RHEN: What’s up Fish Fans! This is Marcus, I’m Rhen, and you are watching Marketing Madness. The Blue Fish weekly vlog; each week our aim is to bring you guys pure marketing value. During our week to week here at Blue Fish, we find that our clients have questions, or don't understand certain things in the marketing and advertising space. So we do our best to address these common questions here. 

MARCUS: Yep and this week we are addressing search engine optimization, informally known in the industry as S-E-O. SEO is one of those spaces that can get a bit confusing, especially for anyone that isn't in this industry. 

RHEN: Not to mention Google and other search engines seem to be updating their algorithms weekly to keep us on our toes.

MARCUS: So today we will explain what SEO is for those of you who are not familiar, and then really dive into what is working for us in 2017, so far. To keep this week's video from being 97 hours long, we will not be explaining things that an intermediate marketer should already be familiar with. 

RHEN: I am super excited about this one. SEO is my favorite area of discussion, mainly because so many tactics are debatable and there is no definitive guide to SEO strategies. So fasten your seat belts, this is going to be a good one! 

MARCUS: So let’s start out with an explanation of what SEO is just to build a base for this topic. 

!!MARCUS EXPLAINS SEO!!

So now that we know you have a clear understanding of what SEO is… Let’s dive into some tactics that we have proven relevant in 2017.

RHEN: if you've been watching us for a while, you've heard us talk about influencer marketing already. However, did you know that it can be extremely valuable in your SEO game as well? Influencer marketing exploded in 2016 and will become even more popular in 2017. Why? Because Google crushed shady SEO tactics using Penguin, which is running in real time.
In top of that, influencer marketing is effective SEO. It is the easiest way to get backlinks, traffic, and exposure naturally, without any risk to be penalized by Google.
 
MARCUS: Next up, content marketing. Outside of social media, so few people do it correctly on a small business or local level. Every piece of content you create should have a plan and a purpose behind it. For example, it could be an article for your target keyword you want to rank, or a long tail variation of your main keyword which supports your top content. Your content MUST be engaging or your visitors will bounce! User experience is an extremely important ranking factor that is heavily weighted by Google, and the other search engines. The average time people spend on your content and your bounce rate numbers must be better than your competitors, or they will out rank you. 
 
RHEN: Playing off of Marcus’ points, here are some tips on how to create engaging content: 

Include images and videos in your content. Make sure to SEO your images and videos included in your post. (Blue Fish has a great article published on our blog written by yours truly on how to do this if you are unfamiliar with the process.)

Always include outbound links in your publications, and make sure they open in a new window. 

Lastly, create content that provides value. Try to solve a problem for someone. 
 
RHEN: Mobile responsiveness is more important today than ever! 67% of website visits are via mobile devices, yet according to google, 22% of sites are not designed to be responsive. The majority of these sites are local service providers or mom and pop type entities. 

On top of design, your website's speed is a huge factor that matters! Ensure you have a quality hosting provider and, if at all possible, do not purchase shared hosting. This will slow down your website and hurt your overall SEO score.
 
MARCUS: About 2 years ago I wrote a blog post on Expression Engine. This is one of the content management systems we use to build out websites for our clients. I did a deep dive into the functionality of this system and really drilled into the nuts and bolts. Expression Engine is for serious web developers and has an extremely high bar of entry. That made this an extremely niche topic to write about. As I was writing this blog post, I knew I would get some traffic, but I assumed it wouldn't be much since this was such a small niche.

This post was published almost two years ago, and yet it is our most visited blog post to-date. Why? The more specific your content, the smaller the target audience. But they site is hyper engaged, so long as the content is good. You need a ton of very specific content to get good search traffic in Google. With so much content being published on such a regular basis… It is important to really niche down, and you’ll reap the rewards. 
 
RHEN: Creating relevant content around your niche is key to winning at SEO in 2017. The most recent studies show that getting your website higher in search rankings involves factors that are rooted in relevancy, more so than ever before. The pages that contain the most relevant content to each search are appearing higher in the search results. Previously, this could be manipulated a little by title tags, meta phrases, etc… Now the crawl bots are smart enough to read your content and comprehend the points you are trying to get across. 
 
MARCUS: Pay special attention to your on page SEO as it relates to the semantically related keywords around your main keyword. Google rolled out Humming bird a few years ago, they started taking related keywords into account for rankings for key terms. If you want to rank well for “brown shoes”, talking about other types of shoes in your content will help your rank. This tactic is called optimizing for your TF-IDF scores.While it is not a new tactic, it has become much more effective and necessary in recent years. 
 
RHEN: Winning at SEO is all about knowing what tools to use in the correct situations. Whether you're conducting keyword research, launching a content marketing campaign, or trying to track your ROI, you need to know which tools will give you easy, intuitive, and accurate insights.
 
MARCUS: In 2017 voice and mobile continue to dominate how and where users decide to spend their time and money. Optimizing for semantic language and understanding how content of keywords will be crucial. Look, 60+% of searches are via mobile devices, don't you think you should allocate at I least 60% of your efforts here? We do…
 
RHEN: Accelerated Mobile Pages, AMP for short, have rolled out recently with Google. Google loves to see speed in a website, and so should you. There are some restrictions with AMP, keep these in mind: Google has to detect the AMP version of your content, therefore you will need to modify the original content version with a canonical tag for AMP pages.
 
RHEN: Schema mark-up is a requirement for your content to have the opportunity to appear in the Google Search news carousel. Implementing Schema is a vital step in the online marketing process, and will continue to be a needed strategy to better communicate with the search engines and increase CTR in 2017.
 
MARCUS: There are a ton more, but that’s all we have time for today! If you have any additional questions, our in-house forensic SEO scientist Rhen would love to hear from you! :)
 
RHEN: Thank you so much for tuning in this week. If you are on Facebook please give us a like, a share, and tag someone that could use this information. If you’re on YouTube, hit that big fat subscribe button to be notified each week when we dish out amazing and valuable content. As always, thanks for the love and we will catch ya next week when we discuss #hashtag hacks, the do’s and don'ts of hashtags, what they are for, and how to use them properly!