and Demand

The sole purpose of a marketplace platform is to fill the gap between supply and demand. Both the buyers and the merchants are your customers. You need to maintain a steady flow of demand and supply to keep both of the ends happy. Without buyers, you will lose customers and demand; without sellers, you will lose the supply-chain. Happy customers create demand, and sellers create the supply. You have to maintain an optimum balance between the two entities to succeed.

Flawless Customer Support

For both the buyers and the sellers, customer support is the most volatile constituent that might just ruin everything at any stage. There is a need for offering continuously impeccable customer support to the stakeholders. However, it cannot happen unless your sellers are supportive to the customers. You might try your best to give flawless experience to the buyers, but everything stops if your sellers don’t do their part. You must create an environment where everyone is doing his or her jobs properly. From quality control to addressing queries, processing refunds, and undertaking replacements, everything should work in harmony with each other.

To Conclude

Overall, the marketplace is a challenging business. However, easy businesses don’t furnish good returns. You can win this war with technical advancements and customer-friendly policies. If you want to create a hub of customers like Amazon and eBay, you shouldn’t arbitrate on the above four fronts. Invest in innovative marketplace software solutions, bridge the supply-demand gap, market your business, and extend the best customer support –this is the optimal way to command the new challenges of marketplace business and succeed effortlessly.


About the Author

Jessica Bruce a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. She is currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. Jessica also reports on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.

Follow her on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)

How to Develop a Successful SEO Strategy for Your Business

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, How to Develop a Successful SEO Strategy for your Business

The importance of SEO has surged in recent years, and if you’re looking to attract more customers to your website, you simply can’t afford to ignore it. When it comes to achieving the coveted first page positions in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), having a solid SEO strategy in place is essential. These days search engine results are more crowded than ever before, and winning your place in the rankings will require patience, hard work, and an understanding of how to properly optimize your website. With that in mind, below you will discover how to develop your very own successful SEO strategy.

Conduct a Full SEO Audit for your Website

When it comes to getting started with SEO, having solid foundations in place is an important first step to take. Without a strong platform, all other SEO efforts will essentially be wasted, and getting your website to rank highly in search results will be difficult. If you’re looking after a website with thousands of pages, then it might be worth considering an investment in website auditing software such as the industry-standard Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl to speed up this process. If you’re in any way unsure about how to carry out this process, it might be best to get in touch with professionals who are adept at creating and tailoring an SEO strategy to your business.

Start building links as soon as you can

One of the most important elements of any successful SEO strategy is link building, and this needs to be taken into account when trying to get more clicks from Google. Google’s ranking algorithms are complex and multi-faceted, but time and time again links have been proven to play a huge part in determining the position of a page in search results. There are, of course, many other factors to consider, but incorporating link building into your SEO strategy is a must.

Invest wisely in keyword research software

Taking the time to understand your user needs and learning what people are actually searching for is the bedrock of a good SEO strategy. Without in-depth knowledge and data on your customers, how else are you going to create valuable content that they can relate to? The Google search console provides an insight into which keywords are used to drive people to your site, and it’s completely free. Alternatively, sign up to SEMrush or Ahrefs for a more detailed picture of the search landscape.

Top tip: Be on the lookout for question keywords, as this can inform the content strategy of your blog pages.

Keep up to date with industry news and announcements

SEO changes faster than the weather, and in an industry as dynamic as SEO, it’s important to stay as up to date as possible. In 2019 alone, there were thousands of updates to Google’s ranking factors. Subscribe to newsletters, read blogs and be on the lookout for important news from Google about updates so you can ensure your SEO strategy is on-trend.

Is Your Web Designer Turning Viewers Into Customers?

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Is Your Web Designer Turning Viewers Into Customers?

Is your website attracting traffic but failing to draw in customers? If so, then this is likely to do with the design of your website. There are so many companies who are failing to reach their online potential because of their website. You may think your site looks impressive visually, but a good design incorporates so much more than this.

