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2018 is right around the corner, and you’ve probably been doing some research on next year's predicted marketing trends to ensure your business outstrips the competition. After all, marketing is constantly evolving, and it’s important to know what’s working and isn’t working across the industry. But have you considered looking into the trends that will be expiring, as well? Here are five digital marketing trends we expect to disappear in 2018.
1. Focusing on Quantity of Content, Instead of Quality
For many years, marketers have been in a race to create more and more content, and blogs have always topped that list. But now, brands everywhere are finally beginning to realize that when it comes to content, quality is much more important than quantity. After all, if you have tons of great content that doesn’t drive leads or build awareness for your company because you don’t have time to promote it all, that content really isn’t meeting its purpose.
In an ideal world, marketers would also create less content of higher quality. They’d spend hours of time researching and writing every post, then the whole internet would notice as soon as it went live. Your post would generate huge amounts of leads and overall traffic. Of course, in the real world, there has to be a mix. You can’t post one great blog every quarter and expect to get a lot of traction.
To get the most from each and every blog post you create, focus on one subject only for each blog post, and make sure each piece serves a specific purpose and provides value to your customers and prospects. Perhaps you want to drive to a gated piece of content or support a recent campaign. It doesn’t matter so much what your goal is; it matters that you have one.
Pop-ups have been popular on sites for a number of years, but consumers have become progressively adamant about blocking them.
While sites like Facebook have found ways to get around ad-blocking software and revise how they’re presented, many other sites are still relying on them for revenue. But now, intrusive pop-ups are being heavily penalized by search engines for distracting from the overall user experience. Though they can be effective in small doses (when they actually add value in the form of special offers), but when they take up the majority of a user’s time on the site, their negative influence overwhelms any potential benefits.
3. Organic-Only Facebook Marketing
Brands have been hanging on to organic Facebook marketing for years now, but we believe 2018 will finally be the time that most give up on organic-only marketing. Facebook has increasingly become "pay-to-play". In fact, HubSpot research shows that only two to six percent of your Facebook fans will actually see your brand’s content. In 2018 and beyond, boosting posts and spending money to advertise your page will be necessary to bring new followers (and customers) on board.
4. Using a Copy-Only SEO Strategy
Optimizing copy has always been a huge part of SEO strategy. But it’s not the only component of SEO that you need to worry about. Today’s consumers are into multimedia, from videos to images to voice-based search. Google Lens will even let people search using their mobile phone cameras soon, so it’s important to know how to optimize beyond copy.
A recent study analyzed 1 million Google search results and found that pages with at least one image had better rankings than content with no images. To optimize your images for SEO, cover the following areas:
Filename: Check your image name before uploading to your website platform. Filenames should be informative and describe the image. When you purchase an image or use your phone to take a photo, the images typically have names such DC0001IMG.jpg or something similar. This does not describe what the image is about.
Rename your image to have more meaningful names i.e. “2018-marketing-stats,” or similar. In other words, try to describe in a few words what the image is about and use that as the filename. Separate words with dashes.
File Size: Image file size: As a general rule, the smaller the image is (in bytes) the better. Large images will take longer to load, potentially having a negative impact on the user experience.
Responsive Images: Making your images responsive ensures they load properly on every type of device. If you use Wordpress,it will automatically create a number of smaller images in different sizes and will show those to users depending on the device they are using.
Alt Text: Alt text helps search engine crawlers know what your image is about. Alt text describes the content of an image for this purpose, as well as to aid people who are visually impaired and cannot see the image. When crafting ALT text, keep the following in mind: ]
- Don’t use dashes in your alt text. Write normally and describe the image.
- Use a few keywords that are relevant to the content of the page.
- Keep your alt text short and to the point.
See what Google has to say about Alt Text:
Open graph meta tags: Open graph is a protocol introduced by Facebook in 2010. It’s similar to schema markup, in which developers use tags to help crawlers identify the important parts of content what it means.
Open graph tags allow you to specify which image Facebook (and other social networks) will see when users click the SHARE or LIKE buttons from your website. If a page has more than one image, use the og:image tags to tell FB which image to use.
Note: Don’t forget that search engines cannot read the text if it is embedded in an image. For maximum SEO impact, avoid having pages full of images and no text.
For tips on optimizing your videos, check out this guide from Search Engine Watch.
5. Fake Reviews
90 percent of consumers rely on online reviews to make their purchasing decisions. In the past, fake reviews were everywhere online, and they still continue to linger across some sites. Customers or individuals who might not have even purchased the products they were reviewing (or were paid to do so) influenced customers through slightly sketchy practices. Today, however, most consumers are growing wise about what’s real and what isn’t in terms of reviews. Though companies will continue to try and earn customers through fake reviews, we expect them to receive even harsher penalties in 2018, resulting in fewer fake reviews being produced.
How to Spot a Fake Review:
Here are four ways you can tell if a review is probably fake.
- The reviewer hasn’t reviewed anything else.
- The review posts multiple reviews with similar language.
- The reviewer's language is oddly specific (see example below from Yelp).
- The reviewer uses too much enthusiasm.
Fake reviewers state the full name as often as possible because it increases SEO points for the product.
Grow and Evolve
Digital marketing has come a long way since the dot-com era, but it still has a lot of room to grow and evolve to meet customer demands, including their fast-paced shopping habits. It’s important to be able to let go of outdated trends (even if they’ve proven successful in the past) and focus on what works today.