The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2017

From website owners and bloggers all the way through to website designers and developers, a deep understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. Without such knowledge, the success of any given isn’t assured.

However, over and above the knowledge, actionable steps must be taken to ensure that a website is properly optimized for search engines. To make this happen, consider following this guide and watch as you start enjoying higher ranks, increased views, visits and purchases, and higher returns on your investment:

  1. Quality over Quantity

A couple of years ago, search engines only needed your website to have some content for you to rank highly. Over the years, however, this has changed. More particularly, Google’s algorithms have been adjusted to ensure that the interests and needs of searchers are met.

From the user’s perspective, reading through 250 or so words of gibberish will not address the search query you posted. This means that you’ll go back to the main search results page to look for a better answer.

Therefore, as you work on optimizing your website for search engines, you should never forget the user you are targeting. Instead, think about what your consumers are looking for and provide that on your website.

In this case, less isn’t more and worse will never be better. Rather, your focus must be tied to the provision of the highest quality possible. Although you might be tempted to post tons of content to your website, a better strategy would be to work on creating highly actionable content that not only addresses the needs of your target market but also maintains high literary and visual quality.

In the New Year, high quality will be the main standard reviewed by search engines. Content based features and page-level keywords, to this end, will be the 3rd most influential factors for ranking. They will come behind page-level and domain-level links.

To drive up your rank, therefore, you should start working towards making your content more relevant to your users while ensuring that it is of a high quality. The readability and length of your content, as well as page-level keyword-agnostic features will also matter greatly in 2017.

Quality, when referring to websites and the content they provide, is too vague a word. Consider the parts comprising this word:

a) Originality

For starters, the content on your website should be as original as possible. Plagiarism is a serious offence and will cause your website and page ranks to plummet.

b) Length

You can create high quality content that is only a couple of words or a short sentence long – such as a compelling tagline. However, quality content in the New Year will need to be in the range of 1000 to 1200 words.

c) Research

In the same way, your content should be well researched. Do your homework well and ensure that all claims in the content are backed by links to high authority sources.

d) User Experience

UX will come in to play in the New Year. To ensure your pages provide a good experience, they should remain pleasant to view and explore, load fast, and look uncluttered and focused.

e) Sharing

Last but not least, your content should be worth sharing on social media – which will also work towards helping it rank higher.

  1. Multimedia

Most people mistake content for words. In 2017, search engines will start ranking multimedia content even higher. Although such content still includes the posting of blog posts and site content on the regular, it also means that social posts, webinars, checklists, case studies, images, guides, eBooks, SlideShare presentations, podcasts, live streams, video, and infographics will be ranked higher.

Additionally, varying you content portfolio will simplify your content marketing efforts and outreach for SEO backlinks – both of which are vital for a high rank on most of the popular search engines.

To further your SEO tactics, therefore, you should expand your content creation efforts so that they also compass other content forms.  By so doing, you will enjoy the following additional benefits:

a) Increased Engagement

Your target customers/readers have different preferences. Whereas some may prefer videos, others are more into written content. Others like images, memes, and visual tools.

To this end, adopting a multi-pronged approach in your content creation will ensure that your website is able to reach more people, a larger online audience, and higher search engine ranks.

All of these will contribute to the engagement in your website as well as the number of hits you receive. Conversely, engagement and query/traffic data will continue improving the optimization of your website for search engines.

b) Repurposed Content

Another advantage that comes with using different content forms is that you’ll be able to re-purpose your content. What started as a blog post might be distilled even further into a visually-appealing infographic or expanded into a live webinar.

  1. Online Presence

Today, most people direct all their energy towards SEO because search engines control the online world by providing the main gateway to the internet. As such, search engines will continue changing in 2017 to include:

– Improvement to image/voice search

– De-emphasis of keywords and their replacement by topics

– Prioritization of conversational search questions/queries

However, the greatest search engine optimization shift will be in adapting to the way the internet is being used. For starters, users are increasingly using mobile to browse the internet. This means that you need to make your website mobile friendly to rank higher.

Similarly, you should adapt your overall SEO strategy so that it is aligned to how users are engaging and searching online. This is what is referred to as online presence optimization.

Your presence on the internet should also be broad, clean, thoughtful, organized, highly responsive, and brand-appropriate. Consistent messaging, in particular, is vital to online presence optimization as is the use of social media. By so doing, you will be able to generate exposure, increase leads, and drive traffic to your website.

Conclusion

In 2016, search engines came up with numerous algorithms. It is likely that they will continue with the same trend in 2017. Keeping up with these changes and tailoring your SEO strategy will help you rise higher in terms of search rank, boost your traffic and help you increase the leads to your website. Use the guide above to follow through with your strategies until you get to your desired rank.

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