A new year means new opportunities to grow your business.

It’s a new year, which means you’ll want to know the latest trends that could impact your web marketing efforts.

1. Videos

With Google’s ownership of YouTube, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing more video ads and visual content than ever. Google was behind Yahoo! and Bing in including video-based advertisements in its search results, in addition to text ads with images. Now, adding videos to your site will help build your search engine ranking.

Prioritize visuals on your site, putting them at the top of the page. Like a balanced diet, the use of videos should be part of an overall effective SEO strategy that includes keywords, meta data and other SEO guidelines.

How important are videos in marketing your business? Well, 71% of consumers say that they have a more positive impression of a company when they view videos about that company.

Before you rush to buy advertising space before video content on other sites, don’t. Videos on YOUR website may be a good idea, but be careful about where you place them elsewhere on the web.

Content over commercials

Most advertisements that appear before content videos are usually skipped. Put important company information in your content, not a video ad that appears somewhere else. This is because 80% of business decision makers would rather learn about your company through a series of articles, NOT ads.

2. Digital Assistants

There’s an increase in usage of voice-activated technology. You have “Siri” with Apple and “Cortana” with Windows. How do these digital assistants impact your SEO strategy?

There’s no doubt that adjustments may eventually be made in SEO algorithms to reflect this growing trend. However, digital assistants still rely on traditional search engines. But their goal is provide immediate information, not to prolong a web-browsing experience. Sometimes, this means that “Cortana” will use files on your hard drive to find the answer, instead of going to the Bing-based search engine.

What you can do is make sure your SEO is conversational, with long-tail keywords and a local, or niche, focus. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll be found by digital assistants. The idea is to provide more complex, insightful content rather than basic content that could be found anywhere.

What “going local” means

If you customize your content for a niche market, 90% of consumers find it useful. For instance, if they ask the voice-activated digital assistant to help them find a “pizza place in Boston,” and you have long-tail keywords like “the best pizza place in Boston” included in your text, you’re more likely to be found. Take it a step further and say “the best Chicago-style pizza in Boston,” etc. Specific now beats general content every time.

As we mentioned above, videos will also help you with digital assistants because they can’t provide visual content without you.

3. Mobile

Having a mobile-friendly website is more important than ever. Iphones and Smart phones are part of daily life, with customers shopping for bargains and comparing prices—all on their phones. You’ll be missing the boat if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

This brings us to a few more trends worth noting:

4. Apps  

You can increase your company’s visibility with an app. Google offers app indexing, but search ranking is still complicated. You might consider it, because 14% of consumers say they won’t do business with companies that don’t have mobile-friendly sites or apps. Ouch.

5. Wearable technology

The effect on SEO remains to be seen. But new technology, such as the Apple watch, may cause business owners and web marketing professionals to take another look at the way content is presented on their websites.

6. “Context-aware” technology

This is an emerging technology, not fully optimized by Google and other search engines yet. It’s the idea that there will be follow-up questions, and that those questions should be connected, rather than taking them one at a time, as separate questions. For example, if you type in “where to find the best museums,” and then you search separately for “hotels in Washington, D.C.,” a “context-aware” search engine might guess that you’re planning a trip to D.C. and offer other related information.

7. CMS technology

Content management systems that try to be smarter, anticipating your customers’ needs, may get more sophisticated in the coming years as well. These interactive tools, such as those that Amazon uses, will say “Since you purchased these books on World War II, you might also be interested in. . .” However, this technology has yet to figure out when you’re getting those war books for someone as a gift! Maybe they will improve this soon.

Hopefully, you’re looking at your own marketing strategy as you read this, and are able to check off nearly everything. If so, you’re well on your way. To ensure the growth of your business in 2016, contact Your Page Today and we’ll help you stay ahead of the competition. Talk with us today!

Your Page Today is a full-service web development company serving central Massachusetts—Barre, MA; Holden, MA; Auburn, MA; and Oxford, MA.