Digital Marketing in 2017/2018 : Q & A

Jodie King

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

These will help you navigate your business through all the algorithm updates and emboldened sales speak you hear every day. Is SEO dead? Is PPC right for you? Where should you be active on social media – should you be active?
If you read it and are left with more questions then get in touch with #TheLab or inbox me directly on:

        1. Who needs digital marketing?

Any online and offline business that hopes to sell their product or service to their target audience. Accessing audiences is easier via digital channels and almost every age range is online these days. Word of mouth will get you so far offline but people are more likely to digest online content, upload reviews, post, comment, compliment  and consider your brand via the web. Why? Because people are two things – lazy and logical. Gone are the times when someone will visit your company to get a first impression. When they walk through your door they already know your brand via your website and social media. If you have strong social media then they may already be invested in your brand, your team’s personalities and you as an approachable, community orientated business man or woman.

       2. What are SEO best practices?

Firstly, a short disclaimer. The advice I give you now could easily change next month (though we doubt that) because every time there is a Google update tweaks are made and priorities are shifted. One thing remains constant however and that is content. Creating good quality, engaging content is the best way to get people interacting with your brand.
No follow links and brand awareness are just as important as those quality backlinks and on page optimisation. For local businesses it is all about relevant local businesses linking to you, talking about you and hosting your content. It doesn’t matter if they are low quality sites as long as they are local or relevant to your business. So being active on social media is also important for that brand awareness and what we call mentions. People talking about you and linking to your content on their feeds is a big thumbs up to Google and other search engines.

        3. Is SEO dead?

This follows on well from the last question because people are always ready to tell the world that SEO is dead. SEO has evolved and it has become many things. The fact that it overlaps into many different areas makes it harder to distinguish but in no way less important.
SEO is about technical elements like canonicals, redirects, pagination, sitemaps and robot.txt files. It is also about creating How To Guides, Infographics, regular articles, videos and a depth of website content. It is also about the user experience and their journey through the site. And finally there are still important elements around on page SEO. Keywords have become key phrases and questions answered that users need answering. Internal links and site hierarchy are still crucial.
So no SEO has developed and even grown – it is far from dead. To be an SEO expert is to know a large array of subject areas and their implications on the organic traffic coming to your site. Ignore SEO at your peril but move away from anyone that spouts the following:

  • Keywords, keywords, keywords – they are important but they are not a focal point and should never be stuffed on websites and appear spammy
  • Buy backlinks – don’t buy them – ask relevant sites if they will feature your content and create content that people share naturally
  • Page 1 – nobody can tell you that they will get your site to page 1 without having done a full audit. Is your backlink profile clean? Are their big brand competitors going after the same terms you are? Was your website built in a user friendly manner that is capable of converting users and loading quickly on mobile? Rankings are possible but there are a lot of factors in play and no one solution fits all!


        4. Which is better SEO or Adwords?

On some occasions there is a case for one over the other. Ideally you would combine an SEO and PPC campaign. SEO optimises your organic rankings while PPC puts Ads at the top of SERPs for key phrases/words relevant to your business. If a user sees a PPC Ad and an organic Ad the chances of them clicking through increase substantially.
Those on low budgets may opt for SEO while those wanting fast results may opt for PPC. There is an immediacy with Ads (at least there can be) where results can be expected in the short term. SEO takes longer to develop and we typically tell people to expect results in 3-6 months although depending on the site this can be sooner, and equally it can be later.

        5. Which social media platforms should I use in 2017?

Where is your audience? This is a personal question for you and your company to decide really. The ones I would recommend for their SEO benefit are YouTube (owned by Google) and Pinterest because they both give you the ability to link each upload to your website. That gives you a nice strong clean backlink boost.
Over and above those I would say Facebook (they still reign as the King of Social Media), LinkedIn for B2B and Instagram for creative services like Photography, Interior Design etc. Video is still the dominating medium so try Facebook Live and use micro and long format videos where you can.
Need some video ideas?

