As 2016 quietly wraps up, 2017 looms over us marketers, which means we are reviewing our individual strategies and making plans regarding our new year tactics and budgets. I want to take a closer look at how all of us SEO experts need to enhance ourselves for the new year. Given the theme, we should just go ahead and call these 6 resolutions for the new year as you gear up for your 2017 campaigns:

 

1) Make things better for mobile users:

I start with this first to get it out of the way, since you’re probably tired of being beat over the head with mobile, mobile, mobile being talked about all the time. Still, there’s a reason that happens. Google put out yet another update in 2016 that was mobile-oriented, and I’m sure that Google’s favoritism towards mobile experience is going to keep up in the new year. Take note of the fact that I use the phrase “mobile experience” over mobile functionality. While usability and functionality are good and necessary, mobile users are going to trust and return to online interactions that they find intuitive, convenient, and pleasant. This is very critical if your target audience includes millennials, so a good resolution here is to focus on mobile first and foremost, and let everything else fall into place after.

 

2) Be more thorough in your measurements and analysis:

You already know there are a billion tools out there across the Internet that let you track metrics, crunch numbers, measure everything, analyze it to death, and hopefully have some understanding of how your SEO is working. Most of these tools are cheap or just free, so you have no excuse if you’re not measuring the things you do from end to end. Analytics are the only concrete way to look under the hood and see just how well your efforts are working out for you. Don’t just start tracking more categories of metrics though, as a bigger spreadsheet of data is not always better. Rather, you want to be sure that your analysis and conclusions are the right ones. You should focus on converting solid conclusions into concrete actions you can take, rather than just making partially educated guesses as you go about your business. The information, statistics, and data you have can tell you almost anything you might be curious about, but you need to inquire about the right things and look in the right places.

 

3) Focus more on long-form content:

If you ask me, and if you’re still reading you kind of did, then the reigning king of online marketing is still content marketing. Having said that, competition is increasing and readers are pickier than ever. The rise of fake news has created serious trust issues, and Internet users are tired of repeatedly seeing the same headlines and short-form pieces time and again. A good answer to this is less total pieces of content, but content that is longer and goes into more detail. This does require a higher level of effort put into each piece, but your work will make you stick out from the field. You will gain the trust of more users which eventually result in more conversions.

 

4) Join the rich snippets game:

Microformatting is a very particular structure of content that simplifies things for Google when it swings by to parse your website information. Doing so means that your intelligent content is accessible via Google’s Knowledge Graph and similar SERP displays. Rich snippets and rich answers are happening more often, which makes 2017 the 12 month pool you need to jump into if you didn’t in 2016 or before. Make this commitment.

 

5) Make more videos and make them better:

2016 was a great year for video content, and 2017 will expand on this. Facebook is the most prominent platform to join the ‘live video’ trend, but many others have followed suit too. Mobile consumers want visual content and the appetite is growing. Many businesses are jumping on this bandwagon, so it’s not just enough to put out some video content. You need better videos, charismatic hosts, high production value, creativity, pragmatic and useful information, and most importantly sheer entertainment value.

 

6) Let your customers teach you:

SEO has traditionally been an objective arena with emphasis on numbers and concrete facts and results. 2017 might be the time to dial down the analytical side though and put more focus on the subjective experience of the customer. How he or she interacts with your online brand and site should be measured roughly on a sliding scale, as this can show you who will come back and visit more or who is going to look elsewhere. Loyal visitors mean better rankings, more visits, and higher conversion rates.

 

Each of these proposed 6 resolutions are not actually huge commitments, nor will they blow your budget out of the water. On the other hand they won’t throw your existing foundation of strategy and tactics into total upheaval or disarray either. Rather consider them fine tuning to your thinking process and how you use information in your decisions and operations. Due to this, you have no excuse not to at least try them for a few months.

 

Of course, there is no way I can assure you with 100% certainty that making these changes on their own can make your site rank better in search engines, but I can promise you that following all 6 will make you an improved marketer across the new year.

 

Happy New year!

 

John – Owner, Lamplighter Creatives