SEO Trends 2017
SEO is constantly changing, with search engines making new algorithms and changes on a daily basis. 2016 was the year of spam, with more and more changes put in to place to penalise black-hat SEO techniques. Being part of a leading digital agency with a wealth of software at my disposal, I like to think I monitor these updates pretty closely. I often come to my own conclusions based on how many clients have jumped up in the rankings, and how many may have dropped.
2017 SEO Overview – Algorithm changes so far
We’re now into the new tax year and things are changing rapidly in the SEO world. So far in 2017 Google have made some huge algorithm updates including:
10th January – Google made an “intrusive interstitials mobile penalty” to start penalising mobile pages with interstitials that intrude on a user’s access to content. For example, full page pop-ups for signup forms or adverts, which you have to click “x” on before you can view your content, would be seen as blocking a user’s content – and your site would be penalised for this. Also, if you try to hide your main content below the fold, you could be penalised for this also.
1st February – Google updated its algorithm to further penalise those still practising black-hat SEO techniques. Again, being an unconfirmed update we can only go off speculation, but the idea is that it penalises those using Private Blog Networks (PBNs) to increase their domain authorities.
7th February – Less than a week after their PBN penalising update, many people noticed large changes, both good and bad, in search engine ranking positions in many sectors. Although there were big changes at the time, Google again hasn’t confirmed the update and not much speculation has gone into this change in rankings.
6th March – Google added a feature allowing users to see Accelerated Mobiel Pages (AMPs) in search results. AMPs are now shown in the “Related Picks” section, under “Top Stories”, which can now be expanded to see sites of this type.
8th March – The update that’s had everyone scratching their heads and coming up with crazy theories happened early last month, and a representative from Google named it Fred. Fred is thought to target ad-heavy sites with a low content value. We’ve seen huge rises in a lot of our client’s sites – all of which abide by Google guidelines in terms of having good quality, relevant content.
Which SEO aspects do I need to concentrate on?
With Google doing near daily updates to upgrade their crawl bots and make them more intelligent, the way SEO is implemented is too changing. It’s never been more important to abide by white-hat, Google guideline approved SEO techniques. Old black-hat techniques, such as paying for links and creating spammy ad-filled sites, are being penalised more than ever, and even sites that have improved over time are starting to be targeted for their historic black-hat offences.
Here’s a breakdown of the most important SEO aspects for 2017:
- Backlink Creation – Links need to be relevant, high quality and varied. Paying for links or adding your site to hundreds of directories is a thing of the past – and you will be penalised for these.
- Mega Landing Pages – 300-word landing pages are becoming a thing of the past. We’ve seen trends in clients’ accounts and there’s no doubt combining some long-tail search based landing pages together to create “mega landing pages” that average over 1000 words long are much more valuable for your SEO efforts.
- On-page Structures – Alongside mega landing pages it’s still important to abide by strict hierarchy rules when it comes to structuring your on-page content. H tags, ALT tags and meta data are still as important in my eyes as the day it became a ranking factor.
- Page Markup – I strongly believe that Schema Markup is the Future of SEO – it provides context for search engines about your on-page content and displays extra site elements in search engine results. Schema Markup was a collaboration between Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex, meaning it affects your results on nearly every major search engine. It’s extremely important for improving the click through rate and is proven to drive more traffic to your website when implemented properly.
- Regular Content Updates – Whether this is constant daily blogging, or providing infographics and information-filled PDFs, valuable and regular content updates are necessary for maintaining your online presence and boosting your SEO efforts. “Fred” is another content related algorithm – and all search engines are starting to see more value in regular content updates.
There you have it, the most important SEO trends of 2017! If you want to maximise on your website traffic and are interested in one of our SEO packages, feel free to give us a ring on 0115 828 1668 or email us on [email protected] and one of our experienced digital experts will get in touch to discuss our packages.