Time goes fast. Year 2016 is almost over, and it’s only one month until 2017.
As a website owner, have you prepared your website for 2017? Do you know what you should be prepared for in 2017 SEO?
Every year, there are many changes on how big Search Engines, especially Google, rank the websites.
In 2016 alone, there are tens of Updates, minor and major, that changes Google Search Engine. So if you are still using 2016 method for 2017… Well, you may get a harsh wake-up call.
Lucky for you, this is why we created this article!
Previously, we already make the SEO checklist for 2016, and now we have compiled a list of things you need to prepare to get a headstart over your SEO Competitors when 2017 starts.
The content of this list is taken from many trusted sources and already calculated and tested by our SEO experts, so you can trust it.
Here are 10 things you need to prepare for 2017 SEO.
1. Make your Website Mobile-Friendly / Responsive (Google Mobile-First Indexing Update)
I think it’s not a secret anymore that Google factored Mobile-Friendliness of a website into the ranking calculation, what’s with the “Mobile-Geddon” and all that. Well, it turns out Google deemed the current “Mobile-Friendly” importance is not high enough.
Enter, Google Mobile-First Indexing Update.
This particular update allows for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) content to surface in the main organic area of Google’s mobile search results, rather than limiting these pages to the “Top Stories” section. All types of brands and content creators can now AMP-enable content, as it’s no longer restricted to news publishers.
Taking a few steps back, actually this is not a new thing. Google already announced this Update on 2010, then each year, Google already started to implement the importance of Responsive Website in their Search Engine and Update it every year. These updates’ effect are not easily seen, but over time, it accumulates, leading to the aforementioned “Mobile-Geddon” in the beginning of 2015.
Right now, SEO is nearly inseperable with Mobile-Responsiveness of a website. That’s why, if you still don’t have a responsive website, you have to make it now.
To see if your website is already “Mobile-Friendly” or not, you can either use various phones, or you can use some Google Tools to Check Website Responsiveness and Page Speed. If you only want to check how your website looks on mobile, you can use this tool.
2. Audit Your Internal Links and Page Content
One of the most common reason why a website didn’t perform as good as it should be is because of mistakes in Internal Linking between each of the pages. One of the factor on how Google decided the ranks of a website is by calculating the connection between the number pages in a website, how many pages it can crawl using links provided in each page, and what are the anchor text used for the links.
Therefore, Internal Linking play a huge part in determining your website ranking. There are a few things you have to pay attention to when doing your internal links.
One, make sure to connect each and every page in your website. All pages in your website must be able to be accessed from at least one other page. This way there will be no “Orphan Page” in our website. Orphan page is a page that cannot be accessed from anywhere in the main website. Orphan Pages can seriously hurt your website rankings.
It’s more appropriate to put it in either “About Us” page or “FAQ” page, because people will go to those pages if they want to know more about your website or any technical things when buying things in your Online Store.
Three, choose a related Anchor Text for your links. Many websites are still using “click here” as their anchor text instead of “see how the product is made”.
Yes, the former is shorter and more flexible as an anchor text, but when Google see it, they didn’t know where the link will take them because they are not human.
The latter, however, will tell Google what they can expect when they clicked on the given link. As long as you really linked to the pages with same content as your anchor text, Google will consider this a good thing. Doing this correctly will make Google easier to identify your website content, which will give you plus points.
Other than the Internal Links, you also need to have a related content. Things you write in every pages of your website must be “On Topic” with the main theme of your website. So if you created website for Technology, don’t write things about culinary there.
Also, you need to limit how many exact keywords you use for the content. If you see that it’s already more than the recommended amount, change it with related keywords. This will not only give variation to your article, but also give Google more data to rank your website in SERP for another keywords.
For the instructions on How to Make a Good Content, you can click on the link.
3. Include Semantic Keywords
In 2016, Google has updated their Search Engine with many additional functions. One of the most (in)famous and important update is the Google Penguin 4.0 that not only makes search Engines become even more “Human” but also give us a routine Internet Police patrol.
If we cheat in doing website SEO, when Google comes and do a regular check, they will know and give penalty to the website.
Now, we will focus on the “Human” side, and not the “Police” side.
Now, after the latest few updates, Google Search is not focusing on the exact keywords anymore. Instead, they are focusing on Semantic Keywords. This means, people who still using exact keywords to rank in Google SERP must be careful.
