Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving. Search habits continue to change, new digital platforms are constantly being developed which change the way we can market services and products, and Google search algorithms update regularly. In addition, the pandemic has sped up the rate of change within the marketing world. It should come as no surprise that the tactics you used a few years ago may no longer yield your desired results in 2021.
When you work with a strategic marketing agency, you can be confident that your strategy for 2021 will reflect the latest trends. If you’re planning on handling your marketing in-house, make sure you pay attention to the following items as you build your digital marketing strategy for the upcoming year.
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1. Increased Emphasis on User-Generated Content (UGC)
In recent years, user-generated content (UGC) has become increasingly utilized as part of digital marketing strategies, and this trend should continue in 2021. Providing an exceptional customer experience is more important than ever, and UGC is an effective way to provide your audience with proof that they’re making the right decision when they choose your product or service. In addition to providing a better user experience, UGC can help improve your SEO results.
There are several easy ways you can add user-generated content to your website:
- Post user reviews of the products you sell
- Enable comments on your blog posts
- Add a Q&A section to your pages, when appropriate, to encourage your audience to ask questions and receive the information they need directly from your team
User-generated content provides a variety of important benefits:
- More frequent content updates – Anytime someone posts a comment, leaves a review or asks a question, Google will consider it a content update. This will help your SEO rankings since Google values regular content updates.
- Improves content length – Longer, more comprehensive content tends to achieve better search engine rankings. For ecommerce websites that have a lot of short product descriptions, adding customer reviews to the page can provide the necessary content length to improve your SEO results.
- Improves content uniqueness – Duplicate content will tank your search rankings. For some businesses, creating comprehensive, unique content is relatively easy. However, other businesses, particularly those with a heavy ecommerce emphasis, may find this task more challenging. It can be hard to make your product descriptions stand out from those of similar products on the market. User comments and reviews give you an opportunity to add unique content to these pages, which can boost your SEO results.
- Makes you more relatable – Allowing your audience to actively engage with you on your website will build and strengthen your bond with them. This content will also make you more relatable to other visitors who connect with the users providing content on your site.
When adding UGC to your website, it’s important to moderate this content. You can update your blog settings to reduce spam, filter comments containing specific words and prevent link postings. This will ensure the UGC on your website provides value to your audience.
2. Voice and Visual Search on the Rise
Search habits are continually evolving. As we enter 2021, voice and visual search are becoming more prominent than ever before. People are searching on mobile devices more than ever, and this lends itself to voice search. In addition, smart speakers and voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Google Home or Amazon Echo are gaining popularity, and this increases the number of voice searches performed.
The most recent data shows that voice search must be addressed as part of your digital marketing strategy:
- 55% of households will own a smart speaker by 2022
- 34% of individuals who don’t own a voice assistant are interested in buying one
- 65% of people ages 25-49 perform voice searches daily
- 61% of people ages 25-64 express an intention to use their voice devices more in the future
- Voice searches comprised 50% of all online searches in 2020
- Voice shopping will be a $40 billion industry by 2022
- 43% of people with voice-enabled devices use them to shop
- 51% of people shopping with voice-enabled devices use voice search to research products
- 76% of smart speaker users perform local voice searches on a weekly basis
- 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information
Optimizing for voice search is an important way to raise brand awareness and capture the growing search volume coming from this medium.
Voice search isn’t the only method rising in popularity. Visual search is becoming more common as well. It’s now possible to make search queries using existing images. In addition, Google Lens allows you to search for anything you can see. The following SEO tips will help ensure you’re properly set up to reap the benefits of visual search:
- Include alt text in all your image descriptions
- Add images to your sitemap or create a secondary site map exclusively dedicated to the images on your website
- Add your target SEO keywords to your image file names
- Use the highest quality images and videos on your website
3. Leverage Your Google My Business Listing to Boost Local SEO
If you’re a local business, it’s crucial to leverage the latest local SEO best practices as part of your digital marketing strategy. The most important way to do this is by making sure your Google My Business listing is up to date. This will help you rank higher for local searches and give you an opportunity to provide additional information about your business to your target audience.
