For those who don’t know or who haven’t yet been to the Digital Summit, it’s a two day digital marketing conference that takes place across multiple cities throughout the year. Each day there is a keynote speaker (who talks more about the overall digital landscape) but throughout the rest of the day attendees get to choose from one of three conference rooms, each with different presenters speaking about a different topic. Some presenters are of course stronger than others and have better content to present, but in choosing I tried to look for those most relevant and helpful for our agency.SEO
“It takes no more than 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your site.” That’s the amount of time you have to make an impression on a user, and why so often we close out of websites immediately when we know it’s not the kind of site we’re looking for. Even if your site contains the exact information a user is looking for - if the layout doesn’t feel right, the first few bits of content don’t relate, or the site simply looks dated, people won’t stay long. It’s much more tempting to hit the ‘back’ button and try the next link that could produce instant gratification, rather than put in the effort to explore the site a user is currently on. It’s that first impression that means nearly everything when it comes to search engine optimization.
Of course, no one knows Google’s actual formula for how they determine site rankings. Helpful as it may be, Google isn’t going to be mailing out an official guide in getting to the top of their search results anytime soon. All the advice we get from other companies, experts and the like is simply by trial and error.
Here are some general tips that may be helpful:
- Although the homepage is most critical, Google has begun putting more weight behind those deeper/inside pages. They need to stay relevant to the search, include helpful content and be up to date.
- Domains that load quicker will rank higher (this means staying away from Flash).
- Domains with images will generally rank higher. This isn’t to say plaster your site with images, but having that one crucial, relevant image is key.
- Your site should have interactive elements (something to click on, fill out, etc.) especially above the fold (and we’re not talking about banner ads).
- There is a high correlation in ranking between your site and your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). How they link to your site and the number of shares they receive all play a part in Google’s formula. A strong social media effort should help boost your ranking.
As the old joke goes: the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google’s search results. There wasn’t a presenter at the conference who would disagree.
Video Content and Growth
In terms of content creation, video has become absolutely crucial. Similar to having that one key image on your homepage, if you’re going to include a video, you’ve essentially got one shot at it. People want a simple, quick video that can provide information while at the same time tell a story, and give them a reason to stay on your site. I should point out however, including an embedded video on any site typically slows down load time so it all comes at a cost – make it worth it.
One take away on video that I thought was interesting was coming up with the subject matter itself. So often this can be wrestled between client and agency. But one source that should truly be given consideration are the people on the ground floor. Sales or service employees working on site at a physical location, or those answering calls and emails. Taking the pulse of the types of questions and comments employees are hearing can be a great way to give direction on video content. If potential customers are experiencing the same issues or constantly coming up with the same question it may be something you want to address in your video content.
Some other facts on video worth thinking (and reacting) to:
- Video will represent 79% of all global internet traffic by 2018.
- Video grew 42% year over year from 2014 to 2015.
- Video is growing fast, but video on mobile is growing 6x faster.
- Mobile video budgets will increase 11x from 2015 to 2020.
- 55% of consumers watch at least one video per week on a mobile device.
- Q4 2015 was the first time ever that mobile video views exceeded desktop video views.
It isn’t news that social media is an absolute behemoth when it comes to online advertising, and Facebook is still king by far. Users are spending 50 minutes per day among Facebook (along with its owned Messenger and Instagram platforms). When we’re talking about nearly an hour a day, that’s comparable to other traditional media formats themselves (radio, print, TV and general online). It’s strange to think that you might hear about Facebook being somewhat passé, and that younger users are turning to apps like SnapChat or kik. While it might be true that these new social platforms are growing faster, Facebook isn’t going anywhere and is better set up for advertising opportunities than any other social media site.
That being said, making a strong social media effort along with strong content is more important now than ever. And this ties right back into video. Social video generated 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. Quality video isn’t always quick or easy (or cheap) to churn out, but all efforts should be made to keep things fresh and relevant when possible.
One other item of note was the gap in gender in terms of social media, with 71% of women active compared to 62% of men. That gap varied by platform with the largest being Pinterest (71% vs. 21%) but there was not one site where men were shown to be more active. This may not be surprising to hear, but it should be considered when thinking about using social media and how it plays with your target audience. Simply put, you’re probably going to get a bit more out of your social media efforts/spend when focusing on women. With a larger audience to pool from in terms of active users, costs per click should be a bit lower than on average with women. Targeting men will generally be a bit more expensive, and if you’re looking for a video to go viral, they may not be as willing to share.
Other fun facts on Social Media:
- Every second, two new users join LinkedIn.
- 189 million of Facebook’s users are mobile only users.
- The number of global social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion in 2018.
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without.
- Social media spending is set to reach $9.8 billion in 2016.
- 78% of Facebook's revenue now comes from mobile.
- 27 million pieces of content are shared daily.
- Facebook users are sharing 75% more video than a year ago.
- Articles with Images get 94% more views.
The Digital Summit was a great way to hear about the latest digital trends and see what clients and agencies alike are currently focused on when it comes to making the most of their digital efforts. Proud to be representing NDP’s agency efforts at the summit and looking forward to the next one!
(oh, and I met Susan Bennett, the voice of Siri)