To be one of the highest quality client SEO service providers and stay ahead of competition means constantly staying on top of the latest trends and research. Top search engine industry research and news leaders have been releasing their 2017 revised guides to SEO. A large number of SEO consultants are always years behind in their knowledge, and leaving their clients behind, unable to achieve the best results possible. It is a good consultant’s responsibility to keep up to date on the latest updates from Google, managing your online presence for the best search engine visibility. As a business owner, you should be focusing on what you do best, running your business, however it is important to know where your marketing budget should be going and what is most important for your SEO to focus on.
To ensure you don’t get left behind in 2017 and beyond you should at least vaguely be aware of new online trends, which can help you determine if your SEO provider is an industry expert, one knowledgeable in the latest techniques to ensure you gain the most from SEO for your business, and get the best value from what you invest in online marketing services.
SEO’s future lies in the mobile web with local search. The future is mobile search!
Rapid Growth in Mobile Search
For local shops and e-commerce giants, the growth in mobile search can’t be denied. Digiday.com shared expert predictions indicating that by 2020, mobile commerce will account for nearly half of all e-commerce sales. Google reports that mobile searches now outpace desktop ones. Additionally, smartphones and tablets account for half of all web traffic.
Consumers aren’t just using their mobile devices to make online purchases. Shoppers are also using their smartphones to find local retailers while on the go.
Online searches result in 1.5 billion visits to physical destinations each month. According to Think with Google, “When people want to know, do, or buy, they turn to their smartphones.”
Whether your shop is bricks and mortar or bits and bytes, mobile search engine optimization is a necessity.
Google Signals the Importance of Mobile
Always looking for new ways to serve consumer search needs, Google responded to this mobile trend by pushing for websites to be mobile-search friendly. In the past several months, this push for mobile usability has intensified.
In July 2016, a Think with Google article stated, “There’s no doubt about it: Shoppers expect brands to deliver, fast, frictionless mobile experiences.” On September 20, 2016, Google disclosed that the AMP initiative would complete its global rollout by the end of the year.
This statement made official what SEO industry experts had been buzzing about for months. The future of SEO is mobile. Beyond just being mobile-friendly, Accelerated Mobile Pages are designed to be mobile-best. According to Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land, AMP pages have a typical load time of less than one second. If your website still uses Adobe Flash, not only is your SEO in serious trouble for normal desktop users, your mobile visitors won’t even be able to view your website properly, and your Google rankings are doomed to fail. You must address that problem immediately.
Google’s search engine results will soon inform all users which sites are mobile-friendly and which are mobile-AMP’d.
How to Prepare for SEO’s Future
Expert web developers and SEO professionals have been furiously working to meet the needs of consumers and the demands of Google with new levels of mobile responsiveness. This collective effort has resulted in a number of best practices that you can employ to prepare your website to be at its best.
And, with the new year shopping season well underway, there’s no time to waste.
Mobile users have a need for speed.
A slow page load speed has a negative effect on user experience. A study by LoadStorm in 2014 indicates that if your mobile website takes more than 5 seconds to load, 74% of searchers will abandon it. Further, every second of improved load speed has the potential to increase an e-commerce site’s conversion rate by 2%. Negative user experiences trigger lowered search engine rankings.
So, for rankings and revenue—speed matters. Page speeds can be improved by reducing the number and size of images on your websites. Additionally, you can improve server response times, change browser cache settings and minify code to improve load times. A good website designer understands this and should have performed these tasks, but many don’t and only focus on the design and function, or have only a basic understanding of search engine optimisation. We fix a lot of bad websites. If you require help with this, feel free to ask us.
Make Your Visuals for Mobile
On a traditional website, information was displayed as a static page. Users would move from one page to the next to view content.
But Mobile devices are designed for swipe and scroll. Going back and forth using back arrows or site maps are inconvenient for mobile users. So, for a better mobile experience, think about how mobile users interact with their devices. Incorporate visuals and interactions that make the most of the smartphone features.
