SEO Articles

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

RankSense CEO Hamlet Batista, a mentor to many in the SEO community and someone fellow marketer Mike King called “the best of us,” died on Tuesday night, leaving those who knew him, admired him, learned from him and loved him, reeling from the loss.

Hamlet passed away after suffering from a case of COVID-19, Maura Loew, operations manager at RankSense, confirmed to Search Engine Land.

Hamlet’s contributions to our industry spanned numerous publications and conferences, including our own. His drive to share his knowledge has been widely recognized, and applauded, by his peers.

🙇Wow. I guess I can retire now… kidding!

Thank so much John! 🙏

I love showing what is possible to do with #Python 🐍🔥 https://t.co/VnG50bZoW8

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) June 24, 2020

“I’m a trained engineer, and we’re native problem solvers . . . Our calling is to fix stuff that we see is inefficient,” he said in a vlog with Barry Schwartz, providing us with a glimpse of what motivated him throughout his career. In the video, he also shares an anecdote about his son, and how the engineer’s mindset has been passed down to him as well.

From time to time, he would also share his personal achievements with the community. I distinctly recall when he earned his citizenship (which was exactly a year ago today), and his excitement about participating in our democratic process for the first time. As a child of immigrants, I was proud to witness these moments, and Hamlet’s service to the industry continues to set an example for all of us, but especially people of color such as myself.

🇺🇸 my first election as a new US Citizen 🙌🏼 #VoteEarly 🗳 pic.twitter.com/osKF6viAbN

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) October 25, 2020

“The [SEO] community was incredibly important to him, and we’ve seen the outpouring from the community which tells me that the feeling was mutual,” Loew said, adding, “He always saw himself as part of that community and formed a lot of friends that way.”

Hamlet advocated for automation and helped raise awareness for Python’s potential applications in SEO. “Even though he’s been working on that for seven or eight years, maybe more, it’s only been the past year or two that he has been able to focus time on threading that message, and so he told me two years ago that he was going to start a movement of automation in SEO and Python in SEO and he did,” Loew said, “I can’t give him all the credit, there’s been many people contributing but . . . RankSense as a company, our app is related to that, but that’s sort of part of his vision.”

His reputation in the community runs parallel with what he is known for as a leader. “Hamlet brings to SEO a thoughtfulness, an analytical nature and even a scientific approach, and that is what he has taught all of us, every person on his team, to follow in his example,” said Loew, adding that he also cared about all of his employees, both as people and professionally. “He was a wonderful leader and he will be truly missed,” she said.

Those who would like to help support Hamlet’s family during this difficult time can do so via the GoFundMe campaign organized by his close friend and fellow community member Lily Ray. All donations will go directly to Hamlet’s family.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed nearly 430,000 lives in the U.S. alone.

On behalf of the entire search community, thank you for everything, Hamlet. You’re already missed.

The post SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Yoast SEO 15.7: Helping you write better content

Today, we’d like to welcome Yoast SEO 15.7. For this release, we thought we’d remind you of some cool stuff Yoast SEO does to help you write awesome content. For Premium users, we’ve added a new language with full readability and word form support: Turkish!

Yoast SEO is your SEO expert and content editor

It’s easy to forget how useful a tool is when you use it daily. It somehow slips from your mind, and you simply accept the fact that something is silently helping you to improve your site. Well, not always that silently, as we do tend to remind you to fix stuff that has a red bullet — but, we’ll never yell. We use these nudges to encourage you to improve your work. We’re especially mindful when it comes to content SEO.

High-quality content needs to be topically on target, but it also needs to be readable and easy to understand. No one will read your content if it is sloppy, shallow, rambling or simply plain bad. But, not everyone is a gifted writer — or can hire one. We’ve made it our mission, therefore, to help everyone improve their content. Well, everyone with a WordPress site running Yoast SEO that is. We built several tools that can analyse a piece of text and suggest improvements to make that content more readable. We can’t write it for you, but we can steer you in the right direction.

One of those analysis is the readability analysis. This analysis is powered by an algorithm that checks how readable your article is based on insights from research and best practices. For instance, we check for the use of transition words to improve the flow of text. The plugin checks to see if your sentences aren’t too long. Or, you tend to use passive voice a lot instead of active voice.

We gather all these insights and present them as feedback in the sidebar — or meta box. Use these insights to your advantage! But, don’t go chasing the green bullets. It’s not a rule — it’s simply a tool.

Combined with the SEO analysis, the readability analysis helps you make your work the best possible content for readers and search engines alike.

