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Posted on 31st Jan, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
Which SEO trends will thrive in 2017? And more importantly, how can I stay on top of these trends for my business? These are some of the top questions circulating marketing and business minds in the new year. Here’s what the digital experts at Bonfire HQ have to say…
Below are the predicted 2017 SEO trends that our search experts believe will have the biggest impact on digital campaigns this year.
Statistics show that most searches occur on mobile, with more than 50% of search queries happening from mobile devices. Consequently, Google has already begun to test mobile-first indexing. There have been murmurs that Google will soon prioritise their search listing rankings based on the mobile version of content, rather than desktop.
— Philipp Krieg 🌎 (@myguerilla) January 18, 2017
2016 highlighted the importance of quality website content for digital campaigns. In 2017, we believe this will be taken a step further. No longer will it be enough to merely produce content, but in a highly competitive market, businesses will need a structured content marketing strategy in place to ensure they can compete. It’s also predicted that with the rise in mobile searches, content will shift away from lengthy pieces and favour quality over quantity. Businesses are anticipated to adopt ‘dense’ content strategies; providing useful information in the most efficient possible format.
Algorithmic Machine Learning (AI)
Algorithmic machine learning was first introduced by Google’s RankBrain in 2015. We anticipate another update like this in the near future, some of which may go beyond the scope of search to encompass other digital areas (i.e. data collection and interpretation).
We expect voice search to continue gaining traction in 2017. With platforms like Google Home and others of the like we believe this marks the beginning of a revolution inspired by voice search. This will cause a shift in traditional keyword discovery, meaning SEO agencies and businesses alike will need to be prepared to see more contextual, natural search phrases increasing in search volume.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
As Google begins to prioritise mobile, we expect to see a rise in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a Google initiative to speed up mobile browsing, by building web pages for static content that render fast. It is an open-source slim HTML coding standard that when implemented, allows web pages on mobile phones to load instantly and ultimately improves the user experience. Google has already started favouring pages that have made the coding changes to optimize their mobile pages with AMP.
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
It seems 2017 is heading in a direction where the reliance on technology will soon be stronger than ever before, for both consumers and marketers. It is imperative that marketers recognise this as soon as possible, and shift their strategies accordingly. Collaborating with technology providers is heavily encouraged, as it’ll allow businesses to gain an advantage over their competitors. To stay ahead in 2017, we believe it’s imperative that SEO marketers and business owners keep a close eye on these trends and are prepared to adopt strategic changes when necessary.
Posted on 28th Nov, 2016 by Courtney Mills
This year’s Deloitte Connected Small Business report has highlighted the increasing implementation of digital strategies by Australian SMB’s.
Since 2013, there has been a fifty percent increase in the number of businesses boasting an advanced level of digital engagement through activities like online advertising and search engine optimisation.
It’s unsurprising that a greater level of digital engagement pays off. Revenue growth, innovation and increased employment are some of the key benefits.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
Our CEO, Clay Cook, has shared his views on the report with Campaign Brief, including rallying the industry as a whole to come together to break down the misgivings and barriers that are preventing businesses from increasing their adoption.
Posted on 31st Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way the world travels. In-store travel agents are being replaced by Google, Tripadvisor and Skyscanner and this trend is forcing Australian travel marketers to rethink their digital strategy.
Tourism is a $124 billion industry in Australia and with so many operators wanting a share of that revenue, getting a competitive advantage is more important than ever.
While the reasons people travel has changed very little, the way people are beginning their journey has transformed significantly in recent years. Consumers are increasingly going online to research, plan and book holidays. Data from Google indicates that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile in assisting them to plan their trip, from comparing flight fares to reserving tours.
These insights can be invaluable to travel marketers and tourism operators looking to influence tourist’s buying decisions, so let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. YouTube is the go-to for travel hacks
More and more travellers are turning to YouTube to get their trip done right by watching “travel hack” videos from ingenious luggage-packing techniques to tips for staying healthy on the flight over.
YouTube searches for “travel hack” videos grew by 115% in the last year and the number of search enquiries for the keyword term “travel hacks” has increased 16 times over in the past 4 years.
Travel marketers should be capitalising on this by creating their own useful video content.
