The last few years have seen major changes in trends for Internet traffic. Social has exploded in importance, driving more traffic than search. How marketers adapt has been interesting.
Until this year, companies could run their social media and content marketing operations separately. Social media focused on brand engagement, content and SEO teams focused on driving eyeballs to the site. In 2015, Google and Twitter’s deal came to fruition. Additionally in 2015, Google’s Google+ Service got integrated as Google Local. In 2015, these were add-ons, throughout 2016, the integration moved to the core of the system.
So what changed in 2016?
- Semantic Web Became Real
- Mobile-Optimized HTML (AMP, Facebook Instant Pages)
- Video Came of Age
The Semantic Web was of academic interest until it exploded with social in the past year. Open Graph and Twitter Cards became “must have” features as the social media networks gave prominence to links with content instead of merely including pictures. As sites were updating to support these additions to HTML, supporting the Semantic Web just made sense.
Mobile-Optimized HTML dealt with the reality that Mobile Responsive wasn’t enough, with increasing mobile bandwidth, slow speeds and high latency were an issue. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages and Facebook Instant Pages have a shared core to deploy a cache-able stream-lined version of the website, feeding both social efforts and search efforts.
Every year has been the “year of video,” but 2016 really took off. YouTube’s social integration with Google+ and enhancement of their social features really pushed Video to the forefront. Pre-loading video on Facebook made including video critical to engagement, and the Video Advertising space heated up.
If you are still looking at SEO as something you should do (instead of building into your site structure) and Social Media as something else, you need to rethink that for 2017. In 2017, all methods of interaction are becoming unified, and you should plan to engage in SEO, Remarketing, and Social Media as a unified structure.