  • Non-wordy presentation slideshow
  • Talk on your expert subject to camera in front of a green screen or at your desk perhaps
  • Film local events and tag the organisers/performers
  • How To Guides using screen capture tools or voice overs


        6. Which social media uses hashtags?

Odd question to throw in but it bugs me when people do a couple of cheats that are just wrong for the platforms of choice. Cheat number 1 is sharing your instagram posts to Facebook.
No no no….don’t do it! All those hashtags are essential to instagram but make your Facebook post look messy. On Facebook, similar to Google+ (which only one person reading this still uses) 1-2 hashtags are permissible. The algorithms do recognise them and equally they can be quite comical is used correctly. Making your own up on Facebook is quite good:
The social media sites that revolve around hashtags are Instagram and Twitter. Make sure you are using hashtags that others have already populated and are relevant to your posts. On instagram the more hashtags the better. On Twitter 3 is probably your limit though I wouldn’t want to kill your amazing Tweet that maximised 4 successfully. As with everything there is a bit of give. On Instagram you can hit 20-25 with ease. I always pop them at the end of my copy and work a couple into it so I look hip! I try.

        7. Where will social media be in five years?

Well who knows? I could leave that answer there, but I won’t.  
I am going to say there will be an element of Augmented Reality in at least one of the popular platforms (Instagram). There will be a Virtual Reality platform that is much hyped and never gets the momentum everyone expected it to.
Twitter will have an overhaul and drag itself into the 21st century – keeping the character restriction but bolting on a ton of emoticons, SnapChat style features and the option to pin articles to your tweets which will open up a secondary message box with no character restriction.
YouTube may be threatened by Facebook that will have a search engine of its own (Bing). You just never know…!

        8. Where do you put Adwords Remarketing code?

Before your closing body tag that looks like this: <body>
In wordpress you would look in your footer.php file for this area.

         9. Why is tracking code essential to Adwords?

You cannot possibly know how well your Adwords campaigns are doing without tracking visits to your website. This will then map out their journey in Google Analytics so you will know who buys directly from PPC and who takes multiple visits to purchase or fill out a form or download a PDF.
That way you can see what PPC Ads assist organic conversion and which organic rankings assist PPC conversion! Digital Marketing working in a profitable harmony.

           10. What is Adwords Quality Score?

It is a number that gives you a sense of the quality of your Ads. The Quality score goes from 1-10 and links to each keyword that triggers a campaign in your account. Factors that determine your quality score include:

  • Ad relevance to the search targeted / keyword selected
  • Landing page experience (this is where SEO & Web Dev come in)
  • Expected clickthrough rate estimated by comparison to other Ads done historically in Adwords

The higher the score, the better the Ad and the more likely it is that you will get the clickthroughs you want and a higher ranking position at the top of the SERPs.

          11. Where is digital marketing heading in 2017/2018?

I believe that there is a massive manual element to digital marketing because Google want you to work for it. It is also getting harder as more and more of your competitors invest time and money into it.
How do you stand out in a level playing field? Cheats and shortcuts are reducing each day so manual graft and genuine creativity is stealing the limelight. You need to hire or pay for the right people to market your business. If you are an innovative and creative individual then you may well be the person to maximise your return on investment.
Digital marketing is mimicking offline marketing more closely. That means word of mouth, flyers put in front of people at the optimal times, and Billboards appearing on your route home from work. Ok that last one is difficult to translate into a digital channel but if you are car sharing then Ads on Snapchat, pings of nearby local restaurants and offers, and audio search to solve those in car arguments all leave a modern digital footprint.
The digital landscape has taken a while to rebuff cheap tactics and now comes the dawn of fair competition. So word of mouth will be satisfied by verified reviews and authentic social media communities/individuals. Remarketing and Ads will allow you to put your flyers right in front of people would are ready to absorb your brand. And content will just get bigger and better (like posters became billboards and theatre became cinema).
If you think you have created the best piece of content you can. Then think again, because this is just the beginning. Red Bull can put a man in space to perform the longest skydive ever recorded – what can you do?

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