Guest Contributor: Corey Morris
Director of Digital Strategy
This is the time of the year where everyone posts the obligatory recap of the past year and look forward to the next. While I’m typically good for one of those types of posts, I find that they often lack details and substance. I can be as philosophical as the next person with a dozen years of working with search engines on a daily basis. However, my clients aren’t relying on me to say the same thing as the industry leaders and prognosticate on things that don’t have a strategic or tactical importance on their business. What I am going to share is what we know and what you should do – regardless of what may or may not happen with Google and Bing in 2017.
In B2B, we don’t always think about building our websites, microsites, landing pages, and complete user experiences around the mobile user. We know they are important and we’re on the mobile bandwagon, we just don’t shape an entire experience around what in some cases is just 20% of our audience. That being said, we can’t ignore the fact that Google does care very much about this audience. With most searches being made on mobile devices across the entire Google search universe, not understanding or caring enough about the mobile algorithm or factors can hurt. Interstitials (pop-ups) must follow new guidelines and if you are running AdWords, you need to finish your migration to expanded text ads in January.
Content has been king for longer than SEO has been declared dead (that’s more than a decade now); however, we’re not always working off of the same definition of what content is and even if we were, we’d differ on the importance of sticking to a defined content strategy to guide our efforts for a full year. We must have more relevant content and content that is intended to be helpful to our visitors. It isn’t about getting it into Google–if no one converts or moves further down the funnel, then it was a waste of effort and (this is debatable, but still important) could hurt us when a user bounces back to the search results page and continues looking for the right answer. Featuring the right content is critical as further validated and evidenced in the recent release of Searchmetrics’ annual ranking factors data set. Lastly, good content attracts links and is easier to build links to. This is nothing new, but does still matter and hasn’t totally gone away.
You might have thought I’d lead into this with attribution. Attribution was last year’s big topic at every event I went to. We don’t have everything solved with lead and conversion attribution, but everything leading up to it has to do with a data point. The explosion of dashboards and integrating every piece of data this year was predictable. We have been doing real-time dashboards for clients for years, but have dedicated ourselves to a shift to them and away from static report documents this year. As we get easier access to APIs from more social, search, and tools platforms, this will continue to improve. Google knows the importance of this as well, evidenced in the rollout of two products in 2016 that include dashboard functionality from Google products, as well as A/B testing that is normally reserved for the enterprise Analytics product.
Where does this lead us? We’re running full steam into 2017. It is hard to use the calendar to delineate a point where things slow down or roll over to new subjects of focus. The big deals right now:
- If you’re not thinking mobile first, then it is time to start.
- If you’ve got a shotgun approach to content, you need to tighten it up and focus on your key themes and stick to them
- If you’re not seeing the full picture of what your marketing is doing for your bottom line, don’t wait any longer!
We’d love to hear if you have additional themes or feedback on mine!