The climate of digital technology is ever-changing, but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could have accurately predicted the global shifts we saw in 2020. Drastic and necessary changes have touched the lives of nearly everyone around the globe, and consumers & business owners alike were forced to adapt to this “new normal” seemingly overnight. But what does this new normal mean for small businesses? In the wake of all of this uncertainty, how can small businesses owners prepare themselves for 2021?

The answer, we believe, is simple – invest wisely in digital marketing.

While we all felt it’s impact in some way, small business owners were arguably hit the hardest as a result of the global pandemic. Many were forced to adapt their current business model or pivot to new sources of revenue in response to the current crisis. While human instinct might be to hunker down and weather the storm; opportunity favors those who will recognize that their competitors will be doing just that. In an apprehensive market, small business owners must go bravely forward towards the high-return digital marketing channels they need to foster growth.

If you are looking to invest wisely in 2021, we’ve identified 3 digital marketing agency trends you will want to consider.

Voice Search

Many digital marketers advocate search engine optimization (SEO) as a tried-and-true approach for increasing organic search traffic. Search engine optimization is primarily reliant on user behaviour as well as the algorithms of big search engines such as Google. However, there has been a growing trend in the last five years or so that has revolutionised the way many people search: voice search.

With the popularity of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Bixby, consumers are changing the way they look for information online. Whereas in the past someone may have searched for “bakeries near me” on their computer, now they are asking Alexa, “Where is the closest bakery?”. This has changed the structure of keywords into something more conversational. While it may sound complicated, there are two main strategies for optimizing your business for voice search. First, make sure the information on your Google My Business listing is up-to-date. GMB listings are often prioritized in local voice searches when a user is looking for information such as store hours or an address. Secondly, this search behavior must also be considered when writing content for your website. Content should adapt a direct and conversational tone in order to match up with voice queries that are posed in the form of a complete sentence.

Local SEO

“Near me” searches, like the ones you might find yourself asking Alexa about, are certainly not a new search behavior, but the impact they have on organic search results has changed considerably in recent years. For small business owners, especially those that operate at a local level, your online business listings are one of your best assets in the digital marketing space, and Google My Business (GMB) listings are essential tools for optimizing your business for local SEO Services. GMB listings allow businesses to have a defined geographic service area that can help you rank for “near me” searches organically in your target market. Google My Business listings also provide users with basic information such as hours of operation, directions to your location, and a link to your website; which allows your customers to easily access basic information about your business. This also makes this information more accessible to virtual assistants who are searching for results via voice search.

GMB listings are also a channel through which businesses can collect reviews. This is an essential component of local SEO, and directly impacts the listing’s appearance in organic search results. Google ranks GMB listings in search results based on three criteria: Relevance, Distance, and Prominence. Relevance refers to how well a listing matches a user’s search criteria, distance is a user’s physical proximity to your storefront, and prominence refers to your business’s reputation – including your review count and score. Recent changes to Google’s algorithm have caused a higher weight to be placed on a listing’s prominence, which means that a business with a higher rating or more reviews can now appear first in the search results over other businesses that might be physically closer to the user.

Mobile-First Websites

Your website is the be-all and end-all of digital marketing for many small businesses. Other paid search or organic search optimizations will not yield a significant return unless your website is conversion-friendly and looks fantastic on all devices. The principle behind mobile-first website design is that you should design your site first for small screens in order to provide the optimal user experience. If like many other businesses most of your website traffic is coming from mobile devices, it is essential that your website is not only responsive, but specifically tailored to mobile users through touchscreen-friendly navigation and fewer text-heavy pages.

Google will also transition to a mobile-first indexing strategy, which implies that desktop-only sites may be removed entirely from the Google index. Google will only collect information for search results from mobile versions of websites after the switch. This means that ensuring that users on your website have a consistent experience between desktop and mobile devices is of the utmost importance. Content, photos, and videos should be consistently displayed on both versions, and be fully optimized for small screens.

You can connect with a trusted digital marketing agency to help you optimize your website so it drives more traffic and conversions.If you’re looking for an experienced London SEO Agency to help put your website on top of the search results, reach out to our experts now.

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