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Goal-setting is square one for any successful marketing campaign. There’s a simple reason for that: You can’t declare success until you first define what success actually is. For law firms, this means setting some clear, measurable, and attainable goals, then creating a marketing plan to help reach those goals.

As you think about the way you’re going to spend your firm’s marketing budget in the year to come, start at the beginning: Choose worthy goals that will help you to use those resources effectively. Here are some of the most valuable goals your firm can reach for in 2019 and beyond.

Thought Leadership

Legal services aren’t like consumer products, where the cheapest and most convenient option tend to reign supreme. When people hire a lawyer, they’re usually not looking to cut corners; instead, they want legal expertise they can truly depend on.

As such, there’s real value in establishing your firm’s thought leadership, casting your attorneys as seasoned experts within their field. That’s something a good marketing campaign can help you with. Whether it’s through blogging or via Webinars, you can use informative content to showcase just how much you know.

Local Search Presence

When local people or business owners need a lawyer, the first place they’re likely to turn is Google. A quick search will show them all the firms in their area—and if your practice isn’t on the short list, it might as well be invisible.

 

It’s simply never been more critical to have a prominent placement in local search results, and a solid website, combined with ongoing SEO efforts, can get your firm the localized visibility it needs to succeed. Aim for better rankings in the coming year!

Client Loyalty

Client loyalty is a big one. If the people you serve feel a sense of allegiance to your company—or just to you personally—then you’re much likelier to win their repeat business, as well as referrals. In fact, you may even see loyal clients turn into evangelists for your law firm.

There are a number of metrics you might use to measure loyalty to your law firm—ranging from social media engagement to the size of your email subscription list. These metrics also highlight the sheer number of tools available to you as you seek to cultivate a more loyal client base.

Online Reviews

Believe it or not, the reviews your firm gets on Facebook and Google really matter. As potential clients research your firm or your attorneys, they’re going to take this feedback seriously. What’s more, reviews are important SEO ranking signals—so the more reviews you have, the more it helps you get that local search dominance.

We highly recommend a proactive approach to online reviews. Don’t just wait for them to happen; actively seek them out, asking your satisfied clients to kindly leave you a word or two of appraisal.

Referrals

We mentioned referrals before, but it’s worth highlighting again here; after all, this is how many law firms get the bulk of their clients.

Do your marketing efforts coax clients to send you referrals? There are a number of ways you could make this happen—through entreaties in your email newsletter, through the encouragement of social media shares, and so on. Certainly, it’s a worthy goal for your law firm to pursue.

Indeed, all of these are goals worth taking seriously as we enter a new year, and as your law firm regroups around its marketing efforts. As you consider the ideal alignment of goals and methodologies, we hope you’ll loop us into the conversation. Reach out to the legal marketing experts at Driven2020 and let’s talk!

 

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News

Social networking has provided innumerable opportunities for marketing and outreach. For some businesses, though, those opportunities can actually be daunting. This is an experience that law firms know fully well: With so many social platforms to choose from, how do you pick the one that’s most valuable to your firm?

While your firm can strive to maintain a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, doing so typically isn’t advised. For one thing, it’s liable to stretch your time and your resources much too thin. At the same time, the payoff can be minor; simply put, your audience may not be present on all of those platforms, which means some of them might be wasted investments.

With that said, which social media platforms should your law firm embrace?

Deciding Which Social Platforms are Right for Your Firm

There’s ultimately no one answer here, as it depends somewhat on your firm and its target clients; you’ll obviously get the most value by being wherever your clients and potential clients are, and that’s something that can vary from one practice to the next.

With that said, there are some social platforms that we can recommend more highly than others—in general terms.

Facebook

We’ll start with Facebook, which continues its dominance as the most popular social media platform in the world—some recent bad publicity notwithstanding.

On the basis of numbers alone, Facebook is a must: It’s simply the social platform where your clients are more likely to spend their time. What’s more, it is the most popular social platform by far among older demographics, including Boomers and Gen X-ers—and those tend to be the folks, more so than millennials or Gen Z-ers, who law firms court.

Twitter

If you’re only going to be active on one platform, you’re probably wise to choose Facebook. If you can handle two, our next choice would have to be Twitter.

Twitter isn’t quite as popular as Facebook, but it is a great place to engage with influencers within your field, including other attorneys—and doing so can ultimately be a powerful way to build your firm’s reputation and its name recognition.

Additionally, Twitter can be used to have real-time discussions with potential clients, an invaluable way to do outreach.

