5 Ways To Future Proof SEO in 2017
As we all know by now, Google has changed and search engine optimization is getting more and more complex. That is why it is so important, that we continuously educate ourselves on what is currently working while throwing away outdated knowledge that might be hurting our current SEO performance.
Just a few years ago, search engine optimization was much simpler to understand and execute, there were far fewer factors to consider, and a lot of digital marketing agencies were manipulating Google’s algorithms in order to rank their client’s websites.
It seems that Google has purposefully slowed down changes to rankings that now leave countless digital marketers helpless because it takes a lot more effort and patience to successfully reach the top positions. That strategy makes perfect sense because a legit business will keep providing products and services and eventually rank for the top positions, while people who are trying to quickly trick the algorithm become less and less patient and inevitably quit.
Let’s take a look at 5 simple implementations that every successful SEO strategy should consist of in 2017:
1. Schema Markup – What does it mean?
Schema markup is going to tell the search engines what your data actually means, not just what it says. Some plugins already create their own schema markup when users input their social media links but schema markup can do a lot more.
A lot of readers might also be already using plugins that provide rich snippets which also create schema markups.
Schema helps search engine users to learn more about websites they are potentially going to visit before they click them. It provides additional information rather than just the standard title and meta description. It improves click through rate of a website because users already see the price of a particular product or service, ratings that previous customers have already left on that particular website, exact dates of the events that are about to happen and more!
Image Credit: Seopressor.com
Since times have changed and Google knows that if they want to stay in business they have to provide the most relevant and popular results for a particular keyword that they possibly can, they pay more and more attention to click through rate. If more users click on your website because schema provides additional information about the services that you offer, your website will slowly move up to better positions without any added links.
However, that is not the only benefit of the schema markup. As we said earlier, schema helps search engines know what the data actually means. That is a very important concept to grasp in the SEO game. Search engines don’t know whether or not that Facebook page that links to your site is really yours. They don’t know if that “$47” in your content is the actual price of your product. Schema solves that problem, it gives meaning to all of the information that you provide and it makes sure that search engines understand it, while users can determine if your website is exactly what they are looking for faster than ever.
2. AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – Sooner rather than later!
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a Google-backed project that resolves the problem of huge websites that take forever to load on a slow mobile data connection.
The goal is to have ads and websites that are extremely fast even on slow connections, are still beautiful and of course still perform incredibly well on any mobile device.
You might still remember “the mobilegeddon” or the Google mobile-friendly update that happened a few years ago when the websites that weren’t responsive on mobile devices and therefore didn’t pass the Google mobile-friendly test were punished on the mobile version of Google. Well, this may be the next level!
Although Google already has a speed testing tool that helps website owners determine how they can improve their website speed separately for desktop and mobile, AMP takes it to the next level by automatically redirecting mobile users to the AMP version of the website. In other words, it creates a separate website that previously has to pass the AMP test which means that the website only has functions that are really necessary while discarding any big images and media that would take a long time to load on a slow connection.
By passing the AMP test your website will get “AMP icon” in the mobile search results which will let users know that it is indeed friendly for their slow connection. Of course, AMP pages also save users a lot of data usage because they are significantly smaller than regular pages which is why tourists love AMP – it saves them time and money!
Once again this fits nicely with the fact that increased click through rate is going to improve rankings over time without any extra work because the vast majority of the websites still don’t use AMP or schema! If you have a WordPress-based website you can use an AMP plugin that will help you get your website AMP ready.
3. Content is still KING!
The oldest saying in the SEO book is probably “content is KING”. We won’t argue with that – especially not in 2017!
On-page SEO is getting more and more important while Google is slowly decreasing the importance of low-quality links. Google likes to give the best positions to websites that are highly relevant and are at the same time represented as an authority in that particular market. With that being said, we shouldn’t forget the fact that the power of the domain comes from “link juice”.
Link juice is, of course, metaphorical juice that represents the power of the domains and how it travels through links to other domains. If a lot of powerful domains are linking to your website (and if they are not linking to thousands of others so that link juice would get diversified) you are going to receive a lot of it.