The Yoast SEO Premium analysis turns it up a notch

While the free version of Yoast SEO works perfectly fine, we have additional features in Yoast SEO Premium that will improve your workflow. It will also genuinely improve your enjoyment. The Premium analysis is quite a bit smarter, and it makes for a much more natural writing and editing experience.

One of the most important features in Yoast SEO Premium is what we call word form support for your focus keyphrases. A word form is a grammatical form of your keywords. So, if your keyphrase is ‘baby’, ‘babies’ is a grammatical form of that word. With Yoast SEO Premium, we take those word forms into account. This means that we’re excellent at discovering not only the keyphrase as you have typed it, but also all word variations of that. What’s more, they don’t even have to be in the same order in a sentence. We’ll recognize them anyway.

Unlock this feature in Yoast SEO Premium

Get this feature and much more for your WordPress site with the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!

Get Yoast SEO Premium ▸Only $89 USD (ex VAT) for 1 site

What does that mean?

That’s all well and good, of course, but what does that mean for you, dear reader? Having a smarter analysis at your disposal, makes the process of writing a perfectly readable text much more natural. While you are writing, you naturally use various forms of your keyphrase. In the free version, we could only pick up the keyphrase exactly as you’ve entered it into the focus keyphrase box. With Premium, we take all the grammatical forms into account as well. This means you won’t have to awkwardly fit in keyphrases to satisfy the plugin, as to plugin is probably already satisfied by your natural writing.

Of course, this is not all. In Yoast SEO Premium, you’ll also get the chance to add related keyphrases and synonyms to expand the possibilities of the analysis even more. These tools help you write a piece of content that reads effortlessly, without overusing your focus keyphrase.

In Yoast SEO 15.7: Full Turkish language support

Most of the checks in Yoast SEO work independent of language, but some we finetune for specific languages. We have a long list of languages we support, and we can add a new one today: Turkish. Turkish is the sixteenth language to receive full language support with word forms. As of today, Turkish users can make use of all this cool stuff.

That’s Yoast SEO for you!

Today, we’ve launched Yoast SEO 15.7. Premium users from Turkey will enjoy the brand-new readability and word form support for their language. We have many more languages coming, so keep an eye out for yours!

The post Yoast SEO 15.7: Helping you write better content appeared first on Yoast.

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Coming soon: Understanding structured data course!

Coming soon: Understanding structured data course!

There’s a new Yoast SEO academy course on its way: the Understanding structured data course! Are you ready to take a deep dive into the theory of structured data? After completing this course, you’ll understand the concepts and terms related to structured data in detail. And, implementing this knowledge could help you get wonderful rich results!

Why is structured data so important?

Yes, good question. Structured data is a way of describing your website to make it easier for search engines to understand. You can add structured data to your site by adding some code to your site (or by using a plugin that does this for you). It’s becoming more and more important to add structured data to your site because search engines can use it to display search results in a much richer way, with an image and reviews, for example.

An example of rich search results powered by structured data

If you want to be able to compete in the search results nowadays, you need structured data. This may sound daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start, but we’re here to help!

A sequel to the Structured data for beginners course

The new Understanding structured data training course is a sequel to our previous – and free! – course on structured data: the Structured data for beginners course. Over 5000 users have already taken this course. If you haven’t started this course yet, we recommend you do!

If you have already completed this beginner’s course (well done!), our Understanding structured data training course will be the perfect next step to deepen your knowledge. Of course, this course is also great if you already gained some basic knowledge of structured data elsewhere.

What will you learn in the Understanding structured data course?

In this new course about understanding structured data, you’ll learn things like:

what metadata, schema, and structured data entail;that there are different types of structured data markup, but that JSON-LD is the standard (and why);where to place and find structured data in a site’s code;how to read the structured data markup JSON-LD;where to find types of schema that you can use to implement in your site.

In short: after this training course, structured data will no longer hold secrets for you! You’ll understand all the important concepts and terms, and you’ll be able to use this knowledge to improve your chances of getting those coveted rich results.

How can you get access?

As you may know, you now get access to all Premium courses by purchasing a Yoast SEO Premium subscription (for only $89 a year!). This subscription will give you access to the Yoast SEO Premium plugin and all our SEO courses.

So, to get access to the Understanding structured data course, all you need to have is a Yoast SEO Premium subscription. We’ll release the new course next week. Then, you’ll automatically be able to access it from your Yoast SEO academy courses overview! Of course, we’ll let you know when the course is live.