2. Mobile research, desktop booking
Though 90% of travel-related bookings are completed on desktop, the research is primarily completed on mobile devices. Especially on weekends, when mobile queries related to travel outpace those on desktop.
Also, research and bookings aren’t a one-and-done, point-and-click proposition. Travellers are taking their time to evaluate all options. Marketers really should be employing digital strategies (such as remarketing) so their business stays top-of-mind when a traveler finally starts moving to purchase.
3. Smartphones are breeding “spontaneous travellers”
Long gone are the days of dog-eared guidebooks. Instead, leisure travellers are using their smartphones as their research tools once they touch down in their destination.
As the image below shows, smartphones have changed the way people research holiday activities. Travel marketers need to embrace “local” mobile marketing strategies to ensure they’re not missing out on this valuable chunk of the market.
There are many opportunities for marketers to make their mark on a travellers’ digital journey, it’s just a matter of embracing them.
Posted on 14th Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
Google’s hotly anticipated Penguin ranking update has finally been released. It’s been a long wait for SEO agencies and website owners.
In late September, Penguin 4.0 was launched by Google, however it’s unlike any other previous Penguin update. Through this release, Penguin now operates in real-time and as part of Google’s core search algorithm. This means that ranking adjustments will now occur as Google re-crawls the web and existing penalties will be lifted much sooner. However, instead of demoting a website, Penguin 4.0 now devalues the link spam so that it is excluded from a website’s ranking calculation.
Our team have kept a keen eye on the “recovery” component of the update. We’re happy to report we’ve seen some strong improvements for clients who have engaged us to help fix penalties from previous SEO activities.
Bonfire CEO, Clay Cook, recently discussed the update with Campaign Brief, including providing some advice for website owners moving forward.
Posted on 29th Aug, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The latest IAB/PwC Online Advertising Expenditure Report has just been released and has found that the Australian online advertising market has again delivered robust double-digit growth.
Online ad spend grew by 29.7 per cent to $6.8 billion in the year to June 30 this year making it the fastest growth of Australia’s online advertising market for five years.
The rapid rise of advertising on smartphones and tablets is the main driver.
Double digit growth was achieved by all online advertising segments, but general display advertising was the big winner.
Increasing 43.3 per cent to $2.5 billion making it the highest year-on-year growth since the inception of the report 13-years-ago.
Our CEO, Clay Cook, admits he was surprised by this increase as our AdWords team has noticed the popularity of display advertising dissipate in recent years. However, when you take into account that the this includes video advertising, which grew 55 per cent, it’s easier to understand the growth.
At current growth trajectories, display advertising should take over from search as the largest area of spend in the second half of 2017.
The industry leading the way in online advertising spend is real estate which increased its category share to 13.2 per cent from 10.8 per cent the previous year. However, the automotive industry is still the largest online advertiser.
Both of these industries are very competitive. The real estate agency industry is growing by around 3.4 per cent per year, so that increased competition is putting more pressure on agencies to spend on advertising to be seen online.
Clay suggests that the key for advertisers is to find the right balance to achieve effective advertising for their spend.
The best advertisers know how to use content, technology and data to help achieve their marketing goals efficiently, instead of just throwing money at it and hoping for the best.
Posted on 9th Aug, 2016 by Kayla Paul
A summary of the digital dilemma and its effect on the way businesses are operating today.
The Digital Dilemma
Whether you’re a start-up or an established brand, every business owner will be required to make an important decision in the course of their business venture; to go digital or not to go digital. In today’s day and age, businesses cannot turn away from the fact that this binary decision will determine the livelihood and the future of the brand itself. Thankfully, there is a middle ground more commonly known to those in the industry as the ‘modern marketing strategy’.
A smart business owner will understand that both internal and external marketing factors play a role in individual business success. According to research and consulting company, Strategy Analytics, spending for digital advertising in the Asia Pacific region has increased over the past year by 18.2% – that’s an estimated total of AU$78.4 billion.
This poses the ultimate question: if a majority of businesses are competing in the digital market, why isn’t your business? Furthermore, how do we, as business owners compete against others who seem to be employing the same traditional marketing strategy? The modern marketing strategy attempts to explain this.