Pop-ups are Out!
When a pop-up display appears on a desktop computer screen, it usually doesn’t cover all of the content. On a smaller device, your pop-up is all your prospective customer sees. “Don’t annoy your customers” seems like a simple concept, yet many websites do. Consumers aren’t going to stay on your website if they can’t see your website or have trouble finding the information they came to see. And really, the only people who love pop-ups are the people who make pop-ups.
More importantly, Google’s search engine ranking algorithm doesn’t like pop-ups or any other interstitials. Your website is ranked based on whether consumers will find useful information there. For Google, and most consumers, pop-ups are a bait and switch. Your page’s snippet says they’ll get information, but the experience upon arrival disappoints.
If your website uses ads that interfere with a pleasant user experience, your SEO rankings will suffer. So get rid of the pop-ups, and flying banners or any advertisements that cover the content users came to your site to view.
Tell ‘em What They’ll Get
Before a customer ever reaches your website through a search, they first have to decide to click. Just being on the first page of a search engine’s results won’t earn you a click through. Your website’s appearance on a search engine results page (SERP) such as Google needs to demonstrate that your website has something to offer. Your listing should stand out compared with the rest of the 10 or so listings on the page, and all the ads. Even if you are ranking highly, a large majority of people will not click your site, or may read the text for your listing and decide it’s probably not going to help them, even if it could. That is a potential customer wasted.
You want to increase the chances your listing will be clicked. When people search on Google, keep in mind they are looking for certain information, trying to solve a problem, and your product or service could be the one to solve that problem, and your site needs to convey how it can solve their issue, or teach them more about why they you’re your services, and the benefits you offer. Even if your page is about their issue, if might not specifically mention the information they want to know, or it may be too hard to find, and they click away. Help solve their problem immediately or they will usually click back straight away, if they even click through at all. So optimising exactly what gets shown to them on a Google search page (before they even get to your webpage) is your opportunity to grab their attention. You have fractions of a second to grab their attention. Draw them in to show your website has something they are interested in, and that your site is the best one to do it. You can also stand out and show your worthiness by adding snippets to your web pages.
The main snippet is the meta description, these snippets are short phrases that appear under your webpage’s URL or title on the search engine results page. Don’t jam your keywords in here (many people think that’s how SEO works, in fact Google completely ignores these when they rank sites), this content is for consumers, not search engines. So use the space to include information not already found in the webpage’s title. Make the person want to click through to your content.
There are also opportunities to add attention grabbing features to your SERP listing, such as gold star review ratings etc, for products and services you may have for sale. These stand out and help draw the eye in, making your site more likely to be clicked on.
Make sure your SERP listing highlights key words or phrases that tell consumers why clicking through to your website will be in their best interest. Use your meta description as a benefits statement or a call to action.
It’s Time to Mobilize
As of December 2015, over 3 billion people worldwide used smartphones. Google tells us that during the 2016 holiday season retailers should be prepared to be ready when shoppers are. Shoppers will be looking for product demonstration videos, reviews, and gift ideas—all online and on the go.
For local merchants, up to 30% of shoppers will actually be using a mobile device to get more information while inside the store! The last thing you want is to have a customer ready to buy but unable to properly use your website (or it not showing in Google at the top of the results due to Google deeming it not mobile friendly). Not being 100% mobile friendly and mobile optimised is leaving money on the table. Is your website ready for this?
Starting now, your site needs to be optimized for every user wherever their location and whatever their device, on all kinds of computer monitor resolutions, and especially for smaller mobile and tablet users. Not only does Google officially say you will rank better if your site is mobile optimised, but your users are much more likely to buy. Accelerated Mobile Pages are here now, and if you’re not taking advantage you are missing out and doing your potential customers a disservice. If you are ready to prepare for your business’s future, Control Alt Elite is here to help. Get in touch and we’ll help you prepare a plan to make sure your website is ready to roll, and ready to scroll with mobile users.