What Are The Best SEO Techniques in 2017?

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SEO has changed a lot over the years, and at the beginning of 2017 there is a lot of speculation over what techniques genuinely work, and which are best consigned to history. Yet amidst the hear-say and popular opinion, there are known facts about the future of SEO in 2017. Search marketing continues to evolve, as do consumer demands. Ease-of-use is the name of the game and the last two years have expanded mobile use to unparalleled levels. This brings with it more sophisticated voice search (e.g. Siri, Alexa) and a rise in conversational queries, as well as a high demand for video services. In this article we look at which SEO techniques you need to make a part of your arsenal, and identify upcoming platforms which will become influential over the course of this year.

1. Responsive Design is a Must

There are more mobile users browsing the internet than ever before and this number is set to rise during 2017. Not only did mobile transactions make up 50% of all digital ad expenditure during 2016, according to Mobile Marketing Magazine, but the industry itself is estimated to reach global revenues in excess of £640 million ($800 million) by 2019. Web design is all about customer experience and responsive mobile design is essential to both customer acquisition and retention rates. An article on CMS Report claimed that 57% of all users refuse to recommend a business with a poor mobile site. Can your business truly afford to be overlooked?

2. Add Voice Search Capabilities

With 2017 being the year of mobile search, it is highly advisable to begin targeting voice search queries. As with conventional forms of keyword optimisation, it is still best to address the buyer intent. However, more and more users are beginning to prefer voice search over conventional text inputs. Voice search queries are typically conversational and are a great deal longer than the conventional keywords which marketers have been used to addressing. Gone are the days of targeting a single keyword or a generic search phrase. In 2017 you need to begin understanding how people phrase questions out loud, and begin developing strategies for catering to their interests.

3. Speed is Everything

Attention spans are short and decision makers search for fast and verifiable results. With devices and connection speeds being quick enough to stream 4K video, no one wants to wait for a sluggish site. Even though video is in demand, video content should be optimised to keep page load times as low as possible, especially on phones and tablets. Your web host therefore needs to be up to scratch and scalable. If your traffic begins taking a toll on your host, then it is time to upgrade; and if you can’t upgrade, then migration to another host is needed. No matter what it takes, you need to optimise your site and landing pages for the quickest page load time on both desktop and mobile platforms. Do so, and watch your organic search performance skyrocket. Learn more about the importance of website load speed with this article - Website Load Speed Time – How to Give Your Website The Boost It Needs.

4. Optimise for User Intent / Semantic Search

Semantic search is the future of intelligent content creation. Complex algorithms are in constant development and set in place to identify content that relates to the reason that consumers enter their search queries. Current ranking algorithms identify which content is a best match to a search query through analysing the relationship of the content to a group of related keywords and conversational phrases. This assesses the quality and matches the content to the needs of the searcher. What this means for content marketing is the final death of keyword stuffing and an increased focus on the quality of content. You need to develop content which carries good readability while providing a wealth of information that addresses the questions and needs of your buyer in a logical, structured and conversational, manner. The key question to keep in mind when creating content is “What is the intent of my buyer?”.

5. Accelerated Mobile Pages Are Gaining Importance

In 2016 Google launched an initiative called the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP, in an effort to introduce a new standard for building mobile-friendly web content. AMP is a ruleset which is basically a lightweight version of HTML5 and CSS, granting page load times that are quicker than ever. AMP pages have loading times which are thirty times faster than normal. Both search rankings and CTR are improved when you make the switch to AMP, granting a slight advantage to traffic volumes. Studies show that the average user will close any site which loads for longer than three seconds. The switch to AMP is therefore imperative as part of your next website refresh.

6. Schema & Micro-formats

In order to be indexed as the best, it is critical that you structure your site according to schema.org, Microdata or JSON-LD. These various forms of structuring mark-up data allow search engines to index you better while rendering your data in a way that enriches customer experience. A great example of how Google uses structured mark-up is Rich Results and Rich Cards. There are many ways to mark-up your content and many plugins available for existing content management systems (such as WordPress and Magento) which make structuring your site a snap. Regardless of which you opt for, structured mark-up is essential to SEO success in 2017.

7. Local SEO Holds Strength

Local SEO is continuing to gain ground in 2017. Location data is extremely important, especially with voice searches often being carried out when looking for a local business. In certain areas, it is also far easier to rank within a local demographic, rather than addressing a country-wide market. This is especially true if you are a local business, catering to a local client base. But there is nothing stopping a nationwide supplier from ranking within each individual locality they cover.

Content Quality of the Utmost Importance

The focus of SEO in 2017 is the provision of high quality content which addresses the reasons why buyers seek out a product or service. Evolve your marketing strategy to include information-based resources that convey personality and trust, while supplying insights which are an actual asset to your sector. As search algorithms continue to grow in complexity, as is seen with the many cutting-edge AI-based technologies which took hold in 2016, marketing needs to provide more value than ever. Gone are the days of brand building with questionable-at-best value, your enterprise needs to innovate, excel and expand. Chat to our team of marketing specialists about the impact of the latest search technologies on marketing, and how to update your strategy for the coming year.

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