The Modern Marketing Strategy
Ever heard of the saying ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’? The modern marketing strategy explores this notion. Although there are many theories surrounding this, our experience here at Bonfire is what drives the thought behind this strategy.
Time and time again we see businesses come to us seeking SEO and other online digital services who understand the importance of digital for a competitive business strategy, however this is not always the case. The modern marketing strategy explains the need for the integration between traditional marketing efforts, digital marketing efforts and all other areas of the business including marketing goals and product mix. Each marketing component should work cohesively in order to play off each other’s strengths and enhance the overall business strategy. If one element were to change, it’s integral for the other elements to adapt. For example, if the business decided to rebrand, this should filter through to all digital efforts as well as traditional marketing efforts.
However, for many businesses today who don’t necessarily have the resources to fund their own marketing department, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent strategy. This is where outsourcing comes into play – not to a cheap, offshore “agency” – but to an established digital agency who knows exactly what it means to have a strong digital campaign and has the skills to seamlessly integrate these into the overall marketing strategy.
With many markets facing over-saturation and with a large number of businesses struggling to penetrate or compete at a profitable level, employing an effective modern marketing strategy is almost essential for survival.
In today’s complex world, businesses can either sink or swim. With this in mind, digital agencies have now become the buoys of the modern business world, giving rise to a new era in marketing: The Digital Era.
Posted on 9th May, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The recently announced 2016/17 Federal Budget has again shone the spotlight on multi-national tax avoidance, otherwise known as “Google Tax”.
The government plans to put in place a number of measures that will help it secure almost $4 billion dollars in “lost tax” from Australia’s top multi-national companies including Google and Apple by July 2020.
As a start, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is getting $679 million over four years to fund a 1,300 person taskforce to ensure multinationals, private companies and wealthy individuals pay the right amount of tax.
Beginning July 2017, the tax system will also get a new Diverted Profits Tax law. The regulation will impose a penalty rate of tax at 40% on large multinationals that are found to have attempted to shift Australian profits offshore to avoid paying tax. This law is a follow on from the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law which was passed in December last year.
A similar law was introduced in the UK recently and forced Google to agree to pay the UK government £130 million in back taxes.
In Australia, the issue with Google arises by it booking its advertising revenue from Australia in Singapore where the tax rate is lower, therefore not counting income it earns through advertising locally.
Google has already made progress to rectify this issue. Google’s Australian business restructured at the beginning of January 2016 so that it now recognises revenue from the marketing and selling of certain services and products to Australian based customers.
While for the everyday Australian an extra $4 billion in the coffers is an attractive prospect, what implication will this have for Australian advertisers?
Advertisers and agencies will be keen to see whether the new tax will have an effect on the advertising rates they pay to Google. For example, would Google pass on this cost to advertisers by increasing CPC rates on AdWords campaigns? If the cost is passed on, this is likely to have quite an impact on the marketing budgets of businesses across Australia.
Google says that in 2015 it’s workforce grew to around 1200 people in Australia and the company invested more than $400 million into its Australian operations. If this new tax encouraged Google to shutdown operations and move offshore, it could have dire consequences for Australian advertisers and agencies alike.
So we wait with baited breath for the July 2nd election result to see if these laws will become a reality.
Posted on 25th Feb, 2016 by Courtney Mills
Advertising on Google is competitive at the best of times.
Google has just made the game even harder by announcing a major change to the way it will display ads in its search results page.
Google will no longer display ads on the right hand side of the SERPs. Instead, these ads will only be displayed at the top and bottom of the page.
Our CEO, Clay Cook, spoke with Campaign Brief on this change and the impact it will have on advertisers and SEOs alike.
Posted on 24th Jul, 2015 by Courtney Mills
After forcing webmasters to wait 10 months, Google has confirmed that a new ranking algorithm update has been released this week.
Panda 4.2 brings good news for anyone who was penalised by the previous update. If you took the right action to fix your mistakes, then you should notice a positive change in your organic ranking.
However, it could be a while before you notice this.
In the past, when Google has released an algorithm update, its impact has been immediate and widespread. However, this release is different. It’s being rolled out so slowly that webmasters are unlikely to notice any sudden impact to their website’s rankings.
