User-Centric SEO is the Key to 'Net Success

Enterprises looking to acquire more visitors from popular search engines such as Google and Bing and the natural search results in general would be wise to just avoid the many well-known black-hat techniques, as well as focus their energy (and creativity) on those methods that time and again have been shown to contribute, in a positive manner, to a greater amount of organic/natural traffic delivered to websites from the search engines. 

What's the secret of the most successful brands today? You guessed it - they focus on the user - and you should too. Whether you're new to the SEO game, or are an experienced search marketer with years of successes and failures, consider the following as you charge head first into 2017 - your users will thank you, and the search engines will reward you. 

Develop Engaging Experiences for Users

It's not enough to just write a long-form article or produce a creative and compelling video; today's most successful search marketers are looking for opportunities to engage their users with the experience they put forth. Interactive quizzes, for example, might enable users to test their knowledge, while a calculator (like a mortgage rate calculator or a 401K retirement savings calculator) will ensure they return. The ultimate objective for SEOs in 2017 is to create experiences that not only resonate with users, but also ones that truly engage them.

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Understand the Language of Users

There once was a time when all that SEO professionals cared about were how high the volume of specific search terms they employed were - but not any longer. Those with the best chance at 'Net success with search marketing understand that it is more about the quality of the user that is being attracted with the keywords that were selected rather than the number of users drawn toward a website. What this means is that keyword research very much still matters and selecting terms and phrases which represent the needs of users is going to prove more essential than ever. Take the time to understand what users are looking for and optimize for the longer tail for greater SEO success. 

Design for Users Preferred Format

Look, when it comes to digital design considerations for search engine optimization it is actually pretty simple - develop a lightweight (fast), unobtrusive (no popups) experience that works on any and every device. That means looking good and loading fast on mobile, desktop and tablet and the best way to get there (if you're not already) is to think "mobile first" and ultimately create a responsive Web presence.  

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Establish Relationships to Acquire Users

Link building or citation acquisition has given the practice of SEO a very bad rep. The reason, of course, is because SEOs often pursued quantity over quality and would do whatever was in their means to get more links - even from suspect neighborhoods. Those that have long achieved SEO success understand that while the volume of links does matter, getting citations from Web destinations capable of sending actual users to a Web property on their own are those that are most valuable, and those which should be prioritized over any other. 

The secret to SEO success in 2017 (and beyond) is simple - focus on the user. The rewards (of greater website traffic) will come.