2013 was a year of significant change and development in the world of search marketing – from Google’s algorithm shifts, to updates of various digital advertising interfaces, to the monetization of social platforms, there was no shortage of digital news to keep up with. As we look back on the year, the Nina Hale, Inc. team identified the top five biggest game-changers in 2013, one for each of our practice areas: SEO, PPC, Content, Social, and Analytics.
Hummingbird. This year, Google distinctly shifted its approach to search with the introduction of Hummingbird, its largest algorithmic update in 12 years. Above all, Hummingbird strives to make search more semantic by elevating the importance of the context and meaning behind search queries, as well as by delivering local search results.
Enhanced campaigns. In 2013, the world of paid search was affected when AdWords launched Enhanced Campaigns, a feature that made it easier to target the right audiences on the devices they use most. The Enhanced update makes it possible for digital marketers to optimize ads for a variety of contexts, and in doing so marks a critical step in the process of successfully advertising to an increasingly multi-device world.
Visual content. Content marketing in 2013 was all about the visual. While certain channels have been strictly visual from the beginning (i.e. Instagram and Pinterest), other previously text-based channels entered the visual game this year. Accordingly, visual updates ranging from Google’s carousel images, to Twitter’s launch of the microblogging video channel Vine, to the introduction of Snapchat all changed the way we communicated this year.
Paid advertising. 2013 was the year social media leapt into the realm of paid advertising, as across the board each of the top social channels either introduced its first sponsored post or released an update to its existing paid presence. Notable new paid social entrants include: LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins, Instagram’s Sponsored Posts, and Google+’s +Post Ads.
Core Infrastructure. Measurement and analytics became a top priority in 2013, nesting itself across departments and establishing itself as a part of search marketing’s core infrastructure. In recognition of this trend, Google Analytics expanded its platform with updates to its advanced segmentation options, and worked to make analytics more accessible with its launch of Analytics Academy.
Looking Into the Future
What’s next? 2014 is sure to bring its own set of algorithmic updates and momentous search trends. Stay tuned for Nina Hale, Inc.’s 2014 search marketing and social media predictions in early January.