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Digital marketing news for small businesses: December roundup

3 minute read

fir trees in the snow against blue sky

As a new year gets underway and Christmas already seems a distant memory, we’re taking a look back over some of the digital marketing stories you may have missed in the chaos of the run-up to Christmas. What happened in December, and what does it mean for your business?

Make the most of traffic from answer snippets in Google

You may remember that we’ve previously written about how to optimise your content for appearing in Google answer boxes, which can be a great way to bring in extra organic search traffic. In December, Google begun to release an update to its answer box feature for some search queries, and it means users can click on the answer and jump straight to that section on your page. The answer snippet used in the search results is highlighted in orange on your page when a user arrives from it.

With this in mind, Search Engine Land advises that it’s worth considering the fact that when someone arrives on a page of your site having clicked on an answer box, they may not have read the rest of the piece. For that reason, if you have any important calls-to-action or adverts for the page, you might want to monitor your conversion rates and experiment with moving things around the page to ensure you’re still getting maximum value from the extra traffic.

Good reviews more important if your target audience is male

We all know how important good reviews are for small businesses, but new research suggests that there may be a gender split when it comes to the value consumers place on reviews. Writing for Search Engine Land, Jamie Pitman of BrightLocal explains that his company’s latest survey of attitudes towards online reviews had some interesting findings, in particular that “37 percent of men said they always read online reviews for businesses, but a comparatively small proportion of women (15 percent) do the same, preferring instead to “occasionally” read online reviews”.

This has implications for businesses selling products or services geared more towards a particular gender, as it suggests that if your target audience is men, it’s worth putting some extra effort into gaining favourable online reviews. Whatever gender you market to, this finding is worth bearing in mind alongside another recent discovery, that 85% of customers disregard local reviews as ‘irrelevant’ when they’re three or more months old. In other words, gaining good reviews is something you always need to be thinking about – it’s not enough to get a load and then stop trying. Here are some tips for encouraging reviews.

Monetising video content on Facebook

Want to generate extra income from the video content your business publishes on Facebook? Then you’ll be interested in the platform’s new video monetisation best practices, which come hot on the heels of the launch of Watch, Facebook’s rival to YouTube and other streaming services. It’s also worth noting that Facebook is discouraging the repurposing of video clips from other sources, meaning it’s better to create your own video content if you want to increase the chances of your content being seen in people’s feeds. You can read more about this here.

There’s a new ‘sold here’ label on Google local results

Finally, if your business has a listing on Google Maps, then you’ll be interested to learn that the search engine is releasing a new ‘sold here’ label that highlights what kind of products your business sells. While it’s not yet clear how Google works this out, according to Search Engine Land it “could lead to higher in-store conversions triggered by someone searching on Google.” On which note, the more information you can include in local listings, the better – here’s why it’s important.

Rachel Ingram is a freelance copywriter with a background in digital marketing. She's written copy for clients ranging from the United Nations World Food Programme to The North Face, and particularly enjoys working with lifestyle and travel brands. In her spare time, she volunteers for Guide Dogs and flies light aircraft and helicopters.

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