It’s a new year and that means that once again time is changed. This rings true in the SEO world as Google’s algorithms are ever changing. And because this search engine giant pretty much dictates how well you rank on search engines, it’s important to understand how it ranks you. According to several reliable SEO case studies, in the year of 2017 Google, and other search engines like it, will rank on four particular factors.
In this article we will discuss those factors, in the importance behind them.
First, let’s start with the most important of Google’s ranking factors. This is content. In fact, you’ve probably heard the saying “content is king.” Well, while this statement isn’t completely accurate, it does have a lot of merit. This is because in recent years we have seen the virtual world start shifting away from keyword focused content to more relevant content that is written in a organic and natural language. We have also seen this to be true when it comes to Google, because as the years go by the percentage of the highest ranked landing pages that have keywords in their H1 is dropping year-by-year. Essentially, this means you will to start to focus on the relevant articles versus arbitrary keywords.
The reason being is that Google wants to best appeal to the user. And relevant content appeals far more to a user that an article stuffed with keywords that has really no relevance to what it is they are searching for. So, when writing your content for 2017 you need to make sure that it is of the highest quality, that it is relevant to your demographic, and that it is superior to competitors content. You can make it superior by adding elements such as pictures, video, outbound links, downloadable PDFs, podcasts, etc.
Backlinks have always been important ranking factor with SEO. This is because backlinks are essential to driving users to your site. After all, what is the point of writing content if you don’t get any credit for it, or if users don’t even know how to find where it came from. So, backlinks are the key to helping users find you, and having them convert as loyal users. And Google continues to value backlinks and its ability to help you rank on its search engine. However, in recent years, Google has learned how to distinguish good links from bad links. Granted, more links will still result in a higher score, but only if they’re from a number of diverse and authoritative domains. So, as you start to backlink in 2017 make sure that yes, you backlink often. But that you’re searching out credible and authoritative sources in order to gain quality backlinks. You can do this several ways. One is by creating quality content that users will want to share. “How To” articles are also another great backlinking tool, as they give extreme relevance to a topic, which again will lead to shares. Also, guest blogging is a great way to gain backlinks. It opens the door for you to not only be seen on different platforms, but to also gain relationships with influencers that can help further promote you and your webpage.
- Mobile-First Indexing
If you’re at all familiar with the SEO world, then you probably remember Mobilegeddon back in 2015. For those of you who don’t know, this was when Google switched its algorithms to require webpages to be mobile friendly. Well, now in 2017, Google is starting to switch to a mobile-first index. So, this means that if your website isn’t already optimized to be mobile first, it’s time to get on it. After all, about 80% of all searches are done on some form of mobile device. And if your website isn’t indexed to be mobile first, it could seriously hurt your rankings in the months to come. In order to optimize your site, use to Google Search Console to audit your pages and see how well they’re optimized for mobile.
- Other Technical Factors
There are several other factors that will play into ranking on the first page of Google in 2017. But the two most important are probably speed and your HTTPS encryption. Speed is important because the average user will only wait about 3 seconds for a page to load before they decide to move on to the next site. So, you need to make sure that your pages are optimized for quick loading time. Otherwise it’ll cost you not only rankings, but also user conversion as well.
HTTPS is important because it has now become more relevant than its HTTP counterpart, and Google will mark those websites that have not switched to a HTTPS encryption in 2017 as unsafe. And of course, not only will your website be marked as unsafe it remains an HTTP encryption, but it will also hurt its ranking ability as well.
There are several other factors that will play apart in how well you rank in 2017. But these four areas are the most vital to consider. If you keep these four elements as the forerunner to your SEO strategy, you will be setting yourself up for ranking success in 2017.