SEO to Look Out for in 2017

cactusWithout a search engine optimization (SEO) plan, it can be very difficult for your website to rank on search engines.  If you are here then you are probably somewhat familiar with SEO. However, every year brings new ideas to build into your strategy and changes the importance of basic strategy guidelines.

First let’s jump into some of the most important and elementary parts of any SEO strategy.

SEO Basics From Years Past

User experience:  Knowing how people navigate your website is incredibly important if you want them to keep coming back. If your website is hard to navigate, then more often than not, a person will not even bother to read any of your content and will leave the site and never return. If you would like to find ways to improve t your site’s user experience, look up information on UX design. “UX” is short for “user experience”.

Mobile friendly:People use their smartphones and tablets more than they use desktop computers to search the web. If your site doesn’t reformat to provide a good user experience when on a smaller handheld screen, then you are losing potential customers by the fistful (puns are fun!). If you are interested in this subject, do some research on responsive design. Here is a free checker from ami.responsivedesign.

Keywords: These are the crown jewels of any SEO strategy. They allow you to target your audience and tell search engines the reasons your website exists. But it is always important to use them the right way. For more information, look up keyword density and keyword stuffing. The wonderful people at Moz have a good starting point for keyword research.

Quality content: Make sure that people are finding what they need on your site. If your content is not answering their searches, then they will not want to do business with you. Do a little research into what your potential clients are looking for; talk to your current clients and see if there is any information that they would have liked to see on your website. Search Engine Land has a helpful article for more information.

If you would like easy-to-read information on SEO, I recommend taking a look at this compilation of SEO infographics created by SEOBOOK.

SEO Strategies to Tackle in 2017

You may already know about some of these SEO strategies, but as they are becoming even more important in 2017, they are worth emphasizing.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI): A fancy way to say synonyms

LSI simply means using words that are connected with your keywords or industry on the same page.  The idea is twofold:

1) Individuals use many different terms to search for the same thing (e.g., auto, car, vehicle, van, truck, automobile, etc.). By using more connected words in your content, you spread your net wider when fishing for clients.

2) It also helps search engines know what industry you are targeting. For example, you sell apples at your fruit store, but because you never mention other related terms google thinks you may be selling Apple computers. Start your adventure into LSI with the comprehensive blog post by Deepak Thakur.

Video: It is important to be seen

People want choices when they visit a website for information. Some people love to read, while others choose to call a company directly, but most prefer to watch short videos. Giving potential clients the option to watch a video is an important way to properly convey who you are and what you do.  YouTube and Facebook are some of the most used search platforms. Having videos on these platforms gives you a wider reach. For a basic guide check out 45 degrees latitude.

Backlinks: Make friends so you can increase your reach

Backlinks are an old strategy that gives people more options to find your site. However, backlinks are still one of the most important SEO strategies. You don’t need a mass market campaign to use them. Do you have friends in related industries? See if they are willing to put a link to your site on their page if you do the same for them.  Is there a person who blogs about your industry? Perhaps they would agree to mention you if you include their link on your site. Every little bit helps.

An interesting strategy, put forth by Brian Dean of Backlinko, is to check sites that relate to your content and see if any of their links are broken. In an email, tell them that you love their content but you found a broken link. Mention to them that you have some content that they could use to fill that link. By being helpful, they may be inclined to take you up on the easy solution you offer for their problem.

Targeting: It is all about focus

Probably one of the most important considerations for 2017 SEO. You have a site that hits your general demographic, now it is time to find smaller groups that want a part of your business. Are a significant percentage of the cars in your areas Honda Civics? It may be worth creating a page dedicated to common problems that Civic owners face. As a painter, have you noticed a trend with a specific color or finish? Create a page dedicated to that.

It can be daunting to figure out what to focus on in terms of targeting an audience. Here are three things everyone can do:

  • Talk to your clients or audience and take notes on their specific requests.
  • Type different keywords into Google and check the related searches at the bottom of a page.
  • Check out the site Answer The Public. This site has lots of suggestions for what questions searchers are asking, which will help give you an idea where to place your focus. Oh, and it is completely free!

Take It Slow but Keep Moving Forward

It may seem like there is a crazy amount of work to do to stay on top of your SEO plan. Building your SEO strategy can be a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Just pick one aspect and devote some time to it when you can. As long as you regularly make small improvements to your plan, you are making progress!

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