In a digital age when we’re accustomed to things changing overnight, one thing is for certain when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO): there’s no relaxing on the job. More than any other marketing tactic, SEO is growing in popularity and changing its algorithms almost weekly, which makes it a daunting task to tackle. Luckily, we have four need-to-know tips that will help your company tame and conquer the SEO beast in the year ahead.
1. Google Is Crawling Websites as a Mobile-User
Google is steadily moving towards a mobile-first world, which means it will now crawl sites as if it were a mobile user. Subsequently, this will change the way your webpages are ranked on the search engine results page (SERP). Why, you ask? It’s because mobile searches have surpassed desktop for a few years now and as a result, Google has implemented mobile-first indexing. Now more than ever, it’s critical that you optimize your site for a mobile audience, ensuring your mobile and desktop sites are as similar as possible. The switch from desktop to mobile also means Google will start reading your expandable content; for example, the content under “read more” and other similar CTAs will now be crawled and thus beneficial to your rankings.
2. Webpage Speed Is Critical to the SERP
Along with mobile-first indexing, updated webpage speed is another item to put on your “2017 SEO To-Do List.” According to Moz, speed is one of the biggest webpage ranking factors. Search engines allot a certain amount of time to crawl each site – so the slower your site is, the fewer pages it can crawl, which is detrimental to your rankings on the SERP. Higher bounce rates, less time on page and fewer conversions are other negative metrics associated with long load times – but fear not! There are multiple ways to improve speed including using compressed files, optimized images, minimized code, reduced redirects, cached browsing and improved server time.
3. Voice Search Is the Next Big Thing
The next item expected to boom in 2017 is voice search. You may be thinking, Why is voice search just becoming a thing when SIRI has been around since 2011? It could be because voice search accuracy has recently increased by 12% while Android and Bing reported a 10% increase in voice searches since 20141. Actions and integrations for voice search are also on the rise. To stay ahead of the curve, include questions and conversational queries on your site using long-tail keywords that match and answer complete questions. One way to do this is by featuring a FAQ page on your site.
4. Google’s Snippets Are Smarter than Ever
Answering questions on your site is not just beneficial to your SEO, but can also get you highlighted on Google’s featured snippet. What on earth is a featured snippet, you ask? It’s the content shown at the top of the search page that includes a short answer to your search query as well as an extracted webpage with a link. Take a look at the image2 below for the search, “Google’s mission statement” to see an example of a featured snippet and the information it includes. The snippet selection occurs when Google recognizes what the search query is asking. It then detects the pages that answer the question and chooses one to display. Unfortunately, the selection process is rather random and not based on ranking or domain authority. There are, however, ways to make your site’s chances of being selected greater than others’. First, use the code generated by schema.org to ensure your website includes the requirements to become a rich snippet and appear on the SERP. Next, utilize Google’s Search Console to determine if your site is coded correctly by reviewing metrics such as search analytics, crawl stats and mobile usability.
In the end, SEO is a fast-paced, continuously evolving field. It’s always important to stay informed on the latest SEO trends and topics, remembering that your ability to adapt to these new trends will not just keep you ahead of the game, but at the top of the results.
Are you interested in digital marketing or other B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group, today.