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focus for the new yearIf you’re like a lot of business owners, you might regard the holidays as a chance to actually get a few days off. I have to admit, I feel that way myself. Though, actually, I more feel like it’s a few days where customers aren’t calling that I can have some time to reflect on my own projects, company growth, and company direction for the next year.

What should you be thinking about this year?

Your Website Subject/Topical Construction

How long ago did you actually build your site? Was it built by a company that’s familiar with SEO? How is it ranking overall? Those are all sort of big questions. We have seen more than our share of beautiful sites that couldn’t rank for ice cube sales in the middle of a desert. All too often, that’s a case where your web designer/web developer is thinking more about the aesthetics of your website than they are the functionality and how the search engines will see it. To be completely fair, Google will tell you that customer experience is and should be the first priority and everything else will fall into place. That’s sort of a reasonable statement to a point. There are a lot of finer points of construction though that can induce Google to give the same content better rankings depending on site structure, keywords chosen, word densities and more. I’ve seen some really awesome content before that Google will never, ever show in a usable, search result kind of way. Because it’s not really as good as I think? No, because it’s on a site that will never ever see the light of day. The site doesn’t have enough supporting content, it’s on the wrong KIND of site or any number of other things.

The one best thing you can do when you have a new website is to make sure you either get someone that DOES SEO or at least can consult WITH your SEO person in the building stage. If you only have a 5-10 page site, it probably won’t be a huge thing for your search guru to go back and straighten things out, but when you start getting into larger sites with multiple categories / silos, you really need to start off with a good base. If you don’t, you’ll have a quagmire in a few months.

Mobile-Friendly

If you’ve done a search on your smartphone lately, you may have noticed in Google results the small phrase “mobile-friendly.” This does not appear on computer searches on your desktop at this point.

This angle does go rather hand in hand with the website construction above, but is more of the technical aspect and presentation. The presentation layer of your website is playing more and more a part in your rankings. I don’t claim to have the inside track with Google, but if they’re monitoring it, then it’s either currently playing a part in your rankings or is about to be playing a part. I didn’t test it exhaustively, but for the 3 searches I did to test this out, about half the 1st page sites said “mobile-friendly” next to their listing. Did they get a boost because of being mobile-friendly? Hard to say. On the terms that I know pretty well, I haven’t seen any type of massive change. Perhaps some subtle boosts.

Then again, there’s another option specifically for small format devices – a mobile website period. We tested some mobile website builders out as a control thing to see how they performed. If you haven’t tried something, then how can you ever be qualified to judge it? I personally was not fond of the stripped down information on the builders that we tried. Did they perform any better? We tested for a couple months with one package and a mobile website. We experienced good traffic but it would be difficult to say that it actually had anything to do with the separate mobile website implementation. Our rankings did not improve

We’re still fans of responsive themes themselves. IF your website is in need of a makeover, make sure you DO go with a responsive theme/construction. They look better overall – even if you DO end up using a “mobile website”, your site will look much better at all resolutions with some responsive elements in there. Since we like WordPress, when you are using that CMS, we know you can easily find a responsive theme including free ones. Just do it. Trust us.

Decide Which Terms You Want to Target This Year

If you need to put money in your pocket as a small business, you need to figure out where your money is going to come from. Which customers? Which products? Which services?

Maybe you have a dozen services. Some of those have a nice profit margin and others don’t. Perhaps some of those that don’t have the awesome profit margin though DO manage to generate a lot of money for you through sheer volume. You don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but you surely can start putting more effort into promoting those services that DO make a higher profit margin for you. As the higher profit margin items start ramping up, you very possibly can start being more selective about your service offerings.

Technically, how do you go about it? From an SEO point of view, you start focusing on identified terms that correspond to those higher profit margins. Simple as that. From your website and social media to any other advertising that you’re doing, start pushing on those stronger services. Find out the terms that are associated with those services. Ask your SEO people to do an analysis of the keywords or terms that correspond to higher profit items.

Get Started Now

Nothing earth-shattering here, just good ideas to get a grip on direction for the new year.  If you’re already working on a direction or plan, maybe add these on your list of things to think about. If not, use them as a starting point.  Wandering aimlessly through the world of internet marketing just wastes time and money. And if you’re a small business owner, you are probably already wishing you had more of both!

Here’s to a great 2015 for everyone!