SEO doesn’t stand still. In fact, it never did. It requires digital marketers to always stay on top of every little change and update in SEO standards. But oftentimes, it’s easier said than done. Many SEO experts continue to use outdated strategies that don’t accommodate today’s SEO standards.  

Search engines are constantly rolling out updates one after another. Google’s goal in particular is to provide a seamless search experience and to show the most relevant content to its users.

It’s pretty challenging to predict how Google will behave in a couple of months. But it’s important to understand what makes a difference for SEO today. If you’re serious about strengthening your website’s rankings, make sure you have considered these major SEO shifts to help refine your SEO strategy.   

How to Positively Influence SEO in 2017

#1 User Intent

Content has always been one of the most important ranking factors and this will likely not change any time in the near future. And while keywords still matter, their role is gradually diminishing and giving way to semantic search instead.

This means that search engines focus more on a searcher’s intent rather than on keywords, and context helps determine what search results should be shown to auser. If search engines shift their attention to the contextual meaning of words that people use for search, content creators and SEO strategists should also pivot their strategies to focus on intent rather than keywords.

Pay close attention to the relevancy and the use of natural language, because the way search engines think and act nowadays is mimicking the way humans think.

#2 Voice Search   

While text-based search isn’t completely extinct, it could potentially become useless some time in the future. The rise of voice search is forcing us to take measures to not be left behind in search engines.

With so many searches occurring “on the go”, people are using voice search more and more often these days. The behaviour of voice searchers demands SEO strategists to rethink their keyword strategy, placing more importance on question words (who, what, when, where, why, etc.) and conversational language. It’s easier for the voice searchers to ask longer questions that feature long-tail keywords outloud rather than typing them into a search query.

#3 Mobile-First UX

To go up against your competition, you should have confirmed your website’s mobile friendliness a long time ago. The mobile-first age is already underway. If you are still doubting whether or not mobile optimization is a good idea, then you are losing out on potential revenue.

Google rewards websites that follow and support its mission of providing the fastest and  most convenient access to information with higher rankings. The majority of Internet users made it clear in 2015 that they prefer to use Google on their mobile devices.

The number of searches conducted on mobile devices is growing day by day. Make sure your website appears among those that are mobile-optimized on the first page, otherwise your desktop-only digital presence won’t stand a chance in the business landscape.

#4 Local Targeting

Marketing to locals has never been more important for SEO success. The majority of users are using mobile search and expecting to find local results. This makes dominating local web search mandatory for those looking to capture business from “near me” search queries.

You should be visible to users that are searching locally across multiple search engines, especially on Google. In this blog post, we explain how to master local search and better connect nearby people with your services.

#5 Overall UX

Great user experience has always been on the list of Google’s priorities, but nowadays it shows the potential to replace SEO. Providing seamless UX to users is almost an art. A perfect user experience is achieved through a number of optimization techniques, including loading time optimization, the optimization of website navigation, designing aesthetically pleasing webpages, securing user activity and much more.

A user experience created with the user in mind ensures lower bounce rates and longer times spent on pages. This signals to Google that a website is valuable and worth showing to the rest of the world, moving it closer to the top of search engine result pages.

Bottom Line

The SEO landscape is changing all the time and it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world of search engine optimization. You may miss one change today, but this change could put in jeopardy your entire SEO strategy tomorrow. Google is constantly improving to make a searcher’s journey more and more convenient, hassle-free and fast. And it rewards websites that are able to keep pace with its continuously evolving SEO standards.