Too many companies offering website design services are doing their customers an injustice. They try and wow them with the likes of flashy graphics but they don’t take the time to deal with what really matters; generating money. After all, isn’t higher profit what every business wants to achieve? The flashy graphics may look fantastic, but it may also take ages to load, and by this time your potential customer has gone elsewhere and bought off of your competitor.

When you are looking for website design, find a company that will deal with the hard facts. Is your bounce rate too high? Are you generating enough page views? Are people only visiting your site for a short period of time? How many viewers are you turning into customers? They need to tackle these issues and work tirelessly until the resolution is one you can be satisfied with.

This is not to say that they will not generate innovative and creative website designs. They should have an undeniable talent for their field, which is matched with the training, qualifications, and experience required. Designs must always visually delightful and every decision is made whilst thinking about your brand image and the corporate identity you assign yourself with.

A goal-orientated approach and innovative design ideas must be coupled with a focus on user experience and a powerful functionality in order to give you the complete package. The internet is all about convenience; that’s why people love it so much. When you look at your website now, can you honestly say it is easy to use? Can customers easily navigate to the returns page? Is a method of contact easily accessible?

Apart from a thorough approach, another area to look for is a thorough process. The company should begin with a consultation whereby they are able to soak up as much as possible about your business as well as provide you with a creative brief. They will identify the key conversion factors for your business i.e. how they are going to turn those viewers into customers! Then the web design process begins followed by website development. This is where the design is turned into the complete finished package. They will then provide you with in-depth CMS training to ensure you can use your new website without any difficulty.

They should not just design a website and leave you to it; they should provide ongoing support and quarterly reports to ensure your website is performing to the optimum level. After all, the internet is ever progressing and developing and thus you simply cannot remain stagnant.

5 Ways To Extend Your Marketing Reach In 2020

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, 5 Ways To Extend Your Marketing Reach In 2020

Creating a buzz around your business or your latest product is vital these days. With competition in all quarters, having a multifaceted marketing campaign will ensure you get the widest reach and the best conversion possible.

Whatever the concept, brand, or item that you are selling is, finding the right vehicle to reach the desired segment of the market is crucial.

With social media trends changing on such as a frequent basis, running a standard campaign on the tried and tested lines may not always cut it.

If you are looking for a fresh and contemporary marketing campaign that will provide you with the widest reach, here are some of the top suggestions of getting the message out there in 2020.

Setting Up A Social Media Challenge

One type of marketing campaign is to set up a viral campaign on social media sites such as Facebook. Check out 5 day challenge ideas for some further inspiration.

Having a series that runs for a few days will keep people coming back and will also encourage them to partake, comment, and share

Invest In Snapchat Or Instagram Filters

Filters on social media offer a great way of subtly getting advertising messages into a vast segment. If you want to broaden your reach to an exciting consumer market that is very much on-trend and looking for the next big thing, creating social media filters are a great way of doing this.

Hold A Flash Mob Event

Holding a flash mob event in a busy crowded area such as on a high street or in a shopping center will allow you to create lots of opportunities for viral footage to get out. With many people more than willing to post every happening event on social media through both stories and news feeds, it would not be hard to encourage anyone who was there witnessing or taking part to pass on the word for you.

Creating event-specific hashtags which are seamlessly communicated throughout the flash mob, will mean that people know exactly what tags to use on sites like Instagram and Twitter.

Utilizing Smart Speaker Technology

With one of the fastest-growing segments of the tech industry being the smart speaker, is it time that you focused your marketing campaigns on this area?

With many homes having them, smart speakers offer a window into people’s lives. The learning capabilities to provide targeted marketing are very high and this is an area that is worth exploring whatever line of business you are in.

Rise Of The AI

Chatbots are here to stay. With seemless messaging across all social media platforms, you could be creating marketing campaigns based around this technology. With the ability to adapt and learn as they go, artificial intelligence chatbots allow you to really engage with your consumers in a way that you previously would not have had the people power to achieve. With many wide ranging applications, chatbots should be central in your marketing strategy in 2020.