To call keeping up with the ever-changing mechanics of SEO a difficult task, is somewhat of an understatement. There are so many rules and turning cogs that even the most experienced SEO specialist can find themselves accidentally skipping over a thing or two. Believe it or not but the new year is right around the corner, which means new trends and innovations in regards to search engine optimization. In order for businesses to keep their top spot in the search results or begin to crawl their way up, they’ll need to effectively abide by these trends and tactics.
Let’s Get Started With SEO Trends
As we enter the New Year, don’t find yourself getting left behind by following a set of outdated rules. Today’s blog post is a special one as we take you through the top SEO trends to follow. Are you ready to change the way you view your SEO strategy?
SEO Trend #1: Handheld Is the New Big Thing
Isn’t it ironic that something small enough to fit in your pocket can have the biggest effect on SEO? Like it or not, mobile devices are here to stay and they’re only becoming more popular. Where you may have been able to get away with having a website that wasn’t compatible with mobile devices in the past, this now will have disastrous effects on your SEO moving forward. People are practically stepping further from desktop devices by the second, using their smartphones to check their emails, shop online, and yes you guessed it, search for information. Because of this change, search engines like Google and Yahoo have altered their algorithms to suit more mobile-friendly sites. Designing your website to be responsive with mobile devices automatically enhances search ranking, putting you a step above businesses that have not yet done so. Making mobile compatibility a priority from the start is the key to achieving a strong digital presence and working your way up the list on search engines in 2017.
Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile:
- Mobile users want information that is quick and easy to navigate
- Billions of users worldwide
- Better Brand Engagement
- Increase conversions
- Reduce Bounce Rates
SEO Trend #2: The Importance of AMP
Staying on the topic of mobile devices and SEO, compatibility doesn’t always equal speed. While most smartphones come with 4G or LTE to ensure quick load times, it may take other mobile devices longer to display your website, harming your SEO ranking. Fortunately AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) remedies this issue. AMP allows you to craft content optimized with a specialized HTML for mobile devices and post it instantly. This helps eliminate the long wait times associated with viewing content on phone or tablet devices.
Reasons You Must Use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page Framework:
- Faster Loading Site since everything is about speed these days.
- Improved accessibility to your web pages
- Google dominates the search world and its google direction.
- CDN (Content distribution) for improved speed and accessibility
- Framework specially designed for the best user experience.
SEO Trend #3: Speed Matters
You’ve heard the saying that patience is a virtue? Well trust me when I say that doesn’t apply when it comes to website speed. No one wants to sit around for 10 seconds to a minute waiting for a website to load. As technology continues to develop, users only expect for website wait times to decrease. Search engines take this into consideration as they begin to rank websites with faster sever speeds higher than ones that take longer to load. Moving into 2017, you may want to consider what factors will affect your website speed when designing it. This includes animations, videos, and rich media ads. Also putting more money into the type of server you purchase can affect how quickly your website operates. Don’t allow slow load times to damage your site’s SEO. The faster your website loads, the more likely users are to visit, helping it inch up the search results.
Not only does speed matter for your mobile device, but for your desktop as well:
- Reduce your server response time
- Reduce your page size
- Reduce your total image content
- Use GZIP Compression
SEO Trend #4: Quality Content over Keywords
Keywords have been perceived as the backbone of the SEO, and for the longest time, this was the truth. As useful as keywords are in the enhancement of SEO, writers and digital marketing specialists began to put an emphasis on them above the overall quality of the content that was being written. This lead to repeated keywords and blogs and websites that were optimized better than they looked or read. Fortunately search engines quickly caught on to this ruse and made strides to put quality over keywords. Moving into 2017, quality has become key in successfully optimizing your content. Writing for the reader instead of the search engine increases the chances of someone sharing or linking your content with others, improving its SEO ranking. No one wants to read a blog or website that is repetitive or sounds manufactured but rather one that flows naturally and has a steady progression. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to get rid of keywords all together but they must organically fit within the structure of the content you’re creating. Whoever said that consumers no longer like to read is mistaken, they just prefer to read content that is rich, engaging, and provides insight on how they can make their lives easier. Another great practice to look into are micro-formats, or pre-designed formats already containing common business information like address, phone number, and product info. Putting quality over quantity is the best way to both engage your audience while also helping you work your way to page one of the search results.
Why Quality Content Matters in SEO:
- Google will ignores over-optimized content
- Readers want to find information, not your content keyword
- Google wants to see quality, relevance & uniqueness
SEO Trend #5: SEO Location, Location, Location
SEO is sort of like real estate in regards to the fact that location is an important part of the process. It’s a big world out there, if you’re a small to medium sized business it may feel even bigger. Let’s say you’re a local hardware store looking to optimize your website for search engines. Thanks to the prominence of hardware stores in the world, both small and large, it’s fairly easy to find yours along with many others, somewhere on page 30 or 40. Your job as someone dabbling into SEO as we get to closer to 2017 is to make your search radius a little smaller. Considering that the average consumer isn’t traveling 100 miles to visit a hardware store, you may want limit your search radius to a local scale. You can accomplish this by using keywords that target your neighborhood and surrounding communities. For example instead of using “Hardware Store in New York”, try “Hardware Store in Garden City” or “Hardware Store in Nassau County”. This way the next time someone searches for a hardware store nearby, your website appears on page one of the search results compared to page five or six. Specificity is pivotal in achieving a high SEO ranking, and there is no better way of standing out than by letting consumers know that you’re right around the corner.