There are many benefits to maintaining a verified and up-to-date Google My Business listing:
- You’ll achieve better results for “near me” searches
- You can more easily manage your business information in Google properties such as Search and Maps
- You’ll prevent others from fraudulently trying to claim your business listing as their own
- You’ll be considered more trustworthy and reputable than competitors without a verified listing on Google My Business
In addition to claiming and maintaining your Google My Business Listing, the following tips will help you leverage your results on local search:
- Incorporate local keywords into your SEO strategy
- Mention famous landmarks and other iconic locations in your content
4. Zero-Click Searches and Featured Snippet Boxes Growing in Importance
Years ago, the primary goal in SEO was to rank in the first position on Google’s search results. Now, that goal has shifted towards capturing the “zero position,” also known as the featured snippet box at the top of the page.
The featured snippet box typically displays an answer to a search query. This can be structured as a short (several sentences) blurb, a bullet list, a graph, or a video. Being featured in the “zero position” can help improve the credibility of your business, build your brand, and establish your business as an authoritative source.
However, there is also a potential downside to the featured snippet box listing – searchers are less likely to click on the link to your website since they often receive all the information they need in the answer box. As a result, less than 50% of Google searches now result in a click.
While it may seem counterintuitive to pursue a strategy that results in fewer people clicking on the link to your website, the benefits you receive in building your brand and being recognized as a thought leader outweigh the downside of a lower click-through rate. In addition, achieving the zero position will often position your website to be valued as an authoritative source by Google, which can help improve your overall search rankings for many of your target keywords.
There are some things you can do to try and increase the likelihood that someone will click on the link from your featured snippet box:
- Optimize your page titles to convey the value of the information you’re providing to the reader
- Make how-to lists and other bullet lists long enough that only some of the items will be displayed in the featured snippet box, requiring the reader to click on the link to view the entire list
5. Influencer Marketing Is Still Growing
Influencer marketing has been around for years, but it is still an important way to grow your brand and increase your exposure. In fact, influencer marketing will be a $9.7 billion industry this year. Incorporating this tactic into your social media strategy can pay big dividends.
The most effective social media platforms for influencer marketing include:
To get started, you’ll need to create a budget for your influencer marketing efforts and reach out to the influencers you’d like to partner with. You don’t have to work with a huge star. There are many non-celebrity influencers with large numbers of followers. The key is to choose an influencer who aligns with the values of your company. This will ensure your message, brand and purpose are communicated properly.
6. Shopping on Social Media Is Gaining Popularity
If you have an ecommerce business, it’s crucial that you leverage the ability to sell your products on social media. Instagram’s Shoppable Posts allow you to feature or tag products for users to see and purchase without leaving their news feed. Facebook Marketplace also offers a robust forum to sell your products over social media.
Setting up a shoppable feed on your social media platforms is very straightforward, and it will provide a huge benefit to users who want to make purchases with as few clicks as possible.
Webolutions Can Elevate Your Digital Marketing Efforts in 2021
Staying on top of the latest digital marketing trends is hard work. It requires a great deal of ongoing research to ensure you’re continuing to use the latest best practices. This can divert a lot of time, energy and resources away from other important tasks associated with running your business. An easier way to make sure you achieve your desired ROI on your digital marketing strategy is to work with a team of experts who have their finger on the pulse of these changing trends.
Webolutions has been providing digital marketing services to businesses since 1994. We’ve witnessed this industry grow and evolve from its infancy, and we understand how to leverage best practices in order to help your business thrive in our changing world.
Our team of specialists takes a comprehensive approach to your digital marketing strategy. We start with market positioning in order to understand your relevance in your industry and determine what makes you unique. We’ll then work with you to create a brand platform that tells your story to your audience in a clear and compelling manner.
These elements will drive every aspect of your marketing strategy moving forward. Depending on your unique needs, goals, and marketing budget, we’ll utilize a combination of the following services to take your business to the next level:
- Custom website design to ensure your web presence accurately reflects your brand and messaging
- Content marketing to provide thought leadership, tell your story, build trust with your audience and improve your SEO results
- SEO services to help you rank higher on the search engines
- Social media marketing to more effectively engage with your audience and grow your brand
- Paid search to expand your exposure and increase your leads
- Email marketing to nurture prospects at all phases of the buyer’s journey
The digital marketing landscape is much different in 2021 than it was a few years ago. Webolutions can help you navigate these changing trends to set your business up for success in the coming years.
Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.