This is one of the most important points of search engine optimization but unfortunately, very few people understand it.
The problem comes when business owners are trying to rank their website by launching a huge blog. Of course, that is a great idea and they might provide a lot of valuable information about several relevant topics but from the SEO point of view, we have to take link juice into an account. When a business owner launches his blog, there are absolutely no links pointing to any of his posts. That means that it will be very difficult to make a worthwhile impact with the blog. A much better way to start for beginners would be to actually have a lot of content where it counts (where you have a lot of link juice) – that is typically on the home page which is where most of the small business owners need to drive their traffic.
In other words, beginners or small business owners that are just starting out should start out by writing a lot of high-quality and relevant content on their home page rather than focusing on starting a blog while only having a few paragraphs of content on the home page. Guest posting on relevant and authoritative pages can be a good way to go. But be picky and write good articles that are on topic with your services. Using a guest posting service will accelerate the entire process and the traffic will start flow to your website faster.
4. Links – but which ones?
When talking about manipulation of Google’s algorithm, most of it happens with links. SEO agencies are always trying to be one step ahead of Google by building links that Google still thinks are solid. The analogy that we like to give and is simple to understand for any business owner is imagining that all websites are people. The end goal is becoming popular and in demand and we get there by having exceptional friends that recommend us. Recommendations are just like links.
Žiga Pipan from Splet99.net likes to give this simple example to make this concept easy to understand. Let’s imagine for a second that we have two choices:
– Choice A is that we instantly get 10,000 friends that will recommend us (10,000 backlinks). The problem is that it’s very easy to get recommendations from these people. They recommend hundreds if not thousands of people so their testimonial doesn’t really make a huge impact. These friends are also not highly successful at what they do, they are not popular and they are not connected with anyone who is successful.
– Choice B is that we only get 5 friends but they are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos. Although you only have 5 friends rather than 10,000, most people would still prefer choice B.
Because they are an authority at what they do, they are highly popular and trustworthy. Their recommendation really counts and makes a difference!
That is the difference between hiring low-quality SEO services that promise you thousands upon thousands of backlinks that rarely get the job done and hiring high-quality premium SEO services that are only giving you a few links per month but these links make all the difference in hitting your digital marketing goals. The days of “let’s get the most amount of links and win” are long gone – in 2017 quality beats quantity when speaking about links.
5. Social media is the new standard!
Search engine optimization shouldn’t be the only strategy of getting traffic to your website. Nowadays, it’s already considered strange if your business doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter page. People are spending a lot of time on social media and it doesn’t look like that is going to stop anytime soon!
Social signals deliver a nice natural boost to your rankings because search engines know that someone must be reading and enjoying your content if they are sharing it with their friends.
In case your other marketing strategies involve link building it is also a great way to justify the new links that are coming in on a regular basis. It is a little weird that people would be linking to a website that has no traffic and isn’t ever mentioned in the social media, isn’t it? By creating your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo and other accounts, you are not only getting an SEO boost because these websites have an exceptional domain authority (in other words – they are great friends to have and you should crave their recommendation) but you are also opening the door to new strategies for driving traffic to your website from all these different marketing channels – it’s clearly a win-win and a must have in every digital marketing strategy!
Search engine optimization is all about learning and relearning as search engines become more advanced. However, some concepts have stood the test of time.
Google and other search engines can only stay in business if their users are happy with search results, therefore search results have to be exactly what users are looking for. By building a business that offers products and services that people love while having authoritative and highly relevant content where it counts, you are going to build a brand that will automatically have a high click through rate, low bounce rate, and all the important metrics in order.
About the author
Žiga Pipan has several years of experience in the SEO and web design industry. He enjoys learning and staying up to date with the latest changes in the digital marketing world. He understands the importance of getting organic traffic from search engines while also optimizing his websites for maximum conversion. His SEO and web design agency can be found on Splet99.