It’s that time of year again – just like last year – when everybody who has ever attempted to market anything at all online now takes wild guesses at what lies in store for us in the coming year. Well, I’ve never been one to miss out on a bandwagon, so here I go!
5. Organic Social Media For Brands/Companies Will Basically Disappear
Just when you thought organic social media was completely dead, they find ways to kill it even more. With Facebook moving organic social media posts from brands to the ‘I-didn’t-even-know-that-was-a-thing’ “explore” tab in certain countries, it’s just a matter of time until they do it here in the states. In these countries, Facebook brand page engagement saw significant drops and you know what, it’s going to happen here. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will. Bet on it.
Look, I don’t know who you people are that are still clinging to the hope that one day Facebook, Twitter and the rest will someday give up their crazy dreams of making advertising dollars from companies and go back to being a place where you can have your personal timeline just LOADED with ads for T-Shirts, No-smell poop sprays, and whatever in the world that company Wish likes to target people with but it’s not going to happen.
Social media companies are businesses. They need to make money. Deal with it. You’re not being clever or cool or whatever trying to game the system with your organic posts. All you’re doing is wasting your time, energy, your boss’ money for paying you a salary to talk to yourself online, and space on your content calendar.
Pay for your social. The end.
4. Video Content Will Increase In Importance, So Stop Making Garbage Videos
I’ve been talking about this since last year and some of y’all haven’t gotten on board yet: you need to be doing video marketing. Period.
People have been talking about video marketing way back in 2015 and it’s done nothing but grow since then.
Cisco has said that 80% of all traffic by 2021 will be going to video content.
EIGHTY. PERCENT. OF. ALL. TRAFFIC.
Listen to me, I don’t care who you are or who your audience is, you need to make video content if you want to make a difference.
Wait, let me rephrase that: you need to make quality video content if you want to make a difference.
That’s right. I see what some of you are doing. I bet you think you’re slick by taking something that could have easily just been an image or gif and turning it into a one-second video of one word turning into another, firecrackers shooting off behind your company logo or a broken robot just waving its arms around and calling it ‘video content’.
Well, let me tell you what your audience who watches this crap you’re putting out is saying: you ain’t slick and that’s not video content. That’s not even content, it’s garbage.
Listen, you’re going to ruin it for everybody with this nonsense. Just like how some of you ruined keyword optimization for everybody years ago.
What do I mean? Well, remember how back in the day keywords used to get people traction so people started out using them the right way where they added the right words and phrases on the page where they belonged that actually helped searchers but then lazy idiots who just wanted traffic found out about it so they just started spamming keywords everywhere, adding synonyms to everything and then started stuffing pages full of keywords at the bottom of a page and made that text the same color as the background?
That’s pretty much what your pointless, garbage videos are doing now.
3. If Your Site Isn’t Mobile First, You Might As Well Not Have a Site
Realistically, I shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone in late 2017 and you know what, I won’t. I’m just going to drop you two links to view at your leisure:
The Google Mobile First Index (AKA: Oh it’s happening, stop lying to yourself)
If that’s not enough, here’s a bonus:
2017 Mobile Search Statistics (Just read this)
Also, if you have a mobile site (an m. site), guess what, that’s probably not going to cut it when the index splits, you need to go responsive.
If you’re hiding content on the mobile version of your page that you have on display on your desktop version because you think it makes your mobile site too long, well, that’s not going to cut it either. Why? Because once that index splits and Google goes mobile first, guess what, they’re going to ignore all that content you hid.
So…yeah..I guess you should stop that now, huh?
2. The Rise of the Machines: AI and Machine Learning Will Increase
If there’s one thing that I saw literally everywhere I went this year, it was AI and machine learning.
From Google’s Rankbrain becoming more and more important in terms of appearing in SERPs and ranking to Salesforce’s Einstein building out customer personas and interpreting your business data for you, you need to make sure you not only understand what they are but how to give them what they want, especially Rankbrain.
So how do you give Rankbrain what it wants? Make sure your site is relevant and loads quickly.
Rankbrain looks at a few things but two of the biggest ones (that we’re aware of) are click-through rate and time on page. Well, if your site’s meta tags (title and description) are garbage, then you won’t drive clicks and if your on-page content is trash or the page takes too long to load then people will leave and there goes your time on page.
Basically, make your site something people will want to see and not run away from screaming in terror.
Another thing you need to do in order to increase your clicks is to build your brand. This might be a no-brainer to a lot of you but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand how important having a strong brand name is. I just saw an article from Larry Kim about how DIRECT TRAFFIC is apparently a huge organic ranking factor now? I mean, there’s a mind-blowing revelation right there, no? I haven’t done any of my own experiments on this yet (but you better believe I will very soon!) to verify this but Larry hasn’t been wrong many times in the past. Also, it just makes sense. If people have heard of you, they’re going to click you. If they click you and your site is good, there’s a time on page increase and lower bounce rates. Rankbrain likes that! What is your actionable advice here? Launch those general awareness campaigns to get your name out there!
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords because maybe finally they’ll be able to put the garbage and junk sites to bed once and for all.
1. Google’s Answer Boxes Are Going To Hit Organic CTR Even More
You know how I keep on saying that ranking first for keywords doesn’t matter? Well, it really doesn’t now and won’t next year either.
Why? Because you know who ranks first in Google?
Google. That’s who.
Answer Boxes, Local Packs, AdWords Ads, Answer Carousels, Featured Snippets, Maps Results.
Google ranks first in Google. Period.
According to a Wordstream report, the value of being ‘first’ on Google has dropped 37%. So put that in your keyword optimization pipe and smoke it.
So what do you do instead? It’s easy.
Make sure your page isn’t hot trash and then use JSON-LD or Schema markup on your site.
If your page is garbage (eg: loading slowly, useless content, no content, etc.) then no matter what you do, you’re not going to appear in the SERPs. The end. Game over. fix that issue first before anything else. Once that’s done, it’s time for the ol’ if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Mark up your pages with schema to go after those positions that Google is taking for itself. Forget being the first organic link on the page, you want to be the Answer box result. You want to be the featured snippet. You want your store to be the map result that comes up first in the local pack for whatever it is you sell. You want to be the store name that comes up when someone does a voice search on their Amazon Echo, Google Home or Mobile phone for whatever it is they want to buy.
That is your goal.
The Bottom Line:
It’s the same story as last year, friends. Make sure your site doesn’t suck and feed the robots. The only difference is that now there are more robots to feed out there.
Yes, there’s more to it but for the majority of people out there, this is enough because I see a lot of people not even doing that right. Cover the basics and then move on to the advanced and you’ll be set for 2018.