The beginning of a new year is a good time to re-strategize your marketing plans. Within the fast-paced world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), constant algorithm changes require marketers to check in often to monitor the pulse of their strategy. Below are the top three search ranking factors, per Google themselves. Continue reading below for a 2017 SEO to-do list, to create actionable tasks for the new year.
Content Marketing has been emphasized enormously in the last couple of years, and it will be more of the same for 2017. Google recently attributed content as one of the top three most important ranking factors for search, and it’s no surprise. The function of a search engine is to provide answers to people, so it only makes sense that the websites that provide the best content would be granted high-ranking status.
While content planning and writing can be tedious, it is sometimes overlooked as a consideration for SEO as it’s not a more technical factor. But in fact, it is the most important ranking factor…so don’t neglect your content strategy!
Your 2017 To-Do: Outline your year (or quarter, if it’s easier) in content. Choose topics for your blog, website or other online initiatives. Determine who will write the content and the date it will be posted. As you post content, be sure to share it through Social Media and Email. As the year progresses, monitor your website traffic to see what causes a positive uptick in search traffic.
Google uses PageRank to determine how important a website is. It works by counting the number and quality of links to a website page. A recent study by Backlinko found that “the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.”
Your 2017 To-Do: Look for opportunities within your network to build backlinks. Become a thought leader in your industry and develop content that others will share on their own websites. Tap into social signals to share your own website content. Do content research to find the topics that are most searchable (and by default, most shareable). Building backlinks is a slow, tedious process. But quality links to your website can be a game changer in terms of SEO.
RankBrain uses Artificial Intelligence to help Google “interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were researched for,” Search Engine Land says. RankBrain specifically comes into play for long-tail keywords, or queries that have multiple words and are highly specific.
Your 2017 To-Do: Stop worrying about keyword density. Because RankBrain is attempting to understand your content in its entirety and correlate that to a variety of query combinations, there is less of a need to insert specific words throughout your content. Instead, focus on the clarity and quality of the content you are delivering. Keywords will naturally appear if you curate your content in this way, and RankBrain will recognize that your web page is a good search result option.
To recap, here is your 2017 to-do list to capitalize on what we know about Google’s search ranking factors:
- Outline your year in content.
- Develop a tactical plan to execute content creation for the year.
- Look for opportunities within your network to build back links.
- Stop worrying about keyword density.
- Focus on delivering clear, quality content to your target audience.
What else do you have on your SEO to-do list this year? Leave a comment below and let us know your areas of focus for this year!
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