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How to Boost Your SEO Rankings in 2017

Webfoot SEOOnce again we are going to look ahead at what is to be expected in different aspects of the industry throughout 2017. In this instance, it is SEO and as this is something that is constantly changing, then it is difficult for this to be accurate. You need to remember that the likes of Google hold this in their hands with them likely to go ahead and change things on pretty much a whim, so do note that just because points are mentioned here does not mean that they are going to happen or be as effective as anticipated at this moment in time.

1. Optimizing Keywords.

To many, this may sound basic and you could also wonder why exactly it is being mentioned as if it is something new. However, it is now the case that people are being more precise in what they are searching for and that has led to some developments that you really do need to take advantage of.

Instead of people just searching using the most simplest of terms, they are now getting more exact and complicated. We are not talking about those long winded search terms or keywords that were all the rage a few years ago, but by carrying out these exact searches it is fair to say that they want to then see exact answers.

For you, this means making sure that you understand the intent of their search and to then be able to deliver that content or product. Just throwing in keywords that you think will work is no longer going to be enough.

2. Structured Data Markups.

The emergence of rich answers on Google is something that has apparently doubled in usage in the last couple of years and this is a trend that is set to continue.

However, the main thing for you to be concerned about is the use of structured data markups in your website as part of your approach to SEO. This is going to lead to an increase in the possibility of your website or link being thrown up as a rich answer or an enhanced SERP listing and this is known to vastly increase the clicks that you then get.

If you fail to include this kind of data, then there is every chance that you will then be missing out on some rather important exposure for your brand.

3. Mobile SEO Becomes Mandatory.

SEO for mobile usage is certainly something that has been around for a few years, but the big change over the next 12 months is that it is going to end up becoming mandatory for you to include it in your SEO tactics. Basically, if you do not include it then you are not going to show up in those results and when you consider that mobile usage has now surpassed desktop usage when it comes to the Internet, then you are missing out on a huge market.

Also, Google continues to put more of an emphasis on mobile SEO and they are tailoring their results to really suit those individuals that are using their mobile phones. If you are not included, then it is only you that will suffer.

4. SEO and Voice Search.

Voice search is something that has really come a long way as technology has improved and the percentage of errors has dropped to below 10% for the first time. This means that we can expect the number of individuals using voice search to increase yet again over the next 12 months.

From an SEO point of view, it does mean that there has to be a sense of clarity over what is included in your keywords to then allow this technology to be able to find you rather than the individual themselves coming across your link. Drop the idea of your SEO having to be purely fixated on text related searches and instead make sure that you begin to incorporate this new format in your plans.

5. Increased Connectivity.

The fifth and final point is more of an observation, but it is still something that is going to play an integral role in SEO over the next year.

There is no doubt that there is a greater sense of connectivity between brands and those individuals that visit their website and that is something that is going to only grow closer and become even more important. However, it is also the case that you need to consider cross-channel marketing as part of your SEO approach so that these connections are made stronger.

There must be the same ideas and approaches used across the board meaning websites, blogs, social media and anything else connected to the brand. This will lead to it becoming easier for individuals to find that you exist in the first place.

Overall, SEO is going to change in accordance with shifts in technology and the greater understanding that individuals have regarding what it is that they are looking for. You cannot be left behind and throughout the course of the year it is important that you stay alert to any additional changes so you do not miss out.

The Future of E-Commerce Websites Over the Next 12 Months

Continuing the idea of what the next 12 months is going to entail for web design and
different aspects of Internet marketing, we are going to look at the kind of future that is predicted for e-commerce websites throughout 2017. This is clearly something that will be of interest to a number of people and we are not just talking about those that are looking at taking the leap into the e-commerce world. Instead, we are also thinking about those currently in the industry and who may wish to take advantage of the changes that are coming.

1. The Use of Chat Bots.

This is something that is really starting to appear and it is predicted that the use of chat bots is going to gain real momentum over the next 12 months. Basically, this means that a bot pops up on the screen and it becomes almost like a personal shopper for the visitor.

