2017 SEO Trends | What to Look For…

SEO, SEO, SEO… why won’t this term just go away? Well, friends, it hasn’t gone away because it’s SUPER IMPORTANT (shocker)! Why even have a website if people can’t find it on the internet? Below are some vital tips that are sure to impact your visibility in Google searches.

Rule #1 — GET GOOGLE’S TRUST

Google is the number one search engine on the planet, so getting noticed by them is imperative to getting your website seen by all. The only way to build trust with Google, however, is to build quality sites that have staying power. Bending the rules to get noticed/trusted more quickly rarely works with Google, so the best advice is to continue producing high-quality content with authentic images, the right keywords, and fast navigation (all while completing regular updates).

It may take years of link-consistency for Google to boost your search engine ranking, but this is ALWAYS time well spent.  It is imperative to not only consider the indexed age of your site, but also to focus on relevant, consistent updates to your site. Google’s algorithms are always logging, analyzing, and judging behaviors related to your site, its links, content, and so on… Google never sleeps!

Rule #2 — QUALITY > QUANTITY… ALWAYS

If you haven’t already started, 2017 is the time to move away from generating a ton of content on a daily basis to generating GOOD CONTENT as often as possible.

Google has gotten tired of deceitful websites and poor user experiences – which is where Google’s Panda algorithm comes into play. Its purpose is to lower the ranking of low-quality sites and return high-quality sites to the top of search results (consequently, you should steer clear of link-generating software and article spinners).

In order to achieve a respectable ranking on Google’s SERPs, focus on elevating quality over quantity. Engagement levels and the length of time visitors spend reading your content will send strong quality signals to Google and boost your exposure on their search engine.

Relevance of content is of the utmost importance, as viewers have become reliant upon Google to know that the first result is the best result. Competition for that top spot is fierce, so be certain that your content delivers real value.

Of course, other factors matter, too, but without great content, you will not rank. This doesn’t just include the creation of great anchor content on your site – you also need equally-great content that links to valuable, relevant information produced on a regular basis (blogs, ebooks, etc). This is known as content marketing. Need more info on content marketing? Forbes has a great article that will key you into the basics… or simply KEEP READING (we’ll be covering that topic in a minute).

Rule #3 — SORRY TO TELL YOU, BUT SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER

Short, sweet, and to the point – readers don’t have the attention spans they used to. Content needs to pack a powerful punch. But, be careful not to go too short on length, which cuts down your site’s value. Anything less than 1,000 words has a difficult time competing.

A study of Google’s rankings determined that the first page of its SERPs with the top spots were all above 2,000 words. That being said, don’t simply stuff content into an article until you reach the 2,000 word mark. It needs to be well-written with a laser-focus. Being a great writer and being a great SEO writer are not the same things. Stay on point, and develop your content about a specific topic or keyword.

Rule #4 — KEYWORDS ARE KEY (BUT NOT THE ONLY KEY)

Keywords remain an essential element to building effective SEO content in 2017, but Google also wants to focus on easily consumable content that isn’t overstuffed with keywords. It’s a fine line, for sure… a line that is carefully guarded by Google’s Penguin algorithm.

So, in order to reach a higher ranking in Google Search, it’s important to use a combination of exact-match keywords and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. LSI keywords are relevant and similar keywords that make the writing feel more organic in nature.

Your goal is to maintain a ratio of 70-80% LSI keywords to the 30-20% of exact match keywords. Ensure that similar phrases to your primary keyword appear in a sufficient manner with a natural flow. Google’s core algorithms include over 200 factors, so try not to get overwhelmed. Focus on generating quality content that is long enough to clearly convey the message you are trying to send.

Rule #5 — ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES PROJECT (AMP) IS HERE TO STAY… WE THINK

Mobile searches are now outpacing desktop searches, and Google is furiously focused on mobile. Ever since its launch in February 2016, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) has been all over SEO news, yet SEO professionals are still wary of AMP being another Google fad. According to Google, however, AMP isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Google now links to AMP pages in all its search results, which shows the project is now pretty central to the company’s plans,” says Adam Greenberg, Global Product Partnerships – Search and Mobile Platforms for Google. Overlooking mobile usability when considering SEO will result in your site being left in the dust. Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider AMP in your strategy:

  1. AMP pages load 30 times faster
    Thanks to lighter HTML and CSS, and the fact that AMP content is cached in the cloud and delivered not from your server, but from the Google-hosted cached version, AMP pages load at super speed (the median load time is 0.7 seconds for AMP, and 22 seconds for non-AMP pages). This gives your users a better overall experience and lessens bounce rates.
  2. Positive effect on rankings and CTR
    According to Condé Nast’s John Shehata, AMP pages tend to perform better in search, both in terms of rankings and CTRs:

    “When we look at fresh content alone, AMP results account for twice as much traffic as non-AMP results.”

    AMP already dominates fresh content and its share will only grow. So, although AMP won’t immediately flood your site with traffic, it’s quite likely that building pages in compliance with AMP will pay off in the very near future.