Web Marketing – 5 Need-to-Know Trends for 2012

Dale Hursh January 10, 2012

The only thing that’s certain is change. And the only change that’s certain in web marketing is that every year will bring more and faster changes.

To compete in web marketing in 2012, it’s essential you have either a well-trained in-house team of experts – if you have the required resources – or hire a cost-effective, ROI-focused search marketing agency (the more cost effective option). That’s because search marketing is becoming more complex and diversified than ever before, as evidenced by these 5 key trends for 2012.

Be more profitable in 2012 when you request a complimentary internet marketing plan,

custom-tailored for you and your market by our expert team

Here are 5 important trends to watch in 2012:

  1. Increased Focus on Conversion Rather Than Traffic
  2. Strategic Importance of Diverse Traffic Sources
  3. The Rise of the Mobile Search Market
  4. Leveraging Google +1
  5. Google Sitelinks Opportunities

1.       Growing Focus on Conversion Rather Than Traffic

With the ongoing troubled economy, companies are watching the bottom line more than ever. One area coming under increasing scrutiny is web marketing. Traffic and rankings are a good story, but ultimately your job is conversion: turning visits into leads, customers and sales.  Your search marketing program must demonstrate measurable ROI.

Visibility and traffic are valid secondary metrics, but the ultimate success metric in search marketing is sales from search engine visitors.  Executives want ROI in terms of search-generated leads, customers and sales.

To ensure ROI-driven results, your search efforts and budget must include focus on post-click conversion and usability efforts.  Examples include

Robust landing page testing and improvement programs

Virtual website usability tests

A prioritized website improvement plan based on analytics data

2.       Strategic Importance of Diverse Traffic Sources

Is your company one of the many that puts too many eggs in too few baskets? Testing different traffic sources is essential, and can be one of the most profitable action items in web marketing. You’ve probably optimized your website, and are doing pay per click. But what about social media optimization, or testing paid advertising via alternate sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and more?

Ultimately the goal of any website is to find customers and grow sales, and one key to increasing sales is to test – and adjust – your traffic sources. Then increase focus and spending  on traffic that’s converting. For sources that aren’t, test changes such as different landing pages or calls-to-action. Sources that remain unprofitable should be scaled back or dropped.

 Be more profitable in 2012 when you request a complimentary internet marketing plan,

custom-tailored for you and your market by our expert team

3.       Rise of the Mobile Search Market

Increasingly business is no longer conducted solely during work hours at a desk.  According to a recent study by emarketer.com, 59% of business- to-business decision makers have used a smartphone to gather purchase information.

That means key decision makers are now researching on the go. They’re cutting deals while traveling, over lunch, or on the golf course.  So you need to

  • Update your SEO program to ensure you’re optimizing for smartphones and mobile devices
  • Test mobile PPC ads

This will help you stay in front of decision makers throughout the decision making cycle.

4.       Leveraging Google +1

Last year Google introduced +1 to enable people to recommend websites. It’s a democratization and socialization of the search process, with recommendations from real people like you.

Will Google +1 help search rankings or increase traffic? Only time will tell. But it’s likely to drive more traffic to your site since the more people recommend it, the more likely others will visit it. You can track Google +1 interactions via Google Analytics.

We recommend adding +1 to your web marketing immediately – you can always remove it later if the +1 button effort fails.

 5.       Google Sitelinks – Growing Opportunity

 The recent enhancement of Google Sitelinks provides a lot of opportunity for search marketers. Sitelinks now shows 12 interior pages in google results – up from 8. Also each interior page now includes a 1-line snippet which can help increase clicks.

Google is focusing on Sitelinks to help searchers directly access the most important pages on websites. This is a great opportunity for your business. Once set up, you get 13 opportunities (home page + 12 interior pages) rather than just 1. And while a site owner can’t decide which interior pages are displayed, with the right tools one can influence which pages are featured.

It’s a new year – and a great time to take a fresh perspective on the internet, the most powerful marketing tool in history. You’ll be better prepared and more successful when you request a complimentary internet marketing plan, custom-prepared for you and your market by our team of experts.

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Dale Hursh is CEO of SmartSearch Marketing with over 15 years of experience helping companies improve lead generation and lead acceleration through the full sales funnel. He has spoken at numerous search marketing and B2B Digital Marketing conferences around the world over the last 10 years.