By interacting with the bot, it means that the customer is going to be in a better position to find the things that they are looking for and overall it will be making the entire shopping experience a bit more pleasant.

2. An Increase in Live Support.

This is different to the chat bot mentioned above as we are talking about an actual customer service representative rather than a bot. However, the idea is still the same in that the visitor is able to interact with someone from the website. This means they can deal with issues, orders, a whole host of things and that is why more websites are including software such as ZenDesk to make the entire process that bit easier.

This is something that can be easily implemented into your website and it is certainly one thing that you should give some serious consideration to. It has been shown in research that the average sale does increase as a direct result of this live support so the benefits of it do really outweigh the potential costs to you especially as it increases customer satisfaction.

3. Yet Another Increase in Mobile Usage.

Even though you will clearly be aware of the fact that mobile usage is always on the increase, it is known that there will be a huge push for it in 2017 with e-commerce. It is believed that the average person now goes to their smartphone more than 150 times a day and yet it is also understood that as little as 14% of e-commerce retailers are actually taking advantage of this.

With mobile usage, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of websites that allow forms to be filled in automatically or the use of mobile money wallets. These should be incorporated into your e-commerce website as early as possible as the push is really towards helping individuals to have a better all-round experience when it comes to shopping online via their smartphones.

4. Using a Prime Like Experience.

There is no doubt that Amazon really changed the game of shopping online when they introduced their Prime package. The fact that people get faster deliver and better customer service in general has led to a huge number of people signing up each month just to get these rewards.

However, the rest of the online world has been slightly slow in catching up with this and that is one area that is going to change in the forthcoming 12 months.

Expect websites to be looking at ways to speed up delivery times and also the returns procedure to be made a lot easier. This is especially true for apparel websites where the number of returns remains predictably high due to the fact that people need to try on the clothing before they know if they like it. If people are then of the opinion that returning items is easy, then they are more likely to complete purchases in the first place.

5. The Impact of Social Selling.

You know that social media has a huge impact on marketing and advertising, but there is going to be a real push towards social selling in 2017.

This is where websites are going to really link up with the likes of their Instagram page but where people are taken from the images they post directly to the items so they can buy them. Now, you might be sitting thinking that this has already been done, but so many companies have been lagging behind and just hope that people go from a profile to their website. This is what is changing and there are several services out there that will help such as Curalate and Soldsie.

The thing that you have to remember with e-commerce is that this is something that is worth a huge amount of money. The entire time there is a need to keep trying to simplify the sales process and making life so much easier for your visitors. Anything that can improve their shopping experience really should be welcomed with open arms throughout 2017.

The Direction of Internet Marketing in 2017

Webfoot Digital MarketingMarketing online is something that is going to change on a regular basis and the methods that are employed at this moment in time may not be in vogue even six months later. However, even though this in itself is rather annoying and makes life difficult, there is no doubt that it does mean that you have to be kept on your toes and aware of what is going on.

So, if we can then look into the future even just slightly and see what is likely to be in store for 2017, we may then be able to give you some kind of advantage over those that are indeed left lagging behind.

1. Video is Growing Stronger.

If you have not so far used video when it comes to your Internet marketing, then it is about time that it changes.

People simply love video and you do not even have to go ahead and make it as spectacular as you think. Instead, our advice is to keep things short as attention spans are generally not that good and always make sure that you get your point across as succinctly as possible. Video marketing campaigns get amazing returns so not taking advantage of this is really going to be an absolute sin.

2. Consider Business Storytelling.

If you were of the opinion that business storytelling was just another way of saying that you have an ‘About Us’ page, then think again. Instead, this approach to marketing is all about trying to really connect with your potential customer by telling them the story about your business and what you do.

With this, you need to really put across the human voice of who you are and stop just trying to sell yourself at every single opportunity. That is just not going to hold water any longer so instead you have to be honest about your aims, company, and anything else that inspires you. Giving this other side to you and what you are about makes it easier for customers to then connect and it has been shown that they are more loyal to those kinds of brands and names than those that they just stumble across.

