As long as Google has been generating results for user's search inquiries, businesses have been striving to reach the top of page one. After all, 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results, according to HubSpot. Achieving the highly coveted top result can bring plenty of traffic to your site and potential leads to your business.
While algorithms often change, one thing is guaranteed: Search engines will always strive to connect users with the best possible answers to their questions. And the most effective SEO trends are those that improve the user experience.
But how do the most successful websites reach the top of results pages? Here are five most powerful SEO trends you need to know in 2017:
1. Content Relevance
Even if you take away nothing else from this blog post, remember that search engines are more sophisticated than you think. Attempting to trick Google by stuffing your content with highly searched keywords will penalize your website.
Instead, your content should be relevant to the pain point searchers are attempting to solve. The better your content naturally aligns with these topics, the more likely your site will land higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence isn't new, but it is changing how you should think about optimizing for search. At its core, artificial intelligence allows search engines to deliver more relevant search results to users while also eliminating the effectiveness of cookie-cutter SEO strategies. In order to get ahead in the age of AI, you will need to thoroughly understand your consumer's journey and develop search strategies to account for these stages. Begin thinking about the types of problems your consumers are looking to solve, the devices they are searching on, and where and when they are searching in order to better align with their needs.
3. Mobile First
According to a study from HitWise and reported on by Search Engine Land, as of last year, 60 percent of all searches came from mobile devices. It's likely this number will only grow. In 2016, Google announced the move to a mobile-first index. If your site doesn't render well on mobile devices, you can expect your site to continue dropping lower on results pages.
While updating to a more mobile-friendly design can seem expensive, choosing not to will slash your traffic — if it hasn't already. Plus, making your site easier to navigate on a mobile device will improve your user experience.
4. Simple and Logical UX
Clean and easy-to-navigate websites aren't just more aesthetically pleasing — they're also more attractive to search engines, too.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Text should be concise and easy to read;
- The website should stay within established conventions. If you do choose to experiment with design, pay close attention to user engagement metrics; and
- Calls-to-action should be placed logically to guide users through the site.
5. Quality Over Quantity
A decade ago, optimization gurus touted the importance of publishing lots of content as often as possible. The idea was that by posting frequently, search engines would crawl your site more often, and your posts would be more likely to show up higher than older content. While there's some truth to this, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity.
Every piece of content you publish should be thought-provoking, expertly written and helpful. If you're able to publish this caliber of content every day — great! If not, you're better off publishing only as often as you can create high-quality content.
Overall, the top SEO trends for 2017 are about being more in-tune with the needs and expectations of users. By making sure your site follows all the above practices, you'll climb your way up the SERPs in no time.