Kicking off this decade with a BANG and I’m going to dig into some insights on some top trends for SEO and Growth Hacking tools for 2020. SEO is critical to maintaining a high rank on search engines. Growth Hacking is becoming more of a necessity for business owners to know what to do and how to handle it to ensure there is an ongoing flow of clients to the business. Pour over our 2020 guide to tools, tips, and trends in SEO, Marketing, and Growth Hacking to take your 2020 year by the horns.
1. Zero-click searches are on the rise
SERP features can give way to massive SEO changes. Google’s Local Packs are one of these and they are giving way to a user to be able to have their questions answered directly in the SERP rather than clicking away. These are found right at the top of the search, give information and make it so you do not need to click anything… hence zero-click.
I.e. “Okay Google….What are the showtimes at the theatres near me”
Under the search bar, a box will appear with the listed times and movies at the theatre.
Searches done this way are looking for your company information…think name, address, phone number, etc. Other searches are meant for quick and simple questions and answers, so no need to worry about this change. Focus on who will ACTUALLY lead to conversions.
2. Voice Search
If you haven’t yet, ensure you are fully optimized for voice searches. Millennials, more than other groups, are all about using “Okay Google…”, “Hey Siri…”, and “Hey Cortana”. This means as this becomes the leading way to make searches if you want your site to show in results, it needs to flow like someone would speak it, or search it.
3. Get Rank for Visual Searches
Searching by image is another feature across search engines that can allow you to rank in a few ways. The first is if a person searches within images. If you have a product or service the goal would be to have yours show up, the person is interested, clicks to your site, and makes a purchase. The second is if someone finds an image on social media of something they want, they reverse search the image and see what else is available that is similar. Again, the goal is to have your product images tagged to what that image would be. One last is to have your content rank in images too. By optimizing graphics and other visuals, you can be ranked and perceived as one of the most knowledgable in your field. By properly optimizing images, you can show up in the top results of people searching for your products by image type.
4. Optimise your RICH SNIPPETS
Getting rich snippets are less of a challenge than featured snippets. They tend to have less click-through rate conversions, but you will be more noticeable. Make sure these snippets have all the information they should and get some main keywords of the page. Rich snippets allow the search engine’s crawlers to know exactly what is on your page. When you make a search, these are often shown as when a star rating or price or if an item is in stock appears under an item on the search result page.
5. Get into Programming
Learning or bringing someone in with the knowledge of programming languages, like Python and R, can help you take the reins in some of your process automation. Adoption of these allow for a more detailed view at analytics, but can also use machine knowledge rather than human to solve complex problems and/or make decisions that take up too much human time.
6. Optimise your FEATURED SNIPPETS
Featured snippets are shown at the very top of a SERP. Featured snippets get better
exposure and help keep your page above the fold in search results. These snippets will often have bulleted lists or number lists. Featured snippets are often called answer boxes as well. They address all parts of the user’s question.
7. Local SEO searches are STILL on the rise
Google My Business and other local listing sites (Bing Places or Yahoo Local) are your friends. Fill out your profile completely and this can capture those sought after “near me” and “by me” searches. To fully optimize your profile fill in your business name, hours, location, email, phone number, and photos of the business.
8. You need an exceptional backlinking strategy
This comes down to the competition. Backlinks are about authority; quality is above quantity. High authority ranked backlinks hold a high importance to maintaining good rank. You want to have what the competition has and then some. Google will be focusing on high authority sites, so having a backlinks strategy in place is a necessity to maintain your rank. You can do PR outreach or get guest blog posts to help build up your backlink profile, but it is better to have a strategy that can be continual.
9. Meet BERT
To date Google updates count out to Panda (send low-quality sites to the back), Penguin (catch spammy sites or sites buying links), Hummingbird (gives an importance to using natural language), Fred (targeted black hat techniques used on sites), Pigeon (made Google’s local searches closer to their web searches), Possum (impacted local results, it was unconfirmed, but was documented), Rankbrain (artificial intelligence that allows written language be more understood by machines), and Mobilegeddon (a new mobile-friendly ranking system adopted).
This year, there is a new update to factor into your SEO and content practice…
Joining the ranks with the rest of the Google update family, BERT is Google’s newest algorithm update. This update means you need to watch your keyword strategy. BERT aims to penalize sites and pages that have keyword stuffing. You need to write good content…quality content….that aims at your keywords without putting too many keywords in there. Publishing regular and good content is your friend.
