Marketing, and especially digital marketing changes on a dime. Coupling the changes made in the 4th quarter of 2022 and the pending US economic slowdown, here are our 6 predictions and recommendations for effective marketing in 2023, in no particular order.
1. Google’s Desktop Continuous Scroll: Positions further down may see a higher Click Through Rate (CTR)
October 2021 Google rolled out continuous scroll on mobile but in December 2022, Desktop users were introduced to Continuous Scroll. Continuous Scroll is about 6 pages of search results before clicking on Page 2 of Google.
What exactly does Google’s Continuous Scroll mean for marketers?
The way we see it, there are 2 things that marketers are going to change. In the home services realm, Google Ads were not the most cost effective form of search engine marketing. The Google Local Service Ads (GLSA), or Google Guaranteed Ads, yielded a much stronger ROI.
With users now able to scroll quickly past the ads on the top of the search engine results page, there is more of a possibility for users to engage with ads further down the SERPs or Search Engine Result Pages.
That being said, it’s likely Google has already considered this and will likely dilute this short term opportunity with more ads. Take advantage of this while you can and work to improve any keywords you have chillin in positions 11-12. If you can move the dial slightly and overtake positions 9-10, this is going to be highly effective, until Google realizes the new money spot is not positions 1-5.
Outside of paid ads, marketers are going to have to step up their game when it comes to page titles/SEO titles and descriptions. With so many results on page one, we predict users will scroll immediately past the ads, potentially missing the first couple of organic results on the SERPs page, giving more visibility to those in positions 5+.
Additionally, content marketers are going to have to update SEO titles to capture a user’s attention and stand out from the competition on the SERPs page. Using titles that incorporate more benefit/outcome statements versus informational statements is a key way to differentiate yourself and stand out in the SERPs page.
2. Google Business Profile activity will gain more importance in local positioning
This is only a prediction of course but moving the Google Business Profile dashboard to maps makes it easier for business owners to update their profiles and engage with customers. Why would they do this? Our thought is that by making it easier to message and share updates with customers they will potentially favor GBP’s with high engagement and activity with better positioning in the SERPs page. With this increased access to engage with customers, don’t forget to keep collecting reviews and responding to them. Bonus points if your review response includes the location and the service you provided to that customer. Contractors: If you haven’t been posting weekly updates on your GBP, now is a great time to start. Doesn’t have to be poetic but should be informative and provide value to the user. Engagement in the new backlink (old timey SEO: The more backlinks, the higher you ranked).
3. Video Content: Short form video content will see even higher consumption rates in 2023
In 2022, 1.6B users consumed short form video content and we expect to see that number increase in 2023. As a general rule of thumb, short form video is considered any video 2 minutes and 30 seconds or less. This type of content is highly impactful because it succinctly gets the message across to viewers. With short form video content, you are able to have a more impactful statement that resonates with users because there isn’t an overwhelming amount of information to try to remember. A study from WooSuite found that marketers reported short form video content as having the highest ROI for social media content. Our advice? Make 2023 the year you bang out some quick short form video.
4. SEO in 2023: AI will impact your SEO strategy
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the way Google and other search engines work. It is a useful, yet disruptive technology that will continue to make headlines throughout 2023. We are anticipating quite a bit of volatility on Google this year but knowing that, here’s ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) should play a role in your 2023 marketing.
AI has made it easier for marketers to create content but just as easy as it is for you to ask Chat GPT (or a number of other AI content writing tools) to write a blog for you, you can guarantee your competitor is doing the same thing. AI tools do make copywriting easier but you need to keep in mind the value that you’re providing to your target audience. Additionally, Google is already penalizing website with AI content in a massive way–like a 20% drop in traffic kind of way. Ensure your content is original and written for humans; AI should only be used to be a more helpful human.