LinkedIn

Some firms may also see some value in LinkedIn.

LinkedIn definitely isn’t the flashiest of all social media platforms, but it’s enjoyed steady growth over the past few years—and it’s a popular site among attorneys, who use it for professional branding and development.

Indeed, you probably have a personal account already. Creating an account for your firm can help enhance your professional branding. It also affords you the chance to connect with other lawyers and can potentially generate some referrals.

Other Social Media Platforms

If your favorite social network isn’t listed here, it’s not because we think it’s inherently pointless; if you have a lot of younger clients who you know to be on Snapchat, for instance, then maybe that’s something you should embrace.

Again, though, it’s best for most small and mid-sized firms to be judicious in their social media use, allocating their time and resources prudently—and that means sticking to two or three platforms. The ones here are, all else being equal, the ones we recommend the most.

Develop a Custom Social Media Plan

Now that you have selected your platform – what’s next? The best way to proceed with social media is to create a strategy that’s tailored to your firm, its audience, and its marketing goals—and that’s something the Driven2020 team can help with! Contact us today to schedule a consultation about social marketing and beyond.

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You know what they say about the power of first impressions—and for most law firms, first impressions happen on the Web. Potential clients may discover you through the phone book or a billboard ad, but they’re exponentially more likely to discover you through your website. As such, if you’re going to invest money on any aspect of your marketing and brand outreach, your website is probably the best place to do it.

But what does a good law firm website actually look like? What elements are critical to its success? Here are some guidelines for what a truly effective law firm website should encompass.

Best Practices for an Effective Law Firm Website

Keep it simple. The last thing you want is a website that overwhelms or confuses. No, what you want is a site that gets right to the point, laying out your brand identity and your value proposition with clarity. A clean, unfussy aesthetic is usually best. Look for a design that incorporates “hero” areas—big, bold, and simple text that immediately draws the reader’s eye.

Include a call to action (CTA) on every page of your website. You can’t assume that your reader will know what to do, or be willing to do it, without a little prodding. So, for instance, if you want people to call you for an appointment, you need to tell them to do so. Use some brief CTA text to make that happen, and be sure there’s a clear CTA on every page of the website.

Show off your service areas and your attorneys. Your site should go into detail about the services you offer to your clients, and the specific areas of expertise your practice has. Also consider adding profiles for each attorney at the firm, including a photo, quick career history, areas of focus, and educational background. This has a “humanizing” effect; readers feel like they know who you are, and are more likely to trust you.

Make sure the site loads quickly. You’ll remember that we advised simplicity. Part of that means a site that loads completely—ideally in no more than three seconds’ time. A slow loading time will cause potential clients to give up and Google for another firm. Check the site on multiple devices and browsers to make sure it loads promptly. If it takes too long, your site may be too image-heavy or complex.

Organize your site for ease of use. Put some thought into the architecture of your site—the different categories and sub-categories, and the way in which a potential client can navigate it. You always want to aim for accessibility here. Make it intuitive for a potential client to find whatever information they are seeking.

Include contact information. This one may seem obvious, yet you’d be surprised how often it’s neglected. If you want potential clients to pick up the phone and call you, you need to have your phone number posted on every page of the site—not just on a Contact Us page.

Don’t forget SEO. Finally, remember that search engine optimization (SEO) is key for ensuring your site is “discovered” by potential clients in your area—and SEO doesn’t have to be clunky or inelegant. In fact, a good marketing agency or partner can help you work in some SEO keywords naturally and unobtrusively.

Get the Website Your Firm Needs

A good website is the product of many hours of development, ideally with the expertise of a professional website development company. Driven2020 delivers its website expertise to law firms throughout California and around the country, and we invite you to contact us today to set up a website consultation.

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News

It seems like new digital marketing tools are constantly being rolled out—and each one is championed as the latest and greatest thing. To be clear, we think there’s great value in cutting-edge digital marketing platforms, whether it’s Snapchat or Instagram, but we don’t let the new hotness distract us from those things we know to be tried and true. As a case in point: Email! There’s certainly nothing flashy about email, yet many marketers will attest that it’s the single best way to stay connected with customers and clients.

In particular, lawyers can benefit greatly from a robust email marketing campaign. And the good news is, you can make email marketing work even if you’re extremely busy (which most lawyers are). It takes a relatively small investment of time to make email marketing effective, and the results can exceed what you’d get from a comparable investment in Facebook or Twitter.

