The Google algorithm evolution is a continuous process. As a business owner or a website administrator, you need to keep track of the Google algorithmic updates. Optimising your site according to the latest updates will ensure that it ranks higher on search engine result pages. There is a host of Google ranking factors that you need to keep an eye on, to be visible on top of Google search results.
Here are some important ranking factors for 2017:
Optimising For Local Searches
The prominence of local searches is going to go up in 2017. With more users switching to the mobile device, this has become all the more relevant. If you do not have a Google My business page, then do create one to gain more visibility on local searches. Have separate listings for local offices and also ensure that your listing is getting indexed, to get better results.
Google is slowly making mobile its priority, and the searches on mobile will be indexed first. Having a mobile optimised version of your site, is thus, crucial. If your site is readily usable and responsive to the mobile device, then it will be considered to be mobile friendly by Google.
If you don’t make your site user-friendly and engaging for your mobile users, then you surely stand to lose out while competing with those who are mobile friendly.
Google AMP is a testimony to the growing importance of mobile in the search results.
Content Quality Remains Essential
As in the past years ever since 2011, Google has insisted on the quality of content on websites. This has become ever more important with Google now giving priority to sites which have unique and useful information for the site visitors. The better will be the content on your site, the better will be the user experience as well. All of these will continue to play a crucial role in your site’s ranking in 2017. Google also started featured snippets and knowledge graphs to make the search results for the users more interactive. If you can make your content more informative, this content could feature in these snippets, giving more visibility to your site. Don’t stuff your content with keywords and don’t use any black hat techniques – just focus on useful, relevant and user-friendly content – that will surely help you in 2017.
Another ranking factor that continues and stays important in 2017 is the quality of links your site has. You need to pitch to quality blogs, sites and news sites to get natural and high-quality links for your website.
This will not just provide you with the necessary publicity for your site but is an essential for ranking higher on Google. The more relevant sites you choose for building backlinks, the better it will be.
Load Speed of The Website
The speed of your the site has become an ever more important ranking factor for SEO. Google makes you rank higher when the user experience you provide on your site is better than other locations. Site speed is one of the most important aspects of the overall user experience of the site. If your site takes longer to load, then most users would abandon it for another one. Since more and more users prefer the mobile device, it is essential to optimise the speed for mobile as well.
Resolve Technical Issues
If your website still has technical issues, you need to fix them as soon as possible. If you have good content on your site, but it has errors and broken links on its pages, then it won’t rank in search results. Make sure your site does not have any duplicate content issues on it. All types of spammy backlinks must be removed or disavowed. You must have a user-friendly URL structure on your site, and all of its pages must be easily searchable by the user. Make sure you are using the relevant meta titles and descriptions on your pages, and the heading tags on the site are optimised as well.
Here are some important technical SEO issues that you must resolve immediately:
Inappropriate indexation of your site pages can be a big problem for your pages. There may be times when your site is not even ranking for your brand name. You won’t get organic traffic on your site if it has indexation issues. Find out the reason for indexing issues and re-submit your sitemap to webmaster tools to resolve this.
Text In Images
This is one of the common mistakes that your designers and developers must avoid in 2017. Adding text image on your site pages will not help the SEO cause as search engine bots do not extract text from pictures. You need to check your site for any such instances and resolve.
If some of your pages are not in use anymore and they have some backlinks to other sites, these links would turn broken. You can find broken backlinks on your site using Google search console. Add a 301 redirect to your pages with broken backlinks. You can choose the best relevant new page to redirect these pages. Doing this will restore the link equity that your site would lose out on otherwise.
Updated Robots.txt File
There are some pages on your business website that are not important from a search engine perspective. For example, the thank-you page on your website does not contain information that your site visitors are searching for. You need to use the disallow command and create a Robots.txt file that gives signals to the search engines that a particular page on the site need not be crawled.
If your website can provide its target users with a superior experience and a higher level of engagement, then it will surely rank greater than other sites in the domain. You need to ensure that you add relevant and engaging meta titles to your site pages so that they get a higher click through rate from search engine results. The more, the users use your website and the more they interact with it, the better will be the signal given to search engines about the quality of the site. The user experience on your site is one of the most important ranking factors for the coming year – the more your work on it, the better it is. Here are some tips to ensure that your website has a user-friendly experience:
You need to make sure that the navigation of your site is precise and easy. The most important pages of the site must come first, and the lesser ones should follow. Make sure that the navigation menu is in sync with the design of the website and easy to use for the site visitors.
Proper linking of the different pages of your site ensure that the users can move from one page of the site to another, quickly and easily. This again helps in improving the user experience on the site by getting them to find the relevant information.
Use of Visual Elements
Besides adding website content that is search engine friendly, you need to add more visual elements to your content, to make it more engaging. You can add videos, infographics and informative data to your site to ensure that the users engage with your site for longer, helping in improving its rankings.
Call To Action Buttons
Call to action buttons are one of the most powerful ways to engage with visitors on your website. With an attractive design and content, call-to-action buttons tell your users the action they need to take to move to the next step.
You can use a call to action buttons at strategic places for a variety of purposes. These include:
- Giving a free trial
- Providing an option to subscribe
- Getting your users to fill up an information
- Getting your visitors to connect with you on social media
- Helping them to make a purchase
- At the end of a content piece or a video
The call to action buttons on your website must be prominent. You must use the contrasting colour so that they are clearly visible to the user.
RankBrain and Artificial Intelligence
With artificial intelligence becoming a part of Google’s strategy to improve its search engine results, keywords will further lose importance. This means that you need to maintain topical relevance in your content and the links you build. The more relevant content you create and the more quality sites you link to organically, the higher your chances of getting better results.
The rich snippets displayed by Google are important for improving the visibility of your site. Adding the schema to your site helps Google to understand its information and relevance in a better way. You can make the purpose of your site content more explicit and this way Google can categorise your content quickly. So, whatever is your page type – local business, music, reviews, blog and event, etc., you can add the relevant structured data and benefit from better search engine results.
We certainly hope these tips are useful for your business and help your website rank higher in 2017. Do add your comments and tips in the section below. If you are looking to develop an SEO friendly smarter website for your business, then do get in touch with us.