Your Best Season Yet! SEO Strategies for 2017

This is the second in a series of three articles on how to have your best sales season possible.

You've already learned a few suggestions for email marketing success in 2017, and our next topic in this three-part series is what you need to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Are you already enabling these best practices? Or, does your site need a significant facelift? Take a look and see!

1) Mobile-First Philosophy - 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights)

Is your site optimized with a mobile first philosophy? Each day, more and more searches are being performed from a smartphone and the best way to ensure your site gets seen is to make sure it's mobile-optimized. Is your content mobile-friendly? Is it short and to the point, but still provides value to what the user is searching for? Are your title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 tags using best practices for character limits so when viewed in search results they entice a user to click through to your site? All of these factors are important for building a solid mobile-first foundation and gaining qualified traffic to your site.

2) Exceptional User Experience

You may have a mobile-first strategy, but is your entire site mobile-friendly? The user experience on your site is key to encouraging repeat traffic and keeping current guests happy. If your site is not responsive, you are already at a disadvantage. It's no longer sufficient enough to have your most frequently visited pages mobile-friendly on a mobile domain, rather your entire website needs to be. Everything from the homepage to all the static content. If a user has to zoom in to read your tiny font, or turn their device to see the elements better, they will likely get frustrated and move on to the next option. Don't lose business because of a poor user experience! Google may also penalize you for not having mobile-friendly pages, with the release of their mobile-first index (https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html) in November 2016.

3) The Impact of Voice Search

In 2016, Google's director of conversational search explained that speech recognition error has improved from 25% two years ago to just 8% in 2016. Why should you think about voice search now? Voice search has been growing faster than typed search. In our fast-paced lives, voice can be the best way to search when multi-tasking. Consider how many people have their mobile phones by their side that offer personal assistant technology.

How does voice search affect SEO? Queries become more conversational and often times longer. How can you start to tackle the impact of voice search? Continue to frequently do fresh keyword research to further understand search volumes and intent. Consider optimizing using keywords that signify a user is farther along in the buying cycle and more likely to convert and not just those with the highest search volumes. SEO is constantly evolving, and the optimization of your website should be prepared for voice search.

4) Your Local Presence

A great thing about the internet is finding information that is relevant to you within a matter of seconds. With the impact of mobile and voice search as mentioned above, many users turn to their phones to find results for local inquiries. The most common being any product or service within your geographic region, such as car repair, restaurant suggestions, etc. However, you can still capture qualified traffic when a user does a search for "outer banks rentals" or "vacations in myrtle beach". The "local pack" of results usually shows towards the top of Google and has a lot of value. A user can view your website, make a phone call directly to your business, and request driving directions to your office. They can also read reviews made about your business. If you do not have a verified Google My Business listing, or are not checking this dashboard regularly, you might not realize if there is incorrect contact information or negative reviews posted. To see your listing, simply do a Google search for your brand name and see what shows up either on the right side of the results or in the local pack. To get the total picture for local online reputation, we suggest using Moz Local services, which is an excellent tool for monitoring and editing listings to control your local presence. You can gain significant additional traffic to your site by capitalizing on local listing opportunities.

Our team of strategic online marketing consultants is ready to help you achieve success and it's not too late to get started in 2017. Contact us or email marketing@vdsys.com for the next steps!