Why you must follow internet marketing trends or risk brand oblivion

Achieving any marketing success always depends on responding to cultural and consumer trends. Constantly changing internet technology is a challenge for online marketers. Keeping up with web design and social media trends will prevent your website from dropping down the search engine ranks.

Here are four recent internet marketing trends that changed web design and SEO:

1: Meaningful web content

Perhaps the most important trend online marketers face right now is meeting the new criteria for search engine rankings. A strategy for high quality content, page by page, makes the difference between appearing on Google’s page one and disappearing from your customers’ view.

For search engine success you need a combination of meaningful information on your site, visitors to spend time spent on your website, and share your content and great backlinks to your pages. Successful SEO is now a combination of careful website construction and the merit of your content, as judged by search engine algorithms and your site visitors’ satisfaction.

But the new SEO rules really just apply the traditional principles of creativity and meaningful brand engagement, qualities that have always mattered in traditional marketing.

It means that online, keyword ‘stuffing’ is no longer enough to rank high. To do that, you need to plan and maintain content – as well as graphic design – to grab and hold attention.

There are limitless creative ways to tell your authentic business story and avoid a slip in the SEO ranks. Communicate, in words or pictures, what’s unique about your company culture, its people, products, services and customers, using real life examples. The good news is that SEO success (or failure) is instantly measurable. Online, you’re never locked in to a content strategy and can change course or update copy immediately.

2. Content goes mobile

Just when every business thought its web design was finally perfect, users went mobile.

Mobile browsing is predicted to soon overtake desktop computers and laptops as the most common way to search and buy products online.

The trend to internet browsing on the condensed portable screens of phones or iPads means your web design needs to meet the new priorities of users on the go.

For example, people on the move want pages to load quickly and they don’t like to scroll around to find the information they need. If mobile users are your target, put your most eye-catching headlines, offers and images at the top of the page. This way you’ll grab attention quickly. Remember, for SEO, content needs to stop people at your page and keep them there.

Responsive websites are the current solution preferred by Google.

3: Appealing to the gamer generation

Some audiences, and not just the young, prefer web content to look and act more like entertainment than information. Some brands follow this trend by designing content to imitate video games.

Thanks to the cultural institutions of television, advertising and video, visual appeal is a major influence over all generations of web users. So it’s worth auditing your web design regularly to adjust its graphic wow-factor. Visual content is more likely to viewed, re-visited and shared, all of which contribute to SEO.

Inviting user participation can include making a ‘game’ of instructional material, such as a trivia quiz that generates points. Conducting regular polls might attract repeat visits by those who feel their opinions are valued by your brand.

Designing for active online involvement particularly appeals to people who are more comfortable in social media environments, where they can express themselves freely.

If ‘gaming’ is not your audience’s style, still check that your web design balances written content with the right amount of images, video and audio, for variety.

Even sites that depend on long-form text can find ways of incorporating a video, photo gallery or how-to animation into content, to broaden appeal. Visit your competitors’ websites to see how they treat content. Survey your customers about their content preferences, to gauge how your website strategy is performing in pictures as well as words.

Again, SEO is another major reason for the increasing prevalence of visual content because images and videos are now indexed with keywords and are also ranked by search engines.

4: Opinions and conversations

Thanks to social media, another trend internet marketers must consider is that web users expect to participate in online conversations, particularly where they are being wooed to buy.

Around 10 years of blogs and their comment forms have accustomed people to starting and joining online conversations with each other and with authors.

Providing a forum for debate around a brand or company news is becoming important in online content strategy. Inviting comments and responding to them provides the two-way communication experience that is rewarded with customer loyalty. However, the ability to respond to comments generated depends on your resources, so don’t provide capacity for feedback unless you can honour customer engagement with steady replies.

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