SEO can be a bit of a mine field and it is changing all the time.  If you want to improve your ranking, click through rates and conversions, here are 3 things you absolutely need to put in place right now to get your SEO in 2017 right.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

In the last few years, everything that Google has been doing has very much focused on the mobile user.  As mobile searches over take desk top searched this is obviously the best path for Google to take but have you considered your mobile users?  Have you been implementing anything on your mobile site to help your users have a better experience therefore helping your search engine ranking on a mobile device?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages  and it is something that you can implement right now. Google announced it in October 2015 and it is all about speeding up your mobile users experience.  Think about it, when you are using a mobile device to read an article or view a piece of content.  Isn’t it annoying when it takes ages to load?  How many times have you shut down a mobile page because of the delay in loading the content?

“The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.” AMP project Website

If you are using WordPress there is a very easy AMP plugin you can use – there is a full list of resources here https://www.ampproject.org/learn/who/ 

Pop-ups

Consider how you are using pop-ups.  Google announced mid last year that they will be penalising sites that are using pop-ups on mobile devices.  This is again is due to user experience.  I have never met anyone that likes pop ups on a mobile device.  They published an update on 10th Jan that said

Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high – Google Webmaster Central Blog

You can read the full announcement on their blog and there are examples of the types of pop to avoid.  My recommendation would be to avoid ALL types of mobile pop-ups not just because of the SEO impact but also think of your users. Read the full article here 

Structured Data Mark-Up

This is not a new thing but for some reason not all web companies implement it.  If you do not have it do not go shouting at your web team.  I live in a world where you should not make assumptions.  Was it requested in the initial brief? If not, it may not be completed as standard but it definitely something you should be requesting now.

So what is structured data markup?

It is a way to help the search engines display your website content in an even more engaging and visual format. Search engines use structured data to generate rich snippets or rich listings, which are small pieces of information that will then appear in search results.

Rich listings will be visible on both desk top and mobile searched but they are most evident on mobile search results.  In Googles own blog article where they introduced rich cards last year they show the evolution of listings from standard results to rich listings to rich cards.

structured data mark up - rich cards evolution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a desk top listings that use structured data can look like these – note the product information, reviews and event listings.

rich snippet

 

event listings

 

 

 

 

Why use structured data?

Structured data allows searchers to discover more about your business or products/services which will help increase your click through rate.  Just because you have a good listing does not mean that users will click on your listing.  Use structured data mark-up to help searcher and get a higher click through rate. If you provide enough information in your listings it should also help increase your conversion rates as visitors to the site will be better qualified / hotter leads when they land on your site.

How to implement structured data?

There are a few ways to implement structured data but first test your site.  It is best to test a product, event or blog landing page as they are the pages that need the most structured data.

To implement, it is best to speak with your web team first. If you are using WordPress there are a range of plugins you could be using or if you are short in funds, head on over to your Google search console account and try the data highlighter tool (click here for a video that will explain how it works)

So there you have it, three things you can implement this week.  SEO is all about your users. Create a user friendly website with a structure and content that focuses on your customers’ needs. Once you get that correct you can then make the few tweaks needed for SEO. 

Bonus

SEO checklist – for those of you really interested in SEO you may find this SEO checklist useful.