There are 3 Big Small Business SEO Trends in 2017 – Structured Data, Mobile-First Indexing and HTTPS. For bigger businesses, AMP comes into play.
3 Big Small Business SEO Trends in 2017
While AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) took the stage in 2016, AMP is now best suited for news organizations, though that may change down the road.
This article focuses on small business SEO trends in 2017, and three things you can do right now to get a solid jump on your competitors in the digital marketplace.
#1 Structured Data
Ever plan a meal and Google a recipe of how long to cook something? See the highlighted first organic (not an ad) listing?
This is an example of a website that has a page with “structured data” markup in the coding.
Google Bot Web “Crawler friendliness” is a major Google on-site ranking factor. It’s especially important for showing up in Google search features like Quick Answers and Rich Cards that rely heavily on website coding.
Structured data markup is used to describe information on your site to the web crawlers indexing your pages. As in the example above, if you ran a food blog with recipes, structured data would describe the things (the recipes) as well as the properties of these recipes (photos, ingredient summaries, cooking times etc.). When indexing websites, Google can only get this rich, searcher-friendly information from your site’s structured data markup.
Without it, Google will simply pull any text it thinks is relevant from your page and display it in that boring little blurb in organic search results known as the “snippit” under your URL listing. If you employ structured data markup, visitors will know right away that your site can give them the information they need – and they will click through accordingly.
So apart from recipes how can structured data help a small business?
Google looks for Structured Data for a variety of uses such as Quick Answers, Rich Card and Rich Snippit Data. And it can be for product reviews, events, services articles, even videos.
So maybe you own a coffee shop and are hosting a special event. Or you are scheduling a training that will teach you how to use a product…take for instance “PhaZZer Training”.
Here is an example of a rich snippit in Google organic search returns.,
See that third listing, where there is a “breakout” date and a second URL listed? That was a search for “Phazzar Training in Florida” and the structured data grabbed everything I needed to know. Who, What , When and Where and the second highlighted URL (Conductive Energy Weapon PhaZZer Training) leads to a ticket page with a map.
Structured Data is a tool that most every small business can utilize in 2017 and get a jump on their competitors.
#2 Mobile-First Indexing
Back in 2015 Google began to produce two sets of search returns. One for desktop and laptops and one for mobile (Pads and smartphones). The goal was to insure the pad and phones saw more search returns that lead to “mobile-friendly websites. They are slowly doing away with that in 2017 as they gradually roll out mobile first indexing.
In plain English, as 2017 progresses, they will be showing only one set of search returns – the mobile returns. Across all devices.
If you have not yet redesigned your website to be “mobile-friendly”, this is Google’s way of pushing you to do the right thing.
The bad news is all those DIY website builders like Go-Daddy, Wix, Web and the rest, don’t allow you to edit code for structured data markup. Get a real website!
Every small business will benefit from having a ‘mobile-friendly” website in 2017.
Back a few years ago, we expected shopping cart checkout, banking sites, and other to be secure. Then Facebook, Google and many others went secure, going from HTTP to HTTPS. In 2016, Google announced that HTTPS was a positive ranking factor (out of about 200 other factors). Simply put, if you and I sold the very same thing in the very same town, with the same information and SEO on each of our sites, but you had a secure site and I didn’t, you’d be ahead of me in the search returns.
But now in 2017 there is a bigger reason to go HTTPS.
Chrome is far and way the leading browser with nearly 60% usage. In the January 2017 update, the newest chrome build flags HTTP sites as “unsafe”. While we all know the safe “lock” icon in the url window tells us we are “secure”, Visit an HTTP site and click on the “i” in the url in chrome to get all the warnings about being on that site.
So you not only get a boost in rankings, but your website visitors will fell more secure about signing up for your newsletter, because right now, chrome is telling them not to enter emails and passwords.
And the white “i” will be changing again soon to a bright red warning icon.
Just go HTTPS.
Every business can benefit from HTTPS in 2017.
A secure mobile-friendly website with structured data coding will increase your Google digital footprint, putting you ahead of your competitors. Utilize these 3 big small business SEO trends in 2017 and put your competition in your rear-view mirror.