Like the ocean, SEO is massive and ever changing, always keeping marketers and business owners on their toes as they try to keep up with Google’s latest set of rule changes. While the only thing that stays the same in the wild world of SEO is the major shifts happening, there are definitely some things you should know about to compete this year.
Here’s a quick look at the top SEO trends taking 2017 by storm, and how you can stay ahead of the curve.
Mobile Matters More Than Ever
These days more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, meaning, you can’t avoid the future forever. Of course, we’ve been talking about the rise of mobile since the iPhone came on the scene. But, only recently has Google been penalizing companies for failing to provide mobile-friendly sites. This year, make it easy for consumers to access your site (content, e-commerce platforms) no matter what device they’re using. Google is giving preference to sites that use AMP (or, accelerated mobile pages), a stripped down version of HTML, which enables websites to load faster from mobile devices. Here’s an in-depth look at AMP, for a bit of background information.
Quality Over Quantity When it Comes to Content
We’ve had enough of the fluffy stuff over the course of the past few years. From ill-advised blog posts with no new information to business owners re-posting the same old stuff. Consumers are getting wise to the SEO-stuffing methods of content creators across all industries. If content hasn’t yet been factored into your 2017 SEO strategy, now’s the time to start thinking big.
This year, get more creative and start banging out the kind of quality content that offers insights to your customers, rather than blatantly trying to convert. Make sure your content is not only 100% unique, but also both relevant and interesting to potential consumers. Do this, and you may even find yourself with a following in short order.
An algorithm-based AI system, Google is now using machine learning to help users get more relevant search results when they type in a query. Rather than simply looking at the contents of various websites, RankBrain is taking into account which sites individuals users are most likely to click on based on their history–meaning a combination of good SEO, quality content and a spot-on UX design will all be more important than ever before.
Local is Becoming Ever More Relevant
Because mobile is taking over the web, accurate, local results are much more important than ever. Consumers want access to restaurants or coffee shops near them, or may be searching for a local shop where they can pick something up, while already on the go.
If your small business relies on walk-in customers for sales, you’ll want to make sure your listings are up-to-date, as well as consistent across platforms. While consistency isn’t exactly a trend (it’s just a good business practice), it will play a larger role in helping customers find what they want, when and where they want it. Update your NAP (name, address, phone number) across all platforms, and make sure GPS is tagging your business correctly.
Voice Search Will Play a Bigger Role
With the rise of electronic assistants like Siri and Alexa, people have become increasingly comfortable using voice search as a way to find what they are looking for. While voice search has been around for quite some time, marketers will need to consider how the different medium will affect SEO. Common voice searches will more closely resemble conversational language, versus the short tail keywords we’re so accustomed to typing into Google. Content will need to contain the long tail keywords needed to best answer consumer questions, in a natural-sounding manner, if they want to remain on the front page.
Consistent, Cross-Platform Branding
Branding, from the look of your website and adherence to a specific tone and visual style guide, has been a major part of SEO strategy for a long time now. But, as more and more channels become critical elements in your marketing plan, you’ll need to be sure you’re offering a consistent voice across all platforms–from paid ads to email campaigns, social and of course, your site’s content. Knowing the full scope of the buyer’s journey can help you offer content that works for each device, as well as each platform your audience can use to find you.
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