The New Era of Digital Marketing: 4 Trends Small Businesses Can’t Ignore

The majority of your customers spend up to 3 hours online each day. Searching, posting, updating, watching and reading. They are bombarded with marketing messages, to the degree that they quickly become immune to tactics that just a short while ago were touted as the “next big thing” to revolutionize your digital marketing strategy.

As a small business you have to be smart about which trends you seize upon and which ideas you rule out as not being the best fit for your goals, audience and budget.

Here are four digital marketing trends that aren’t going away any time soon, and are absolutely essential for you to consider as you plan for the future.

Digital Marketing and Mobile Optimzation

You’d have to be an ostrich with your head stuck pretty deep in the sand to be oblivious to how much mobile phones and tablets have infiltrated our daily lives. Yet many businesses haven’t fully considered what that means for their marketing.

You don’t have to take the full leap to creating your own app, or even launch a wide scale mobile ad campaign, but you do have to think about how visitors experience your website on a mobile device.

As well as ensuring that visitors using a mobile device to access your site stay longer and can find what they are looking for, making your site mobile ready is critical for search engine optimization.

Many small businesses suffered catastrophic drops in search engine traffic after Google’s algorithm update in April, which added a website’s mobile readiness to their ranking factors. If you were lucky enough to escape “mobilegeddon”, consider it a lucky reprieve and don’t delay in making sure your website looks great on all types of mobile devices.

Content Marketing

You have probably heard the phrase: Content is King. But what exactly does that mean? And how can you make sure your content is helping your small business grow?

Today’s internet users consume content at a startling rate. Hundreds of articles, videos and blog posts flood our inbox and social media streams and the average person spends two hours a day consuming content online.

Content can be shared, bookmarked and interacted with in ways that few other marketing channels can be.

In general, try to create content which is:

  • Valuable. Ask yourself what your content offers the reader.
  • Visually appealing. Make your content more engaging with images, videos and infographics.
  • Crafted with SEO best practices in mind. Decide what keyword your content should target and optimize it carefully.
  • Easily shared. Place social sharing buttons in the content and use a catchy, descriptive title that will entice people to click through to read the content.


Headline security breaches can cost big businesses millions, but it’s not just major brands that are at risk. Over 30,000 SME websites are hacked every day. Small businesses are often more likely to suffer a data breach or website hack due to having weaker security systems in place. When we think of hacking incidents we tend to think of individuals looking to steal or expose information. However, your website can also be hijacked or injected with malicious code that serves unwanted ads, redirects visitors to other pages, locks you out of the admin area and generally wreaks havoc with your site’s stability.

Of course, theft of information is a strong motivator for hackers, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t have anything worth stealing!

If your website stores intellectual property, contracts, orders or customer information it is your responsibility to protect it.

Look into steps you can take to strengthen your defenses such as SSL certificates, two-factor log in authentication and third party monitoring/response services such as Sucuri.

An Ever-Shrinking Attention Span

It’s not just screen sizes that are shrinking- our attention span is dwindling too. While there is little you can do to combat human nature, it’s vital that your marketing efforts acknowledge and adapt to the fleeting window of opportunity you have to capture someone’s interest.

Make sure your title is catchy and interesting. Keep important information up front and centre, but include a great “hook” to encourage them to read more.

Include great visuals such as videos or infographics. Visually represented information is digested by the human brain at a much faster rate than the written word, so it is a great shortcut to getting your point across.

Make sure that your call to action, whether it is a link, a button or a form are prominent and clear.

While we are on the topic of forms, keep those short and sweet. The percentage of people who will complete it decreases with every field that you add.

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries.

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.

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On Page Optimization: Guidelines for 2015

For some of you this will be a nice reminder, and for others this quick guide will let you know the most common best practices that are still effective for on page optimization in 2015.

Search engine optimization is a form of business that constantly evolves. New technologies, tweaks to how search engines interpret data and the modification of how certain established factors are weighted make it so.

To start 2015 correctly with your own website, it’s imperative that your on-page SEO marketing optimization is both complete and up-to-date with regards to the factors the search engines consider essential.

This guide aims to look at the essential on-page factors that website owners tend to miss in a way that even beginners can understand and employ.

1. Your Website URLs

The URLs of your website’s pages reflect how easily people and computers can interpret what your pages are about.

If you’re going to purchase a new domain or create a subdomain of your website, then consider making it as keyword-centric as possible. This can including your brand or a main keyword for your subdomain (such as “”).

As far as your individual pages’ URLs go, it’s important to ensure that they describe the content contained on your page. This means you want a descriptive URL such as “”.

