By now, most business owners have well and truly settled back into a working routine. The excitement of the festive season has evaporated, and it’s back to the daily grind once more. As such, it’s time to start considering how to sow the seeds for another fruitful year of business.
Your digital marketing approach plays a significant part in helping you reap those rewards. For many businesses, their website is their core sales funnel: it’s where they get noticed by consumers and attract new customers. To deliver positive results and a healthy return on investment, it’s vital to employ the right tactics to strengthen your online presence.
Needless to say, this begins first and foremost with your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
What is SEO?
In case this term is totally new to you, or is one that you’re still struggling to wrap your head around, let’s dissect how SEO works. Essentially, SEO is the art of implementing Google-friendly tactics that will get you ranking high on search engine results pages.
As Google is a forever-evolving mechanism, these ranking factors continually change and shift focus. This is why it’s important to stay up-to-date on current SEO trends. Sure, you might have built an SEO-friendly website within the past year or so, but Google’s algorithm changes mean that the tactics used at the time will not have the same punch these days.
To help bring you up-to-date, let’s take a look at the top trending SEO techniques that can help turbo-charge your business this year.
- Adopt a mobile-first approach
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Mobilegeddon” being thrown around? Basically, it pays homage to the rapid surge in mobile web searches, which have in turn impacted the way Google decides to rank websites. Google has even put it in writing, warning website owners that: “after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” Hence, it’s not just advisable, but imperative to ensure your website is compatible on mobile devices.
Furthermore, rumours have it that “Mobilegeddon 2” is on the horizon, with Google releasing an open source framework for creating mobile web pages. The framework, known as “Accelerated Mobile Pages” (or “AMPs”), recognises and prioritises websites that are specifically designed for mobile devices.
You can check if your site is mobile-friendly using Google’s handy tool: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly. Want to go one step further? Check whether your site is AMP-valid here: https://search.google.com/search-console/amp.
- Claim your business listing
With mobile searches comes an increase in local searches. In fact, stats show that 94% of mobile users search for location information, therefore proving that those nifty little GPS devices built into our trusty smartphones have become super-convenient. As such, Google loves websites with local listings as it knows this is what many users are after.
Setting up a Google My Business profile is extremely easy and a great way to optimise your business’s online presence.
- Incorporate keywords, but focus on creating high-value copy
For a long time, SEO was known to pay substantial attention to keywords. While keywords are still a vital ingredient of your digital presence, we’re now seeing more of a shift towards the quality of the written content on a website instead of the quantity of search terms scattered about.
These days it’s more about crafting unique, data-rich content that provides palpable value to the reader, rather than simply trying to cram your copy with keywords. We recommend concentrating on the topic of the page and writing copy that is engaging and digestible.
- Invest in a content marketing plan
Content has always been king, but now it is even more so than ever. At current, content marketing sits as one of the top two Google ranking factors (thereby highlighting the previous point: the readability of your copy is fundamental to gaining consumers’ attention).
Unsure what we mean by the term ‘content marketing’? Well, it revolves around providing useful, enjoyable and inspiring content, and pitching said content to the right audience. It typically comes in the form of blogs, white papers, press releases and EDMs, functioning to prick consumers’ ears and educate them on your industry.
- Get link building
If content marketing is one of the top two ranking factors for Google, link building is the other. Once you’ve crafted your quality content, try pitching it to bloggers and writers – from there, you can work on gaining authentic links from prominent influencers in the digital sphere. The result? Increased traffic organically driven to your site.
However, the important thing to remember here is that your links should be relevant. It’s about earning your links rather than inserting dodgy black hat techniques that will ultimately incur a penalty from Google.
- Test and improve your UX design
A good user experience is integral to the success of your website. Often, it can make-or-break your site’s ability to draw consumers in and convert them. As Google gets ‘smarter’, it is increasingly planting a focus on UX (user experience) design, so it’s important you ensure yours is fit for customer satisfaction.
Of course, good UX is much more than writing clean code: it revolves around identifying a user’s intent and enabling that intent to be carried out smoothly. Sure, you can build a website using a template, but to be able to rank really well, you’ll want to deliver something users actually enjoy navigating. A/B testing is vital here for unearthing how users respond to certain methods, and which ones prove most successful.
By incorporating these SEO techniques into your digital marketing strategy, you can polish up your website and amplify the volume of traffic flowing to it. Kick-start your year in business!