10. Build Your Brand
Do more for your company. Get your company listed across social media and other directories too. Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter….and many more can help you get better coverage and visibility.
Build your personal brand up. Not only should your company be ranking, but you should too. Tie yourself to being an expert in your niche. List yourself across social media platforms and highlight your company in these profiles as well.
Being able to list yourself and your company in these ways allows for more visibility and also allows you to monitor mentions of you and your brand.
11. Focus on Your User Experience
User experience has been important, but it is increasingly more critical. Your site needs more than just good content, SEO, and backlinking strategy. Your site needs to be visually appealing and easy to use for your potential prospects. A frustrating site leads to more click-aways.
Get some pop-ups, some CTAs, and make your site easy to use.
12. Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO is still on the rise. More and more people are getting smart phones, and in turn using voice search and the phone itself to search and explore sites. Your site needs to be set up for mobile search and be mobile friendly. A beautiful site on a desktop means nothing if when a mobile user goes on it, it doesn’t load and looks like rubbish.
13. Showcase Your Niche Knowledge
Search engines want users to have accurate and good knowledge. A feature being expanded on is the ability to index items like published reports, diagrams, and other research based visuals on a website. Having these properly optimised will be a key to Google reading you and your site as an expert in your niche.
SEO is an ever-changing beast. You can think you have it mastered, but there is always something more to learn. Algorithm updates and a need to have consistent and high-quality content put out is key to maintaining rank and improving your rank in the SERPs.
Growth hacking can be applied across websites and social media. One platform may work best for you or multiple. Pour over all these upcoming trends and see what will work best for you.
This platform has the potential to do so much more than simply expand your professional network and recruit for jobs. With the right tools and strategy, you can equip yourself and your business to reap the benefits of maintaining an active account. Build out a contact list, build up your network, and automate your Linkedin task load with some or all of these tools.
Lempod can be your growth hacking friend for Linkedin. You want to get the most engagement. Lempod allows you to create a pod/group with colleagues to curate engagement for posts as you post them. So, when you make your post it can already have likes and comments. In turn, helping your posts be more visible. Lempod starts at $5 a month for individuals.
Expandi allows for a one-stop place for your Linkedin automation. Expandi offers CRM integrations, drip campaigns, scheduling campaigns and sending personal messages. Expandi is $99 a month. If you want to take a look get it HERE!
SHIELD is a helpful analytics tool for Linkedin. You get realtime reports and analytics. You can see profile views, connections, and developments. You can also check for engagement and content overview.
Shield offers a free trial and three packages ranging from $10 to $30 a month.
Zapier helps by increasing your efficiency. It is fully integratable with most apps and services. You can connect apps to it to run repetitive tasks. You simply create a Zap to automate a workflow. So, it saves you time, and mental load as you now don’t have to do the same task over…and over…and over.
All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy, right?
Zapier does offer a free plan, but depending on your needs you may want to change that. There are 5 total packages and they range from free up to $599 a month.
5. Phantom Buster
Phantom Buster is another automated workflow tool. Phantoms are comparable to Zaps from Zapier. They are a smidge different though. You can use them to auto-reply over social media, auto-follow or connect, or use them as profile scrapers to get information to reach out to potential prospects later. This eases the flow of building up a prospect list and allows you to do it automatically.
Phantom Buster does have a free forever package, but they also offer four paid packages that range $30 to $900 a month with a range of your phantoms running 1 to 60 hours a day with 5 to 40 phantoms. Free you get 1 phantom and 10 minutes a day.
Major bonus for any non-tech-savvy people, Phantom Buster is code free. You can get it HERE!
Welcome to the digital world…email has been and still is a major way to communicate to current and potential clients. This is more than making a quick template and hitting send though. You need a great strategy, amazing content, and probably an additional tool to automate the process for yourself. Check out and test out some of these tools to help with your email marketing processes.
Drip allows for bulk sending of emails. It is linkable to eCommerce stores; it integrates with over 80 different platforms or apps. Because it also links to socials, between posting and emails this tool can really help boost overall engagement and in turn drive people to your site to make purchases.
Drip starts at $49 a month and increases with the number of contacts you have.
