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2017 Biggest SEO Opportunities
Here are the big takeaways for this year:
SEO News You Can Use
This morning's Keynote AMA with Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan quizzing Google's Gary Illyes was standing room only at SMX Advanced 2017.
There is no better way to start the 2 day sold out event than to get the basics from Google themselves. Gary (aka @methode) always plays coy but usually gives actionable information. Information of use to my clients includes:
What does it take to rank well in 2017?
Great content, quality incoming links and marketing your content!
Google typically makes 2 updates to their algorithm every single day.
Featured snippets are important but Google is not ready to give us the metrics on what content they gather and serve from our sites.
Voice search metrics will be coming soon. Voice search should be of great interest to all Local businesses and websites.
Page speed is far more important on mobile devices and is a ranking factor. If you get your page fast enough you probably don't need to use one of the latest page alternatives (AMP, PWA, PWAMP, etc.) unless you are a news or recipe based website and then you probably want to switch to AMP pages.
There is a small rank boost for https. (If your content is YMYL [Your money or your life] subjects and tools, you need https. This includes but isn't limited to financial sites, health sites, and ecommerce sites.)
Responsive sites aren't better than m. sites ... except if you leave out content for your mobile site. You will probably do better with a responsive site once Google switches to Mobile First index.
Schema is very important.
Mobile First is coming and soon.
Hopefully a great deal more information is to come. I'm already coming home with new tools and products for small and local businesses. You don't have to be an enterprise level player to compete anymore.
This just in from Facebook, new template beginning June 19, 2017:
Facebook is making changes to help organizations like yours find new supporters and stay connected. We've developed a new Page template for nonprofits. It will showcase content from your Page, like photos and events, and make it easier for people to take action with your page.
There's nothing you need to do now. You'll see this change applied on June 19. You can always choose another template and make more changes later. If you're not interested in having this new template applied, you can opt out.
You can apply the new template now and decide if you like the update. If not, you can always back up and go back to the template you prefer.
My suspicion is that it will be worth the change.
You Have To Be Fast To Win The SEO Race
A phone and a stopwatch are not pro SEO tools
Forget the tortoise and the hare. If your website is slow it is costing you business. 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
But, you say, my customers won't be using a phone to find me*. True or not, if Google looks at your website with Mobile First, you need it to work on one.
How fast is your site?
Don't guess - test!
Google Page Speed Insights Google makes it easy to get numbers you can use and understand. The latest edition of the tool will email test results for passing on to your webmaster.
Pingdom is also a free tool with detailed information about your website - even your competitors if you wish.
In a recent test on one of my own websites, I ran both tests and found plenty to clean up. Google Page Speed showed 73 mobile / 77 desktop. Pingdom scored a B at 650 ms. Simply by optimizing a handful of images, I was able to get my scores up to 78 mobile / 91 desktop.
Tweaking continued with an ultimate score of 79 mobile and 93 desktop. Pingdom improved to an A and only 432 ms! The only items left were the Google Fonts and the style sheet which I'm not ready to give up.
What do I need to do to improve my page speed?
- Optimize your images. Smaller files are better.
- Use a fast hosting server and avoid redirects to your home page.
- Make sure your hosting solution enables compression and browser caching.
- Clean up and minify your code.
If you need help, ask. Check first with your developer and then with a technical SEO**. They both should have access to professional level tools providing more information in greater depth.
Chances are good that you can get your site faster than the vast majority of website's in your industry. Make sure your site is faster than your closest competition. The higher the score the better your user's experience. The better your user's experience - often means - the higher your site should rank.
*For more information: How consumers research products using mobile search and review sites.
**If you are my client, contact me to set up your annual site audit. Site speed is a big part of tech SEO.
Ratings Featured in Search Results
The searcher wants to find something. You want to sell something. Google wants to be the tool that connects you.
To make sure they provide the results most likely to satisfy, Google is testing showing hotel ratings directly in search results. I wouldn't be surprised to see this spread to a variety of categories.
See: TheSEMpost for screenshots and more details.