Changes in SEO – 2017 Edition

How is SEO Changing in 2017?

While search engine optimization has always been a constantly changing force, it seems that in recent months (since the beginning of 2017), things have been particularly volatile. There have been a number of updates this year alone and webmasters are becoming increasingly confounded with the lack of clarity on Googles part. In this post, we will examine the updates that have happened recently and go into exactly how they are impacting the world of online marketing.

What Updates have had the most Impact?

One of the biggest updates to shake up the SEO world this year is arguably the introduction of “Fred”. This update is part of an irritating trend from Google where they neither confirm nor deny the existence of changes to their algorithm. While the chatter, metrics from SERP watchers, and general consensus among the community all pointed towards a major change, Google vehemently denied anything had happened. This lack of clarity left many webmasters in the dark and, more worryingly, small business owners who did not know why their traffic had disappeared overnight. To find out more about the impact of these updates, we spoke with the lead marketing strategist of an SEO company based in Rochester, NY.

Google has always run updates in the background without announcing it, but the big difference between then and now is the lack of transparency when the really big ones hit. For example, many argue that Fred is the biggest update since Penguin was introduced, and back then Google let everyone know that something was happening. Now there are no answers, and it leaves people with less internet know-how even more in the dark than they already are. It also means that it is left to the people who practice SEO as their tradecraft to test, see what is working, and try to come up with what changed.

— Justin – Apache SEO digital marketing

While the updates may have left people scrambling, many contend that if you stick to the basics and focus on providing users with valuable content, Google will take care of the rest and give you more visibility online. In fact, some of the biggest names in the industry stand firm behind the mantra they preached years ago, which is: content is king in internet marketing.

The Fallout & Impact on a Local Level

While theories, testing, and speculation is well and good for those who call SEO a profession, it is an unfortunate fact that many small business owners also take the brunt of these updates, and are left wondering what is going on. In fact, many of them have taken to “black hat” tactics out of pure frustration, and have been further demoted in the search engines as a result. Fortunately, dedicated experts are working round the clock to find a solution to the ever changing problem of ranking in Google, and are constantly publishing guides that will help those who struggle to rank their business in 2017.

What to do if you are Impacted?

The most important thing to do if you notice your traffic has suddenly dropped off is not to panic. You need to assess the potential damage and make a plan to remediate it based on what you find. The worst thing you could possibly do is a knee-jerk reaction, that could ultimately lead to the problems getting much worse. To start, you will need to check if your site has a penalty. Then, based on those results, come up with a solid game plan to fix it. If you have been penalized and need assistance, we recommend checking out some of the bigger SEO blogs that have information on what to do.

The Importance of Website Design for Internet Marketing

What is the Importance of Website Design for Marketing?

If you are a commercial website owner (that is to say your website exists to generate income), you will be very aware that the way your site is designed will have a direct impact on how many sales your site generates. This is because a well designed web page can direct users to the destination you want with little friction. Conversely, a poorly designed web page will be confusing and result in the user leaving, not completing the purchase or whatever other action you needed them to complete. So how do you design a good web page?

Designing a Webpage that Converts

Designing a web page that converts is not an exact science and can be incredibly frustrating for those who are not experienced. When you design your page, you need to be aware of a few factors that will effect how you word and place content. Below are a few factors to keep in mind.

  • who is your audience?
  • what action do you want them to complete?
  • what is their intent when they land on your page?

We will discuss each of these factors below and provide examples and resources for each.

Who is your audience?

Knowing your audience is crucial for any type of marketing, and running a commercial site is no different. Is your target demographic old, young, from a certain country? What are their other interests aside from your niche? These are all things to be very aware of so you know how best to connect with your readers. For example, this list of Pokemon gift ideas is catering specifically to people who like Pokemon. Its written content mentions quite a few phrases that only fans of the topic would know, making it feel exclusive and most importantly, relatable.

What do you want them to do?

This is important because many marketers will lose focus of the purpose of their page. Do you want them to submit their email and get on your list, or do you want them to click through a link to a product you are recommending? In many instances, people will put too many calls to action on their page, which results in user confusion and no conversions. Having a central call to action that your entire page works towards is crucial to getting conversions and keeping your message simple and straight to the point.

What is their intent when they land on the page?

Knowing your users intent is almost as important as the other two points combined. For example, if someone searches for a review of the Dxracer F Series gaming chair, it is pretty clear that they are looking for more information to either persuade them or dissuade them from purchasing. However, if you are getting people who are looking for a simple answer to a question (for example “how to write good copy“), they may just leave the site once their question is answered.

It comes down to this

Targeting. Targeting the correct audience, from their intent all the way down to connecting with them on a personal level will increase your conversions tenfold, while simultaneously making your site an authority in your space.