If you are a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) owner looking to stay abreast of competition, then you should read and execute these suggestions that will help you immensely in improving your brand value and return on investment in 2016.

#1 – Visually Appealing Web Pages Draw in More Customers

Your primary focus will be to make the best first impression through your business website. It is indispensable that you have a website that has easy browsing or navigation options, provides quick access to benefits, reinforces credibility and triggers actions from visitors.

Animations, realistic web designs, large attractive backgrounds and images will be decisive in garnering viewership and popularity for your website. Hence, the latest offering from Google, Material Design has evolved to be one of the most important tools in an etailer’s arsenal. Material Design is equipped with all the tools that assist your website in reaching out to the customers through a definitive brand identity and realistic website design.

#2 – Responsive Web Design Simplifies Customer Experience

With mobile e-commerce becoming increasingly popular, the evolution of web designs to gain customers’ trust is inevitable.

With Google having updated its search engines to rate websites with premium user experience at a higher rank, sites need to focus on transitioning to mobile-friendliness, with targeted content, enhanced loading speed, larger buttons, and longer scrolling.

#3 – Structured Data makes your Website Shine through SEO

A new concept called schema markup has become popular lately, which displays structured data about the business, its location, offerings, costs and a host of other details at a Google search.

This is forecasted to be one of the most exciting SEO marketing trends of 2016. Very few small businesses have adopted it so far. Implementing this tactic would provide a huge potential for higher SEO ranking of your SME website and help you to stay a step ahead of competitors.

#4 – A Secure Business Website Ranks Higher in Google Search

With cyber crimes on the rise, small businesses have been putting in a lot of thought to securing their websites.

Apart from the obvious advantages of website security, a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate for your SME site is useful for establishing authenticity with new site visitors and also for ranking it higher, as part of SEO. This improves your click-through-rates and conversions, providing a better return on investment.

#5 – Improve Search Results with Long-Tail Keywords

With voice searches becoming more popular these days, keywords are forecasted to become less important in Google searches. Verbal queries are more conversational with long-tail keywords. So, business owners need to refine their website data to include long-tail keywords that match user voice searches.

#6 – Video Advertisements are a Refreshing New Trend

Video advertisements have always been an effective social media marketing strategy. Embedding video ads in websites is an innovation which could boost your SEO ranking in the future as marketing pundits clearly forecast that video advertisements would be incorporated into Google SERPs.

So, getting ahead of the competition by integrating social media advertising and video ads into your website will definitely give your business a clear edge.

#7 – Evolve to Apps

We have already reviewed the benefits of going mobile-friendly for SEO. After Google announced its search engine updates to index apps on mobile searches, it has become imperative for small businesses to invest in apps for future growth.

Conclusion

As far as marketing your small business goes, 2016 will see a rise in social interactivity, mobile-friendliness and intelligent targeting of customers. Apart from ensuring that your website changes provide value to your customers and addresses their requirements, it is always advisable for the business owner to stay motivated by finding daily inspiration in simple things!

photo credit: Open Space

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.