It’s natural as the year comes to an end that we should all pause and think back over what’s occurred and what’s to come. The calendar may be an artificial construct but the cycle of review, analyse and plan anew is almost hard-wired into us, regardless of our socio-cultural background, our age or nationality.
All of which is to say, as we’re now comfortably into December, there’s only one thing that’s inevitable: yes, that’s right – whatever the sector, whatever the interest group, you’re almost certainly being bombarded with articles talking about top 10s, reviews of the year and what’s hot for 2015.
Am I right?
Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to recognising the value of this – indeed, for search marketers, the iterative cycle is engrained deep so whilst I can see the deluge approaching, a part of me can’t help but welcome it.
Larry Kim kicked things off with a very enlightening set of predictions for 2015. Whilst they are predominantly related to PPC, there is much to take on board across all search marketing disciplines. The consensus I’ve detecting is related to mobile activity (and, in conjunction with that, call tracking); more conceptually, a deeper understanding of how to appeal to a user who isn’t making deeply considered keyword-focused searches and where search marketing success will depend on communicating more clearly with Google so that it can join the dots to the user more accurately.
And whilst, for example, many people were keen to traduce the Black Friday/Cyber Monday concept making the transition to the UK over recent years, the data suggests these people are simply sticking their head in the sands. This week’s report from Econsultancy is clear that the UK activity is not imagined, it’s very real indeed and, as such, any marketing department would be foolish not to plan for it. More to the point, it highlights the need for cyclical preparations and knowing in advance what you plan to do AND WHY.
The need for this practical application is clear and, as such, an article from Search Engine Watch on how to collate useful data from 2014 and employ it to drive a more effective and efficient SEO campaign in 2015 was well-timed – whether you’re an in-house team or an agency, this articulates some important metrics you need to be analysing.
All this talk of strategic planning has chimed well with the modern ethos of content development and there have been several pieces that have crystallised this area this week – all with a common theme but all with important messages to be heard.
The first one I want to highlight is, almost predictably, from the Moz Whiteboard Friday. Looking at some Dos and Don’ts to keep your site sweet with Google Panda, it’s a very handy (and, unlike Google’s advice, very tangible) list of things to focus on. As you’d expect, it’s keen to advocate good quality content that is human-, rather than SEO-orientated and that seeks to clearly demonstrate (and technically validate) the authority of the site.
The second one re-articulates that planning premise of good content development by talking about it in terms of content flow – a description that I think helps add clarity to a very important route to achieving content of real value: that is, having a thematic and joined-up plan for what you are going to write over a period of time. In this manner, you can develop a narrative across a significant body of work (and time) and your readers will relate to, and more deeply engage with, this content as a consequence.
And lastly, to return to our theme of the review and rebirth, there a very rewarding article on the potential future direction for traffic distribution across rankings here. Perhaps as a direct result of Google monopolising the front page of its search rankings, the data shows a significantly greater propensity to search deep into the rankings than has been evident in the past.
Perhaps, as mobile usage takes greater and greater share of traffic, we will see people browsing more and becoming less frantic.
Perhaps, Google has under-estimated the capacity of human behaviour to circumvent its self-serving?