If you are looking to speed up your flow of emails. Lemlist can be your go-to. Lemlist allows campaigns to be build and each campaign can have a contact list referred to as buddies-to-be in the platform. You can schedule out your emails, fully customize them, and let the platform do the rest.
Lemlist ranges $29 to $99 depending on your needs.
3. Drop Contact
Drop Contact grabs more than a name and email to build a contact list, it builds you a fully enriched list. Its also grabs other confirmed emails, addresses, and phone numbers. It also validates emails and corrects in errors in the information, like pesky first and last name switches.
Drop Contact starts at 24 euros and goes up to 436 euros and does have an activation
fee. If you like the sounds of it get it HERE!
4. Send in Blue
Send in Blue allows you to craft emails with a drag and drop editor or rich text editor or custom HTML. You create your emails, build contact lists and then set up the email flow. It then makes your email marketing campaign automated.
Send in Blue ranges $25 to $173 a month, and offers custom enterprise plans for bigger companies.
Backlinks and SEO
SEO is more than just keywords. Your site needs to have quality backlinks and it is a bonus to have your name and face tied to being an expert in your field. This section highlights ways to boost backlink profiles and in turn boost your SEO and overall brand presence.
HARO is Help A Reporter Out. They allow for blog and content writing opportunities. You sign up for their newsletter with areas that you are an expert and get opportunities delivered to your inbox a few times a day. The pieces give topics and deadlines. It is a great way to boost your image online but will give you something to backlink to and improve your SEO by associating with the post.
Content is king. There is more than just hitting your keywords and hashtags…. You need quality posts and content that urge engagement and purchases and higher conversions. Investing in a content-related tool can help keep your posts on your blog page and/or social media pages fresh and ahead of the curve.
What would a growth hacking tips for the upcoming year be without mentioning the GrowthHackers website?
The site itself serves as a forum and information base for the growth hacking community, you can ask and answer questions to build up your digital presence and link back to from your own blog and site. But they have a new product in beta form still. Workflow.
Workflow is free to sign up and was a created “Experiment” by Contentools. It is a comprehensive platform that allows the team to collaborate on tasks and see deadlines all in one dashboard.
Quuu’s tagline sums it up perfectly, “content curation on autopilot”. Quuu curates content for a variety of categories in almost any niche, so you will never struggle with having new content to share on social media.
Quuu also launched a new feature called Quuu Pods. This allows you to have members and posts in a pod and when you add a post to the pod it is automatically shared by all the other members as well. This, in turn, gives more reach to your posts and brand.
They offer a free plan that has one pod and goes up to a $50 unlimited pod plan.
Your goal is to have a successful business right? So with this means you want a high conversion rate. If you have an e-commerce store or a service-based page, you could be losing some precious potential prospects through the cracks. Conversion rate tools not only help with the growth hacking aspect of business but in turn help you fill those cracks to avoid clients from falling through without making a purchase or booking an appointment.
Poptin allows you to curate and design popups for your website. By crafting a well thought out and attractive popup, you can capture more potential clients before they leave your page or navigate away. Aside from popups you can also create forms and follow-up emails. You can also integrate Poptin with existing emailing systems (like Mailchimp) and CRM platforms.
Poptin has a free plan and three paid plans that go up to $99 a month.
Get Poptin HERE!
Drift is a great app that allows you to automate questions and shopping experiences on your site. Drift functions as a little chatbot, you can answer customers from your dashboard or set up common questions and answers, so it is more automated. You can also configure it to suggest items based on questions the potential buyer is asking or looking for. It also captures their email before starting a chat, so it helps urge more purchases and builds up a contact list to revisit to urge coming back to the site to make a purchase.
Setting up a basic chat is free, but what you want to do with chat functions, users, and other features impact the annual cost of the app.
Notifia can be your go-to automated growth toolkit. When you get the software and get access to the widgets they span over the categories acquisition, activation, referrals, and feedback. Being that this is a giant “widget bank” Notifia has the potential to replace a large number of apps, plugins, and other platforms you use.
It is an affordable tool at only $9 a month and gives you access to over 30 widgets you can add to your site. If you know what you are doing this is a cheap ticket for the product. If you want them to manage it for you, it goes to $899 a month.
Mouseflow is free to start and then ranges $29 to $399 a month depending on how many site visitors you have and how many websites you want to connect.
