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Tips for Planning Your SEO Efforts

9/27 Event Recap

“SEO is not for the faint of heart, it’s a lot of work.” – Janet Driscoll Miller (@janetdmiller)

We saw a great turnout for our September SEO and What You Need to Know: Planning for 2017 event with Marketing Mojo. Here are the key takeaways from the discussion.

Perform an SEO audit.

The #1 search result only has a 32% click-through rate and it only goes downhill from there. If you are one page two, you might as well be invisible. Ranking is even more important following Google’s newly redesigned SERP (search engine results page), which now places more ads above the organic results, Google Answers, etc.

Going into 2017, you should have an SEO audit performed on your site to review:

  •          Tech Issues
  •          Links
  •          Content
  •          Analytics

Here are just some of the ranking factors that Google’s algorithm considers:

  •          Mobile Responsiveness
  •          Content
  •          Site load speed
  •          Inbound/Outbound links

Your site must be mobile responsive.

“Worldwide, more than half of Google’s searches happen on mobile.” (Source: searchengineland.com) Your site should be responsive, to Google’s standards, if you want to even think about being in the top 10 search results.

Tool: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test*

Don’t try to fool Google.

Content Tips (per the "Panda" Update)

  • Avoid duplicate content on your site (and make sure no one is copying your content verbatim without citing you as the source)
  • If duplicate content exists on your site, use canonical tags to credit SEO brownie points to the page whose SEO matters most to you
  • Avoid thin content (ex. not enough content on a page)

Make sure you’re not getting penalized for link spam.

Use the Google Search Console to check that no garbage sites are linking to your site. If there are any, disavow those links within the Console. Luckily, the linkspam-focused “Penguin” update is now real time within the search algorithm, so any remedial actions you take should be noted immediately.

Read: Why You Should Be Using Google Search Console, Part One

Don’t let a slow site load drag you down.

Google counts site speed as a ranking factor. There are a number of factors that affect page load, but one of the most common issues is content managers uploading images that are too large.

Optimize your photos for the web by resizing the image to the appropriate pixel dimensions and compressing .jpgs.

Also, be wary when selecting a content management system (CMS) for your site; some are better than others, for example, you might want to avoid Sitecore CMS.

Tool: Google Page Speed Insights*

* Page-based tools, so you’ll need to test a variety all of your page templates.

Other Take-Aways

The “Possum” update is focused on local searches; now local results don’t have to have a mailing address within city limits to appear in city-based searches. Don’t bother updating G+, but do create a unique Google My Business listing for each of your company locations.

Even if you’re not ready to put together a re-targeting campaign, put the AdWords remarketing code on your site to start establishing your audience.

To better track traffic source/referrals, start tagging your links; Google's custom campaign URL Builder is a great tool. But be very consistent with your tagging nomenclature, down to capitalization.

Finally, try to capture visitor emails via forms on your site to further marketing efforts.