SEO is one of the most fast moving digital marketing channels since Google deploys 500-600 algorithmic updates each year. Almost 93% of online experiences begin with search so keeping up with the latest trends of SEO for 2017 should be a top priority in any digital marketer’s task list for the new year. In this article we will be presenting all the latest & hottest trends for a successful SEO strategy in 2017.
1. First and foremost: Break down the silos in your digital marketing department.
SEO is no longer a silo-ed marketing channel but should be fully aligned with the business strategy and all the rest digital marketing channels. Users move from device to device, jump across different mediums and spend most of their time online. You should make sure your web presence provides a consistent cross-channel user experience and this can only happen if all marketing departments collaborate & share goals. SEO can no longer be isolated.
2. Recognise organic opportunities & Prioritize SEO efforts
One example of why different digital marketing departments should collaborate is the fact that a typical search result page may vary significantly across different search queries. When a user is using a highly commercial search query, Google shows ads & local listings above the fold, leading to lower CTRs for organic listings. Investing a high amount of money for such keywords with low visibility for organic listings may not lead to a positive ROI, especially for a small business. The most viable & “value for money” approach is to identify & invest in keywords with a high visibility above the fold (where less or no ads are shown), exploiting the larger real estate of the SERP and boosting CTRs.
Close collaboration with a paid search department is crucial in order to identify such opportunities and close collaboration with a content marketing & social media department is of vital importance in order to create content (thus landing pages) matching those “informational”, long tail queries so as to boost them with all the necessary social signals.
3. Content is still king for 2017
The million-dollar question in this case is “how do I produce content that ranks?”.
Specific signals such as keyword repetitions, number of varied keywords, text length, content originality are used in Google search algorithm in different proportions and influence rankings. A few years back, one typical SERP would illustrate a top-10 of pages with similar content and heavy keyword usage. One could create a quite short-length content, stuff keywords in, build a few backlinks and rank. Such techniques came to an end when Panda was rolled out. From that moment on we, as users, began seeing original, lengthy content ranking in top spots of Google. Articles & landing pages contained no less than 2-3,000 words, in many cases “killing” conversion rates and providing a poor user experience, thus undermining SEO goals. Why? Because the user does not want to spend so much time reading a single page, and this is even more important if we take into consideration the explosion of mobile traffic. Increasingly shrinking attention span keeps influencing user behaviour so we must be able to catch the user’s attention, make him engage with our content and in no case, bounce.
The key for 2017 is to provide dense content of a size suitable for your niche. There is no “one size fits all” approach. If you belong to the medical niche you should invest heavily in content length, providing no less than 2000 words per landing page. The user wants to be thoroughly informed and can invest a serious amount of time when he deals with health matters. By providing a thorough, original & highly informational piece of content you will get rewarded by the user & ultimately by Google.
On the other hand, if you belong to the hospitality niche, you should invest to short to average lengths. Forget not to omit graphic content (images, videos) since one of your goals in such a niche is to inspire user and this cannot happen easily with lengthy, complex content. Provide a real value per word in your content, get rid of unnecessary, boring, repetitive texts and satisfy the user’s needs.
Your piece of content may be well written and of high value but it may get you nowhere if it is not targeted to a specific theme and keyword. Make sure to include your main keyword in your content but do not make excessive use. Instead, make sure to include synonyms and similar keywords to a 80-20 split. Instead of focusing on the word itself, Google algorithm focuses on context and will group certain words together according to their relation to the text in general (LSI).
Stay tuned for the part 2 of the Hottest SEO trends for 2017.
What are your thoughts on our 3 top trends for the new year? Do not forget to leave your comment below!