3. Never Forget the Apps.

We all know that apps are popular and they have been playing a role in marketing for some time. However, with more and more focus being put on mobile usage in general, it makes sense that there has to be some focus on apps as well.

Here is the thing. Google has started to index apps and that does also mean that having your own app for the sake of your business is going to become even more important than ever before. People are used to using them and it is going to be worth your while spending the time and money to develop your own app related to your brand or business as part of your marketing strategy.

4. Think About Virtual Reality.

Now, at this moment in time it is impossible to predict what is going to happen with virtual reality headsets and technology in general. It was initially believed that it could be one of those passing trends, but then Pokemon Go did seem to manage to change the impression that people had of the technology.

This is now believed to be an area that could be developed by people interested in Internet marketing. With this, it is going to be absolutely possible for you to market your services or products in an alternative dimension thanks to virtual reality. It does sound a bit out there and as if it is science fiction, but it is actually science fact.

5. Remember the Internet of Things.

Finally, you will notice that there is a real shift in targeting the Internet of things in the next year. The main focus will be on smartwatches as they have certainly had quite a good impact since they were released. This will allow you as marketers to consider different campaigns aimed at those smartwatches as it is another possible way of accessing your customers even when they are on the move.

It is believed that by accessing this entire Internet of Things that companies will be able to effectively tailor marketing messages to their direct market and potential customers. This is encouraging to say the least although it still has to be determined as to how this entire process is going to actually work.

Basically, what we are saying here is that 2017 is going to see Internet Marketing spreading into various new areas or at least those areas where there is a substantial possibility for growth. However, as we said at the outset, there is no way of guaranteeing that the things we have mentioned are going to really take hold in the way that they are expected to. It may be annoying for some, but it is just a prime example of how you need to be alert to all possibilities with your marketing online.

Looking Forward to 2017 with Web Design Trends

2017-design-trendsIt can always be useful to look ahead in order to try to determine what the forthcoming web design trends are going to be in 2017. By doing this, it just provides you with a better sense of the kind of things that you may wish to include in your design, or even the things that your designer is going to end up recommending. Now, we are not saying that you should try to squeeze in as many different things as possible, but you should at least take some points into consideration.

1. Designed in Reverse.

It used to be the case that websites were designed with desktops or laptops in mind, but that is something that is changing. As it is now fair to say, and the statistics back this up, that mobile phones and tablets are the primary technology used to access the Internet, this is not what is happening.

In 2017, it is not just there being more of an emphasis on these devices, but rather the twist is that they are becoming the primary source of the design. In other words, websites are now going to tend to be designed for the mobile user and then the design is effectively scaled up so that it works on those devices with a bigger screen.

2. Avoiding the Use of Stock Images.

This could be a big change, but it seems that people have grown tired of seeing those stock images of people around the business table and anything else that is clearly just a stock image that has been bought and put onto a website. It is believed that this is now starting to put people off and they are no longer paying the kind of attention that they should have been and this is clearly bad for the site.

In 2017, there will be more of a focus on originality which means original images are being used in a design that are far more related to the company and brand itself rather than what they could just buy off the shelf, so to speak. This is regarded as making the website, and the company, far more authentic.

3. Big and Bold Typography.

Typography is something that is always changing when it comes to what is in vogue at any given time and 2017 is going to be no exception. For this, you can expect to see more use of type that is very large and playing a strong role on the screen. For some, the type is going to completely dominate a section of the page.

However, you can also expect this to be incorporated into more artistic fonts that correlate to what the website is all about and the overall feel that the company is trying to create. The main thing is that there is no need to be afraid of the size of the fonts being used and indeed you should be starting to really come across more websites like this shortly.

4. An Increase in Animation.

We mentioned earlier how there is a move away from stock images to more unique photography and at the same time we can also expect an increase in the number of animations that are generally going to be used on websites. Also, the way in which they are going to be used will differ.

