Understanding the how and why of current SEO best practices in 2017
Wondering if your website and content has what Google wants? Google is continually changing its search algorithm. In fact, Moz reports that the search giant makes more than 500 adjustments every year. That means that SEO guidelines are also changing every year. Since SEO remains the number one way to get your website and content noticed by customers, it’s important to make sure you are keeping up with current SEO best practices. Here’s a look at six secrets of the current SEO best practices, along with tips on how to use them to get the results you want from your online marketing efforts.
1. Concentrate on keyword relevance and context
Everybody knows keyword stuffing is an SEO no-no, but the switch to relevance is sometimes overlooked. RankBrain, Google’s artificial intelligence system, gets smarter all the time. Instead of simply looking for keywords and how many times they are used, Google now considers context. That means the search engine is looking at how the keywords relate to the content, considering whether they are relevant to the message on the page. Google’s algorithm examines the page as a whole to see if there are related terms and an in-depth discussion of the topic.
2. Outbound links matter
Old SEO advice was to focus on inbound links and keep your visitors strictly on your own website. The problem with that is that Google is looking for sites that provide the best, most authoritative answers to queries. A study by Moz found a high correlation between quality outbound links and high search ranks. Linking to quality sources of information helps establish your website as providing the best, most complete answer. Here’s a secret that will help you avoid reader losses: make sure your outbound links open in another tab. This eliminates the danger of readers losing their way back to your site.
3. Use natural language
This SEO best practice reflects one of the top SEO trends 2017 has seen: the growing need to optimize for voice search. Voice searches first became popular with the use of mobile phones. 2017 will be known as the year that digital assistants made the big move from smartphones into our homes. When people ask Siri, Cortana, Google, and Alexa questions, they use natural language as if they were asking a friend. Your content and webpages will gain the highest search rank by incorporating this natural language into your keyword phrases and content.
4. Optimize for mobile
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that mobile-friendliness ranks as one of the SEO best practices 2017 websites can’t ignore. According to a report in Reuters, 75% of Internet use in 2017 will be from mobile devices. When you consider all the different shapes and sizes that mobile devices come in, the need for websites to adapt to each device is obvious. Make sure your website has a responsive design that adapts to perform well on every type of mobile device.
5. Keep posting fresh content
One of the ranking factors that Google looks for is fresh, new content. The reason that new content matters is that Google is looking for pages that provide the best, most relevant answers to searches. When a site has not had any new content added, it is a sign that the information might be out of date. One secret that can help you meet this guideline: Update your older content, adding a few new facts and links to make sure it still provides the latest information, and republish. Google will see the new submission date and added links and boost your score for new content.
6. Pay attention to on-page SEO
No list of current SEO best practices would be complete without mentioning on-page SEO. With the high volume of content that is published on the internet, paying attention to on-page SEO is critical if you want a high page rank in 2017. ON-page SEO increases readability and directs the attention of Google and your readers to the most important elements on your page. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the main on-page SEO points to remember:
- Include focus keyword in your title tag, the first 100 words of text, and 3-4 other places in text
- Write a compelling headline that contains focus keyword
- Use header tags. H1 for headline and separate your content into sections with H2 headers
If you would like more information on current SEO best practices for 2017 or help putting these practices to work for your business, call Blue Interactive Agency. We can make sure your website is in compliance with the best SEO practices. We can provide you with a full range of SEO services, from a complete monthly SEO maintenance package to individual SEO services such as keyword analysis, strategic link building services, expert SEO copywriting services, and more.