Friends, welcome to week 5 in our SEO essentials series! So far we’ve talked about what SEO is, why you need it (even if you get a lot of referrals), a history of shady SEO techniques (so you know what not to do), and the essential SEO glossary.

We’re all about getting you FOUND so that you can stop chasing your clients and let them come to you.

This week we’re talking about the most important SEO moves you can make in 2017 to get the most of your efforts. You’ve probably heard that SEO changes all the time, and while this is true to a point, the HEART of SEO doesn’t change.

Did you catch that?

The heart of SEO never changes. Google’s goal is always to make the user’s experience better, so if you’re doing work to make that happen, then you’re on your way to practicing good SEO.

Here’s another gem I can’t say enough:

Good business is good SEO.

That’s right: if you’re providing valuable, helpful, and consistent content for your audience, have a fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate site, and make the information on your site reliable and accurate, then you’re already practicing good SEO.

That said, Google does improve their algorithm often to reward good customer experience, so here’s what they are focusing on in 2017, and what you need to work on this year to make to work your way to the top of Google.

Master SEO

1. Write amazing content

This is listed as #1, because useful, consistent content is truly the best thing you can do for great SEO. Having lots of valuable content on your site is great for your audience, it gives Google something to read on your site, and brings opportunities for link building.

Basically, content is our secret sauce for getting lots of SEO mojo. We know that writing is hard work, but here at Clapping Dog Media we put a huge emphasis on it because we know that it’s crucial to our success (and to yours, sister!).

Curious about what to write and how to write it? You’re in luck, because in just a few weeks we’re doing an in-depth series on blogging for SEO, including how you use it for getting killer backlinks. For now, just know that content is SUPER important, even if it feels like it doesn’t matter (it totally does).

If you want help creating SEO-boosting content or an editorial calendar, let’s chat, babe!

2. Mobile-friendliness Matters

Is your site mobile friendly? You can check your site’s mobile capacity in less than a minute using this handy tool from Google.

If your site is mobile friendly, then hooray! You did it 🙂 If your site isn’t mobile friendly, don’t fret. To fix it find a web design company or web developer that can write some custom code to make pretty on every device.

If you’re using a template that is supposed to be mobile friendly, but isn’t, you should contact the template creator and let them know. If that doesn’t help, you might want to find a developer who can check into the code and make any needed adjustments.

Other mobile considerations:

  • Pop Ups:
    • Does your mobile site have an annoying pop-up that covers the page, or is hard to close?
    • If so, delete it! It’s not worth any emails you might gain by having the pop-up.
    • In January 2017 Google updated their algorithm to demote sites that have this kind of pop up. It’s annoying for users, and demotes on your rankings, so get rid of it.
  • Mobile Design:
    • Have you tested how mobile friendly your site is? Here is one our favorite mobile test tools.
    • Is your mobile font too huge, causing you to scroll forever just to read one sentence?
    • Or is your font too small, causing you to zoom in just to see it?
    • If so, then you need a new mobile design, stat. Google penalizes sites that have bad user experience (UX) on mobile, so this should be a priority

3. Get Great Links

We can’t overstate how important links are for SEO. A good link is like the internet-wide version of an upvote. The more links you have from reputable sources, the more relevant and important you look to Google.

Here’s the good news:

  • It’s never too late to get great links
  • We have a whole series on link building coming up! Stay tuned for all the details on how to build an amazing portfolio of SEO-boosting links.
  • You can see how many links you already have with a quick tool! See steps below.

To see your current links:

  1. Visit Moz’s Inbound Link research tool to see your most recent backlinks.
  2. With a free profile, you’ll be able to see your most recent, as well see how many you total.
  3. This will give you a good idea of how many links you have coming to your site.
  4. Want more quality links? Stay tuned–we have a post series coming up on this topic!

4. Tailor your keywords for voice search

If you have an Amazon Echo or an Alexa Google Home in your house you know what I’m talking about. If you have a new-ish phone, I am sure that you have asked Siri to do a quick search for you. Searching by voice is called semantic search and your site needs to be ready.

Semantics is changing the landscape of SEO, and your keyword game needs to keep up to continue to be found. Of course, if you’re a local business this is far more important than if you’re just online, as people typically use voice search when driving.

Don’t fret; your current keywords, if you’ve done the research on them, are still perfectly legitimate, and people are still searching for them. It’s just that you need to add to your current base to get a better chance of being found using voice search.

How do you do this?

Think about the difference between how someone types and how someone talks. For example, if someone is looking for paleo recipes, they’ll search differently depending on the platform.

On the computer or phone:
easy paleo recipes for tonight

With voice search:
What are some easy paleo recipes I can make tonight?

So to adjust this for your keywords and content, be sure that your tone is conversational. You’ll have the added benefit of being more relatable in your writing, which is always a good thing! If you want to learn more about Semantic Search, you can dig deeper in this post by Moz.

5. Set-up your site for Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets

You may not be familiar with the name ‘rich snippets’, but you’ve certainly seen these all over Google since they were released in 2009. If you Google something that someone has answered succinctly and clearly, you’re on the way to increasing your chances getting your answer featured in a rich snippet.

These are also known as ‘rich answers’, ‘first box’ or ‘position zero’.

So, what kind of information goes in a rich snippet? Typically, it’s straightforward, easy to answer information:

  • The local time
  • Weather in a particular city
  • Current stock price
  • Score of a game
  • A quick language translation

Occasionally Google will feature something more complex in a rich snippet, such as the answer to “Who is King of the United States?” (seriously), but the key to getting your content featured as a rich snippet is that it is a succinct and clear answer. This short video is a great example of what rich snippets are (and bonus–what happens when they go wrong!).

So, how do you get featured in a rich snippet?

  1. Find a question relevant to your industry you can answer in a step-by-step format
  2. Answer clearly and succinctly. Bonus points if your article includes additional helpful information, like answering the ‘why’ not just the ‘how’ of the question
  3. Present the answer in an easy to read format.

Why would you want to get featured in a rich snippet? A lot of people are concerned that rich snippets decrease traffic because Google has already provided the answer within the search results page. However, a guest poster at Search Engine Land found that sites with rich snippets got more not less traffic.

So, friends, these are the steps you should take to get the most out of your SEO efforts in 2017. We’re cheering you on!

If you want SEO work done for you, we’ve got you covered. Drop us a line and we’ll chat!

Do you have questions? Leave us a comment! Others are probably wondering the same thing 🙂

Do you have a friend who needs some SEO help? Do her a solid and send her this article. We’re cheering her on too 🙂

Cheers to you and your success!

Clapping Dog Media