Routine is Key

The most important aspect of email marketing is commitment. Simply put, starting an email newsletter and then sending it out just once a year probably isn’t going to be worth your time. It should be like clockwork—something your clients can expect to receive from you on a regular basis. Start off slow if you must, once a month is a good starting point. From there, increase the frequency as you need to, and your audience grows.

Segment Your Audience

Another important aspect of email marketing is choosing the right audience.

For example, say your practice focuses equally on personal injury and on estate planning. It can be tough to combine those two fields into one email newsletter, so we’d recommend picking one route to focus on. You might segment your email newsletter, sending it only to your estate planning clients, and make the content exclusively focused on estate planning matters.

Ambitious attorneys could even have multiple newsletters they send out, catering to different segments of their clientele—but again, you may want to start small.

Curating Content

When it comes to the content of your email newsletter, brevity is key. That’s good news, because it means you don’t need to spend a lot of time typing long messages! Some recommended approaches to your newsletter content:

  • Start with a quick introduction—just a paragraph or so greeting clients and letting them know of anything new that’s going on in your firm or in the industry.
  • Curate content, either from your firm’s blog or from third-party sources. For example, for estate planning lawyers, you might link to an interesting new estate planning article you saw in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, along with just a sentence or two of your commentary.
  • Provide some quick “tips and tricks”—for example, a short bulleted list reminding people what they should do to get their estate planning in order, what to do if they are ever in a car accident, etc.
  • If your firm is sponsoring or participating in any local events—for example, if you’re appearing as a panelist somewhere—you can quickly summarize this event and provide relevant links or registration information.
  • Always conclude with a call to action, and note that this doesn’t have to be too long or salesy; just a quick sentence inviting people to stay in touch will do just fine.

Once you choose a template, get your list segmented, and develop a routine, this process can become easy to manage. With that said, you may still want to talk to a professional about the value in email marketing, and about the ways in which it fits into an integrative marketing plan.

Driven2020 is here for that conversation! We have ample experience providing marketing services for attorneys and would love to talk you through your available options. Reach out to us today to start that dialogue.

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News

You can’t succeed in digital marketing without creating compelling, value-adding content. And yet, just because you’ve amassed a load of content, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting any traction from it. Content creation is merely step one. From there, it’s important to distribute that content—ensuring that the members of your target audience have a chance to consume your content, engage with it, and share it.

There are several different means of distributing your content assets, and some are pretty obvious—sharing your company blog posts to Facebook, for example. In this post, we’ll run down four methods that you might be overlooking.

Compile Blog Posts into an e-Book

Blog posts can seem a little ephemeral, even when the content is evergreen—but a downloadable offer, such as an e-book, can seem a little more concrete. Our recommendations:

  • Assemble a few blog posts that are thematically tied—a series of posts on a similar topic.
  • Go through them and edit out any redundancies—for example, calls to action at the end of each post.
  • Write a brief intro and a brief conclusion; your conclusion is a good place for some branding and a strong call to action.
  • Create a landing page where users can download your e-Book—and make sure you include some strong SEO keywords.


Generate Infographic Content

Not everyone’s going to have the time to read your blog post, even if it’s a relatively brief one—but infographics are quick and compelling. So, if you have a blog post that can be broken down into some bite-sized nuggets of information, consider going the infographic route.

Once you have a good infographic, there are plenty of things you can do with it—including sharing it via social media and email.

Turn Written Content into Videos

YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, so video SEO should be on your radar anyway. And video creation can be surprisingly easy; take some of your best blog posts, cut and paste them into video “slides,” add some music and narration, and you’re off!

There are some great tools that can enable you to develop this kind of video content, with no technical expertise required. Some recommendations include Content Samurai and Lumen5.

Don’t Forget Your Email List

It’s amazing how often marketers build strong content, but then neglect to distribute it through their email list. But if you’ve spent time putting a robust email subscription list together—and we hope that you have!—then that should really be a no-brainer.

There are different options here, too:

  • Write a brief intro paragraph (100 words or so), then include links to three to five posts that are thematically connected somehow.
  • Take a good post and edit it down to a brief 100-300 words—using bullet points whenever possible—and use that as the body content of your email.


Get the Most Out of Your Online Content

Great content is the cornerstone of any digital marketing campaign—but again: Content alone won’t help you. You’ve got to deploy that content effectively—and hopefully, the creative solutions we’ve offered here can help.

Driven2020 has the expertise to guide you through all stages of your digital marketing campaign—from the initial planning to content creation to distribution, even tracking and analytics. We can help you develop a content strategy that resonates with your target audience, ultimately leading to traffic and conversions.

