3 SEO Focus Areas to Embrace for 2017

Let’s talk SEO in 2017. So much to cover, right? A bajillion things have changed.

Well, not really.SEO in 2017: 3 Focus Areas

This is a misconception most people have held about Google for years now: that it changes so fast it’s impossible to keep up.

In reality, Google is keeping pace with our fast-changing way we consume information and buy. Our preferences and habits are changing at a fast-clip pace, and Google is leading the charge while simultaneously changing to keep up and stay ahead of competition (ahem, Amazon and Apple). If you’re in digital marketing, you know that keeping up is part of the game.

(And BTW – does Google really change more than Facebook? Not by much.)

Before we get to 2017 – 5 SEO Changes from 2016

Here are a few SEO things that changed in 2016:

  1. Goodbye to AdWords text ads in the right column
  2. Goodbye to the PageRank bar
  3. Goodbye to Google AdWords Keyword Planner specific search counts – and hello traffic range estimates (this change hit hard)
  4. The confirmation of the top 3 ranking factors: RankBrain, Links, Content
  5. Real-time Penguin updates as Google re-crawls and reindexes pages through its filter

Ok that was fun reflecting.

Now Onto SEO in 2017.

3 SEO Focus Areas to Embrace Going into 2017

I’ve been consuming “SEO for 2017” articles out the wazoo over the past few weeks. I’ve taken 3 of the top trends, and backed them up with quotes and citations from people much smarter than I to distill them into doable focus areas. Here they are:

  1. Mobile-First Indexing
  2. SEO for MultiBuyer Journeys and Conversions
  3. Content Creation and Keywords around Searcher Intent

 

  1. Shifting to Mobile-First Indexing (being where your peeps are)
  • Google itself says this: “Mobile is critical to the way people make decisions today, so it must be central to our culture, our media plans, and our creative process. Being customer-first will mean developing customer interactions and experiences on mobile first”
  • Moz on not forgetting Local: “in a mobile-only world, the relevance of local search is even higher.”
  • Search Engine Land on writing for voice search: “Whether we want to ask Alexa to clarify a recipe while cooking, ask Siri for directions while driving or run quick searches during the commercial breaks when second-screening, we’re all getting increasingly comfortable using voice search and digital personal assistants.”
  1. SEO for Multi-Buyer Journeys and Conversions
  • Whiteboard Friday Goodness from Rand Fishkin: “Multi-visit buyer journeys have always been important, but I think we are now seeing the trend to where not just search marketers but marketers of all stripes recognize this, and a lot of us are optimizing for it, which means that the competitive landscape now demands that you optimize for a multi-visit buyer journey, that you don’t just consider a single visit in your conversion path or in your optimization path, and that means, for SEOs, considering what are all the queries someone might perform as they come to and come back to my site.”
  • Love this from thenextweb.com (yes the site that’s the fake source of all the new referral spam out there). “While rankings are great, it’s time to stop focusing on them as an all or nothing way to determine if SEO is working. It’s not about being #1 for the keyword phrase with the highest search volume. It’s about being #1 (organically and/or paid) for the keyword phrase with the highest search volume that will get you conversions.
  1. Content Creation + Keywords for Searcher Intent:
  • Search expert Christine Benson shares: “Search and social media are important indicators of intent. Looking at these signals, in combination with other digital behavior, we gain a deeper appreciation of what customers want and how they discover it. That gets us closer to understanding the nuances of the purchasing process overall. Understanding context and timing is also really important.”
  • From Moz: Google’s investigative efforts seem almost fully devoted to entity, predictive, and personalized search. Again, quite logical if we consider deeply personal devices like mobile and home assistants.

 

For you cutting-edge innovators who want the latest and greatest, it seems that SEO advice around VR, Home devices, and wearables is hard to come by other. It’s still too early to glean substantial actionable insight

Lest you think I’m forgetting anything important, let me close out by saying that YES—AMP, structured data, video, semantic keywords and content, SERPS features like instant answers, UX, brand building….still important foundational SEO elements.

Oh – and I love this technical SEO article to clean house and prep for SEO awesomeness in 2017: http://searchengineland.com/technical-seo-checklist-7-essential-tips-2017-263936.

Cheers!

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Jenny Munn

Jenny Munn is an SEO Strategist who helps organizations get more leads from their website and integrate SEO into their marketing mix. She consults with in-house marketing managers, agencies, and small businesses. Jenny has taught SEO at WordCamp Atlanta, Digital Atlanta, Solo PR Summit, Business Marketing Association, Atlanta Tech Village, and various content marketing and social media organizations.

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