For the majority of agencies the collapse of the link building mantra was good news.

It’s nearly the end of another year.

For my money this has easily been the biggest year the search industry has ever faced. Continual Penguin and Panda updates were nothing compared to Hummingbird’s unexpected release.

Probably more significant from an agency point of view though was the apparent death of link building.

But for the majority of us the collapse of the link building mantra was good news. If ever there was a need to underline how important natural links are to a website then this was it.

More importantly it also highlighted how creative web content complemented by simple web design that flows is to generating leads, converting traffic, and retaining customers.

Search is aligning itself with an evolving web and changing search habits. The increasing importance of mobile is a given, but what else will 2014 bring to the search marketing game?

Has 2013 been the most challenging year there’s ever been for search marketing? Tell me what your highlights (or lowlights) have been in the comments section below.

The haves and have-nots?

I came across an interesting WebDAM Solutions infographic over the weekend which looks forward to 2014’s supposed trends.

Two things stand out to me. The first is according to the infographic money spent is set to rise on digital marketing, with 72 per cent of marketers due to increase their PPC budgets in 2014.

Not only does it reinforce my point that digital marketing is justifiably expensive but it also confirms once and for all that keyword information will be best suited to Pay Per Click campaigns as Not Provided (no keyword data!) nears 100 per cent.

The second is that 50 per cent of the companies touched on by the infographic have thought ahead and incorporated their own content marketing strategies.

A number of B2B companies also say that they generate 67 per cent more leads through blogging than those that don’t.

It would be easy to split that information into two different online marketing camps. Those that have money to spend on PPC and site owners that take different, more creative routes through ambitious content.

So where’s the middle ground?


Are you really going to be able to compete against enormous brands for popular keywords?


As a marketing agency it’d be easy to exploit that gap and convince people that they’ll only see a good return on investment if they spend, spend, and spend again.

But as I’ve said before Hummingbird has been the key to digital marketing’s creative lock, giving people the chance to combine different online marketing strategies and find the one that’s right for them.

After all the infographic says that 33 per cent of traffic from Google’s organic results goes to the site in first position.

Are you really going to be able to compete against enormous brands for popular keywords?

What do you think the most important search areas will be to focus on in 2014? Have you started preparing? Let me know below.

It’s time to get creative

Email click-through rates increased by 158 per cent when social sharing buttons were included.

That’s a pretty staggering figure, and even more impressive when you consider how simple the change actually is.

Add a few social sharing buttons, see click-through rates balloon.

It’s obviously not as simple as that and it has to be taken in context, but that so many companies find something so easy so useful is incredibly encouraging.

And if you’ve been collecting data then you should have a really clear picture of who your visitors and customers are.

The next step is to work out which methods are best for targeting new visitors and becoming the number one website for their needs.

Doesn’t that philosophy sound better than a package that gives you everything on the digital marketing spectrum but generates no results?

The context of content

54 per cent more leads are generated by inbound marketing when compared against traditional outbound.Take video, for example. A few years back video marketing was the brash young kid on the block thanks to competitive camera prices and affordable smartphones with crystal-clear lenses.

According to the infographic videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86 per cent. But videos of what?

If it’s a product you’re selling, are they official press videos tacked on to the sales description? Or is it a product review that delves into the positives and negatives of the product?

Or is it a unique piece of content that you’ve created about the product yourself and can stand alone independent of the site, able to be shared across the web on a number of different social platforms.

As I reiterated last week since Hummingbird’s release now is the time of the specialist digital marketer. The above considerations would be ideal for a video marketing expert to sit down and discuss potential sales solutions to clients.

What better example could there be that the future of digital marketing will be incredibly diverse, targeted, and – most importantly – refined for you and your customers.

The future of digital marketing

Probably the most fascinating statistic to take from the infographic is that 54 per cent more leads are generated by inbound marketing when compared against traditional outbound.

Online that counts for a huge range of disciplines: SEO, PPC, content marketing, and much more besides.

Next year will focus on and revolve around mobile search and creative content if, like me, you like to keep your ear to the ground.

You may have noticed that HMV has recently relaunched and has fully embraced content marketing and responsive design to establish the brand’s authority and recapture a challenging, changing market.

And that’s where the real future of online marketing lies.

Identifying the right people, refining your Unique Selling Point, targeting real customers with the appropriate channels, and converting that traffic into sales.

When you’re trying to make a living with your very own website and have it as the centrepiece to your marketing strategy then it’s essential you employ the correct strategy.

Is there really anything else to it?

To prepare your site and your business for the future of search marketing contact Webpresence today to find out more!

(View the infographic in full at WebDAM Solutions).