It’s also important to remove extraneous data that may not be helpful to your visitors. Consider removing the date of posts, for example, if you use something like WordPress to manage your website. Dates are primarily helpful for blog content, but not static web material.

If you have a string of dynamic code for a ecommerce site, make static landing pages optimized for your KW’s and let the dynamic URL’s work for user generated search queries.

2. Your Title Tags

Title tags are relatively simple. They should include your page’s main keyword first with your website’s  main keyword, such as your brand or an encompassing keyword like ‘plumbing’, second.

It’s important to remember to keep your page titles to 69 characters or less. This is a situation where search engines truncate longer titles or simply replace them with more “appropriate” titles in search results, which may negatively impact your website’s presence in search engine results.

A bad example is this cool infographic about Ray-Bans (which is a great example of content marketing) but you will notice if you use a tool like Moz’s chrome add-on that the title tag, along with all other posts on the blog are simply the blog’s title.

No custom title tags for any posts?

This is such an easy fix, and I am always surprised to see even big companies neglect optimizing their title tags. This has been “best practice” for years.

3. Your Meta Description and Meta Tags

the meta content of your pages is also important. Ensuring that each field is complete will help your website perform better.

Of all the meta content on any given page, the meta description falls just after your page title in importance to your SEO. Ensure that your meta description is 156 characters or less and that it relates highly to the rest of your content on your page, as this will allow it to perform better in search engines like Google.

As far as other meta content goes, you should add things like keywords and content type to your pages. You just need to be aware that very few search engines heavily weigh these things, and some search engines, which includes Google, tend to ignore them outright.

Now some of you may be saying “Didn’t Google announce forever ago that Meta tags don’t factor into SEO rankings?” Yes they did. It is true that Google doesn’t factor in meta tags directly, however, when you are listed in a google search the meta tag is what people read before they decide which search result to click. If your meta tag is bad, and people don’t click through to your site when your listed, Google will take that as a sign that your page is not relevant to the specific query that triggered your listing in the first place.

In other words, the meta tag gets people to click your site, if nobody clicks your site, you lose rankings. So meta descriptions are still very important to SEO.

4. Keyword Density

Keyword density is a tricky subject, as there is no set limit for how many times a keyword should appear within your text to be considered relevant. The only thing that is for certain is that mentioning a keyword too many times may make your page perform poorly in search engines.

To both guard against this and improve your keyword-related performance, instead opt to use synonyms and other closely related keywords when possible. This will make your pages’ contents perform better both in the eyes of search engines and your visitors.

It’s also not a bad idea to see what the density for your top 5 competitors ranking is and try to use that as a standard. It’s pretty easy, just pop in the top 5 search results for your keyword into a tool like text analyser and if you find the top 5 results are all around 40%, it’s safe to say you can optimize to 40% and not worry about being penalized.

5. Content Length

Just like with keyword density, there is no set content length that will perform better in the eyes of search engines. The only thing that is for certain is that longer content that has a clear purpose behind it tends to perform far better than short-winded content.

As a general rule of thumb, aim for your pages to have a minimum of 300 to 350 words. You should include other pieces of media and interactive content to keep your visitors on your pages for as long as possible.

It’s worth noting that longer content can be interwoven with shorter pieces. This supports a healthy interlinked URL scheme, which appeals both search engines and your most curious of visitors.

6. Image Alt Tags

Although image recognition is improving, there’s only so much that search engines like Google can accurately interpret. Alt tags allow search engines to quickly understand what your images on your pages are about, which is why it’s important to use them whenever possible.

When doing so, be sure to add in the keywords that describe your content. This will help both your page in SERPs and your images in image search engines.

7. Ad-Less Content

While ad revenue is always nice, it can significantly detract from your most valuable pages. Try to keep above-the-fold content that you want your visitors to read clear of ads and other potentially annoying or distracting content.

If you must put ads on your place, the best place to do so is either through contextual links or near the end of your content. This will reduce negative SEO factors like bounce rate while keeping your pages lovable in the eyes of your visitors.

Other Factors to Consider

What has been covered so far is just a start. There’s still countless other tweaks to your SEO that you can perform, but following the above steps will ensure that your website has a strong start in 2015 with search engines.

If you are wondering where “on page” optimization sits into whats known as ‘SEO Priorities” It sits as the #2 priority according to this article. Either way, on-page is relatively simple, and has been around for a long time yet many webmasters still neglect to optimize and miss out on easy wins that do add up over time. Stop worrying about links, and get your site in order first.

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