If you want to improve your SEO ranking in 2017, where to start might be the problem. To help you out, below are important SEO factors to address.
Migrate from HTTP to HTTPS
Google offers a ranking incentive to websites that utilize secure HTTPS instead of HTTP. Although Google maintains that the ranking boost is modest, most websites on the first page are encrypted. Additionally, users are now shying away from non-secured sites.
As from January 2017, a red “not secure” notice indicates non-secure HTTP sites, at least in Google Chrome. This notification will naturally affect the confidence of users, which might reduce traffic and affect your SEO ranking. Fortunately, the process of switching does not have to be expensive.
Optimize your site for speed
Since 2010, there has been a clear correlation between website speed optimization and Google rankings. Compared to slow sites, fast loading websites achieve higher rankings in Google. However, you will most likely optimize your site for SEO if you optimized it for speed. Additionally, achieving a potentially higher ranking is not the only benefit of speeding up your site. You will also improve user experience and conversion rates.
Many website users expect loading speeds of around two seconds. As a result, users tend to abandon websites that don’t load within three seconds. If your site takes more than two seconds to load, you might be losing a lot of traffic and missing out on the sales it would have generated.
Think mobile friendliness
In 2014, Google altered its algorithm and the changes adversely impacted the rankings of websites that weren’t mobile-ready. Today, mobile devices are used to conduct more searches than laptops or desktops. For this reason, Google is now placing more importance on mobile responsive sites.
In time, the Google algorithm will primarily use the content of a website’s mobile version and not the desktop version to rank its pages. Having a responsive site that contains the same primary content across mobile devices and desktops is important.
You must make some changes if your desktop and mobile sites contain different content. Have the same structured data on both versions of your site, test your website’s robots.txt file to ensure Google spiders see the mobile version, and beef up the content of your mobile site.
Audit your backlinks
Apart from updating in real-time, Penguin is currently part of Google’s core search algorithm. Penguin adjusts rankings according to your backlinks. Google used to release Penguin updates 1-3 times yearly, and every update caused a significant difference in the search results. However, the dramatic shifts in ranking results ended as soon as Google rolled the last Penguin update in October 2016.
The penalty caused by your backlinks will, therefore, be a lot harder to identify. As a result, SEOs need to be more proactive in scrutinizing your site’s links, which means removing and replacing any that doesn’t fit Google’s guidelines.