Earlier this year we posted about how SEO had changed in 2016, and now we’re back with a round up of the top SEO trends for 2017, that will give you an even better understanding of the changing landscape of search engine optimisation.
One of the most difficult things about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is that it is constantly changing. Because search engines continually to improve their algorithms to deliver better results, the techniques used to get your website ranking higher also need to evolve.
It’s easy to fall into the depths of the dreaded second page of Google if you ignore the ever-changing trends of SEO. The long and short of it is, never stop adapting your approach to SEO.
Keywords aren’t dead
Keywords are the foundation of SEO, but in the last year or so, we have seen a massive shift in how keywords play their part. Search results now also adapt based on the viewers search history, physical location and device. So you may get different results on your mobile than you would on your desktop for the exact same search.
Whilst this focus on improved search results is great for users, it makes accurately assessing and tracking the success of your SEO campaigns much more difficult.
A few tips for getting accurate rankings for your keywords:
- Go into incognito to depersonalise your search results.
- If possible, check results from each of your target locations
- Search the same keywords on desktop and mobile to see if results differ.
Improve mobile experience with Google AMPs
Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, better known as Google AMPs, will play an important role in ranking pages on mobile. The Google AMPs project allows you to convert your web pages into streamlined versions of your posts and pages to improve loading speed and user experience.
With over 60% of users viewing websites on mobile it’s more important than ever that you are providing a quality experience for users who visit your website on mobile.
Google hasn’t yet made an official statement about how AMP will be used to rank search results, but with research showing that slow sites directly correspond with lower engagement and rankings, it wouldn’t be surprising if Google used AMP optimisation as a ranking factor.
Think conversational with Voice Search
In the last 6 years, the use of voice search has increased sevenfold, and will only continue with the improvement of integrated interfaces such as Siri, Google assistant, Cortana and Amazon Alexa.
Accuracy is also constantly improving too with Google reporting only 8% error rates compared to 23% in previous years. The better voice recognition software gets, the more people will start using it to search the web.
Voice search relies on context to help with accuracy. As mentioned previously, search engines use search history, location and device to personalise queries and deliver more accurate results. As such, tailoring your SEO approach for voice search goes beyond just selecting and tracking the right keywords.
Here are a few tips to get you started with SEO for Voice Search:
- Prioritise Long-tail keywords
- Use XML (a site map) to provide further data
- Create FAQ’s that answer who, what, when, where and why
- Research conversational queries
We can help you to optimise your website for conversational searches! Get in touch to discuss how
Content is king but make it quality content
You’ve probably heard this phrase before but when it comes to marketing, content is king. But more than almost anything else, you need to be producing high quality content for your website that is either useful or entertaining.
For your SEO campaigns to be truly successful you need to offer your visitors useful and insightful information when they arrive on your website. Many people will tell you that quality content relies solely on word count and keywords (don’t get us wrong, these are important!) but the most important thing is that your content is offering something extra to your visitors.
When planning your content here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- Does your content provide a reason for people to spend more than a few seconds reading it?
- Does your content offer real value that is unique, different and useful to your visitors?
Reduce your page loading time
Google has indicated that they will start ranking websites based on page loading time. Websites that take a long time to load hinder the user experience and result in a much higher bounce rate.
Here is a statement from the Google blog regarding loading speed as a ranking signal:
A few tips for reducing loading time:
- Reduce the size of your images
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Prioritise above the fold content
Keep data secure with SSL Certificates
It’s been two years since Google began its campaign to encourage people to secure their sites for users by using HTTPs as a ranking factor.
An SSL certificate is a way of showing your customers that your website is a safe, secure and protected environment. This, once again, helps to give the user an enhanced experience whilst visiting your website which is the main aim of Google and other search engines.
Aside from the SEO benefits, your customers will feel more comfortable visiting your website knowing that the connection is secure and that the content is your own. On an e-commerce platform in particular, customers may be more likely to purchase from you knowing their details will be secure.
So as you may have noticed, the main focus of search engine optimisation in 2017 will be on the improvement of the user experience on your website and offering useful and relevant content to your users.
User experience optimisation has always been important to SEO-at least in some ways. Google favours websites that are optimised for mobile devices, load quickly and offer an enjoyable experience to the user, so it’s not entirely surprising that they are making this a big part of their search ranking signals for 2017.
The trends listed above are just the latest updates to SEO trends. There are other ranking factors that influence your search engine rankings, so it is important to continually track your Google rankings and analytics to see the impact of your SEO campaigns.