I know what you’re thinking: 2017 is going to be my year to dominate the first pages of the search engines. I totally support that resolution and I want to help you achieve that goal. In the post below, I will outline some tips that can help you get the edge over your competition in high quality and sustainable way.

User-experience should come first
Don’t get me wrong, organic rankings and organic traffic are very important not only to your website’s statistics but also to your bottom line. That being said, they mean very little if every visitor to your site is having a bad experience with your website and, in turn, your brand. The worse the experience, the higher the chance for bounces. Google’s algorithms are easily able to analyze bounce rate and are able to see how many of your site visitors go back to the SERP page and on to a competitor's site. From there, if your dwell time is low enough, it could lower your organic rankings.

Page load speed is as important as ever
With the creation of Accelerated Mobile Pages and the AMP Project for publishers, page load speed has become incredibly important. Accelerated Mobile Pages are open source framework that dramatically improves the performance of mobile web pages. This technology is led by Google and is geared towards publishers but it is a practice that can be adopted by anyone. This tip really hits on the user experience but it just goes to show that people want what they are looking for instantaneously. Work with your web development team on best practices for decreasing the page load times.

Designing and optimizing for mobile should come second
Google has come out and said that nearly 60% of all searches now take place on mobile devices and if you are not designing your site and optimizing for those mobile searches, you have a great chance of losing that traffic to your competitors, or worse, not appearing on the SERP at all. Your site should have responsive design and great content to engage those potential customers, you most certainly will not rank organically on mobile devices.

Optimize for user intent, not just keywords
With search engines getting smarter, the takeoff of voice-controlled search, and the buyer’s mentality, search engines are now showing results based on user’s intent, as opposed to only keywords, and also using semantics to determine the best results for the SERP. Search engines are now able to understand the “what” and “why” of a search, not just the keywords themselves. Due to this current landscape content on your site needs to speak to those points to drive rankings.

Content, content, content
Above all else, content is the most important thing when it comes to organic rankings. High-quality content is what leads to shares, which is what leads to links, which is what leads to rankings. Remember to develop this content with the right amount of keyword usage, about 70-80% semantics and 20-30% the actual keywords, and you should do just fine.

Use short branded links, especially on social media
One of the largest contributing factors of SEO is how often your content and links are shared. Studies show that branded links generate a 35% higher click-through rate than a non-branded short link. These are especially important for social media as there are often character limits and social links have been deemed very valuable. Setting up a short domain is incredibly simple and will set you up for success. You can learn more about setting these up from the leaders in shortened URLs, Bitly.

Mix in a little bit of PPC
Now that Google has eliminated the ads on the right side of the page and added a fourth ad to the top of the page, more and more clicks are going to paid ads. The reason for this is because the organic results have since been pushed farther down the page and Google led initiatives to take up more real estate, like Adwords and AMP results. While massive PPC campaigns may not be for everyone, you would be doing yourself and your business a disservice by not mixing in some ads to your internet marketing strategy

To learn more about how to implement all of these tips and tricks from our Charlotte SEO company, please get in touch with us to talk about taking your SEO to the next level today!

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