The latest moves will often include animation being used for basically entertainment purposes as content loads. They can also be used to highlight key sections of websites and help to draw the eye of the individual to them. They may also be incorporated to help encourage some kind of interaction with the visitor.

5. A Better Use of Video.

Video has been used for a number of years, but it is predicted that as much as 78% of all Internet traffic is ultimately going to be video related by 2018. This means that websites are starting to move more towards using video than ever before and this is a trend that is going to continue in 2017.

Video can take the form of large background images or, alternatively, to highlight key points on different sections of the website. However, there also has to be the need to take into account that some video can be heavy, so at the same time it cannot be overused as it may slow down the loading time for some people.

There are of course a number of other changes that are going to occur with web design over the forthcoming 12 months. However, this has just given you some kind of an indication as to what you may expect to happen or, at the very least, the things that you should take into account for the development of your own website. There is no absolute need for you to go ahead and actually use them, but considering how it will give your site a fresh and modern look, then you can understand why it may very well be a good idea.

Using Icons to Boost the Experience for the Visitor

wf-iconsWhen it comes to the design of your website then clearly you want to make sure that each and every visitor has a positive experience from the moment that they land there. Now, there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved and we have previously looked at various important points that do indeed make a difference. However, there is one area that we have not looked at as of yet and it is something that is often overlooked. That something is the use of icons because, when used correctly, they can indeed boost the experience that your visitor has on your website.

What are Icons?

First, a little explanation as to what we mean when we say icons when connected to a website.

If you look at a site and you see the Twitter symbol or Facebook symbol, then you are looking at an icon. You know instantly what they refer to and you also know what will then happen if you click on those icons, you will be taken to the relevant social media page.

However, icons are also used in other ways and you will recognize a number of them such as a telephone icon to refer to a contact number. Alternatively, people will often have an icon to represent an email address, or an actual physical address.

In other words, icons are small symbols that represent a link to either another page or a particular interaction or action.

The Benefits of Icons.

There are a number of rather useful benefits for icons.

First, they are very efficient at what they do. They are very good at telling people what to expect by using just one single graphic rather than you spelling it out for your visitors in words. It makes the page appear less cluttered, unless you overdo the use of icons, and it becomes very easy for things to just stand out from the crowd which can always be beneficial to you.

Also, icons can allow you to move people around the page as you want them to, but that all comes down to their placement rather than anything else. As they have a tendency to stand out from the page, it means that you can effectively force the eyes of the visitor to move around the page as you see fit.

Think of it this way.

Imagine if you are trying to sell something or promote your services or products on a page. Next, you will want people to take some kind of action whether it be to buy something or to contact you. Now, if they have to search for the way in which they do this, then they will be put off and will simply feel that they cannot be bothered. However, use the appropriate icon and it has been shown that people are more likely to then take the action that you want them to.

There is only one problem.

The problem is that you need to make sure that you not only do not use them too much, but also that people are aware of what the icons are representing. This is not a problem when you are dealing with an icon for the likes of Twitter or Facebook as those signs are global, but there is more to it than that.

What we recommend is that you only use icons that are accepted and understood in a global sense. No other icons should really be used or else you are gambling on people being willing to click on something that they do not understand.

The entire idea of icons is that they are supposed to make it easier for visitors to move around your website and navigate between links or pages. If you confuse them by using symbols that they are unaware of then you are more likely to chase them away rather than helping them. Striking this balance is important and that is where spending time talking to your web designer is going to prove to be rather useful. They can guide you as to the perfect placement, the best icons to use, and show how they cut down on unnecessary wordage that just makes the entire website appear to be messy. This in itself is important due to the fact that a clean cut website is always far more effective at getting your point across.

So, as you can see, when they are used in their correct manner then icons will indeed make navigating around your website and links a whole lot easier for your visitors. Also, they can be relatively unobtrusive which is always a bonus because having them getting in the way of carrying out various interactions would only serve to drive people crazy. Striking the balance between being useful and being annoying is certainly something that you need to resolve when you sit down and talk about this matter with your web designer.

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