Search engine optimization is ever changing. It is essential to stay on top of your website. While the employees at Google are sworn to secrecy about the top secret algorithm, we can analyze and predict trends in search engine and web use to stay ahead of the game. SEO is much like building a wall. Each component discussed in this article is a brick. If one brick isn’t cemented into place, then the whole wall can be severely weakened. The days of skipping corners on SEO are long gone, as this article will explain.
According to a recent study, content is still king. There’s nothing new about this. Websites with the best content get a better ranking. See for yourself. Search for any topic you want. Within the top 5 results will be a page with detailed information, a comprehensive read that explores the topic in detail, written in a way relevant to the audience.
Review your website and look for thin content. Revise it. Add detail. Make sure it’s readable, relevant and informative. Is this something that provides value to the reader? Or a keyword heavy poorly written piece of work? Google may have previously rewarded the latter but the future (and now) rewards detailed and valuable content. There’s no reason to have a page on your site without tons of written content on it.
2. Click-through Rate
One of the major trends we’re seeing lately is the rise in the power of a high clickthrough rate. If your website receives more organic clicks than the websites that rank before it, then your website will be moved ahead of those websites. There are many ways you can increase your SERP CTR. Either you can make natural tweaks, or send more visitors to your website with any sort of industry service. Moz put CTR as one of the top 5 ranking factors, marking CTR as an undeniable factor.
As you probably know, backlinks are crucial to SEO success. However, now the quality of the links matters more than ever. Low quality links directly to your website could result in your site being penalized, although it’s becoming more rare given the presence of negative SEO.
Google wants your website to be linked to from a diverse, range of high quality websites. Reach out to high quality websites in your niche. Continue creating high quality content that websites and businesses want to link to. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure your website is one that people want to link to.
4. Mobile Optimization
With over half of the world’s searches now coming from mobile devices, it is essential that your website is ‘all device friendly’. iPhones, iPads, Androids, Windows Phones, Laptops, Desktops. Your website needs to be optimized to work on all of these devices. Check how it looks, tweak, check again. Do not think that simply ‘scaling down’ your website is acceptable. It needs to be mobile friendly. Responsive to the device that is being used and the person using it. (Don’t neglect mobile loading speeds).
5. Spring Cleaning
One of the less glamorous SEO tips for 2017 is to have a clean up. Your privacy policies should be condensed into one page (where appropriate), as should your terms and conditions. These pages provide no SEO value for users so consider using the robot.txt file to prevent their indexation.
Fix broken links on your site. Links on your site, both internal and external that results in a ‘404’ error page hurt your ranking. The spiders stop searching, report a dead end. The search engines think your website has low usability. You are solely responsible for internal links. None of these should result in a ‘404’ error page. When using external links, regularly check that they are live. (Easy tip. Keep sitemaps up to date. Tell Google about changes to your websites structure and indexing).
While SEO can be a vast and complicated area, you can put your website in the best position possible for high rankings. Create a solid foundation to move forward with based on the tips and information in this article.
Treat your website as something you and your business can be proud of. Provide value to your readers. Create content which is relevant to them, that they want to engage with and share.
Featured photo credit: Joe Mongan via joemongan.com