LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: WHAT 2017 MEANS FOR SEO & DIGITAL MARKETING
The Web is an extremely competitive world where change is a must – you have to adapt or be left out. If you want your website to shoot up to the first page of major search engines like Google, or if you aim to cement your top position in search engine rankings, you have to constantly innovate your digital marketing strategies to lead the game.
So, as 2016 draws to a close, we probe into the factors that would likely serve as catalysts of change in the cutthroat world of Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing. Here is a rundown of key elements that could determine if your website will dominate in the year 2017 – or not.
Implement SEO best practices
There are reportedly more than 1 billion websites registered online today, though only about 644 million websites were active as of 2012. If you are a local business in Dubai, competing with half a billion websites out there is not necessary, but there are still possibly hundreds of websites offering the same services as yours – and each one of them is vying for the top spot on Google’s SERPs.
For this reason, SEO still remains to be the most effective digital marketing strategy for businesses to build a formidable presence online. A robust SEO strategy comprises ethical on-site and off-site practices that are all designed to signal Google that your website is trustworthy and you offer value to the online community. Once Google sees that your website provides great user experience (which we’ll discuss further later), that you have solid authority in your niche, and that you offer valuable information or products and services, Google will reward your efforts and elevate your ranking accordingly.
As such, your SEO tactics for 2017 should include the following critical elements:
- User-friendly and easily navigable website
- High-quality internal linking
- Healthy link profile composed of backlinks from diverse trustworthy sources
- Value-driven website content
Remember that Google regularly updates its algorithms. If you engage in any Black Hat SEO techniques, Google is bound to penalise your website. Consequently, the rankings you gained through unethical means will just go down the drain.
This 2017, change your mindset about SEO. Rather than thinking of it as a quick and easy way to reach the top, consider it as a slow but sure process to winning Google’s trust and establishing your brand and authority online.
User experience can make or break your website
Google puts a premium on great user experience – this means the search engine giant gives the spotlight to websites that have fast loading time, easily navigable pages, and content rich in value. On the other hand, websites that give poor user experience are pushed down the ranks. These are websites that stuff their content with keywords, bombard their visitors with advertisements, or take eons to load their pages.
For 2017, make sure your website – especially your landing page – takes lightning speed to load, if possible. The more seconds it takes for your website to load, the more users become dissatisfied and leave. In addition, ensure you minimise interstitial pages that obstruct user experience and eliminate any spammy content on your website.
Another game changer in digital marketing in 2017 is mobile optimisation. As more people turn to their mobile devices to surf online – 91 percent of internet users own a smartphone and account for more than one-third of daily online time – Google is encouraging website owners to create mobile-friendly websites. Additionally, mobile websites with fast loading time experience improved online visibility and reduced bounce rates.
Content is still your main ammunition
Speaking of content, it continues to reign as one of the top factors in determining your online rankings. Experts have seen that most users now favour dense content – but by dense content, we do not mean content peppered with keywords. Instead, you should ensure you have content that is packed with valuable facts and useful information. Each word should count. Don’t just write to integrate keywords. Make sure your visitors will learn something new whenever they visit your website.
It is also crucial to diversify your content. Though in-depth blogs and articles get a high rating from visitors and search engines, not all web users are fans of reading text. Incorporate eye-catching images, infographics, and short videos in your ammunition of online content. Diversifying your content does not only offer higher value for your visitors, but it can also amplify your social media marketing efforts – which we’ll tackle below.
Be social, go viral
Featuring a blog on your website gives you a platform where you can regularly publish fresh, useful content and establish your business as a leader in your market. Sharing the blog on your social media platforms increases your online visibility and brand awareness. People who are redirected to your website through your social media profiles also help increase your website traffic. Above all, cultivating a social media presence allows you to build a more personal relationship with your target audience. Regularly posting on social media sites makes them remember you and can increase brand recall. So, create content worth sharing online. Go viral, and grab the attention of your target audience.