Author: Cheryl Luzet
As a business, you’re probably already aware of the importance of optimising your website for the search engines. Allowing search engines such as Google to find your site and to understand how you can help their users is a key factor in increasing your numbers of online customers. However, it’s really important not to let your SEO strategy become stale. The digital marketing landscape is one that is ever-changing, so even if your current strategy is working well for you, it’s essential not to rest on your laurels. So why not take the time to look at the changes the last year has brought and create a robust strategy for 2017.
Putting an SEO strategy in place for the coming year means that you can stay on top of your website and will be able to plan comprehensively for what you want to achieve. You can also be confident that your SEO will fit in with your wider business goals. We’ve put together a handy guide covering a range of points that you need to consider when you are planning your stellar SEO strategy for 2017!
Before you start working on your SEO strategy, you need to plan and understand what your goals are for your business overall. When you know where your business is heading then you can start to map this onto your SEO targets. It could be that you want to reduce advertising budgets, in which case you may want to look at how content SEO could drive more organic search – rather than paid for search or online advertising. You might also want to reach out to social influencers to get your site seen and talked about on social media without having to pay for advertising.
Alternatively, you might wish to encourage customer loyalty, by getting customers to visit your website on a more regular basis in 2017 or connecting and engaging with them across social media. You might want these customers to stay on your site for longer when they do visit. In this case you could use your SEO strategy to look at creating more engaging content, setting up a regular blog section on your website or posting ‘how to’ video guides.
It’s important to ensure that your SEO works for your business in its entirety and can support and underpin your company goals for the next year.
Of course once you have your goals in place, you then need to assign ownership and project management to ensure that they are implemented correctly and within the timescales required.
Google is always striving to improve the way it understands its’ customers and to learn how to give its users what they want as efficiently as possible. That means that the strategy which saw your ranking increase last year might not be the same one that will boost your rankings this year. Technology also changes rapidly and as it progresses, people may start to search in a different way. Here are some of the key changes that we think will have an impact on SEO strategies this year:
We already saw how Google reacted to the increase in people searching for products via their mobiles. They released an update which meant that websites needed to become smartphone-friendly in order to achieve good rankings. We’re now seeing an increase in the popularity of voice search and whilst this is not yet massive, it’s definitely something to think about and prepare for.
Google now aims to answer many user queries itself which can draw traffic away from your website. Think about how this might affect your keywords and look at how you can turn this into an opportunity.
Keywords on their own are becoming less important and the trend is turning towards long-tail keyword phrases and user intent. Businesses now need to understand that even small variations in keywords can change what the user intends to search for, and you need to learn how this affects your keywords and therefore your strategy.
Speed and efficiency of websites have always been important to the search engines, but Google also views pop ups and overlays negatively. Sites that provide a much better user experience tend to do better in the rankings. There’s also an increasing trend for multi visit buyer journeys. This means that you can’t just consider a single pathway from click through to purchase, but instead you need to consider how you can optimise your site for these multiple visits.
Make sure that you understand what your keywords and your long-tail keyword phrases are and plan your content to ensure that these keywords keep delivering for your business. Review these on a regular basis to look at how you are ranking for them and build a rolling plan to make sure that they fit in with your content.
When you are planning and reviewing your content you also need to be aware that Google is now very keen on the idea of comprehensiveness. This means that your content needs to be genuinely useful to your customers. Longer, more in-depth content can add real value for search engine users, and by combining long-tail keyword phrases within high value comprehensive content, you will be giving the search engines what they really want to see!
Of course a stellar SEO strategy needs to be flexible and you should make sure that you review the outputs of your strategy on a regular basis. If your business develops or changes, you may need to make changes to your strategy, and of course there’s always the possibility of a Google update that could throw a spanner in the works! You’ll also want to make sure that your SEO is delivering what you want it to, when you need it too. Schedule regular strategy reviews throughout the year and stay on top of the latest SEO news and data. This will ensure that changes can be planned for as much as possible and won’t come as a shock!
So, make sure that your SEO underpins all of your business goals and will help you achieve them. Stay responsive to the changes that occur in technology and the search engines, and of course make sure that you monitor and refine your strategy regularly. This will help you to implement a high-flying SEO strategy that will get you seen and talked about online – and bring more customers to your site.
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