It all starts with a consultation with our marketing pros. Reach out to Driven2020 and schedule your marketing consultation right away!

 

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News

This may come as a surprise, but did you know that YouTube is currently the second biggest search engine in the world? What that means is that, while Google is still the primary destination for uncovering online information, YouTube isn’t far behind it—and as more and more consumers come to prefer their content in video form, YouTube’s prevalence as a search engine is only going to increase.

The implications for your business are obvious: In addition to doing search engine optimization for Google, you also need to optimize your videos for YouTube rankings. In this post, we’ll offer a few guidelines for making that happen.

How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos

Make sure you include keywords (in the right place)

You probably know that it’s important to include targeted keywords in the title of your video—but did you know that where you place those keywords can have a big impact on rankings? YouTube is more favorable to keywords that come at the beginning of your title. So, rather than titling a video Discover These YouTube SEO Tips, consider something like YouTube SEO Tips: Discover How to Make Videos Rank!

Write a strong video description

Video descriptions provide YouTube with information about how they can classify and categorize your content. Here, it’s good to be fairly thorough in the information you provide—going as high as 200 words, if possible. The trick is to include a basic outline of what your video is about without giving everything away; be substantive, not too specific. And, again, judicious keyword use is recommended.

Include tags

Tags are another opportunity to tell YouTube what your video content is about—but here, less is usually more. Consider this: If you provide 30 or 40 different tags, that doesn’t necessarily help YouTube’s algorithms determine how to categorize your video. It makes your topic feel muddled or overly complicated. It’s better to include a couple of highly specific tags, a few more general ones, and perhaps some alternates. For example, for a video about effective blog writing, your specific tag might be blog writing; general categories might be content marketing and digital marketing; and alternates might include blogging and writing a blog.

Include a call to action

We recommend ending each video with a specific call to action. The reason is simply this: Engagement is a key signal for your YouTube SEO—meaning the more likes, shares, subscriptions and especially comments you get, the better rankings you’ll achieve. The key here is a specific call to action. Saying leave a comment below is fine; saying leave a comment to let us know your favorite blogging platform is better.

Make your videos longer

A final note about YouTube SEO: The algorithms favor videos that keep people watching longer. (And that makes sense, when you think about it; YouTube’s goal is to get people to spend more time on YouTube.) The implication here is that, whenever possible, it’s good to make your videos a little longer—between eight and 15 minutes is the ideal.

Make YouTube the Crown Jewel of Your Marketing Strategy

YouTube’s importance can’t be diminished—so marketers might as well start using it for all it’s worth. We can help. Driven2020 helps its clients develop holistic marketing plans that drive website traffic and increase conversions—and YouTube can be a big part of that.

It all starts with a marketing consultation. We invite you to contact us today and learn more about how YouTube can become a major marketing asset for your company. Contact Driven2020 now!
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News

Online reviews are integral to the customer’s journey—now more than ever. The majority of consumers use Google or Bing to do online research before making any major purchasing decision—and the online reviews they encounter can often determine whether they buy your product, or the product of your competitor.

The bottom line is that your business needs to get reviews, and it needs those reviews to be positive. That’s probably not going to happen by accident; rather, a proactive approach is necessary if you want to ensure a sterling online reputation for your business.

Where Should You Seek Online Reviews?

To start with, it’s important to know where you should be seeking those online reviews. There are countless online review platforms out there, but generally speaking, only a handful of them are truly central to your online reputation. These are the ones we recommend:

  • Google My Business (if you haven’t already signed up for a free account, do so now!)
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Any online review sites that are specific to your industry or niche

Make sure that you have accounts set up at each of these platforms, and that you optimize those accounts with up-to-date contact information, business hours, photos, keywords, a link to your home page, etc.

How Should You Seek Reviews?

Once you have your review platforms set up, the next step is to start encouraging your customers and clients to deliver their feedback. Some strategies we recommend include:

  • Make sure you have links to some of your review sites on your company website; for example, you might include a link to your Google My Business account, encouraging customers to submit their comments. Always make it easy for people to leave reviews!
  • There are other places you might add links to your review sites, including in your email signature line and at the bottom of online invoices and receipts.
  • If you have a brick and mortar store, consider signage encouraging people to look you up and leave reviews on Yelp, Google, etc.
  • Also think about sending a message to your email list—or maybe just to a select group of your best/most loyal customers—and simply ask them to do you a favor and leave some feedback.
  • Some businesses even encourage the review process, letting their email list know that there’s a $5 gift card in it for them if they take a minute to leave a review.