Google my business for Local Search:
- Google near me is becoming more popular
- Add your business and optimize your information for local consumers
SEO Trend #6: Creativity Counts
I know this sounds a little cliché but originality is something of a commodity these days. It’s been proven that the more there is of something, the harder it is for one particular brand to stick out, unless it is truly spectacular. The reason why Coke and Pepsi are so successful is because their formulas cannot be emulated and that they were the first of their kind. Even though your business may be one in a million, it is your execution and the originality of your content that will help you stand out on search engines. As we enter 2017 consumers are looking for innovation, something that will change the way they think and behave. Now while this may seem like a daunting task, remember that creativity is not always in the idea but in its execution. For example, if you’re writing a blog on online shopping tips, instead of the usual text and images, try turning it into an infographic, visual guide, or even an interactive video. There’s a large chance that other businesses haven’t used this tactic, placing your content higher on the search results. 2017 is all about interactivity and the consumer’s ability to have a feeling of control over the content they’re engaging with. Search engines recognize this and are more likely to prioritize content that abides by this new trend.
How unique content and images can help your SEO in 2017:
- Readers share unique content more often
- Drive quality traffic and reduce bounce rates
- Increase your SEPR for overall website
SEO Trend #7: Turning Criticism into Positive Results
You what they say: everyone’s a critic. Well that saying holds more weight today than it ever has. Thanks to review websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Yellow Pages, every man, woman, and child has been given a platform to voice their opinion. Now for those that say to completely ignore criticism, hear me out. Eventually poor reviews and feedback can start to have an effect on your website’s SEO ranking. In order to combat this issue you may want to consider listening to your audience to find what they want from your business. Whether it’s longer operating hours, lower prices, or better customer service, analyzing social media conversations about your business and its competitors can help you determine where you need adjustments. Listening to criticism will lead to more positive feedback from your audience, causing your website to move up the search results.
How to improve your online reputation:
- Get more review in Google, Yelp and other popular review sites
- Negative comments spread fast, address immediately.
- Cultivate the right social profiles in the right ways
- Understand that negative content is unavoidable
- Discover the cause of any negative comments
- Respond to all comments
SEO Trend #8: The Introduction of Voice Search
With applications like Siri and OK Google, that perform voice-operated commands, only growing in popularity, the days of solely text-based searches are behind us. Consumers enjoy being able to look something up just by saying it, which means more work for anyone attempting to optimize their website. Along with thinking about what consumers would type when searching for a topic related to your business, you must also take into consideration what they would say as well. This could mean the slightest change in keywords or completely new ones being thrown into the mix. Some common words to think about are, “who, what, when, where, and why”. These are the questions that users ask their applications when searching for information. By finding a way to work these questions into your keywords usage, you’re increasing your site’s visibility the next time someone searches for something
using a voice application. This aligns with the increase in smartphone usage, opening the door for a two birds, one stone situation.
OK Google Optimization tips:
- Optimize website for mobile and smart devices
- Optimize website for local search
SEO Trend #9: Be Straightforward With Your Information
When people search for information, they expect to come across some. As a business you want to provide consumers with as much info as possible before they even click on your site. This kind of applies more to pay-per-clicks ads but still has some significance on the SEO front. When creating search based ads, try to fit in as much relevant info without overstuffing it. This includes locations, contact numbers, current user ratings, and a quick summary stating what you’re about. Providing your audience with straightforward and concise information allows you to cut to the chase and gives them more incentive to click on your link. Stronger ads lead to more website visits, which can only do good things for your SEO. Consumers are no longer interested in the business of being baited into visiting a website but rather intrigued with information and content that can benefit them.
How Content Strategy Improves SEO Ranking:
- Write for your readers, not for search engines.
- Creating audience-specific goals
- Write content for different platforms
- Your product can take on a personality and style
SEO Trend #10: Start Answering Questions
Search Engines are all about answering questions. The more questions you can answer, the higher your search ranking and vice versa. When writing content for topics that involve using specialized terms or phrases, be sure to define them as well. For example if you’re talking about FDA (Food and Drug Administration), remember to state who they are and what they do. The same applies to popular locations and people. By providing context to certain terms and keywords, you’re enhancing your site’s visibility the next time a user looks up a specific person, place, thing, or event. We’re in the age of consumers that use search engines to ask their every question, and answering some through your site’s content is a great way of proving your worth in relation to SEO.
Key Factor of SEO Ranking Infographics
SEO is here to stay as one of digital marketing’s most useful techniques. By keeping up with some of these popular trends, it is sure to be your year in terms of being number one on search engines, increasing website visits, and engaging your audience on a digital level.