The SEO landscape is evolving at lightning speed as Google constantly tinkers with its algorithm. This means that search engine optimisers need to stay on their toes to remain relevant in the field. The days when SEO just entailed creating manipulative links and tricking search engines into giving you a higher ranking are gone; now you earn your ranking.

The way to do this is through planning and quick adoption of changes. Look out for factors that will affect the way sites are ranked and make plans to align your strategies to them as quickly as possible to remain ahead of the pack.

Word from the wise is that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. So as you put together your SEO strategies for 2017, keep these five factors in mind as they will play a big role in determining which sites will rank well in coming months.

  1. SSL migration. Security Socket Layer (or SSL in short), is a security technology used to establish secure connections between a client and a server. These are the “s” in the “https” seen before URL addresses and provide an extra security layer for the website and its visitors.

Google announced on August 6, 2014, that SSL would become a ranking signal – albeit a weaker one at the time. During the announcement, Google strongly hinted that the SSL URLs would carry more weight in the future as they worked to “keep everyone safe on the web.”

With cutthroat competition for good rankings on SERPs, migrating to SSL in 2017 could be that extra thing that gives you an edge over the competition.

  1. Schema markup. Rich answers are quickly becoming a staple on Google’s SERPs. The search engine is now often displaying information directly in results, along with other helpful websites, videos, event or movie information, specific dates or reviews.

Structured data markup (or schema) helps website owners enhance their listings on SERPs by assisting the search engine understand the content on their site which allows them to display the information in a way that is more helpful for users.

In other words, schema increases your chances of being featured in a rich answer which makes implementing it (if you haven’t already) a wise move to make in 2017.

  1. Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (Google AMP). Site speed has been a Google ranking signal for a while now. As a result, we’re likely to see Google making AMP (which boosts a sites loading speeds by 15 – 85%) a stronger ranking signal in 2017 as they work to provide a better user experience for browsers.
  1. Mobile First Indexing. To cater for the ever increasing mobile-internet-users’ needs, Google is currently experimenting with the mobile-first index – an update that will see the mobile version of a site ranked as the primary version. What this means is that having a mobile version of your website or a responsive site design that adapts depending on the size of the screen it is being viewed on will be crucial in 2017.
  1. Voice search. According to Google, about 20% of queries on android devices and Google’s mobile app are voice searches. And with the growth in popularity of digital voice assistants such as Google assistant, Siri, Cortana and Alexa; voice search will continue to increase. As such, SEOs will have to think beyond text-based queries this year for better rankings.

MediaHub can help ensure your website is compliant with the latest Google Requirements.  Contact us for a free 5 point needs-assessment