In our tech-centric world, the need for digital marketing is virtually universal. But that doesn’t mean that all digital marketing is good digital marketing. Because trends and best practices evolve so rapidly, you’ll want to stay on top of the latest developments – and avoid making errors that could derail your strategy. With that in mind, here are just five digital marketing mistakes to watch out for in 2021.
Using Antiquated SEO Techniques
Used properly, SEO can be a highly effective lead generation tool. In fact, Ahrefs reports that 60% of marketers say that inbound marketing (which includes SEO) is their highest source of quality leads. What’s more, SEO leads have nearly a 15% close rate.
And since 68% of online experiences start with a search engine, it makes sense to leverage the power of SEO. However, you can’t rely on tactics that have been around for too long. SEO has been around for a number of years, but it’s changed quite a bit during that time.
In the past, you could move up the rankings in search results by using questionable methods.
Now, Google has become much better at recognizing these techniques. Questionable methods won’t work the way they used to – and they can actually hurt your site’s ability to rank at all.
That’s especially true with what are known as black-hat SEO tactics.
“Black hat” SEO refers to underhanded or manipulative practices that are meant to fool search engines into ranking a site more favorably than it likely deserves.
Common examples of black hat SEO include keyword stuffing, content spinning, cloaking, spammy link-building, and misleading URL redirects, among others. If the SEO techniques you’re using are meant to trick users or search engines and aren’t focused on providing true value, you need to overhaul your strategy.
These tactics are generally outdated, but they can also be dangerous. In some cases, they’ve been explicitly named by Google and other marketing experts as practices that can harm your online reputation. If you violate Google guidelines by using these techniques, your website can be penalized. That can make it much more difficult for your site to show up prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Ultimately, that means less traffic, fewer sales, and branding damage.
Whether you’re optimizing your site on your own or you’re relying on an SEO company to market your business for you, check to ensure that your strategy follows all of Google’s guidelines and best practices. Not only will that minimize risks, but it’ll ensure you’re actually providing what customers want. Since Google cares about providing the best possible experience for website visitors, you should make this your top priority, too.
Assuming Ads Are All You Need
Some entrepreneurs assume that they shouldn’t bother with SEO at all. Instead, they’d rather spend their money on digital ads. It’s certainly true that online advertising can help you reach your goals. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should focus only on paid ads.
PPC and display ads can be immensely helpful if you’re trying to generate a lot of traffic within a short period of time. However, it will cost you.
Generally speaking, SEO is more cost-effective than PPC in the long term. Data from Ahrefs shows that their blog ranks for more than 120,000 keywords and welcomes around 240,000 web searchers each month. To get that kind of traffic using PPC ads, they’d have to pay $733,000 on a monthly basis. That equates to $8.8 billion every year.
Although SEO requires more time to take effect, the initial investment you make will continue to pay off years in the future. With ads, on the other hand, you’ll only receive traffic and conversions for as long as the campaign is active. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use digital ads to promote your business. In many cases, display and PPC ads can be a great addition to your marketing strategy.
The mistake lies in thinking that ads are the be-all and end-all of marketing. They’re really just one piece of the puzzle.
Ads typically work best if they’re used in conjunction with other marketing techniques. Using them as one aspect of your strategy is smart! But relying solely on ads can set you up for failure.
Forgetting About Mobile-Friendly Web Design
Remember when we mentioned that Google wants to provide the best experience for web users?
It doesn’t matter how much you promote your brand if your site doesn’t give customers what they’re looking for. While certain aspects of web design are subjective, there are other factors that remain desirable across the board. One of those factors is mobile-friendly design. Considering that mobile traffic made up over half of all web traffic in 2016 (and mobile use has only grown since then), websites that aren’t fully accessible on smartphones simply won’t satisfy customer needs.
It might not seem like the design of your website should play a role in your marketing. But your website is crucial in ensuring you’re able to reach your target customers. Without a website that’s easy to use, potential customers will look elsewhere – even if your products or services are undeniably better than any others on the market.
If you want to get the most out of your marketing and advertising efforts, you need to be certain that your site is fast, secure, and streamlined for mobile use. There are a number of benefits to mobile-friendly design. For one thing, your customers will be able to find the information they need right away no matter where they are.
Even five years ago, the vast majority of mobile users were more likely to contact a local business with a site they could easily access on their devices. By removing accessibility barriers and creating a more consistent experience for all web visitors, you’ll make it that much easier for customers to do business with you. And because Google wants to deliver the best possible results, search engines are more likely to reward websites that prioritize mobile-friendly design. In fact, Google now indexes mobile sites first. That means you can improve your rankings if you prioritize mobile accessibility.
Although implementing mobile-friendly web design isn’t technically a marketing strategy, it’s a simple step you can take to support your promotional efforts. Without good web design, your hard work probably won’t pay off in the way you’d hope.
Avoid These Marketing Mistakes and Reap the Rewards
Digital marketing doesn’t come with any guarantees. But you’ll certainly increase your chances of success if you prevent these problems before they ever occur. By using up-to-date SEO tactics, diversifying your strategy, and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll set your brand on the right promotional path.
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