The new year brings a fresh start and new opportunities to grow your business. But in order for you to grow, potential clients and customers must be able to find your website when they search online.
For your website to be seen on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to play by the rules set by various search engines. Google and other search engines exist to help people find the information they seek. To accomplish this task, search engines create complicated formulas called algorithms that determine what you, the user, like most about the websites you click on. Trillions of clicks across the web help Google & co. determine what attracts our eye and what kind of information is most appealing. In a nutshell, what search engines determine as best practices for web design form the “rules” of search engine optimization (SEO).
As these rules change and evolve throughout the year, you constantly need to adapt your website to keep ranking at the top of the SERPs. And since it’s already 2017, there’s no better time than now to begin.
1. Use a Schema Markup
How search engines view your site is the third most important factor in ranking. Using a schema will ensure that search engines see your site the same way you and your users see it.
By using a schema markup, you will also appear correctly in Quick Answers and Rich Cards in Google results. You will have seen Rich Cards as you searched for recipes, videos, local businesses, reviews, movies, TV shows, or other popular information. Rich Cards help users find answers fast—giving them the opportunity to click the link to the page for additional content. Although Rich Cards are currently limited to a select few categories, the number could expand at any time. So it’s best to prepare your site now.
2. Enable Voice Search
More users are relying on voice search to give them a break from typing. By enabling voice recording on your site, you can rank higher than your competitors who neglect to include this feature.
3. Focus on Content Curation
In addition to creating content, you should curate content produced by your brand and by other people. Include all types of content in the mix: press releases and newsletters as well as articles and blog posts. A good content mix will help you increase backlinks on authority websites and establish you as an expert in your field, which is good for SEO and for conversions.
4. Speed Up Your Site
Users are not the only ones who appreciate a fast site. Search engines take speed into account too. Run speed checks and remove any unnecessary features or data that are slowing down your page loading times.
5. Take Advantage of Changes to SERPs
In 2016, Google started offering some websites the chance to have longer titles and meta descriptions in SERPs. If you receive this extra space, take advantage of the opportunity by going into greater detail and adding more keywords to both headlines and meta descriptions. Just be aware this could be a temporary feature and Google could decide to revert to the old layout.
6. Switch to “https”
If your site is still using “http,” you could be jeopardizing your users’ information. Even if you only ask for basic contact details, users may be wary about parting with information on an “http” site.
If customers are making purchases, maintaining an outdated site is completely out of the question. Search engines also appreciate this simple upgrade, and you may notice you instantly move up several spots in search results.
7. Remember Your Local Business Pages
Companies often create local business pages for all their locations, mainly for the purpose of backlinks, and then fail to keep these profiles maintained. Outdated local business pages are bad for SEO, as your overall brand appears inactive online. Create only as many local business pages as you have time to manage and be sure to update them often.
8. Optimize for All Major Search Engines
Most SEO tips relate to Google, as Google dominates internet search volume. However, plenty of people use Bing and Yahoo: some due to preference and others due to a default search engine setting they never bothered to change.
Whatever the reason users access a less popular search engine, optimizing for Bing and Yahoo is worthwhile. Although many SEO best practices relate to all three main search engines, be aware of changes to Yahoo and Bing algorithms throughout 2017 and be ready to make the appropriate adaptations to your website.
Take each of these tips one at a time and you won’t get overwhelmed with the constant evolution of SEO tactics as they relate to search algorithms. And if you need further help or need a website analysis, you can always head to Boostability.com for a free consultation!