True, Exact Keyword still useful for raising your ranking, but if you only focused on that, you will lose to people who use Semantic Keywords cleverly. This is because too much Exact Keywords will be seen as a spam, while too much Semantic Keywords is not.
Now, I will tell you how the Semantic Keywords worked.
For example, a person searched using keyword “apple”. How can Google differentiate between “Apple Company” and “Apple Fruit”? The answer is using semantic keywords. If there are 2 websites, one is selling Apple Electronic Products and the other is selling fruits, Google will see other related keywords inside the website.
One will have words like Mac, iPhone, iPad, App Store, and so on. The other have words such as oranges, fruits, juice, and so on. These related keywords are the ones called semantic keywords, and this is how Google determine the content of the website.
4. Implement Trusted SEO and PR Services (HARO, PitchBox, Moz, etc)
I think everyone who owns a website and know a little bit of SEO will agree that having a Good Quality Backlinks is one of the most important things for getting a good rank in Google SERP. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most frustrating things to do, especially for a new and small websites.
Fortunately, there already exist free website applications created by kind-hearted experts that are very helpful for new websites. With these applications, new websites can have easier time to get good links and raise their positions. Below are some of the most useful web applications for SEO.
Google Tools – Google has provided many useful tools for determining the quality of a website. Using these tools, you can see if there are any errors in your website and which part of your website can you improve. Some of the most useful Google tools for SEO are Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
PitchBox – PitchBox is a Blogger Outreach Application. This application is useful for finding publishers, bloggers, and influencers to have them link to your website. According to the testimonial of many SEO Experts, it is easy to use and worked quite fast.
HARO – HARO is short for Help A RepOrter. As the name implies, here you can help a REAL reporter get info for certain topics they requested. After you give them the information, if they find your information useful and include it in their report, they will mention your website or even link directly to your website. This will net you a link from a REAL news site, which is very valuable for your reputation.
Moz Open Site Explorer – This is a web application created by Moz, a famous website in terms of SEO knowledge. With this application, you can see the status of your website, how good is the quality of your website, what backlinks have your website acquired, and many other important data. These data are very useful if you want to raise your website position.
Screaming Frog and Xenu – Screaming Frog and Xenu are 2 famous free tools used to detect the status of website pages. These tools can show the data of all pages at once, so you can see if there are missing elements there. Things such as 404 page, headings, title, and meta descriptions will be shown. So if there are any pages that don’t have, you can quickly fill them.
SEMRush – SEMRush is a Web Application for SEO that can detect the status of your website and how good your website is now. This tool can also show you the information for your most-likely competitors automatically, along with the backlinks they own and some info related to their rank. All which you can use to better your own website.
5. Put More Effort for Your Local SEO
Imagine, if you have a brick-and-mortar shop on a certain area in your town and have a website ranked on top 10 for a popular keywords. Then you are wondering, why did your shop didn’t have as many customer as expected? Why the shop across you have more customer than yours? What happened??
If you are asking an SEO expert about this, he will calmly and easily say, “Have you check how your website fare in Local Search?”. Yes, for a brick-and-mortar shop which get most of their income from customers around them, getting ranked in Local SERP is more beneficial than getting ranked in Regular or International SERP.
The difference between Local SEO and Regular SEO is that Local SEO will affect Google search result more when the people searching for a product inside the scope of an area. For example, “Florist in Takashimaya”. Otherwise, it’s won’t affect your rankings in SERP too much.
There are some many things you can do to improve your Local SEO. However, if we explain them all one by one, it will take a massive amount of space, so you can click on the link to see Things You Need to Boost Your Local SEO.
6. Update Your Technical SEO (Sitemap, Page Speed, etc.)
Other than the website content and backlinks, Technical aspect of a website also play an important part in Google’s judgement. Things like Page Speed, Sitemap, the amount of 404 pages, and other SEO-related technical things are the ones you have to pay attention to when optimising your website for SEO.
To check for your website technical status, you can use various diagnostic tools, such as various Google SEO Tools, diagnostic apps like Screaming Frog and Xenu, and many other applications.
You can search on Google for these kinds of Tools, because there are so many of them we can’t list them all here.
One thing you may need to know, is that you probably need the help of a Website Programmer to address some of these technical errors. Because not all of these errors can be fixed without knowledge of programming codes, and some can be fatal if you change the setting without any knowledge.
