2016 has already proven to be an eventful year for Google’s ever-evolving algorithm. Search results for 2017, driven by user feedback and engagement, promise to be faster, more relevant and more substantial. Businesses and SEO experts looking ahead to the coming year can review these valuable tips for SEO rankings in 2017:
1. Social media activity: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram and other popular social media platforms are increasingly a source for valuable user feedback. Search engines like Google now gauge the activity on your social media channels to determine your ranking. This major trend will likely continue into 2017 and beyond. Kissmetrics also offers valuable insights on the significance of social media for SEO.
2. User reviews: Refinements to ‘Google My Business’ and Google’s local SERP (Search Engine Results Page) now include a list of your business as well its geo-location on Google Maps, links to your website, contact information, and most significantly, reviews. Compiled from a variety of sources (CNet, Bizrate, Facebook, Google Reviews) businesses are ranked according to a four-star rating system which is prominently displayed with the business name. Negative reviews can reduce your ranking, especially in local search results.
3. Unique, quality content: Engaging, informative content that is well researched and enhanced with eye-catching, high resolution images, capture a web crawler’s attention. Crafting content that is not only keyword-rich but strategically relevant and substantial will keep visitors engaged longer and can inspire them to share your content. Read more about content marketing from Search Engine Watch and consider how improved content on your website could boost traffic.
4. Link building: A consistent ranking factor for search engines, building credible backlinks to your most relevant pages and content is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. An SEO expert can really help you to define your goals, refine your message, identify strategic partners and maximize your content to build links that add credibility to your online profile for 2017. SEO And link building experts such as Paul Teitelman offers local businesses expert advice and strategic support for your SEO efforts.
5. Local results: The local search results page has been refined and optimized to rank listings based on geo-proximity as a key factor. Traditionally, larger competitors could dominate local search results despite being geographically removed, but updates to the Google 3-pack are designed to connect users with legitimate services and products located within the closest proximity. This trend shows no signs of changing in 2017.
6. Mobile friendliness: Market research has confirmed for the past several years an increasing use of mobile platforms, devices, and apps by consumers globally. Facebook, YouTube, and Google are adjusting to these changes as well, preferring content that is mobile friendly. Ensuring that your website pages load efficiently across a wide range of devices is crucial to capitalizing on impulsive purchasing decisions, especially during peak seasons.
7. Create a sitemap. Search bots that crawl your website prefer one that is easy to navigate. A sitemap provides a roadmap for search engines that makes it easy to index pages for retrieval later. There are many online tools available as well as services to help you create a sitemap.