How Search Engines Work
A few months ago, Search Engine Land released its 2017 edition of the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. The table is a good guide for understanding what's important and what has changed in the SEO world. It's also something that we share regularly with our clients. It probably has more details than most of you will want to know, so we'll give you an overview here of the important things to pay attention to going forward. And if you're an SEO-geek, like us, you can print a copy of the table to post on your wall here.
Quality content is still the most important factor in ranking
Having quality content on your website continues to rank highly on the SEO table. It's crucial for SEO success and it's a big part of why we emphasize content so much in our web design and development projects. Also worth noting, search engines are starting to penalize web pages that don't have good quality content.
Mobile-friendliness is an even larger factor than in the past
Having a mobile-friendly website is really a must these days and it will only become more important going forward. With more than half of Google searches being done on mobile devices, Google is expected to release a mobile-first search index in the near future. This means that Google will begin using the mobile version of a website to index it, rather than the desktop version. If you don't have a mobile-friendly site, don't despair. It will definitely still be indexed. But it's a good idea to consider options for a mobile-friendly site moving forward.
Page speed is more important now
Page load speed is given more importance in the new edition of the table as well. This means that websites that are bloated with code and non-optimized content will be penalized going forward, so now would be a good time to do any house cleaning that's needed to tidy up your website's code and content.
The notion of answers is becoming more important
As we're sure you've seen while doing your own online searches, search engines are now pulling snippets from website content to answer user questions. While you don't want to turn your website into one big FAQ, it's a good idea to keep this in mind when considering your website's content strategy.
Having a secure site is a factor now
In October, Google released a new version of Chrome with more rigid security settings, so Chrome users who visit websites without an SSL certificate (i.e., https at the beginning of the URL) will see a security warning message when they navigate to forms (Contact, Request Quote, etc.) on the site. Google also recently began giving websites with SSL certificates a slight boost in search engine rankings. In response to this change, we're installing SSL certificates on all of our clients' websites and forcing traffic to view the secure version of the page. While this isn't as important a factor as the items mentioned above, website users usually find an error message alarming, so we think it's important to be proactive on this.
A few other things to consider
Last, but not least is a laundry list of items that haven't changed but are still worth noting: having clean, semantic HTML with proper titles, descriptions, headers and page structure remains very important. Inbound links also continue to be important so buildling up links over time from credible sources is a good idea. And you'll still want to steer clear of having any hidden words on your site, having spam content or excessive ads and other paid content.
Have questions or want to talk more about search engine optimization for your website? Please get in touch!
Image credit: https://searchengineland.com/seotable