What Else Should You Know About Online Reviews?

Once you have the review sites set up, make a point to monitor them regularly; always be aware of what people are saying about your business.

When positive reviews come in, take a minute to say thank you, letting your customers know that you hear them and appreciate them.

Negative reviews, meanwhile, can be difficult to read without getting upset—so always take some time to cool down, then patiently ask how you can make the situation right. Take the opportunity to show some customer service, which can help undo much of the damage done by that bad review.

Get Help Managing Your Online Image

A final note: Managing online reviews is ultimately just one part of your broader marketing strategy. That’s where we come in. Driven2020 has proven strategies to help businesses enhance their image and establish credibility in the minds of consumers—helping generate foot traffic and bring in conversions.

We’d love to talk with you about the digital marketing opportunities in front of you. To start the dialogue, reach out to Driven2020 today!
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News

User Experience (UX) is one of the capstones of good website design; in short, it’s what provides user satisfaction with your site, making people glad they checked you out on the Web—and more likely to do so again. UX entails a number of facets, but what it boils down to is providing maximum usability, efficiency, and accessibility to visitors who seek certain information.

This isn’t anything to relegate to second-tier status: Good UX is closely linked with conversion rates, and it can also help you improve SEO rankings. How can you proactively boost your website’s UX value, though? Here are five strategies our team recommends.

How to Improve Your Website UX

Start with a Strong Homepage

Most of your website visitors will come in through the home page, and as such, it should set the tone. Your home page should encapsulate the main messages of your website, though not all of them: Basically, you want to give visitors a reason to stick around without making the home page too busy or cluttered.

Some specific tips:

  • Keep your home page relatively succinct, focused on truly essential information
  • Make it clear how users can find additional information—i.e. how to navigate to other pages of the site
  • Focus on the benefits you offer your customers and clients—what’s in it for them?
  • Put the most important information above the fold—i.e. placed high enough that it can be seen without scrolling.

Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly

Your website loading speed is a key Google ranking factor, and it also impacts user satisfaction. Even a delay of two or three seconds can significantly increase the risk of users fleeing your website.

Run some speed tests, ideally on different devices and with different browsers. If your site is slow to load, consider ways to speed things along—specifically by removing slow-loading content such as graphics, complex scripts, videos, etc.

Focus on Readability

It’s vitally important that your website visitors be able to find the information they seek—quickly and without any hassle. This means it should be quite easy for someone to skim through your site and zero in on the content they’re looking for.

Some strategies:

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
  • Allow plenty of white space on your site.
  • Use bullet points, numbered lists, and section sub-headings wherever possible.
  • Avoid long, unbroken blocks of text.

Fix Broken Links

There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link and being taken to a 404 page. One of the healthiest habits you can form, from a UX perspective, is simply staying on top of broken links.

Audit your site on a regular basis, and make sure the links are all working as intended—and that includes both internal and external links. And if you spot any busted ones, repair or redirect the URL.

Provide Clear Calls to Action

The call to action is generally regarded as a conversion tool—and it is. Believe it or not, though, it can also help enhance the user experience. Remember that one of the keys to good UX is providing a clear path through your website—and a clear call to action helps show your visitors how best to proceed, and what steps they should take after digesting your information.

Does Your Site Offer Strong UX?

If you’re worried your website doesn’t offer an appealing user experience, we invite you to have your site audited—and potentially revamped. Driven2020 offers expertise here: We design websites that drive traffic, offer the user a hassle-free experience, and help generate strong rankings and consistent conversions for your business. Don’t delay. Contact Driven2020 today and request a website audit!

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Design, News

It’s often remarked that good user experience (UX) will help bring traffic to your website—that when you design your site so that it’s easy to navigate and to extract information from, it helps with everything from search rankings to site referrals. But of course, the inverse is also true: Bad user experience can actually repel users, and send your website visitors scurrying.

What does bad user experience look like? Really, any site that makes it difficult for users to explore is probably not a well-designed one from the UX perspective. With that said, there are a few specific UX failings you’ll want to be sure to avoid.

Avoid These UX Disasters

Ads in the Center of the Page

Have you ever been to a website where there’s a huge ad, positioned right in the middle of the page? If so, then you know how annoying these ads can be. They actually force you to navigate around them just to use the site—and for many users, the effort won’t be worth it. They’ll simply seek what they’re looking for elsewhere.

Slow Loading Time

Similarly, most Web users have little patience for a site that takes ages to load. If your page doesn’t load within four seconds—and ideally even less—then you’re almost certainly losing traffic. You may need to either remove slow-loading elements from your design, or else seek a faster server.