Don’t have Yoast SEO Premium yet? Get it now, so you’ll have access to the Understanding structured data course too!

Go Premium and get free access to our SEO courses!

Buy Yoast SEO Premium (or renew your subscription) and get FREE access to Yoast SEO academy Premium:

Get Yoast SEO Premium ▸Only $89 USD (ex VAT) for 1 site

The post Coming soon: Understanding structured data course! appeared first on Yoast.

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How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts?

How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts?

In September 2020, Google launched local services ads to lawyers.  Since my agency works with a lot of lawyers, we were very curious to see how these ads impacted where people click in the search results.  

At first, we assumed these ads were stealing clicks from the local pack results but were surprised to find that although it did lower the click-through-rate of the Google My Business listings, the average impact was only a loss of about 5 clicks a month.  However, when we looked at several Google Ads accounts for several lawyers, it told a very different story. 

In this example, after Local Services Ads launched, this lawyer saw their cost per conversion double and their number of conversions drop in half.

In this example, this lawyer saw his cost per conversion increase by 50% and his number of conversions dropped by 50%.

Seth Price, founder of BluShark Digital and managing partner of Price Benowitz LLP, saw something similar at his agency.  When looking at several Google Ads accounts for personal injury lawyers, they saw that when Local Services accounts had been introduced, it almost always resulted in a decline in the click-through-rate in the traditional Google Ads account.  Accounts that didn’t have Local Service Ads competing saw little change or increased click-through-rates.

When you observe the search results, it’s easy to see why these ads might “steal traffic” from traditional paid ads.  They appear higher than traditional ads and they also have a lot of rich features (reviews, photos etc) that make them appear more attractive.

However, it’s interesting to see that for lots of high-commercial-intent keywords, Google isn’t even showing traditional ads anymore.

Why we care. If you’re in a market or industry where Local Services Ads have not launched yet, I would strongly recommend keeping a very close eye on your Google Ads account when the ads finally do launch.  As Google continues to expand these, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these roll out to new industries in 2021.  If you see rapid declines in the performance of your Google Ads account, it would be a good idea to shift budget away from that account and towards Local Services Ads to ensure you’re not wasting money. 

The post How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside]

How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside]

There’s more than one reason sites like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, or PopSugar get so many clicks, views, and site visitors.

The top reason, though, is that all of these sites use unique, powerful, and engaging headlines that make people want to click on their content and view the whole story.

There isn’t one right way to write a headline, but certain types have been more successful over the years. By following certain headline “formulas,” you’ll write headlines that will persuade people to click on your content.

Here’s how to write powerful headlines that people can’t help but click.

Why Headlines Matter

The headlines you write either grab the attention of your audience or bore them. You need to get them right because your prospective customers will make their first impressions about your brand from them.

Your headlines shouldn’t focus on selling to the reader since that can be a turnoff. Instead, they should entice users to click to your content.

You also need to ensure your headlines are an accurate representation of the contents of the page. Users will quickly bounce from your page if the content doesn’t match the headline.

Finally, your headlines should adhere to your company’s values. Most Americans believe the headlines that they see. Fake headlines or headlines that are too “click-baity” can lead to giving your brand a bad wrap and will make your business suffer in the long term.

The good news is that if you stick to the formulas in this article, you can avoid using misleading, false, or boring headlines that can hurt your business.

4U Formula Headlines

The first formula you need to know about is the 4U formula.

According to CopyBlogger, as many as 80% of people will read the average headline when they come across it, but only 20% will actually read the entire post.

If you want to boost the odds of people actually clicking on your headlines and reading an entire post, you have to make your headline as intriguing as possible.

Melanie Duncan’s 4U formula is perfect for compelling readers. The 4U formula instructs you to make your headline “useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific.”

Useful Headlines

Think about the headlines that you actually click on when you’re scrolling through your news feed. Some are probably headlines that offer something that can help you.

You need to offer people the same useful value in your own headlines. Start out by understanding what will be useful to your audience, and then offer them what they need.

The headlines in this category should identify a problem and offer a solution, and so should the articles that go along with them. This works whether your company is service-based or product-based.

Examples of headlines that are useful include how-to articles and listicles like this one, from Wonder How To:

Other example “useful” headlines include:

10 Tricks for Getting Better SleepHow to Land Your Dream JobHow-To Guide for Meditation Beginners

Urgent Headlines

Clever bloggers create a sense of urgency in their headlines to push people to click. Think FOMO here (for the uninitiated: Fear Of Missing Out).