7. Focus on Raising Customer Brand Awareness
One of the reason why SEO exist is because we want to promote our business to the whole world. Brand awareness itself refers to the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognise a brand. A famous brand will easily be recognised by many customer, thus the Brand Awareness is very high.
The more well-known your Brand is, the more attention and trust you will get from the people when you announce a News from your company. Be it a New Product launch, Change of Executives Personnel, and other things. The more attention you can get from people, the more potential customer you can get.
There are many ways to raise customer brand awareness. You can use Popular Medium such as various Social Media, you can also use Forums related to your website topic, using Promotional Ads, and many others. Other than Online Promotions, you can also use Physical Promotions such as Digital Signage, Giving Promotion and Sales Information Flyers, Newsletters, and so on.
8. Make Sure to Update Your Website Following Google Updates
As we all know, there are many updates on Google Search Engine Algorithm in 2016. Some of these updates outright invalidates many of the existing SEO strategies, which forced the SEO Experts to change the methods they are using.
Being able to adapt is a necessity in SEO Business. If you can’t adapt with the ever-changing methods, your website rank will slowly but surely surpassed by the other similar websites that can change their SEO Strategy according to the new algorithm.
This page contains the list of updates Google has done in 2016. You can use it to decide what changes you should make for your website in 2017.
9. Implement Schema to Optimize Your Website
Schema, also known as Microdata, is an initiative launched on 2 June 2011 by Bing, Google and Yahoo! (the operators of the then world’s largest search engines) to create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages.
Schema is useful to explain Google about parts and bits of your pages content so Google can understand better and there will be no misunderstanding. For example, you wrote in your website “I like Apple”, there will be question if you like Apple electronic devices or Apple fruit. You can explain this to Google using Schema by adding the relevant code inside.
Schema can also change how your website is shown in Google SERP. If your website have a product, article, or something else that can have a rating, you can place Schema there to make the rating appear on Google Search.
There are many other advantages of using Schema in your website, so make your your website have this in 2017.
10. Decide : DIY SEO vs SEO Company
Last but not least, you have to decide between doing your website SEO yourself or hiring a Professional SEO Company. Both have their own pros and cons, and both depends on how good you are are at researching and making decision.
Doing SEO yourself mainly requires you to learn all the knowledge and tricks in SEO along with the Twist and Turns that happened in SEO-related things, which need a very meticulous and constant research.
On the other hand, if we use the service of SEO Company, you don’t need to do these kinds of research yourself because they will do it for you. But you have to do your research correctly to find a good and reputable SEO Company.
It’s better to use a trustable and accountable, but slightly more expensive SEO Company, rather than using a cheap SEO Company service that are prone to scam.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of DIY SEO vs SEO Company Services :
DIY Pros :
- Totally Free : You do it yourself, so you don’t need to pay for anything other than the money for buying SEO tools and applications.
- Easy and Efficient : Learning the basics are easy and can already give you some idea on what to do, and sometimes a website only need to do the basics to be successful. You know your website the best, so you know which page is the best to be optimised for your website.
DIY Cons :
- Time-Consuming : SEO is not an instant job. You need to wait for months until the result appears. Meanwhile, you must constantly work everyday without stop, otherwise you hard work will be for naught. Depending on what you do, SEO can take as little as 1 hour to as much as 8+ hours of work per day.
- Misleading Info : The most frustrating thing about doing SEO yourself is because you mainly using info you got from internet, and in the internet all kind of infos are gathering, both true and false information. If you follow a false lead, not only will your website stuck in place, but you may also get a penalty from Google.
SEO Company Pros :
- Pay-and-Do : You pay them, they do it. Easy, simple, fast. No need for any learning.
- Professional Quality : They are Professionals, with years of experience under their resume. They know best how to do SEO for any kind of websites, and you can expect proper documentation from them. You can also study their method to learn how to do it yourself (if you want).
SEO Company Cons :
- Expensive : Hiring SEO Company cost money, and depending on the quality of said company, the money needed is not small. Sometimes because of some reasons, the SEO Company is not competent enough and your website did not have a satisfactory result, so you wasted some of those money. This is some of the risk in hiring SEO Company to do your job.
- Scam : Even though there are many good SEO Companies out there, there are even more Unscrupulous SEO Company that scammed their customers. This is why you need to do a thorough research before using the service of an SEO Company. One thing you must remember, hiring a more expensive but reputable SEO Company is better that hiring cheap but non-reputable SEO Company. It’s safer and less risky for your business.