SEO-Search-Engine-Optimization-2017Unknowable, elusive and always changing, search engine optimization can feel like an uphill battle for small business owners. If you’re struggling to boost traffic with SEO, try out these five hot SEO tips for 2017.

Purchase an SSL certificate

Making the move from “http” to “https” is one of the easiest ways to boost your site’s rankings. Back in 2014, Google started using “https” as a ranking signal and as of January this year, Google Chrome now flags “http” sites as unsafe. With an SSL certificate, your connection to your website is encrypted and your data remains secure.

Reinvigorate your content

Every day Google’s algorithms are getting smarter and better equipped to “read” content like a human would. For that reason, your site needs to be as useful, informative, and rich in relevant key words as possible.

Most importantly, you should be aware of latent semantic indexing (LSI), which creates associations between connected words and phrases; if your business sells sports equipment, Google would expect to see associated phrases like “golf clubs”. The more of these associated terms it can identify, the more reliable and relevant your site appears.

Prioritize mobile

In 2016, mobile internet usage exceeded desktop for the first time. In response, Google started trialling its mobile-first index, which looks at the mobile version of your site before the desktop version for ranking signals. That’s why it’s more important than ever to optimize your site for smartphone use.

Start by taking a mobile-friendly test using a tool like WebSite Auditor and go from there.

Scope out (and steal) your competitors’ backlinks

It’s likely that your business has a competitor site that does everything just a little bit better – but instead of sulking about how good their rankings are, get proactive! Use a tool like Moz OpenSite Explorer to pull up a list of sites linking to your competitor. Once you’ve filtered out the spam, start targeting useful sites for links. In 2017, Google is coming down harder than ever on sites using spammy backlinks, so always go for quality over quantity.

Get on the voice search bandwagon

With the popularity of AI assistants like Siri and Alexa on the rise, it’s become increasingly important to hone your content for voice search. One of the best ways to do this is with featured snippets – brief, information-rich boxes that appear at the top of results pages.

To achieve a featured snippet, start with long-tail keyword research, then create content that directly engages with the particular search query. It’ll also need to be easy for Google – and human users – to find on your site. And remember: voice search isn’t going anywhere. At the last count, 41% of US adults were using it daily, so now is not the time to bury your head in the sand!

It’s not always easy to get to grips with SEO, so if you’re seeking assistance, why not take advantage of one of our summer packages? With your SEO Summer Savings Package we are offering one month for free, and a full year of maintenance support including backups and pungin updates –  an $1800 value. At anytime during the course of the contract, you may opt out provided we receive a 30 day cancellation notice.