There is so much online content trying to grab our attention. It’s easy to ignore headlines that don’t aren’t time-sensitive.

However, when something IS urgent, readers will often click on the headline to get the information right away. They don’t want to miss out on exciting, helpful, or informative content that they need right now.

Urgency is the hardest of the four U’s to capture, and it might not always apply to your article’s topic. If you’re going to skip over any of the 4 Us, this is the one to think about leaving out.

Examples of urgent headlines include titles like “Avoid THIS Mistake Before It’s Too Late” or “Do XYZ in Just 2 Weeks With This One Simple Trick.”

Traditional news outlets use urgency in their headlines all of the time. Just check out this one from Fox News:

Unique Headlines

People love rare and unusual phrases. They stick out like a sore thumb and pique people’s interest so that they just have to click.

Anything that you can do to make your headline stand out in an oversaturated online world will help.

Think about focusing on wordplay, puns, and interesting topics. Buzzfeed is notorious for this:

Ultra-Specific Headlines

Have you ever wondered why so many headlines these days have numbers in them? It’s because they are ultra-specific.

Readers like to know exactly what they can expect if they click on a headline. The best headlines take specific ideas and break them down one step further.

For example, don’t just write about foods that you should avoid. Talk about common foods to avoid. Don’t just mention home decor ideas, talk about do-it-yourself home decor ideas.

Again, this is all about understanding what will be useful to your audience. Here’s an example of an ultra-specific headline I used in the past:

When you make sure that all of your headlines are useful, urgent, unique, or ultra-specific (or a combination of methods!), you’ll come up with better headlines for every article that you write–headlines that push people to read because they offer an answer to problems they have.

Guide Headlines

The guide formula is a classic way to show people that your post can solve their problems.

It’s as easy as rephrasing your headline to read: “The (Adjective) Guide to (Ultra-Specific Topic).”

Be careful about how you phrase the contents of the blanks, though. Use unusual words where you can and try to avoid basic adjectives like “complete.” Try to spice it up a bit by changing your adjective to something like “compact” instead.

Here’s a great example from TheStranger.com:

Showcase the Benefit of Your Post in the Headline

Your headlines need to demonstrate exactly what’s in it for readers if they view your post. The headline needs to convince them that there’s a benefit to taking time out of their day to look at your content.

You need to really know your target audience to create a headline with this formula. You should know what search terms they are using to find your post and what information they hope to find in it.

This is as simple as writing a few headlines like “Make Your Own Email Template in Minutes” or “Fast and Easy Ways to Cook Bacon.”

Huffington Post gave away the big benefit of their post quite well in this headline:

You can also give away the benefits of your post within a headline if you want to offer readers something in exchange for their time, like “Get a FREE E-book at The End of This Blog Post.”

Create Headlines that Appeal to Your Readers’ “How-To” Instinct

Most people are interested in improving their quality of life in one way or another, whether it’s their personal or business life.

With “how-to” headlines, you can highlight people’s wants and needs and how to meet them.

Don’t include the process in the headline, though, since you don’t want to give away the big secret. That certainly won’t compel readers to stick around for your whole post. Instead, keep your focus on the end result and the real motivations that the reader has.

These can be articles like: “How to Start a Business From Home” or “How to Eat Healthier on A Budget.”

Here’s an example of one of my how-to headlines:

Like all other headline formulas, the how-to headline offers a solution to a specific problem. Another example:

You can apply this formula by first figuring out what problems your readers might be struggling with.

Next, find out how you can narrow this problem down to make it extra-specific. If you need help, reach out to your followers on social media and ask them what challenges they face. You can even run an online poll or send one out to your email subscribers.

Headlines Comparing Two Unexpected Things

When you compare two unexpected things, people will be curious to figure out how they relate.

For example, this headline is pretty hard to ignore:

Claiming that bacon is better than true love is a pretty bold statement. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty interested to know the author’s reasoning here.

The formula for this headline is as simple as something like “Why (one thing) trumps/is better than (the second thing).” Comparison headlines offer us an escape from having to weigh out difficult decisions.

These usually work best if you bust a myth, like suggesting people should eat chocolate instead of going to the gym.

People won’t expect that you’re choosing to recommend the unexpected choice, and they’ll want to know your reasoning.

To apply this formula, begin by thinking about which myth you can bust or decipher some of your readers’ hardest decisions. Then use the formula to give them an answer.

