Jon Zacharias recently authored a post detailing key trends defining the digital marketing landscape. As a leader and co-founder of GR0, one of the fastest-growing digital marketing agencies in the country, Zacharias is acutely attuned to the evolving dynamics at play within his industry. In the blog post entitled, Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Know, Zacharias gives his take on trends that will continue to have an outsized impact on digital marketing in 2021 and beyond.

“It’s no longer enough to just match the strategies of competitors in your niche and hope your product does the heavy lifting. In the current climate, you need to allocate extra time, money, and effort into digital marketing so you don’t get left in the dust as the eCommerce economy booms.”

Three priorities Zacharias believes are absolute prerequisites to remaining competitive in today’s digital landscape are mobile web page optimization, content diversification, and link building.

According to market research, over 50% of global online traffic occurs on smartphones. Consequently, brands can no longer afford to have a subpar mobile user experience. Mobile devices are an extremely competitive platform for online search results, so an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is paramount. Zacharias suggests brands utilize tools such as Google Analytics and SEMrush to gauge how their site performs in mobile rankings. He also emphasizes the importance of fast loading-speeds and encourages the use of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages; a framework for mobile sites that dramatically trims down the resources needed to load a page on a phone or tablet.

The nature of effective online content has evolved in conjunction with decreasing attention spans and increasing bandwidth. The written word alone is no longer sufficient to captivate online audiences. Zacharias emphasizes that brands must also dedicate focus towards the production of images, infographics, and videos, as these forms of online content are increasingly impactful. Additionally, written content must also evolve to remain competitive. Jon Zacharias recommends brands offer written content in the form of definitive, long-form guides on specific topics as well as how-to articles that online users will want to bookmark for future reference. Zacharias expresses two critical principles for the creation of effective online content in this section of the post, writing: “Overlap is okay, and some repetition is okay too. Quality and quantity are key when building out your content library and creating a definitive resource for any curiosity. Internalize the idea that there is an INFINITE amount of information you can share with your audience, and if you take the time to brainstorm, you’ll never run out of content.”

The GR0 founder compares a digital strategy that ignores link-building to constructing a house with no foundation. Google places a huge emphasis on backlinks, and the days are over when the search engine would boost a brand’s content based on the sheer volume of backlinks alone. To maximize exposure, marketers should seek out backlinks from authoritative sites that make sense in the context of brand messaging.

Zacharias’ preferred strategy to obtain these backlinks is utilizing the dual-threat of guest posting and the online platform, Help A Journalist Out (HARO). Brands can reach out to credible publications within their niche and establish guest posting arrangements that benefit both parties. The partner site gets an effective and informative blog post while brands obtain a powerful backlink to their chosen page. HARO connects journalists to sources and vice versa while ensuring that articles produced are of maximum value to readers. For both HARO and guest posting, Zacharias recommends employing the services of an experienced agency or individual as making the right connections can be difficult for the inexperienced.

Another digital marketing trend Zacharias believes is likely best left to experts for optimal maximization is influencer marketing. The veritable ocean of social media “mini-celebs” present substantial opportunities for generating exposure and sales on sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Google searches for “influencer marketing” have grown by 1500% in the past three years, and Zacharias contends that brands not utilizing influencer marketing undeniably forfeit exposure, traffic, and revenue. He recommends brands seek out collaboration with both brand influencers and brand ambassadors. Influencers can be hired one at a time to boost brand awareness among their specific audience, while ambassadors initiate the idea of collaboration with a brand.

An emerging trend in digital marketing that Zacharias asserts should not be ignored is the rapidly expanding use of voice searches. According to market research, 62% of marketers admit they have no plan in place to maximize the benefits of voice search while only 3% of marketers are implementing strategies to boost their brands’ voice search rankings. While this dynamic entails a substantial opportunity for forward-thinking brands, Zacharias stresses that achieving a “position zero” on Google’s voice search mechanism is no simple feat.

“To earn that desirable “position zero” spot on Google’s voice search mechanism, your resources need to be above and beyond the norm. That means better information, more research, clearer instructions, and any other factors that will set your page apart.”

The common thread connecting all of the aforementioned trends is providing value. In conclusion, Zacharias states that aside from the technical, the primary focus of a digital marketer in 2021 should be bringing quality information, entertainment, and community to a brand’s audience. Interested readers can explore more of Zacharias’ blog posts and expertly takes on the world of digital marketing at Blog – Jon Zacharias.