Here at Identify, to keep our SEO services at the high level our clients have come to expect, we recognise the importance of staying ahead of the game in the digital marketing world. It is an ever-changing industry and if you don’t keep up you can say goodbye to your traffic and rankings. There have been several changes this year but this list of SEO tips for 2017 are what we think are the 5 most important things to be aware of:
Build links for traffic
Links are still a huge part of the Google (and other search engines) algorithm that determines where a web page will rank for a specific search query. The thing that has changed over the last few years is that it is all about quality now rather than quantity.
You must build links from other websites that are seen as popular and useful to people on the web. Don’t just look at Domain Authority, Trust Flow or any of the other 3rd party metrics, the strength of a domain is still important but even more valuable is a link from a website that gets a lot of traffic.
This makes sense as there is no better measure for Google of how much people like a website than the amount of traffic it receives.
An even more powerful link would be one that actually refers traffic back to your website, these things are becoming more important as Google tries to crack down on low quality link building and spam.
Build supporting content for your key pages
Your key pages are where you want your traffic to go. Depending on what type of website you have they are the pages where people go to buy something, to sign up, to click on an advert, to fill in a form or to take an action that you want them to.
Generally, people put a lot of effort into these pages making them content rich, valuable and user friendly.
But you should also be creating supporting pages around the same topics that link back to your key pages.
Google likes websites that provide lots of information around a given topic and they like to see “hubs” of information that are helpful to the end user. Don’t create any duplicate content but provide helpful information related to the key pages.
So if you have an ecommerce store that sells dog toys for example, you might write articles about how to look after a dog, what to do if a dog is sick etc. Then internally link back from those supporting pages to the main page that sells the dog toys.
Optimise for CTR from the search results
There is some debate as to whether click through rate (CTR) is a ranking factor (we believe it is) but regardless of if it is or not the fact remains, you want people to click on your listing in the search results and not on a competing listing.
There are 3 elements of your listing you can control and use to influence CTR:
- The page title
- The Meta description
- Structured mark up
For your page title, stop only thinking about ways you can get keywords in there and start thinking about what you can put in it that might win a click. Look at the search results for some of your main keywords.
What are the other websites doing?
What are the paid ads doing?
Can you include a CTA?
Can you include a USP?
Paid ads are good to look at as they will have often tested their headlines to find which generate the best CTR. Using a call to action (CTA) can encourage a click and a USP (unique selling point) can help you stand out from the competition. Maybe you are cheaper than your competitors, or offer free delivery. Think about what can set you apart from the crowd.
This has been important for a long time but it feels like it is more important than ever for SEO in 2017. There are not many ways Google can tell if someone is enjoying the content on a web page or finding it useful.
The main thing they can do is to look at the engagement on the page. How long people stick around on the page gives some indication of how useful they find it.
How can you optimise this?
Create useful, in-depth content that really covers a topic in detail and is better than the other web pages you are competing against.
The actual length of the text is a factor but only write as much as you need to cover a topic, writing for the sake of it will affect the quality of the content. Use of rich supporting content such as images, tables and videos can also improve the engagement levels of a page so use these wherever possible.
Encourage brand traffic
For a while now it has been thought that well-known brands are given preference in search engines but we don’t believe they are given any kind of unfair advantage just because they are a big brand. It is more the other things that come with being a big brand.
They will naturally acquire more backlinks for one thing but also, they have people searching for their brand name and “keyword + brand” type queries.
This is a good indicator of trust as someone is specifically searching for something from that specific brand and if the user trusts the website then it will likely be given an advantage over a website with no trust signals.
Building your brand should be a part of any website marketing strategy anyway, don’t just focus on getting your website ranking for all the generic keywords you are targeting but think of ways you can build brand trust. Offer free advice, tools & information. Get people coming to your site that wont necessarily convert but who you can help in some way. You can also promote your brand via other channels such as social media and PR.
Get creative. Provide value. Get people talking about you.