1. Inclusivity
  2. No click searches and featured snippets
  3. Sustainability
  4. Image and video SEO for visual searches
  5. Interactive content
  6. Audience centric
  7. Local SEO
  8. Carried over from 2020

1. Inclusivity

Now more than ever brands, online and offline are needing to communicate and accommodate for ALL.

In 2021, ,digital marketing includes media and subject matters that cover a variety of races, sexualities, religions, etc., as well as representation for people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities. This includes and applies to the content for your imagery and videos, but also the topics you discuss in social media and blogs, or even the line of products you offer.

It's important not to isolate anyone and have an honestly inclusive communication strategy and ofc product alignment is key too.

2. Featured snippets & no-click searches

For many, many years, the goal of SEO has been to get your listing in the “position number one” spot of search results. Now, going into 2021, the end-goal is continuing to shift to more SEO visibility in “position zero.” The much-coveted spot that only gets awarded to the most relevant piece according to Google.

Position zero refers to Google’s “featured snippet”, and 2021 SEO marketing trends are prioritizing this above all else. The featured snippet is fundamentally different from other search results entries— it’s separated by a small box and located at the top. More importantly, it also displays extra, relevant information with the attempt at answering the user’s question without them needed to click on it, prompting the nickname “no-click search.” A truly strong goal for 2021!

If you’re going to target a featured snippet yourself, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, featured snippets are mostly deployed using/leveraging long-tail keyword phrases like questions (such as “how to market a website”). They come in different forms, from step-by-step lists to straight-up definitions to even videos (and more), so match your content with the appropriate format - there are many tools out there that can assist with matching this for you and helping you with a gap analysis you can use to identify this content.

In the content itself, make sure you answer the keyword question clearly and succinctly, preferably with bulleted lists or a table structure - just a tip 🙂

3. Sustainability: stand up and stand out!

Just like the trend of inclusivity, people in 2021 are similarly passionate about environmentalism. Just as madame Thrunberg has made very clear, the matter is dire and not going away any time soon - so boast your initiatives to assist this global movement. The modern audience wants to make sure the brands receiving their money are just as concerned for planet earth as they are.

With 81% of consumers strongly feeling companies should help improve the environment according to Neilsons, what we’re seeing is a popularity boost for sustainable and eco-friendly brands, especially for younger consumers. This goes well-beyond the market for green products—every brand can benefit by broadcasting their sustainable practices. These can include recycling, remote offices (reducing travel emissions), CSI initiatives, and more.

4. Video and Image SEO for visual search

We're all using Google for image and video search, but you may not be aware of how popular and how fast using an existing image for a search actually is, or even take original photos and search for context? As more users discover these visual search techniques, it changes the overall landscape of SEO in general.

To capitalize on the increased amount of visual searches, you want to make sure your image and video SEO campaigns are in prime shape. Apply some basics now:

Moreover, familiarize yourself with Google Lens, especially if you’re an e-commerce brand. Handle your SEO techniques right, and you can take traffic away from competitors when shoppers conduct picture searches for products and barcodes.

5. Interactive content

Here’s a trend that’s technically been around for a while, but it’s just now being included as a best practice mechanism. Interactive content doesn’t just promote more engagement, it also improves the user’s enjoyment.

We saw a sharp rise in this content throughout the COVID period where people needed other's opinions, or simply didn't trust the main-stream media to provide a perspective alone. Interactive content like quizzes, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, giveaways, polls, calculator widgets, etc., can do wonders for your brand. At the very least, they increase the length of time users engage with you, which helps your standing in algorithm-based searches and feeds. But most importantly, people want to be engaged, so interactive content almost always improves your user experience.

6. Audience centric

Another trend that’s not new by any means, and in fact is just climbing in relevance. The idea is simple: instead of a small number of large marketing campaigns targeting general audiences potentially feeling cold/corporate and like you don't understand your client base, it’s better to have a larger number of small marketing campaigns targeting specific audiences - showing you understand their interaction with your brand is different and you know this. People love being treated as unique as they are.

Audience segmentation/centric marketing means grouping your target audience by certain traits or behaviors, such as demographics or shopping habits. This allows you to more accurately tailor your content to suit their preferences; for example, having two separate email lists for big spenders and small spenders, and sending different newsletters to each that feature different products.

Semantics comes in nicely here, and there are many tools and consultants that can you can help you unpack and understand this better.

7. Local SEO

Google frequently updates their local SEO algorithm, so if you’re a local business or operate in various local spots/areas, you should continuously update your business’ appearance in local results too. In many ways, local SEO is even more powerful than broad SEO—people searching for a specific type of business with their geographic location have more intent to purchase, so it’s easier to convert them.

For starters, you have to get verified by Google. You can do this by signing up for Google My Business and either claiming your listing or creating a new one. This helps you rank higher in Google SERPs, and also gives you the chance to offer additional information about your company to online searchers.

UpBeet Digital offers a full localised SEO solution for ALL local and international businesses.

8. Carried over from 2020

2020 saw some incredible trends becoming entrenched, and there's no reason to ignore them now, in fact they may be more relevant.

Make 2021 better than 2020, it's coming with old weight from the year we'll refer to collectively as the year we wish to forget, but we can take the immense learnings and leverage these throughout business and to best align with our consumers and company's goals.

Development is no longer just for building websites

When it comes to development and digital marketing evolution one of the big things taking shape right now in the digital marketing community is the programming language, Python.

It feels like just yesterday all the rage was PHP because it was open-source, anybody could use it and you didn’t have to pay to learn it. Sounds ideal

,Python, however, is now becoming the go-to tool because it’s nice to work with, easy to learn, and is allowing SEO professionals to do what they need to do really quickly.

