With the increase in online activity, SEO is now more important than ever and can even mean the difference between your business being a success or a failure. Google receives over 57,000 searches per second on any given day (Internet Live Stats), which means that optimizing your site to be more SEO friendly is essential.
But what should I focus on, I hear you ask? Well, after having attended one of the largest (and most trusted) SEO events in London last week delivered by the Web Design Academy, MediaVita have carefully documented the most important SEO takeaways to share with you all. These showcase what are believed to be the most relevant and effective SEO practises in 2017, including some of the biggest recent changes in Google’s ranking factors. Some of the SEO tips are quite logical and expected, but others are true game changers! So if you need some inspiration or some help setting up your current SEO priorities for your website, MediaVita have a handful of useful tips to share!
Google’s New Artificial Intelligence
One of the most important changes to SEO in 2017 is that Google can now recognise patterns in user behaviour through artificial intelligence- search engines can now gain insights as to how people react to your web content and rank your page accordingly. Google is now much better at finding pages that are useful for people, rather than those who are just following an SEO checklist but not fulfilling real people’s needs. For example, if people find your web content useful and click through to other pages on your website and also spend a lot of time on your site, you will rank much higher. Therefore, a concentration on what makes your site engaging and delivering the exact content people want and find useful is very important to get much higher search engine listings.
Content is King
The old saying “Content is King” is still very much alive and well throughout 2017, with 72% of online marketers describing content creation as their most effective SEO tactic. Linking to our previous point on artificial intelligence, it is known that Google and visitors love high-quality content. That means providing real value, answering what people are asking, and not trying to stuff as many keywords as possible in a web page or blog post. It is generally much better to publish higher-quality and longer-form content than it is to publish shorter content more frequently. A Backlinko report revealed that longer content tends to rank higher. The average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words. (Backlinko, 2016)
And most importantly, provide all the information that people would want to know in order to rank well.
Social Media is Losing Relevance
After all the years thinking Social Media was one of the most important ranking factors and considerations for SEO, it is now easily said that the socials have in fact lost some of their relevance, and are a lot less influential to Google listings in 2017. Google doesn’t have a high degree of trust in social media and therefore does not consider much of its content as worthy of playing a role in deciding ranking positioning.
Although social media may not directly impact Google, it is still essential for your business to have when it comes to building up awareness of your brand and driving traffic to your website. Even though Google cannot read the content written on platforms such as Facebook, by driving people to your website through these social media platforms and therefore generating lots of web sessions, this could indeed show Google that your site is popular and worthy of ranking highly.
Old and Faithful Header Tags
The Google bot constantly checks HTML header tags in order to determine how relevant different content on your site is. Generally, the best practice is to have a single H1 tag per post or page and then multiple H2s and H3s underneath that. Think of it has a hierarchy of importance. The H1 tag is one of your most important headers and should contain your focus keyword. H2’s should be used as section headings (categories for each page), with H3 tags being used for sub sections. In order to rank well for your chosen keyword, these additional headings should also include your keyword or long-tail variations of your keyword. However, it is very important to not abuse headers. One of the biggest mistakes that people still make is simply using H tags as a size guide, instead they should be tagged in terms of relevance in order to help your search engine listings.
Quality Links Rule Over Quantity
In the past, the rule of “get as many links as possible out there” used to work very well and gave websites pretty quick results for those who were willing to spend more than their competitors. However, after Google soon realised that many organisations were cheating the system with paid backlinks, this rule no longer applies. Thanks to updates like Google Penguin, Google now focuses on link quality(not just link quantity). Real quality links are not just important for promoting your website, but for building a good reputation and a name for brand as well. That’s because links from authoritative pages pass more authority (also known as PageRank) to your site. According to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, high quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search. (Search Engine Watch, 2016)