The pace of technological advance is ceaseless. Throughout 2013 there have been landmark alterations to the way in which we find things through search engines as well as some less reported but no less significant alterations to technology in general.
Chief among these changes to the way in which we view online marketing was the arrival of Google Hummingbird which brought with it significant ramifications for how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is used by the motor retail sector. Relevance has never been more significant, meaning your website can’t rely on keywords and backlinks anymore; it must be filled with rich, fresh content and have a sound structure which will allow it to be visible for the verbose search terms that Google is increasingly catering for. Apart from anything else, keywords are no longer even visible through analytics meaning that, as Bill Gates said, content is king.
A technically sound website that is well optimised for the end user has always been key to search engine success, and with the arrival of Hummingbird, the case for producing high-quality, structured content has never been stronger. Indeed, automotive retailers need to look towards ensuring that their websites have relevant content that blurs the lines between advertising and entertainment. This style of ‘advertainment’ will be massive in 2014.
Another big step has been the roll-out and expansion of 4G mobile networks across the country. The sheer speed of 4G means that mobile browsers no longer need to worry about tardy load times and can therefore exploit YouTube cat videos in full HD while on the move. This means that – along with a greater understanding of its successful application in automotive – responsive web design is also becoming the ‘de facto’ way of promoting your brand. Given that around half the UK’s population has a smartphone and 4G will soon be the norm, adoption of responsive design has been a real progression for mobile web.
An additional thing to bear in mind is that mobile is no longer just in your pocket. It is becoming a garment, so as wearable computers and mobile devices continue to proliferate, semantic and voice-centric searches (read long-winded and with the search intent not necessarily being clear) become more prevalent. This means that Google, its Hummingbird update and mobile devices are tied more closely than ever before.
Did you know that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? Now clearly, most of this is made up of insipid social media posts, sickeningly sentimental memes and videos of people falling over, but each piece, no matter how apparently facile, allows a small digital insight into people’s lives and consumer trends. This is called ‘Big Data’.
Utilising so called ‘Big Data’ has been the aim of large web businesses for years. We have now reached the point that data is ‘big’ enough and technology smart enough for brands like eBay and Amazon to begin using it in earnest. And automotive brands are getting in on the action to. What Big Data now allows is the mining and subsequent use of individual’s trends (based on web history, social media and much more) to target them with pin-point advertising. Basically, content may be king, but relevance is definitely second in command.
Video has remained at the top of many marketing agendas through 2013. The power that video can wield is no longer any secret, but there’s still a mystique around it in the automotive industry. Retailers both big and small can use it for multiple purposes including everything from advertising to zoomed-in shots of a defect on a customer’s vehicle. Some retailers are using it for these and much more, increasing their site’s richness, increasing their site’s SEO visibility, aiding customer experience and retention and, frankly, standing out from the crowd.
With all of the above, GForces has maintained its place as the leading product and service provider for automotive retailers. Our Total Digital Marketing suite and NetDirector platform have evolved ahead of technology to provide automotive retailers with the tools that they need to make the most of each new trend.
We approach SEO in a holistic manner; we are a Google AdWords Premier SME Partner enabling us to benefit from Google insight and best practice. We have innovated some truly eye-catching responsive web designs, and honed them for use on all platforms. Marketing tools like Retargeting and Social Media advertising mean that we can undertake hyper-targeted advertising to people that will find your message relevant. And our videos have to be seen to be appreciated.
2013 has been a year of change, and 2014 will be no different. Our clients know the market and expect us to raise our game with each new web trend or innovation. We are already looking forward to the challenge.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at GForces!