Now more than ever before developers and SEO professionals need to have a strong understanding of Python, but also have a holistic view of the digital ecosystem and understanding of SEO and PPC as well as their combined effect on the landscape.

Coding has never really been an expectation or need for a digital marketer, but with the evolution of everything out there – it’s becoming more and more valuable and definitely sets you apart from the rest.

Having Python knowledge can also help marketers analyse large amounts of data without having to manually input data points into an Excel spreadsheet and laboriously setting them up with a formula. Python also allows you to search more extensively than Excel.

Data analysis and leverage in your strategy and planning is the best and strongest way to make sure you’re achieving your goals and driving your bottom line.

We believe, with a wealth of data there’s no reason to not use this to your benefit. In fact, if you’re not – I guarantee you’re missing out.

As a digital marketer in 2020 our day to day almost always consists of staying on top of current trends, client industry updates, leveraging the latest insights data, reporting, about 5-10 meetings and of course delivering on all the deadlines that pile up in what seems like a constantly increasing flow.

For those of us that have embraced the world of tools though, it’s got a lot simpler. Now we have tools for everything we need, the only problem for me is that they pile up.

As we’ve become more comfortable with marketing technology and data tools, we’ve started adding so many to our daily lives and they’re so valuable that we’re now sitting with a volume of tools that’s actually just too much to keep track of.

Stuck between password vaults, tabs, reports and calls… it’s just a headache.

One of my passions in digital is SEO, which has been since 2006 when I began my SEO journey. So naturally I have accumulated a number of tools over the years to help me achieve client goals. I’ve used a few of the “must have” but disappear due-to-lack-of-funding later, wonder-tools, and of course the staples in the game such as SEM Rush, Screaming Frog and others.

While they’re all really good, in their own rights. None of them do all of it, none of them even come close to doing all of it. And I used to think this was the right way to go, I mean, they’re not experts in everything and if they claim to be experts in everything, they must be lying… Until I found SearchMetrics.

I came across SearchMetrics in 2018 while working on some large FSP businesses, if you’ve worked in FSP you know there’s a lot of moving parts, Google updates, industry legal compliance and even more competition – so it’s really fast paced. SearchMetrics blew us away with their measurement metrics that just made complete logical sense, like market share online, bringing in competitor data in a simple and easy to absorb view, and customisable dashboards for team members and clients.

We were really very happy and helped us achieve some great milestones helping us to meet and exceed ALL our client’s goals for the fiscal and then some. Naturally we were too busy to explore the tool’s new capabilities as they turned on, we just didn’t have the time.

I’ve been leveraging their latest version to the full extent it has to offer, and I have now reduced my tools to one. It seems we were heard.

SearchMetrics refers to themselves as data and insights software providers, have really put together an incredible suite.

The suite now includes a live feedback SEO copywriting tool – which helps your copy writers to write SEO’d copy up front, avoiding the painful back and forth between SEO marketers and copy writers.

A research cloud that blows people away, we’ve used this to create campaigns based on topic research conducted in the tool (a standard feature), identifying the intent behind the topics and tying this back to creative and on-page performance. Driving some serious increases in organic traffic for my clients.

The tool has also brought in features, displaying opportunities in the SERP’s that your competitors are not doing, giving your client/or yourself the opportunity to one-up your competitor without burning through massive budgets.

SearchMetrics tracking into social signals, and paid search media allows for a better central view for those marketing managers or AM’s and AD’s that need to understand these in order to plan better throughout the fiscal.

The tool’s features continue to grow and impress myself and my team constantly.

Since UpBeet Digital decided to bring the tool into the South African market in a much larger way, we’ve had some incredible feedback from some industry leaders. You can now get a tool that combines up to 5 digital marketing tools for the cost of 2. And the best part is it’s not limited to licenses or logins, dashboards, or modules… it’s one price for everything.

If you’d like to find out more about SearchMetrics and our customised pricing to suit all business and agency needs, please contact our Sales Beet.

Today I thought back to 2007, sitting in front of a client explaining that the online industry in SA is soon going to be exponentially larger and be the only place to be spending advertising budget. I was so sure in 2 - 5yrs we'd be sitting in digital-commerce-heaven.

I think a lot of us remember those times. But boy did we wait... it's 2020 and it took a global crises for people to fully embrace digital on a level we always knew they would. The adoption of digital and our digital behaviours have changed.

Now due to COVID19 and social distancing we're seeing people spending increased time online learning, shopping, working, socialising and all sorts more. And for those in corporate what an awesome opportunity to prove that you can indeed be more productive and perfectly responsible working from home.

For years the corporate workforce have been craving home-working abilities like our first world counterparts but we were never trusted to work from home, "how do you know they're REALLY working", "people are naturally lazy". Well it turns out adults really are adults, and can manage themselves.

Media house such as econsultancy.com, news24.com, forbes.com, theguardian.com are reporting that companies around the world and right here in South Africa are experiencing improved productivity and better quality of work now people are working from home. With many large companies considering abandoning their large physical premises due to lack of foot traffic in favour of smaller administrative offices and remote staff compliments.

It's not just an opportunity for a more work-life-balance professional life but there's opportunities for businesses to save on costs. We've heard many success stories in the media and online, businesses that have transformed to online to survive and are thriving!

If digital marketing was not on your to-do-list, best you sort that out. Looking optimistically we are hearing of restrictions for a year or more. Getting your business digital-ready is the best way to rise in the midst of crisis.

Join the masses of business around the world that have benefited from digital marketing greatly. Many business rely on digital marketing efforts only to drive returns on investment.

Take some inspiration from those that have lead the way, restaurants here in Jozi are prepping frozen meals for delivery, hair salons are selling do-it-yourself hair dye kits online with how-to's, online Yoga and Pilates.

Here's some tips to get more digital:

For more on how to get your business digital-fit, reach out to our consultant-beet.

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