Now is the time to revamp your marketing ready for the year ahead. You should have a good idea of what worked for you in 2014 so January is the perfect time to go through that and lay out your strategy for 2015. Before I go into a little more detail about that, let’s look at what some of the big guns in SEO and digital marketing are saying on the matter.

SEO 2015

A very useful case study from Moz this week shows the painstaking process involved in recovering a site that has a significant drop in traffic due to Google algorithm changes. Alan Bleiweiss writes about his strategy for recovering a site that has been hit in multiple places by Google algorithm updates. Here is a summary in his own words of how he approaches the problem and I think he captures what SEO and digital marketing as a whole is all about now:

A couple years ago, I coined the acronym QUART—what I call the five super-signals of SEO:

  • Quality
  • Uniqueness
  • Authority
  • Relevance
  • Trust

With every single factor across the full spectrum of signals in SEO, I apply the QUART* test. Any single signal needs to score high in at least three of the five super-signals.

Whether it’s a speed issue, a crawl efficiency issue, topical focus, supporting signals on-site or off-site, whatever it is, if that signal does not score well with quality, uniqueness or relevance, it leaves that page, that section of a site, or that site as a whole vulnerable to algorithmic hits.

To read the full article for an in-depth look at SEO in action go to: http://moz.com/blog/ugly-seo-mess-recovery-case-study. While I am talking about Moz I think it is also worth mentioning Rand Fishkin’s SEO predictions for 2015. As you will see from the article he was close to the mark with his 2014 predictions which has caused him to be a little more daring with this year’s. There are three predictions that suggest social media is simply going to grow and grow. He expects Twitter.com to enter the top 5-6 “big domains” in Mozcast, Facebook to include some web content in it’s search functionality, and Pinterest to grow exponentially in the world of social advertising. It is an interesting mix of predictions, some safe and others somewhat controversial. See if your thoughts align with Mr Fishkin’s here: http://moz.com/blog/10-predictions-for-the-marketing-world-in-2015.

Local SEO

A great article by Search Engine Land has highlighted the need for everyone to keep an eye on the big picture whenever they embark upon local SEO. It is very easy to think that YouTube Optimation, bulking up citations, or optimising Google Places singularly will instantly boost your site but that is a long way from reality. The right approach is always the longest route packed full of quality, attention to detail and the gradual building out of a high quality resource, aka your website. To concentrate on one aspect because you have just found out about it, or it worked for someone else, is too impulsive, inconsistent and reactionary.

Your long-term SEO plan should have local optimisation as a focal point certainly but you should look at each of these factors before feeling confident that you have deployed a strong local SEO strategy:

  • Make your content amazing and informative, but optimize it with local signals
  • If you’ve got location pages, make sure they’re unique and well-written
  • Create local content for your blog
  • Optimize the heck out of your Google My Business listing
  • Get some good links to your site
  • Clean up your citations and go grab any that you’re lacking
  • Get more positive reviews on your GMB listing, and on other third party sites
  • Use social media to interact with your customers (Source)

As Greg Gifford points out, you have to be a jack of all trades to ace Local SEO.

Strategy

The buzz word in the office for us at the moment is ‘strategy’. It is not a unique or new term but it is crucial to everything we do. Essentially, January is the month when our strategy, though I should say strategies, get reviewed. I say strategies because you can pretty much break everything we do into four key areas:

  • Content Marketing 
  • SEO
  • Social Media Marketing
  • PPC

I am using content marketing in its broadest possible sense there to cover email, PDFs, infographics, website content, blogs…you get the idea. And, yes in many ways social media marketing could be considered part of content but social is a beast – isn’t it? Think of the platforms available, the different mediums we need to create in order to get traction, the combined advertising power, and the sheer level of development that seems to be ongoing and catching our eye on a monthly basis. The posts we place on social media are not always meaty enough to be classed as content marketing, in my bias (content marketing manager) opinion, but the profile enhancement and sharing side of social is what gives content wings.

LinkedIn’s annual year-end report of which skills got people hired the most saw SEO some 5th so this particular skill set is still clearly in high demand. And the place of AdWords, and other PPC platforms, in digital marketing campaigns still holds a world of appeal and makes a ton of business sense in eCommerce. So, we are looking at each of our core strands and reviewing our strategy for 2015.

In terms of content there is still the logical process of carrying out keyword research and using BuzzSummo to highlight trending blogs/articles/infographics. I am refining my outreach process further, utilising every aspect of BuzzStream (I like apps with the word buzz in them!) to keep track of relationships and make sure I am nurturing them and building some strong contacts for our clients. Quality will always take precedence over quantity and content marketing seems to raise the bar further year on year. I am tweaking our approach to email by doing a run of tests to see what practices we need to keep and which we need to modify. January is a time for some important – but fun – tinkering with strategy. 

If you do not spend time researching successful marketing strategy, trialling some new apps (plenty give you free trials) and looking at where your weaknesses lie then your marketing will more likely than not end up flat-lining by the end of February! And we don’t want that! So read some blogs (we will be doing one on outreach next week), discover some cost effective, time cutting tools, and remember your end goal. Here are three quotes to inspire you and your marketing strategies:

“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.” – Seth Godin

“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” – Beth Comstock

 

“Be where the world is going.” – Beth Comstock