Overly Complicated Web Design

The best sites tend to be the simplest ones: They offer just a handful of options, laid out in a way that makes sense. When you overburden your visitors with different options, you’re not impressing them; you’re just overwhelming them. Make sure your website provides the user with a clear path toward the information he or she is after.

Auto-Play Videos

Here’s another one that you can probably relate to: You visit a site and are surprised to hear audio playing, perhaps drowning out the music you were listening to from your device. You can’t find the mute button, so you just navigate away from the site completely. The bottom line: Nobody really likes auto-play videos. They only serve to frustrate—and as such, they’re best avoided.

Pop-Up Ads

Thankfully, pop-up ads have largely become extinct. They still show up on a few sites, though, and are almost always a detriment to the user experience. Simply put, people associate pop-ups with spam sites. If you want your site to remain credible, you’re wise to ditch the pop-ups.

Poorly Written Copy

The writing on your website is an important element in user experience. You want your writing to be clear in conveying what you do, and what value you offer to the reader. Good writing will also help guide the user through your site, and provide calls to action where appropriate.

Stock Photos

Here’s one that may surprise you. Stock photos may seem fairly innocent, but actually, it’s usually pretty easy to spot them—and they can actually undermine your credibility. Original images are always best, especially for businesses like law firms or accounting agencies, where earning trust is key.

Create a Site Where UX is First

The good news is that all of these pitfalls are avoidable. One way to steer clear of them is to seek guidance from the Web design pros at Driven2020. In fact, when you contact us, we can schedule a full website audit, where we’ll provide concrete ways to make your site more effective—and that includes improving the user experience. Schedule your consultation; contact Driven2020 today!

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Design, News

SEO is never static. It changes all the time, both due to Google’s constant tweaking and to the general evolution of technology. In the coming months, a few noteworthy trends are likely to stand out, and define all 2018 SEO activity. Here’s a quick rundown.

Mobile-First Indexing

This first one needs a quick clarification. It has long been important for websites to be optimized for mobile users. What’s changed, just in the past few months, is that Google now looks to the mobile version of your website first and foremost; in terms of SEO rankings, your mobile site is even more important than its desktop counterpart.

So what does this mean? If you don’t have a mobile website, or if your mobile website is slow to load, you could see a rankings loss. For all intents and purposes, your mobile website is now your primary website—so invest in it accordingly.

Semantic Search

Google’s ongoing mission is to provide search engine users with helpful, relevant answers to their queries. A big part of that hinges on knowing what it is, exactly, that search users are looking for.  Semantic search—attempts by Google to understand the finer points of user language, and what it says about user intent—demonstrates this.

One practical implication to consider: Generally speaking, a piece of content that delves deep into one specific topic will work better than a page that’s more scatterbrained. Focus on creating blogs and website pages that are true information hubs.

Machine Learning

This third SEO concept is closely related to semantic search. Here’s the short version: If you type a search query that’s a little vague or nebulous, Google will actually employ AI to help figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to find. Its primary machine learning program, RankBrain, is now one of the most significant SEO signals.

The implication, again, is to focus on creating strong, compelling resources that take into account semantic search and user experience. In many ways, it’s best to just think about the end user, rather than get too caught up in the algorithms. Create valuable content, and the rest largely takes care of itself.

Featured Snippets

You’ve seen featured snippets on the Google SERP, even if you didn’t know that’s what they were called. These are Google’s “rich answers”—simple answers to factual queries, embedded within the SERP itself. It’s part of a larger trend for Google to make the SERP itself a treasure trove of information, without any need to click on a specific listing.

Featured snippets occupy invaluable online real estate—so if you can rank for one, that would be handy. Focus on creating topical resources, formatted as tables, bulleted lists, or Q&As, that answer very specific, factual questions.

Voice Search

Finally, any article about 2018 SEO trends must touch on voice search—maybe the biggest game changer of them all. Voice search has become so prominent, it’s actually poised to overtake more traditional search within the next few years.

So what should you do to engage with voice search queries? Mirroring the conversational style in which voice search queries are phrased is a start. And once again, formatting in a Q&A or list format helps, too.

Preparing for the Future

There’s no better way to future-proof your SEO efforts than by getting a broad, comprehensive strategy in place—and that’s something the Driven2020 team can help you with. We’re always on the cutting edge of what works in SEO. Learn more by contacting the Driven2020 team today. Make sure you ask about scheduling a full marketing audit!

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