Another consideration of AI in 2023 is how it can compliment your SEO strategy. SEO has been focused on matching content to an exact keyword phrase match. With the updates in Google’s algorithm exact phrase matches are not as important as they once were. When creating content, work in keyword phrase variations. For example, if you are going after the phrase “EV charger installation” you can also use “EV charger install” or “electric vehicle install.” Before creating content, take the time to analyze what Google is favoring in the search results. Follow these steps:
- Open an incognito browser tab and Google the keyword phrase you think you want to target
- Take a look at who is ranking organically in positions 1, 2 and 3
- What do you notice about the content? How many times is the keyword used? Is there an exact phrase match? How long is the content?
Search engine AI does its best to match user intent with the results it serves. Sometimes it’s accurate and sometimes it misses the mark. Google made over 5000 algorithm updates in 2021, with a handful of core updates. These updates are made to filter out irrelevant results but gives you an idea of the ever changing landscape of Google. Take the time to do the manual legwork. Getting long winded here but hoping to emphasize how AI should play a role in your SEO and content marketing strategy.
5. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Praying it becomes a marketing buzzword
CRO is the art of getting a user to take a desired action on your website, which will ultimately increase your revenue and decrease your acquisition cost. Sounds pretty important, right? We’re not exactly sure why this isn’t more talked about in the SEO and digital marketing world. What good is the traffic you receive if that traffic isn’t converting? Here’s why you should consider CRO in your 2023 marketing:
As Google makes it easier for users to find answers on the search results page, your website will see fewer clicks through to your website, decreasing traffic, giving you less of an opportunity to engage with and convert users to customers. As website traffic decreases, it makes the users that do come through all the more important. So if they don’t take a desired action, why not? Work with your marketing team to do some A/B testing and figure out why a user isn’t filling out a form, downloading an ebook or simply calling you. It is just as important to understand why a customer isn’t choosing you as it is to ask (them to write a review about) why they did.
The average conversion rate of a non-ecommerce website is 2.35%. A good conversion rate varies by industry but as a rule of thumb, anything less than a 2% conversion rate means you are below average and have a bit of work to do. Anything above a 5% conversion rate means you’re crushing it and have clearly got your funnels tight like a tiger. The value of a lead is different for each business but imagine what a simple 1% increase in conversions would mean to your bottom line. In 2023, consider investing in CRO and making the assets you already have work for your business.
To calculate your website conversion rate: # of conversions ÷ total visitors x 100.
6. Contractor Marketing During a Recession: Here’s what we’d do:
Experts are anticipating a recession in 2023. If you follow that sort of thing, there have been a couple of major indicators but none of the usual markers happening at the same time. We’re all waiting, and wondering when economists will make it official but we digress.
What impact will the recession have on contractors in the home services industry?
Overall, construction sector will be burning off a backlog for the next 12-18 months due to labor shortages, supply chain issues and project delays so some larger contractors won’t feel a significant impact of the recession until early 2024 (great analysis on the state of the US construction industry here). Our point is this: in 2023, invest your marketing dollars in a lasting, long term strategy like CRO, SEO and content marketing. When your backlog starts to burn off, and we hope it doesn’t but if it does, reassign those marketing dollars toward paid media. Paid Media gets the phone to ring fast. If you have enough budget, CRO + SEO + PPC is great but not always an option for growing businesses facing a recession.
Should you be forced to completely cut your marketing budget – Gah! We don’t recommend this – you will own the content and SEO work that has been performed for you throughout 2023, and a focus on CRO will make the existing work that’s been done high performing. The SEO and Content Marketing work performed will continue to serve you should you have to take a break from your marketing partner.
In anticipation of feeling a recession-related impact to your bottom line: invest in organic marketing, the seeds you sow now will have the most impact 9-12 months from now.
If you’re in the home services industry, keep it simple: provide value to your customers at all stages of the funnel, and you’ll be fine. Start using a long term organic marketing strategy and write helpful, valuable content for humans, not bots. Bots write perfect content. Don’t be perfect. Be you, and be authentic. The Googlebot and more importantly customers will know and appreciate the difference.
2023 will assuredly bring more algorithm updates, and more AI but as long as you’re creating marketing pieces that are meaningful to your buyers that’s what is going to help you stand out from the crowd.
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