Google’s lips are sealed as to why they have taken the “go slowly” method, but they can confirm that it will likely impact around 2%–3% of English language queries worldwide.
Our CEO, Clay Cook, makes a point that if you’ve forgotten to make changes to your website, then it’s a little too late. “Despite this update being a “slower” release than normal, there is no point rushing any sudden changes to your website. They will not be picked up by Panda 4.2.”
Being proactive instead of reactive is always a good approach. “It’s still early days, but we’ve noticed very little impact to our clients website rankings from this update and we don’t really expect to. This is because our approach to SEO is to be proactive. If webmasters continually update their content as part of their overall SEO strategy, then their website is less likely to feel the wrath of Google.”
If you do find you’re website has been negatively impacted by the update this time round, then use it as a timely reminder to implement the required changes to increase your content quality. You just never know when Panda 4.3 may arrive…
Posted on 12th Dec, 2014 by Courtney Mills
As 2014 draws to a close, the predictions and trends for Digital Marketing in 2015 have already begun.
So we thought we would jump on the bandwagon with our very own (along with a few from well-known experts).
1. Mobile-Optimised Content Will Be a Must-Have, Not a Should-Have
Our Head of Digital Services, George Gavalas, predicts that mobile optimisation will play a big role in Digital Marketing in 2015.
“According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones. While a responsive design is paramount, Google has hinted that mobile usability is now ‘relevant for optimal search results.’ So, 2015 will bring about website content specifically for mobile users.”
2. Digital Analytics Will Get More Sophisticated
Google’s Analytics Advocate, Adam Singer, anticipates that marketers will demand more from analytics in 2015.
“We know from research, talking to users and being an active part of the industry that marketers are increasing emphasis on measurement. Our team even launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to provide a free and robust resource to educate marketers and help them succeed. An ever-expanding mix of devices and channels is creating even greater pressures for digital teams to quantify their efforts, but the technology is here and the market demand for talented analysts & data-savvy marketers has been in place long enough that 2015 is the year digital measurement finally comes of age. Smart brands have already formalized their efforts across organizations and efforts. If you’re not there it’s time to catch up.”
3. Marketers Will Demand More From Remarketing
Ad Remarketing (or Retargeting) was the new kid on the block in 2014. However, due to its proven success, our Digital Services Manager (and PPC King), Sam Zhao, predicts that marketers will demand more from Remarketing in 2015.
“I expect the technology that ad platforms use will become more innovative especially in regards to advanced targeting criteria. We’re already seeing hints of this from Facebook with Atlas and Google AdWords, so I expect we will see other ad platforms like AdRoll and Chango follow suit pretty quickly”
4. Shopping Comes to Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are already testing it, but Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, expects e-commerce and social media integration to deepen in 2015.
“This approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. There are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytics challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.”
5. Don’t Count Out Google+ Just Yet
There are plenty of Digital Marketers who criticise Google+ and some are even predicting it will be gone all together in 2015. But, our Digital Services Manager (and resident SEO expert), Matthew Elshaw, suggests otherwise.
“Even though Google has closed their Google+ Authorship program, Google+ business pages are still an important part of the ranking algorithm. In 2015, I expect Google to further reward businesses that maintain an active profile with regular posts, complete business information and positive reviews.”
6. Will Marketing Strategies (Finally) Become Integrated?
Good question…. The experts have mixed predictions for this one.
Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, says no:
“I’d love to say that by 2015 we will truly see digital strategies that are integrated across social, mobile, advertising, marketing, comms, et al. But, we won’t. What we will see though is a more conscious effort to bring disparate groups to the table to learn how to collaborate across screens, channels, and moments of truth to deliver ONE experience to customers wherever they are in the lifecycle.”
However, Lee Odden from TopRank disagrees:
“Content creation, search optimization and social media will be less siloed as specific departments and treated more like skills that exist across the organization. Optimization will move beyond individual tactics and focus more on overall customer experience across channels. Marketing is everybody’s job and more companies will leverage internal resources through social business and collaboration platforms as well as participation marketing with their community to integrate scaled content creation and social media engagement.”
And there you have it…. Just a handful of the big predictions for Digital Marketing in 2015. Now it’s over to you… What do you think the most significant changes and important trends will be in 2015?