Well, it’s that time of year again, and we’re not talking about big white-bearded dudes in red suits or getting plastered at your work Christmas party.
This is the season for predictions. The season for forecasting the future of 2017 & making resolutions.
For this blog, we’ll give you 7 resolutions to help boost SEO for small businesses. Okay, these 7 tips can be used for any sized business who desires to have a more successful year this time around.
Now forget about buying an annual membership to the gym (TIP: try it for 2 weeks or a month) or other soon-to-be-broken resolutions… Focus instead on attracting more customers & improving your online presence.
1) Become Mobile-Friendly
Take a look around almost any room. Almost everyone will be on a mobile device or at least have one on them. Wow! They never leave home without it. Our mobile devices are now called our lifelines. I was on vacation recently and lost my phone on the bus. I was terrified! Almost in tears and going out of my mind as if I’ve lost my best friend or a limb until we were reunited.
Yeah, we know you’ve heard it multiple times now. 2014 was the “year of mobile”, 2015 was the “year of mobile”. We’re getting a bit tired of hearing that phrase used and reused – we get it. But I think “they” were right about 2015 being the year to get mobile.
2015 was the year of Mobilegeddon, the year where mobile users and visitors to websites via mobile devices outnumbered desktop users. Google announced it will give a boost to mobile-friendly pages as well.
On average, people check their phones more than 150 times a day,and more searches occur on mobile phones than computers. But if a potential customer is on a phone, and a site isn’t easy to use, they’re five times more likely to leave.
To avoid losing out in these crucial moments, you need a site that loads quickly and is easy to use on mobile screens. The first step is seeing how your site is performing. We can help by scoring your site for mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed.
Local customers are looking for local businesses and they’re doing so from their mobile devices. Local searches lead over 50% of mobile visitors to visit your store within 1 day. Having a mobile-friendly website is a vital part of SEO for small businesses!
94% of smartphone owners look for local information on their phone
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In 2016, we also saw Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP is an open source initiative designed to help publishers build lightweight versions of their web pages to perform better on mobile devices and lightning fast! AMD-enabled websites now display the following “lightning bolt” icon next to their listing to prove they have a fast loading site. This encourages more users to go to their site instead of others.
If you want more traffic and customers in 2017, go mobile! There’s plenty of easy to use WordPress plug-ins if the task of coding your site for mobile browsers is a bit daunting.
2) Get Blogging
Every business which has a website needs to have a blog. This provides you with a stream of steady content to promote on your social media channels. It allows you to rank for “long-tail” keywords. Most importantly, it attracts new visitors to your website. An awesome goal for a small business owner is: commit to writing 1 blog post per month. I’m sure you’re great at what you do and you have so much info in that head of yours. Block off an hour or two a month to get that on “paper”, can you do that?
77% of internet users read blogs & companies that have blogs generate approx 126% more leads!
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In 2017, don’t be greedy. It’s time to share your knowledge. Believe me, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in…people will want to read your blog.
3) Be Socialable
Social media marketing is here for the long run. If you haven’t jumped on this sociable bandwagon yet, you’re missing out on opportunities your competitors are taking advantage of. If you just don’t have the time to write posts throughout the month, consider hiring a social media management agency to give you a hand. It’s well worth the money!
Oh, you do have social media accounts? That’s great! Are they healthy (posts every day to every week) or malnourished? If your social media is looking like a wasteland, those visitors will not convert to customers. It’s all about public perception & portraying yourself as an authority in your field.
You have a Facebook or Twitter account? Awesome, you’re doing the minimum. (just kidding) In 2017 & beyond, you can no longer get away with 1 or 2 social networks. Think about Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn. If you’re unsure what’s best for your company, just ask us.
Social media is insane! Each platform has a massive following and if you’re not on the right platform, posting the right content, you’re missing out on attracting new site visitors, new customers and creating a beautiful brand image.
4) Fall In Love With Words
By now you’ve heard me going on and on about blogging & creating social media posts. Yes, content is king. It’s power and authority is only getting greater as we enter 2017. People are starving for quality content online.
Ensure your website content is the best it can be. Your website can no longer take second place to your brick & mortar store/office. You can easily get many more people “walking” into your digital storefront than your physical store. It’s up to you to convert those people into paying customers. Would you care if the sign hanging over your store was misspelled? Would you care if the messaging in your store windows lacked grammar? Of course you would! So why tolerate that abuse of words on your website?
Think of the content on your website as a sales pitch to customers. Do you have an attractive CTA (Call to Action)? Would you by from yourself if you ran into your website?
Put yourself in your customers shoes when thinking of what to write on your blog, your website pages & your social media posts. Consumers absolutely love being able to relate, help them do just that and you’ve got yourself a new customer.
5) Get Personal
In 2017, you can’t hide anymore. Sorry! It’s time to get personal and build some relationships. You already know you should have healty social media channels & quality posts throughout the month. How personal are you in those posts? Show a behind the scenes look into your company every now and then. Publicly congratulate an employee on their engagement or birthday.
Consumers want to see you’re human. To do this, create authentic relationships with consumers.
Make one personal connection on social media every week(aim for every day): follow someone who’s following you, retweet a follower’s post or write a thoughtful comment on someone’s pic. Any of these should take you 2min or less. The benefits and ROI build up over time. All of these small interactions and connections will have such an awesome impact on consumers’ perception of your company.
Ask yourself, how can you go above and beyond to show the personal side of your business? How can you build stronger, more personal relationships with your customers online?
6) Create Videos
Online videos are popular. Right now my wife is in the other room sewing while watching YouTube videos. Many people on the bus in town watch videos on their commute.
Videos are everywhere and they’re proving to be the #1 method of engaging millennials.
78% of people watch online videos every week (55% everyday!)
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So many company websites and blogs are bone dry. One amazing way to bring life to them is to humanize them through videos. They help engage and entertain while keeping visitors on your site for an extra few minutes. They build loyalty, authority and trust.
No need for fancy equipment, just pull out your smartphone & get shooting.
7) Test Stuff
There’s marketing & there’s “effective” marketing. The difference is by testing your strategies & using the results.
This is an important part of SEO for small businesses and large corporations alike. Put it in your calendar to browse through your Google Analytics at least once a month, tweak your PPC (paid search) campaign, adjust your marketing strategy and keep testing.
Large corporations usually throw money into PPC and other SEO strategies but small businesses don’t have this luxury. They need to be smarter and more creative. This is where testing comes into play. Testing & using the results is a crucial aspect of SEO for small business owners.
If you don’t have the time to test, tweak & adjust..considering hiring a local seo agency to manage this for you.
Failing to keep these 7 resolutions just won’t end well for businesses in 2017. Competition is fierce & consumers are spoiled.
I’d love to hear from you! What changes do you plan to make & resolutions to keep in 2017? Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits. My hope is for you to have a new start on new, successful habits.
Daniel has an interesting background to say the least. He has lived abroad in several countries, traveled through over 50 countries on 6 continents & still has that pesky travel bug. He has worked in haunted castles in Scotland, taught English while he practiced martial arts in Taiwan, acted through Mexico etc. He has found a home with SEO though and is very passionate in helping businesses thrive online. It doesn't hurt that he can use his online marketing skills anywhere there's an internet connection ;-)
About us and this blog
We are a digital marketing company with a focus on helping our customers achieve great results across several key areas.