It seems as if 2011 was gone in a blur, and it felt like Google’s algorithm changed even faster. It’s not easy keeping up with changes in SEO, and in 2012 you may want to start thinking about expanding your SEO & internet marketing efforts. Here are a few ideas on how you can improve your internet marketing campaign in 2012.
Maybe you spent 2011 working on your SEO, or other forms of marketing. Your analytics are rising and the traffic is starting to pour in. That’s great, but don’t stop there! Step back and take a look at your analytics. What does your bounce rate look like? Have you setup goals? If you aren’t monitoring these things you should be. You should be continuously tweaking your website until your bounce reaches the 30-35% range, and your conversions are anywhere from 12-15% (depending on what type of traffic you are monitoring).
Setting up a goal is just the first step in optimizing for conversion. If you aren’t sure how to create goals for your analytics tracking, the Google Analytics Blog has a great write up on how. It is important before you setup a marketing goal, you have a clear understanding on what your objective is. If you are using WordPress(if your not, you should!), another great way to track conversion is to use an advanced contact form plugin such as Gravity Forms. Gravity forms will actually show you how many people have viewed your form and how many people have submitted your form, giving you another conversion percentage. Once you have goals and conversion points setup you can monitor your results and make changes to your site as needed. Here are some great tools to help you optimize your site: Website Optimizer, Crazy Egg and your analytics trends.
2011 was a great year for local businesses and search, and 2012 will be even greater. Its time to expand on your local listings and create other accounts for your business beyond a Google Places account. Create listings with sites like Yelp, Local.com, Super Pages, etc. A couple of tips to help your listings are:
All of your local map listings will help your SEO. But, it will also increase your mobile reach. Many of these sites have highly downloaded and used mobile apps. Local map listings help your business get found!
It is getting harder and harder to get a quality link on the internet. It is no secret that guest blogging is a great way to not only get a great link and increase your traffic, but it also improves your brand recognition. I know most business owners barely have time to create content for their own sites let alone other blogs. But make it a goal to push out 1 guest post a quarter. Websites and blogs are begging for you to write for them! The easiest way to find guest posting opportunities is to simply search google with “guest post” keyword and you will find hundreds of blogs who have already had guest authors write for them. Reach out to these sites and let them know your ideas. Another way to find guest posting opportunities is to try sites like My Blog Guest.
As internet marketers & SEO’s we have rushed to push out content fast and grab any link we come across. That ship has sailed, and now is a good time to create quality content that people, not search engines, want to read. Google doesn’t care that you have 100,000 inbound links, well…admittedly…they might, but not for long! It’s time to get out there and start creating relationships with industry related websites, work hard on providing value to your community and earn your recognition. If you work on this the links will come. As mentioned above, guest blogging isn’t so bad either!
The internet is full of marketing opportunities! If your focusing on one or two aspects of marketing, you could be missing out on a lot of business! You should consider trying everything including email marketing, social media, PPC, SEO, internet radio ads, etc. Be creative and you can be successful. This doesn’t mean you should attack every media channel you can with a wild west attitude. Stay focused on who your customer is, what your story is, and how you want to interact and engage with them. Make sure that the media channels you leverage are cohesive with your goals.
Is your content shareable? Sharing content through social media is going to be huge in 2012, you cant hide from it any longer. You probably have the tweet button and Facebook like button below or above each post; which is great. However, your social sharing buttons are worthless unless you create content that is shareable. Some questions to ask yourself before publishing content:
While following marketing trends can be a really valuable tactic sometimes, you need to be original and creative, and try things on your own. Not everything you try will work, some might even be a waste of time, but sooner or later you will figure out something great. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. One example is to try out different combinations of Google search phrases using inurl: intitle: “exact match text” to find relevant backlink sources.
I am not sure if annoying people through social media and email blasts has ever worked, but its not going to work in 2012. Your customers attention spans are very short, sending out short messages via Twitter, Facebook, Email, etc to buy your product 14 times a day is getting you nowhere! If you want to leverage social media and email in 2012 you need to start providing real value to your customers. Don’t make it about yourself all the time, see what you can do to help your following and community around you to build real relationships before throwing out a sales pitch.
Stop wasting your time with worthless blog comments to gain a link. By all means leave that blog comment with your URL filled out if you have something useful to provide to the content, or if you have a genuine question for the author. But don’t waste time on seeking out link opportunities through blog commenting. Only comment if you are providing value to the conversation or attempting to build relationships.
The other day I found a blog post with a picture and a word count of 57, and 63 comments. I was amazed! Sure enough all no-followed links. I decided to plug the URL into Open Site Explorer. The post had a domain authority of 18 and a page authority of 7. If you really think this link is going to help your search marketing efforts, I’m here to tell you…your energy is better spend elsewhere.
We did a recent anchor text density test (12/20/2011) on a competitive keyword we are trying to rank for. Through Open Site Explorer we were able to extract the average exact match anchor text for the top 10 SERP’s, and found that the ratio was only 27%! While we are sure exact match anchor text still holds little value, your anchors may be weighing you down in 2012.
We could have listed countless marketing tips for 2012, but we tried to focus on few we think that are most important to us. If you think we should have included anything else, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or give us a shout on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.