SEO - What you learned in 2016 may not work in 2017

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SEO is a not a constant technique. In fact, it is a forever evolving process of trial and error which changes due to events and competition. Therefore, it is important to always keep up to date with the latest news and processes in the SEO / social marketing sphere. What you learned in 2015 or 2016 may not work now it may even penalise you.

We have created a list of 13 key SEO Factors that have been proven to work in 2017.

  • Click Through Rate (CTR) is a major search engine results page (SERP's) ranking factor.
    That means it is not enough to just trick Google search results to show you higher than you deserve anymore. Your website actually has to deliver. Your websites google snippet needs to get clicks from the search results page for specific searched keywords otherwise you will quickly lose ranking. This is especially important with the live algorithm in Google's Pengiun 4.0.

  • Bounce rate, time on page.
    This is an extension of CTR. Google is looking for user engagement as a ranking factor. If users are clicking through but leaving instantly or quickly with little travel through your website you will lose ranking. It has never been more important to have engaging content on your page, whether it is video, text or images. You need to be focused on keeping users on page for a fair amount of time and getting some travel through to other pages to rank and maintain rank.

  • Engagement is key.
    This isn't getting a lot of notice even now. However, the biggest influencers and most profitable companies are focusing on engagement above all other things. Engagement is considered, in order of importance; likes, followers, sharing, commenting, replies, double replies, video replies. I'm not saying ever piece of content needs to go viral (though awesome if it you have that skill). However, you need to be illiciting comments on your posts, videos, blogs, tweets as your principle goal. Comments do not need to be all positive, in fact massively negative comments can be just as productive (re: Donald Trump's shock and awe style). In 2017 engagement is king!

  • One backlinks from relevant source > 100 backlinks from non-relevant sources.
    Quality backlinks have always been a great way to rank and this will continue in 2017. However, bad spammy no relevant backlinks will kill you more than ever. Be on constant lookout for spammy backlinks and disavow them.

  • Social shares and signals can boost your SERP rankings.
    Social activity is now a real factor in your overall SERP profile. Furthermore, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are like the other giant search engine of the internet you need to be in. It is not just about Google anymore...

  • Keeping pages up to date is important. Google loves "fresh content."
    Don't let pages sit without re-freshing them for longer than 3-6 months. Ideally a shorter period is better. If the content is already awesome and you don't want too change it simply add an update area to the footer or mark the new content as updated. Then re-share the content through your normal means; social, re-crawl, newsletter.

  • Website Speed loading time is now a ranking factor. Time to work on your website speed.
    I have been talking about this for the last five years. Webpage load speed is important. It is important because mobile (3G, 4G, 5G) is slower, but can make up 40,60,80% of your user access base (60% + on average in Australia). Also, users have little patience for dialup type load speeds and will simple leave for another site. Our tips for good loading times; Good code, no coding errors, no missing images or resources, Compress and crop images to suit, Local hosting, High speed SSD hosting for eCommerce, suitable compacity for user base.

  • One Page, One Focus Keyword.
    Great idea for user experience and content readability as well. Nothing worse than trying to read a paragraph or down a page which is jumping from idea to idea. Make it easy for Google and your users to know what you are focused on.

  • Content is still the KING.
    The through away comment of SEO gurus 'Produce quality content' actually means something. Here is what you should focus on and how to create quality in a nutshell.

    Qualtity content means:

    Note: Reposting, retweeting, sharing other peoples content counts for little unless your goal is to help them.

    1) Produce something - Something is better than nothing always!
    2) On topic - No point producing stuff your audience is not interested in. However, it doesn't need to be around your product or service specifically just in your niche with a side order of what you are selling...or not. It is about capturing the zeitgest and modality of the moment.
    3) Improve on your last post or piece of content. Make this your goal and you cannot go wrong. That way people who search historically can see your antecedence and see you are improving(you are real). Also you will always be improving e.g. getting better results everytime you create.
    4) Search for the best piece of content in your space and make sure your content is 10x or 100x better. Sometimes this is easy, such as, Top 10 best widgets can become Top 100 best widgets. Sometimes it is harder. However you should always be focused on making it at least 10x better. Great is not good enough anymore.
    5) Original is good, but 10x better on a topical subject of interest to your customers is better always.
    6) Video is best, Live streaming and re-sharing is better because engagement is king!

  • A mix of different content, contributors and sources is best.
    This creates a larger network, backlinks and more which creates a point of difference in Google. Creates SEO juice sharing opportunities.

  • Keyword Specific Domains names are worth their weight in Gold.
    This is still a good idea. Just like a business name that is explicitly describing your service as well as your business name is better. Having a domain that describes your services is better also, especially for local businesses. Janeshousecleaning.com will always have an edge in out rank janadago.com for house cleaning SERPs.

  • More traffic = better SERP's rankings.
    Hint: Paid Social media boosts & ads. More traffic means more interest and relevance to Googles algorithm, which translates to better ranks and more traffic again. A little bit of a chicken and egg situation. Beware: The feedback loop which will kill your ranking will be if you target the wrong audience with paid ads and the users give you a short on page time and high bounce rate. Wrong niche paid ad targeting can hurt you in multiple ways.

  • Anchor text diversity can help you improve your rank.

  • Backlinks are still a very high SEO ranking factor.
    Over looking backlinks is a massive mistake. Unfortuntely not many SEO agencies even full know what they are let alone know how to create them. Hire an SEO firm who knows how to create many quality relevant backlinks. If you look at your Analytics and see less than 20% of your traffic coming from backlinks we think you need to focus more on your backlink creation.

    We would also be very interested in hearing about your SEO strategy tips for 2017 so tell us about them by commenting below or sharing this page.

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    Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Website