The countdown to the New Year has already begun and marketers need to start planning their 2017 campaign strategy to ensure that they will meet their performance targets. In this opinion piece, Nathan Elly branch manager at Digital Next Australia argues marketers can’t afford to miss these million dollar SEO marketing strategies for 2017.
The SEO marketing channel has experienced several changes in 2016 and there is still one more major change that is expected to disrupt the tactical execution once the update is released. Marketers need to minimise the risk of this potential disruption by understanding the direction that SEO is going in 2017 and how they can ride the trend to achieve their marketing goals.
Penguin 4 will impact website’s rankings based on the types of links pointing to the website.
Google is updating their algorithm and web spam identification to combat link spam. Penguin 4.0 is the major algorithm update that people in the SEO industry are waiting to see released so that a link acquisition strategy can be put forward in 2017. We know that low-quality links and unnatural links will be targeted, however naturally acquired links that form the site’s link portfolio will be rewarded by Google. The ideal link building strategy should comply with Google’s terms of service, be acquired from sites that have relevant content and that is also authoritative in your industry.
Valuable content will remain at the heart of SEO.
Google has always said that “Content is King”; and that trend will continue into 2017. Websites that provide valuable content such as long, detailed guides for their web users tend to outrank sites that publish short copy.
A content marketing strategy should be a part of your site’s SEO campaign to ensure that your site gains the maximum keyword visibility and also has the best chance to deliver the value that users are searching for.
SEO performance will be influenced by the UX of the site.
Google has said that they want webmasters to optimise their site so that it provides a valuable experience for the user. Some of the key areas that need to be focused on include:
Web page loading speed
People are demanding that they receive access to content as quickly as possible. On average, a web user is prepared to wait for 2 seconds before they move onto the next website. Google has incorporated this into their algorithm and if your site isn’t loading its content in under 2 seconds, then it is unlikely that it will rank for the top search terms in your SEO campaign.
Google is targeting Interstitials in the first quarter of 2017. According to their Webmaster blog, it’s being targeted in response to improving users experiences on mobile devices. At times, the pop-ups make it difficult to access the web content. Your SEO strategy needs to assess the risk of your site being targeted and what changes can be made should the site be affected.
Smart devices from phones to tablets have taken the world by storm and Google wants webmasters to make sure that their content is optimised for the appropriate device. (See their post on mobile friendliness here.)
Responsive design layouts and mobile app integrations will gain importance for getting higher rankings in the organic search results. Google’s Developer Console offers tools that can help to display the site appropriately on different web platforms.
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is a project aimed at improving the speed of serving content to mobile devices. As more people engage with web content on their mobile devices, Google will start to favour website’s using Google AMP in the organic search results.
Google wants to send users of its search engine to websites that will help them solve what it is they are looking for. Sites that have a high bounce rate trigger signals to Google that the web page content isn’t valuable or relevant to the user’s search query. It’s important that the website is optimised for users to engage with the website so that any bounce rate signals are avoided.
It’s great that brands are preparing their 2017 campaigns now, however a contingency plan might be needed should Google make significant changes before the new year. By prioritising the areas that have been highlighted, there should be minimal disruption to the execution of the brand’s SEO tactics.