In this article we list 7 mendatory SEO tips for better search engine rankings. Quality content is still king but also you can improve drastically your position if you follow the new Google guildelines, improve page speed, create correctly optimized sitemaps and generate organic link building. The design, UI and architecture of the whole site also play big role in SEO in 2017.

 

Add value

As simple as it sounds, it’s important to create content that adds value, while it maintains its relevance for the target audience.

It’s not just about creating quality content, but also about knowing your audience, to the extent that the content is useful and has more chances to be ranked higher in the search results for the relevant queries.

Quick tips to add more value with your content:

  • Examine your existing content and find the most popular topics
  • Learn more about your audience and find the questions that you’re going to answer
  • Find the best way to use combine timing and context, in a way that you’ll be able to beat your competitors
  • Do not hesitate to expand your niche area, provided that you’re still useful for your target audience

 

Follow Google’s new search quality guidelines

Google released their latest 160-page search quality guidelines. The last previous published was the abridged version two years ago that was a reaction to the leaked versions from 2008, 2011, and 2012 (notwithstanding the 2014 version) for the purpose of transparency.

As expected, the published document is far from the finished product.

The guidelines will continue to evolve as search, and how people use it, changes. We won’t be updating the public document with every change, but we will try to publish big changes to the guidelines periodically."

You can download your copy of the search quality guidelines from the link above.

Focus on White-Hat SEO, Avoid Link Buying

An outdated and shortsighted black-hat link building technique focuses on spending money to buy backlinks from shady websites trying to sell “easy SEO” solutions to companies that would rather just spend money in exchange for improved Google rankings than spend the time and energy to utilize REAL SEO solutions.

The problem with this strategy is that Google is getting very adept at knowing the difference between high quality, relevant organic backlinks, and low quality, irrelevant ones, making paid-for links not only useless, but they can absolutely get your site penalized by Google, causing your site to sink like a stone within Google search results.

That being said, make sure to focus exclusively on getting your site published on high authority websites with content relevant to your site’s industry. Still, try hard to focus more on organic forms of link building, whether they be forum posting, directory sites, guest blogging, social, etc.

Title and meta description tags still matter

Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of your title and description tags is displayed in search results. Think of this text as a “mini-ad” that you need to carefully craft.

Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. In light of this, the generally acceptable length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and description tags can be approximately 160 to 200 characters. Take advantage of this space and use it wisely — and make sure you double-check that your titles and descriptions aren’t getting cut off in search results.

Maps are the Key to Success

Think of the Google search engine like a festival goer:  it needs to be able to find it’s way around your website in order to be able to index your pages correctly.

And in the same way the audience can’t find where the gigs are being held, if Google can’t find your content, then your SEO strategy will  fail.

This is particularly true for new content, changing content, and fresh content.  A map, or more  specifically a correctly optimised sitemaps, will help Google, and your customers, find all your content.

Sitemaps can now take a number of forms to help index specific kinds of content: video sitemaps, sitemaps for mobile content.

Provide a Better User Experience

SEO combines with UX (user experience) in many ways. Site speed, site architecture, quality content, colors / fonts, user metrics and more all factor into the overall usability of your site.

Search engines can only assess certain aspects of user behavior – for now. On inspection of the user metrics, if they see high levels of visits bouncing back to the search results after hitting your site, they just know they bounced, they don’t exactly know why.

That bounce could be the result of one or five things wrong with your site. It doesn’t matter to the search engine; they just see the bounce and will likely factor that into how well you should rank. The key, then, is to determine what’s causing this behavior and then figure out ways to provide a better result for the visitor overall.

Improve Page Speed

Many things can affect the speed of your website, from oversized/high-resolution images to server settings that you’ve probably never seen before. Improving page speed needs to be a collaboration between the SEO team and the development team. It can’t simply be a report the SEO sends over from Google Page Speed Insights.

Use the Inspect tool in your Chrome browser to help diagnose the biggest issues. The Timeline tab will help you find performance issues involved in loading, scripting and rendering the page.

https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools/evaluate-performance/timeline-tool

The Network tab will help you pinpoint render-blocking resources and slow loading content. Third party scripts like Criteo that appear above the main content are called “render blocking resources” because the content below can’t load until this slow, third-party script loads.

The easiest option is probably just to move render-blocking scripts toward the bottom of the <body> area. More sophisticated instructions on what to load when can also be provided, and HTTP2 (see below) will also ameliorate many such issues.

When it comes to improving speed, every little bit counts. You may spend less time optimizing content for keywords this year, and more time optimizing images and other resources for faster loading.