Ah planning…you can be a stereotypical Virgo and plan everything to the minute and organize every iota of your being or a Gemini and have everything around you and your thoughts a scattered mess…but maybe you fall somewhere between those two extremes. Running a business and keeping your personal life organized is crucial. These tools can help lift the mental load that organizing tasks and people may have.
Trello can be your teams’ go-to task management software and system. Trello is free to sign up and you can invite your cohort to boards to see tasks that are needed to be done and that are done. IT also allows you to assign tasks to people and assign deadlines. Trello also allows you to integrate other apps like G-Suite and SLACK to increase productivity. It is available for computer use and via mobile app on both Android and Apple, so it is accessible by any device.
Planable is similar to Trello in team and task management, but it is designed to be used for social media posting. This platform allows you and your team to prebuild and curate your social media posts, adjust, and approve them as a team before it goes live. This gives a greater collaborative advantage than having a solo social media manager. The team can work with the social media manager and help give fresh ideas to avoid stale posts.
Planable.io is $32.50 for up to three users and one workspace or $82.50 for seven users and five workspaces.
3. Time Doctor
Managing a remote team, especially when globally spread, can be tricky at times. Time zones, personal schedules, and holidays are all factors in when your team is or is not working. Time Doctor allows you to see when your team is or isn’t working…to measure productivity, not be “Big Brother”. You can track time, payroll, client projects, see apps being used, and a menagerie of other items that help give you a better view of your team. It also has a feature to “nudge” someone when they are spending too much time on a non-work related site…like Facebook or Twitter when a team member is just feed scrolling.
New and Emerging Growth Hacking Tools
What would a yearly guide be without featuring some new and upcoming tools? These tools can give you a competitive advantage, assuming you begin implementing them before the competition. Besides, it is always good to give something new a go.
If you have any sort of struggle with graphic design…or are looking for something to help speed you along, Crello could be your simple solution. Crello allows designs to be made for social media, web, print, and ads. These range from banners to profile pictures and memes to cards.
Crello has a free package, but if you want to unlock all their premium options and designs, then paid is the way to go. If you pay month to month it is $9.99 or averages $7.99 a month if you foot the bill for the year upfront.
Infographics can be your best friend or worst enemy….depending on your skill and enjoyment with design. Venngage is a FREE infographic maker…you can also make posters, promotions, reports, and social media aimed creations.
I should mention it is free to students with a lot of limits. So if you are looking at this for your business you will definitely want to pay the $49 a month to unlock the full potential Venngage has.
This group is all about making user onboarding easier. This is in terms of new employees or new potential customers. Tools here are all about making UI easier or making tutorials to post. Incorporating one or all of these in your business toolbox can allow you to jump ahead of the competition by showing, not just telling.
Loom brings life to virtual show and tell. In a remote team, this tool allows you to record your screen from a simple chrome extension. Loom is fully free to use but has limited space for storing videos, so it works best to put them on youtube depending on what they are for or delete them as you go.
There are pricing options though if their free package does not quite meet your needs. Right now their pro version is $8 a month and you can edit your videos. Loom is in the process of creating a Team and Company package option as well.
Screencast-o-Matic is another recorder that allows you to capture your screen and share it as a video. This application goes by downloading to your computer and you run it from a desktop. This allows you to edit videos as well.
Screencast-o-Matic is free to sign up, but can go up to $17.50 a month depending if you want a solo or team plan and how many features you want available to you and your team.
Userpilot aims to make the overall user experience more simple. Userpilot has no coding, so for less technically inclined people, it is simple to get going. This tool is trigger based on what your customers are doing. This allows messages and events to be relevant to the user and change as it is needed.
Userpilot is free to sign up to and to request a demo. This tool costs $149 a month, but if you are a large company, they can custom tailor an enterprise plan.
Marketing, yes SEO is a part of this, given SEO drives a lot of success with digital marketing and being found on searches. 2020 is predicted to be the year of User Experience, make it better and make it easier.
1. Make Your Posts Shoppable
If you are an e-commerce store, social media is the perfect tool to garner a following and showcase your products on your shop or on people or by other features. These posts should allow for a direct “Add to cart” feature to them.