For example, Bitcoin is super popular right now. That makes this Forbes post claiming that gold is better than Bitcoin intriguing, to say the least.

Classic, Numerical List Headlines

If you’re tired of seeing list posts all over the place, you might want to rethink your stance on them. People write them because they’re clickable and readable.

In fact, numerical headlines are the most preferred type of headline.

Buzzfeed’s homepage usually contains multiple listicle headlines:

Some other examples include:

32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home (The Penny Hoarder)17 Ways Successful People Think Differently About Money (MindValley Blog)9 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler Without Using a Smartphone (The Art of Manliness)

A list post headline is as simple as “XX (Adjective) Ways to (Do Blank).” Start by thinking about the tips that can help your readers. Include specific, actionable tips that they can apply to their lives right away.

Include emotional words in the blog title to make list posts even more effective, like “sneaky” or “legitimate.”

Headlines that Appeal to Readers’ Curiosity

If you offer up insider information, readers won’t be able to resist. Their curiosity will get the best of them, and they’ll have to read your post to find the answers.

The headline “XX Little-Known Methods to Do (Blank)” focuses on the idea that if the methods in your post are little-known, readers will have an advantage over people who don’t know about them yet.

You can also pique readers’ curiosity with a headline like “XX Secrets of (Blank).” Everyone will want to know the secret. Who doesn’t want insider information?

MoneyVersed combined these two methods with this headline:

“What Everyone Ought to Know About (Blank)” is also a great way to challenge readers to find out exactly what they’re missing out on.

When put to use, this headline should look something like this:

Use Keywords in Your Headlines

If you use keywords throughout an article (which you should!), you should also include them in the headline.

Not only do keywords matter when it comes to search engines, but they also matter for providing context. Readers can tell what your article is about and what they can expect from reading it.

You can do this easily with a headline like “What Makes (Keyword) So Important in (Keyword).”

You’ll attract more clicks and readers, get more tweets, rank higher in SERPs, and gain more traffic from headlines that incorporate your keywords.

Bizarre Headlines

When it comes to articles and blog posts, do as the pros do: always make sure your headlines are click-worthy.

If you have to write about something bizarre like HuffPost did in this headline to gain attention, do it.

The key to writing irresistible headlines is to avoid obvious clickbait but ensure that the article still plays on readers’ emotions.

You need to deliver on the promise from the headline within the body of your writing.

It also helps to test your headlines. For every article you publish, try to test at least five headline variants.

Headline Formulas for Your Articles, Blog Posts, and Social Media Posts

Think that only written blog posts or articles need well-crafted headlines?

Wrong. Every piece of content you create needs a compelling, strong, effective headline to attract more viewers. That goes for videos, podcasts, emails, tweets, and more.

Ideal Headline Length

No matter the formula or formulas you choose for your headlines, you need to keep an eye on the length. You want headlines to be long enough to cover all of the information, but short enough that they aren’t too lengthy.

According to CXL, The highest-converting headlines have between 16 and 18 words. Try to keep your headlines within this range for the best results.

Headlines for Social Media

You can test your social media headlines for free with a tool like Buffer.

For every headline variant, you can see how many retweets, favorites, mentions, and clicks were earned. You can also see statistics on the potential for each headline.

Then, head over to Buffer’s analytics tab to check out which of your headlines were clicked on the most by your followers.

Headline Formulas for Email Subject Lines and Opt-In Pages

Email headlines are just as important as article headlines because you don’t want your emails to be sent to people’s’ trash folders to die.

If you don’t think your email subject lines through, you won’t see very good open rates. Your subject lines either compel people to click on your email and consume your content or ignore it.

Luckily, there are tools you can use to help you create compelling subject lines for your emails.

iSpionage is a tool you can use to create clickable, attention-grabbing headlines that are a step above the boring subject lines you’re probably used to seeing.

ContactMonkey is also great at crafting email subject lines that are interesting by using a play on words or including a pun. The brand also often includes emojis in their subject lines.

Email subject lines are important, but they can only go so far if you don’t have a robust list of subscribers. You can boost your opt-in pages to gain more subscribers with the same formulas you use to create your headlines.

People won’t be interested in subscribing to offers that fall flat. Aim for something like this eye-catching, opt-in worthy headline instead.

Not only are the visuals great, but the headline mentions free. As if that isn’t exciting enough, you’ll get 40% off of your first order if you sign up.

Shoot for the same kind of opt-in forms for more clicks and subscribers.

