Happy SEO Year – How to take advantage of what is coming in 2017
I wrote an article earlier in the year regarding the key factors for ranking organically in 2016. Not much has changed. The rise of mobile, strong social signals and the overall health of your site are just as important moving into 2017 as they have always been.
There are however some emerging trends in organic search that could reshape how website owners build their sites, display their content and take into account how you, the consumer, find and use the information.
Mobile continues to drive most of the change that is occurring although I believe products like the new Google Home and Amazon Echo are going to reshape the organic world.
This is still is the most important factor for any website for both desktop and mobile. I recently was auditing a site and found out they had two very nice background videos playing on their home page slider. They looked great and gave a nice effect but they accounted for over 6MB of the over 8MB home page. It wasn’t hard to figure out why the site scored so poorly on all the different site speed test tools.
The other thing to consider is creating AMP pages for mobile. AMP pages are stripped down pages that Google may show from an organic search. Since they are stripped down pages, no navigation etc, it is important to add a call to action or embed a link in the text to allow a user to get back to your site. Adding a simple paragraph at the bottom of each post stating for more information go to your main site or call will not seem out of place on our post when viewed on a desktop but will give a clear call to action on Mobile AMP page.
To add AMP to your WordPress websites, a simple plugin downloaded will get you started.
It is increasingly clear that schema markup is becoming more important on your site.
Schema markup is a very clear message to the search engines regarding what specific pieces of content are. For instance, a simple address mark up clearly states to the search engine that this is not any address; it is the address to my business.
Other than your local address, you should include schema around ecommerce items, reviews & ratings and your videos.
Again, ensuring your NAP (name, address and phone number) is consistent across the web is critical for local search. Any anomalies in your NAP may cost you a position in the Google Map listing since it only allows 3 entries. A great tool to see how you appear across the web is MOZ local (moz.com/local). It will show you the different directories they monitor along with any issues such as duplicate entries or inconsistencies.
Remember to claim your listings so you can control it!
Content has always been king but with the advances by the search engines in regard to reading through content and indexing it accordingly, it is as important as ever to write naturally for humans to read rather than for bots to crawl.
Add concise paragraphs summing up the intent of the article or add a bulleted table laying out the steps to complete a task before delving head first into the topic.
All of these items will help in what we feel may be the biggest shift in search since AskJeeves and Netscape (millennials can ask their parents these relics).
Featured Snippets or Rich Snippets
You’ve seen them before at the top of search results. It provides a concise explanation of a topic, a quick list of tasks to fix something; it could be a map listing with 3 featured business, etc. …
They are called position #0 in the Google Search Results or SERPs.
Having your pages featured as a Rich Snippet should be the holy grail for your website.
When you ask voice operated Google Home a question it is not going to say, “I found the 10 most concise results to answer that Question.”
It is going to reply, “according to xyz.com, the answer is.”
As a SEO realist and Webmaster, I want my site to be that xyz.com site.