Here's an interesting video from Google about the ways in which search has evolved since back in 1998 when Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page wrote "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" and created the pagerank algorithm that would lead to Google's initial success.
Over here is an interesting wee survey of some members of the SEO community on the topic of digital marketing trends in 2012. There's not a great deal of unexpected content in there - the overwhelming consensus seems to be that content and social media will continue to grow their share of the ranking algorithm's attention, and that some old school tactics such as directory submission and article marketing will become less and less important (which I'm happy about as directory link-building is one of the most soul destroying and tedious ways to spend your time that has ever been invented...)
So - your online marketing strategy for 2012 should start with content - interesting, original, relevant & engaging content on your site, that your target market will want to read, and better yet, want to share. Your new year resolution should be to focus on that news or blog section of your site and update it regularly. Every week at least, followed by an update for your various social media followers to let them all know it's there, and a handy link to your site where they can read your content and engage with your brand.
From my perspective as a marketing graduate, 2012 will see even more of the continuing shift of digital marketing and SEO from a technical arena to one where traditional marketing strategy results in online business success.
Knowing your online market, segmenting it and targeting it, engaging with existing customers and attracting new business with solid combinations of relevant content, careful conversion, social media and old fashioned PR and sales promotions.
The old marketing acronym AIDA (now AIDCAS wikipedia tells me!) stands as well online as it has done for bricks and mortar retailers and service providers throughout the years. The strategy remains the same, you just need to get to grips with the new tactics (and perhaps a different order).
Attention: Site optimisation, meta descriptions and title tags written for conversion, optimised, well segmented and targeted online and offline marketing campaigns, social sharing etc. etc.
Interest: Solid, well written, interesting, benefit focused content combined with regular authoritative news and blog posting, positioning your site as the authority on the topic and the expert on your product, social engagement and the ability to quickly react to customer queries via their choice of medium fits well here too.
Desire: Full use of the media available to you on the web: pictures, video, testimonials, reviews, to demonstrate provenance, usage, advantages, benefits and fulfilment of needs.
Confidence: Few things bypass the purchase decision barrier like peer group 'likes', google +1's, twitter followers, google local places reviews – personal recommendations from other customers.
Action: Optimised content, planned conversion paths to the site goal, understanding your site’s analytics: landing pages, exit pages, time on site and more – gives you the data you need to tweak your website and ensure every page is working as a sales tool for your business.
Satisfaction: Relationship marketing via social media allows you to maintain existing business relationships, introduce existing customers to new products or services and offer exclusive promotions, you can also use these qualified customers for market research, feedback and testimonials or reviews.
Search engine results are becoming so fragmented and personalised that standalone site SEO and the race to the top of google universally for a generic keyword will soon be an obsolete goal, impossible for all but those with the strongest brands. Pursuit of top ranking search results without user engagement, topic authority and relevant social sharing signals will become a fruitless task, and businesses should focus on building rounded online marketing profiles and relevant content rather than the old slog of artificial link-building. The future of search is heavily human influenced, personalised and peer-group influenced, if you haven't already, it's time to start becoming the authority on your product or service in your market and building online relationships that are going to pay off dividends in the years to come.
Just thought I'd have a wee look at some Rovers' related search statistics...
Local monthly searches are the average monthly searches (over the last year) via google.co.uk for the related keyword.
The competition stats show roughly how competitive it would be if you wanted to advertise using google's online advertising for that keyword, and the approximate CPC shows you the maximum you'd expect to pay every time someone clicked on your adverts...
|Keyword||Local Monthly Searches||Competition||Approximate CPC (GBP)|
|[raith rovers fc]||1300||1%||£0.17|
|[raith rovers forum]||210||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers fixtures]||170||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers football club]||140||3%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers fan talk]||140||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers youth academy]||140||8%||£0.53|
|[raith rovers youth]||73||0%||£0.48|
|[raith rovers shop]||36||5%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers wiki]||36||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers fantalk]||36||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers tv]||36||2%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers fans forum]||36||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers v dunfermline]||22||0%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers official site]||16||5%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers badge]||16||14%||£0.18|
|[raith rovers songs]||16||2%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers academy]||16||5%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers score]||12||1%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers history]||12||2%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers tickets]||12||11%||£0.28|
|[raith rovers results]||12||2%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers players]||12||4%||£0.06|
|[raith rovers tartan]||5||22%||£0.23|
Here's a table of the number of monthly searches done for each squad member's name (not really accurate, since the most common names win easily, but still quite interesting for the more unique names....)
|Keyword||Local Monthly Searches (United Kingdom)|
And here are some graphs of search interest for the term "Raith Rovers" over the past few years, with a few associated headlines where they were available:
Video wise - here's what youtube currently suggests when you type in Raith Rovers:
And the highest rated related video is (unsurprisingly!) this one: :)
Thanks for reading - check out the Dunfermline Athletic stats too while you're here!
Think this type of research could be useful for your business? Check out our keyword research service.
I was running a search on the best method to use the author tag in meta descriptions today, when I noticed an unexpected recommendation at the bottom of page 1.
Google was promoting a page because someone I follow on Twitter had recommended it. I'm not connected (circled?) to Hannah on Google+, so evidently, google has had a look at our respective Twitter accounts that we will both have associated with our Google+ accounts, then it's done the math itself and decided to show me sites that she has shared in my search results.
It's a logical extension of google search plus your world I suppose, and I'm happy to see Hannah's recommendations, but I can imagine this turning search results into a complete mess for anyone who's used the "follow everyone" strategy in order to try and build up their twitter numbers. I've always advised new Twitter users to keep it as relevant as possible, and it looks like this addition to SERPs reinforces that strategy.
Anyway - recreate this effect at home by linking your twitter account to your google+ and then following Hannah here: https://twitter.com/#!/hanskapade (worthwhile anyway as she tweets useful and interesting SEO stuff!) and then recreating this search!