Conclusion

You might be wondering why so many sites are getting traffic to their content, but yours could be better. The answer may be in your headlines. These are the first thing that people see from your brand before deciding whether or not to click over to your copy.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all way to write a headline, there are some headline formulas that you can follow to create better-performing ones.

You should be able to find a formula that suits every piece of content you produce, across all of your channels.

Do you want help to create headlines that increase your clicks, volume, and ultimately revenue? Let’s connect.

What kinds of headlines have performed the best for you and your brand?

The post How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside] appeared first on Neil Patel.

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2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses

30-second summary:

Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021.
From catalyzed digital transformation and conversational marketing to AI’s application and data privacy emphasis, these are some themes that will serve as pillars for marketing success.
Five predictions for how these trends will play out this year.

In 2020, small businesses were forced to be nimble to grow and survive. As a result, more small businesses accelerated their digital transformation efforts to quickly and effectively reach customers online.

Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021. Here are my predictions for how these trends will play out this year:

1. Small businesses put their foot on the gas to digitally transform

According to the Small and Medium Business Trend Report from Salesforce Research, one in three small business leaders said that the pandemic has accelerated their digitization initiatives, and more than half of growing small businesses said technology drives their customer interactions. Brick and mortar small businesses that once depended on a physical presence adapted to the times and pivoted to ecommerce. Even farming businesses that never established an online presence set up integrated payment systems and chat services to better serve customers.

This year, small businesses will continue their path to digitalization and invest in building and maintaining an online presence. There will be a greater emphasis on tracking the entire customer lifecycle journey online and using data to inform decision making. This will open up more opportunities for small businesses to compete with larger businesses that operate in the same markets.

2. Conversational marketing takes center stage

During the pandemic, internet traffic has skyrocketed and more consumers are engaging in conversations with brands online. While this presents an opportunity for marketers, it also has created a unique challenge. Now, more than ever before, marketers are experimenting with conversational marketing to deliver personalized experiences and collect rich customer insights. With the release of cross-app communication features from Facebook earlier this year, it is becoming even easier for brands to reach customers where they spend most of their time.

In 2021, small businesses and successful brands will invest in conversational marketing to build brand loyalty and boost sales. Personalization will become key and brands that don’t offer customized communications for customers will fall short. As marketers and small businesses invest in conversational marketing, the adoption of instant chat and messenger services as communication channels will increase.

3. Machine learning and AI becomes practical for small businesses 

In the past, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been viewed as valuable technologies, yet only recently have AI and ML-driven campaigns become mainstream practical tools. Marketing automation is now smart enough to adjust messaging based on intent signals, but it relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to make this happen.

This year, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more useful for small businesses, allowing them to quickly and effectively target and communicate with desired audiences online. Advances in AI-based chatbot services will take place and consumers will be able to engage in a rich two-way conversation, which will provide rich data and valuable insights for small businesses in 2021.

4. Data privacy pressures intensify – Small businesses should prepare

As big tech continues to draw more government scrutiny around how user data is pulled and managed, the demand for privacy protection and transparency from consumers continues to heighten. According to RSA, nearly half of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach within the past year and according to a study by Cisco, 84% of consumers want more control over how their personal information is managed.

Digital marketing is no exception to this and as small businesses continue to fully digitize, they will be faced with the same level of scrutiny on how they manage consumer data. While sourcing data is an essential component of successful marketing, in 2021, small businesses will need to invest in implementing data privacy compliant processes and communicating those transparently to customers.  This becomes an even greater challenge as these small companies fight to survive in the current economy.

5. The market demand increases for all-in-one digital marketing platforms

The demand for all-in-one digital marketing platforms has increased significantly within the past year as more small businesses are engaging with their customers online to drive sales. This has led to widespread innovation across multiple industries including food and beverage, fitness, farming, retail, and more. Larger companies are also turning to these platforms to efficiently manage all of their marketing needs in one place.

As the demand for these platforms continues, more businesses that offer complementary solutions will become partners with companies that offer these solutions to address the market demand. Integrations for payment, sales, helpdesk, and contact management services will become even more powerful and easy to use. Other integrations will also be established to help small businesses streamline their digital marketing operations. As more businesses invest in providing helpful solutions for these platforms, a thriving ecosystem will be established where the services offered for small businesses continue to increase in value.

Looking ahead

To succeed in 2021, it will be vital for small businesses to focus on creating seamless customer experiences online. The small businesses that excel in this area and harness the power of creativity will become stronger than ever before.

Steffen Schebesta is CEO at Sendinblue.

The post 2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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