17 SEO Tips to Boost Your Website in 2017
You might have thought that SEO is dead and you’re better off focusing your marketing efforts on email campaigns or social media. This couldn’t be further from the truth, despite what the Internet (ironically) wants you to believe. In fact, according to an imFORZA research, 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and go straight for the organic results.
So, you still have to be a part of those results. Let’s see how you can improve your website’s ranking in 2017:
1. Install and Use an SEO Plugin
SEO plugins make it easy even for the non-technical users to improve their rankings with just a few clicks. For WordPress, the most reliable plugin is still Yoast SEO. All you need to do is install it and then add your keywords and descriptions per page or post.
2. Create Friendly Permalinks
Much like humans, Google also likes to have the information readily available from the first contact. So, irrespective of the CMS you are using, you need to make sure that the automatically generated permalinks include your keywords. Ideally, they should be the title of your page or blog post.
3. Keywords still Matter in 2017
Whatever you write, from an ecommerce product description to a blog post, you need to have a focus keyword and a few other secondary keywords. Whatever CMS you are using, you will have a special field to insert them – never leave that blank. Ideally, you should have your keyword in mind before you start writing; this way, you can ensure that you have the right density and that you have placed it in relevant places, like in your title, your subtitles and at the beginning of your text.
4. Always Start with Keyword Research
As a business, your primary goal is to improve your revenue, not simply rank for as many keywords as possible. So, before tweaking your content, make sure you have your goals set: what keywords can bring you more revenue? What are the keywords with the best search frequency/competition ratio? What are your competitors ranking for? Answer all these questions and then create a unique profile that matches your unique selling proposition. This way, it will not just be easier for you to improve your SEO where it really matters, it will also be easier for relevant customers to find you thus increasing overall revenue.
5. Speed Is more Relevant than Ever
Google introduced the AMP project at the end of 2015, amplifying the importance of speed, especially for mobile users. According to Google, 58% of users leave a page if it takes more than 10 seconds to load. While AMP is not a specific criteria in SERP rankings, the speed with which your pages load is of the utmost importance for user satisfaction.
6. SEO in 2017 Is Mobile-Centric
Since Google announced that it will penalize non-responsive websites, it has become clear that businesses need to keep up with the increased use of Internet via a mobile device. We wrote more about the market share you can lose if you don’t have a responsive website here. Bottom line: 80% of Internet users have a mobile device with which they are searching for businesses like yours, so you must be there with a fully responsive website when they do!
7. Use Meta Descriptions to Improve Your Click through Rate
Meta descriptions don’t affect your ranking directly, but they do entice people to click on your links. The better your CTR is, the more Google will think your content is relevant and rank your website higher.
8. Pay Extra Attention to Your Subtitles
Subtitles and headings are great for helping people read easier and skim through your text, but they are also very important for your rankings. Much like human readers, search engines also skim through and, the first thing they do is look at your titles and subtitles. If they include relevant keywords, your ranking is boosted.
9. Add Tags to Your Images and Infographics
Visual content is great for engaging users and helping them absorb the information better. However, when it comes to SEO, they are of little value because Google can’t read the text in them (if any). Help the search engine by adding image titles and tags to your images. No matter what CMS you are using, when you click on “edit image”, you will be able to do this very easily.
10. Content is Still the SEO King in 2017
It’s not just inbound marketers that love content-rich websites. It’s search engines, too. This is why the so-called “black hat” SEO techniques have stopped working years ago: Google wants websites that truly have an informative value in its first pages of results. Thus, even if you have thousands of backlinks, they won’t matter as much as having good, honest, engaging content.
If you’re serious about your long-term SEO results, then you must update your website with fresh content at least once a week. Having a blog is the perfect way to go about this. And, remember, long-form content is gaining more and more territory: 2500-3000 words blog posts are true ranking boosters.
11. Use Internal Links as Often as Possible
The more time a user spends on your website, the more relevant it seems to Google and other search engines. Thus, whenever you write a blog post, think back on your previous posts: can you link anyone of them to the newest article? Can you link to something in your main menu? Make it easier for the user to spend time and navigate through your website – each click counts towards your ranking. If you’re unsure about how internal linking works, you can read a great article on Moz about the subject.
12. Link to Authority Websites
We all know that backlinks are important – the more authority websites link to ours, the better our ranking. But what about the other way around? Is it worth linking to authority websites or will these links just divert readers from your pages?
Think about websites as individuals: we typically assume that the more connected an individual is and the more people he knows, the more powerful he is. The same goes for your website’s SEO: if you link to high-ranking websites in your field, Google will assume that you know what you are talking about and push you upwards on the results page. And, if you’re scared that the user will not come back, just set the external link to open in a new tab.
13. Don’t Forget about Your Sitemap
Having a sitemap is the easiest way to help search engines with their “orientation”. No, it’s not old school, bot Google and Bing still use sitemaps as a first reference in ranking you. And don’t worry, they can be created fairly easy and automatically in most CMSs, so they aren’t even a hassle.
14. Social Media Is Crucial for SEO in 2017
You already know that having authority websites link back to you is very important. Now think about Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ — do they count as authority websites? Of course they do! Each time your links appear somewhere other than on your own website, your rankings improve (not by much, but every little bump counts).
Plus, actively using social media is a great way to improve your CTR, as most Internet users gather their information from social networks. Last, but not least, even if Google+ isn’t the most “crowded” of social networks, remember that it is still a Google product, so being there counts.
15. Use Social Markups
You must have seen the little icons with social media logos on most of the websites. Aside from helping people better connect with a certain brand, they also have an SEO value. Search engines appreciate those websites who have a bigger online foot stamp – this improves credibility, so make sure you have links to your social media profiles behind those icons.
16. Never Ignore Local SEO in 2017
Your business might not be a quaint local bakery and you might even have a global audience, but local SEO is still your friend. Much like your visitors, search engines also want to know as much as possible about you, starting with where you’re from. Besides having all the necessary data (address, ZIP code, phone number, email address) in your contact section, it is recommended you also take the time to fill all this info in Google Maps, too.
17. HTTPS is a Ranking Signal
It’s no longer a secret that online security is a top concern for everyone. Even if you’re not selling anything through your website, you might ask people for personal information – yes, even their email address counts and that information needs to be in safe hands. Google actually announced that having a strong HTTPS encryption helps websites improve their ranking. Thus, if you haven’t already, it’s time for you to migrate to HTTPS.
The world of SEO is changing continuously, so keep in mind that implementing all these tips does not guarantee you great ranking scores forever. SEO is continuous work, but also continuous rewards. And, if you need any help with improving your ranking, we’ll be happy to lend you a hand.