Don’t Drop the New Year’s Ball!

Don’t Drop the New Year’s Ball!

The ball is dropping in Times Square in just a few hours. It’s the time of year when you’re going to read about all kinds of reviews, summaries of 2013 trends and predictions for new year resolutions.

Time goes by with or without our latest self-improvement fads, but there’s something miraculous about the idea that we can launch our efforts onto a clean slate. When it comes to running your business, though, it’s especially important that we keep that ball rolling.

Have you adjusted your projections to reflect the new and changing trends in business growth? If ever there’s a time when we should pause and evaluate, it’s now. The surplus of reviews makes it easier to identify where to focus our energies as we inspect the scope (breadth, depth, effectiveness and trends) of our reach on the internet.

In the past year, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the way online marketing tools like social, PPC and SEO will connect and convert customers. It doesn’t take a lengthy article about 2014 projections to know that more changes are coming, so it’s important that us small business owners stay on top of the big concepts that are popping up all over the web.

Some of the things that we need to adapt our techniques to include:

Location-Central Marketing:
Regardless of how savvy you are with your internet marketing, or how much you depend on a select few to be savvy for you, you need to inspect the concept of local search, the importance of location specifics, and how your online presence represents your local presence.

Whether you believe location is pertinent to your business or not, (say e-commerce only verses a utilities service provider) business can only be enhanced by an acknowledgment of the place you live and work.

2014 Resolution: Get involved in your community and talk about it online.

Video Content:
Social media and Google have long rewarded multimedia pages with infotainment, or entertaining information, because of the popularity of the experience. Online video has been on the “trend” radar for a couple years now, but there’s nothing trendy about this content. Not convinced? See the explosion of video in your newsfeeds, the video oriented social networks like Vine and the blossoming popularity of Google+ Hangouts.

2014 Resolution: Keep an eye on your social engagement, on page clicks and conversion for evidence and clues as to where to focus your energies. Introduce your marketing team to a video producer that meets your budget requirements. Get some content that compliments your goals published.

Current Events:

Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 3.50.23 PM
Twitter, Google News and CNN aren’t the only places you’re going to find news. Pinterest, the billion dollar virtual cork board, made a lot of big changes this year that, while only helping to bring it to par with the other superstars of the web, set a great example of the big changes that we should be making as individual publishers. The biggest of which: current event boards.

The passing of Nelson Mandela met an enormous eulogy on the web. Pinterest did what Pinterest does best and collected pins featuring his thought-provoking quotes, iconic smile and inspirational photos to pay remembrance.

2014 Resolution: Take the necessary steps to becoming an authority in your field. Set up an RSS feed from news publishers that follow content relevant to your audience and react accordingly. Write, respond, share and publish in ways that fit your business and your audience. Don’t be afraid to try different things!

Topics (vs. Keywords) and the Not Provided:
This year saw a momentous development in the idea of the keyword. Souring the taste of SEO for many professionals in the industry and beyond, many people felt as though Google’s introduction of secure search, or the inability to easily track keywords in Google Analytics, was the death of the keyword.

While seeing “not provided” as a query result in your Google Analytics does make it more challenging to evaluate how people are finding your site, it most certainly is not the death of SEO. If anything, it’s fuel to the online marketing fire. The switch in focus encourages business owners and their marketers to refocus on the content consumer, on the idea they want to express or sell, and the topic of a site. Semantic search, or the ability for search algorithms to deduce meaning from words, is growing rapidly so the importance behind a single phrase becomes only as important as what people do with it.

2014 Resolution:
Don’t give up on keywords, but change the way you treat them. If you’re concerned with more than AdWords (duh), then keywords should transition to topics. Remember those pesky thesis statements? Each page of your site should have a clear focus. As far as tracking goes, there’s a whole slew of solutions, included the incorporation of Webmaster Tools into your Google analytics to reveal some search queries, but just be aware- words aren’t the only thing Google considers when the tool returns your site as a search result.

There’s so much more, but these big concepts are game changers. Keep them in mind and don’t be afraid to take risks with your content and your evaluation.

Cheers to getting creative and trying new things (like publishing a video about the new community event that you sponsored) in 2014! Happy New Year, friends!


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