As search engine algorithms continue to evolve, keeping track of all the changes in the world of SEO can be difficult. While great content and backlinks are still key, there are gradual changes in SEO trends that you should bear in mind. Here are six of the most important actions you can take today to future-proof your search engine rankings.
Optimize Content for User Intent
With recent advancements in machine learning, search engines are more equipped to understand content and connect users to pages that match the meaning of their search queries. While keywords are still important, make sure your content delivers on the promises made in your headlines and meta descriptions, and focus content around specific topics.
Tip: Use related keyword phrases based around a single topic and your primary phrase. Don’t just repeat specific phrases.
Optimize Content for Voice Search
In the next few years, more people are going to be using voice search to find information online, especially with new products emerging like Amazon Echo. Voice search will likely become as common as text search as the technology evolves.
For now, though, it’s enough to optimize your content by providing complete answers to common questions in your industry. You will have noticed that when an “answer box” appears in Google’s search results, the content usually includes a complete sentence that answers a specific question.
Tip: To adapt your content to the voice search trend, include specific questions and answers in your page content.
Focus on the User Experience
As consumers are more likely to remain on websites that offer a good user experience, it’s no surprise that Google is rewarding more user-friendly websites with higher search engine rankings. A good user experience comes in many forms:
Clear site navigation.
Accessibility for people who are differently abled.
Content that improves visitors’ understanding of your products and services.
Uncluttered design, featuring appropriate colors, fonts, and spacing.
Maximize Page Load Times
Website speed is likely to become a more important search engine ranking factor in the years ahead, especially as mobile searches continue to rise. Google’s research team found that 53 percent of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load.
Fortunately, hosting technology is improving, and with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology, improving mobile loading times is now easier than ever before.
Tip: Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will check your website speed and help you diagnose any mobile issues.
Continue Mobile Optimization
Google has repeatedly stated that mobile-friendly sites benefit from higher search engine rankings. However, there’s more to mobile optimization than squeezing things into a small screen. Responsive web design, captivating content, fast-loading pages, and a great user experience must all combine to give users the best possible mobile experience.
Produce More Video Content
Video results are showing up more and more in search engine results pages, and it’s no surprise – YouTube is actually the second largest search engine behind Google. Many people looking for answers online would rather watch a video than read a long blog post.
Videos are a great way to improve engagement and show the personality of your brand. A great video will also outperform a blog post that is ranking for the same keywords. As you plan your content strategy for 2017 and beyond, make some room for video content. It’s easier to produce than many people think, and it will take your SEO power to the next level.
Building relevant links and delivering quality content to your audience will always be an important part of a strong SEO strategy. However, to succeed with SEO in 2017 and beyond, bear in mind these new best practices for SEO success.
Consumers are becoming more impatient and demanding quick, relevant, and engaging answers to their search queries. Keep these tips in mind and you’re more likely to appear higher in search results and protect your content from future search engine algorithm changes. If you don’t make any changes, your search engine rankings could take a hit.