If someone is scrolling on Facebook, sees your post with an item that grabs their eye and they want to buy it, make it even easier for them. Why have them go to your site and go hunt for the product? Make it so they can add directly to the cart from the post or link directly to that product page.
2. Augmented Reality is Going to Pass Virtual Reality
Again, it is the year of the shopper. Augmented reality (AR) is quickly rising to meet and beat virtual reality (VR). Although VR is very popular and probably won’t be leaving, AR adds a whole new sensation to the user for online shopping. Customers want to see what their potential buy will look like before it arrives.
I.e. a diamond ring could cost $3,000…that is a hefty price tag. There is a certain risk in buying that item, especially if it is custom it may not be returnable. An AR feature allows the person to take a picture of their hand and it is shown with the item through their phone camera or by picture directly on the site. Virtual try-on or try-out features give added security to purchase and can urge the completed check-out.
3. Interactive Content
Another trend for this year in the world of marketing, especially digital marketing, is to have interactive content. This means having images that change when rolled over, clickable in some way, or other features. This then makes the content more appealing, helps spark the content being shared by that user, and getting more brand exposure.
Be memorable and make people want to share your name and brand.
4. Content Marketing
It is no surprise that content…as every year…is on the upcoming trends for marketing. Content is king, and we are pretty sure it will stay that way. Keeping relevance, showing expertise and giving something new to the playing field is all about posting high quality and regularly posted content on your socials and site’s blog page.
5. Video Content
Similar to written content, video content still falls under the “King Content” rule of thumb. If you do not use video platforms, it is a major untapped potential you could have. If you do use video platforms keep up with it. You should be posting quality and regular video content. All in the name of establishing yourself as an expert and keeping new content out there to be found and ranked.
6. Be Position Zero
Now SEO trends and marketing trends go hand in hand. SEO is at the core of digital marketing, if your campaign ranks poorly, it does not matter how long you took to curate that content. It is no longer about aiming to be position one anymore, it is about being position zero. This is the zero-click and featured snippet bits of SEO. You want to be the highlighted featured snippet in related searches to your niche and people to see your content without clicking away.
7. Bring on the Power of the Robots
Artificial intelligence has been and continues to be on the rise. This is another zone that can allow you to nudge ahead of the competition. There is power in using AI for programmatic advertising. This means using AI to target very specific potential prospects by automating ad buying. If prospects advertised to are closer to your target…and are your target…this, in turn, leads to more purchases and conversions.
Another robot power to use is chatbots. Many sites already have them, but it can be predicted more sites will have them and end up using them for most of their customer service. This allows customers to ask questions that are typically shared and common and be answered by the programmed bot. Chatbots allow help to be there 24/7 if a person is away, being prewritten means there are fewer mistakes with human typing making it feel more intelligent, and a bot can retrieve the buying history easier than a person may be able to. This eases user experience by having them chat with something rather than hunting and pecking through an FAQ page or hunting through blog posts or help forums. Again…it is the year of User experience.
8. Make Your Prospects Feel Important
People do not want to be appealed to from a wide general approach. People want tailored experiences and to feel important and that their purchase means something. This means personalization. Personalize email content and outreach, use names in chatbots and names when directly contact them. After a purchase, give a pop-up that thanks them for their purchase and includes their name. In an age where everything seems to be moving to the internet, people still crave a certain level of experience that was had when going to a physical location.
9. Influencer Marketing….Still
Influencers help tie a level of reliability to your product. Having a known and recognized face feature your brand and product helps build authority and trustworthiness. Take advantage of this type of opportunity. This method can give a push some consumers need to make a purchase but tread carefully. This also means bad publicity for an influencer can tie back to your brand….guilty by association.
10. Deliver More Stories
Most social media platforms have the “stories” feature, so it would be a shame to ignore the potential this part of social media marketing and presence could have. Posting to stories gives a real-time, community feel to the social media experience. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and Youtube all have a “story” or “daily” function of sorts you can take advantage of. Skype allows you to post highlights and Whatsapp allows status updates. Using stories is cost-effective, simple to implement on existing accounts, and gives the potential to reach younger audiences due to the feature appeal.
All in all, SEO is ever-changing and you have to know both what was the standard and what is becoming and what it will turn into. Hopefully, these trends, tools, and tips helped prepare you for the 2020 year to help your business prosper and your potential prospects grow.
For more help with your business, book a call with us HERE.