How to Optimize Your Website for Better Results in 2017

As you start to wrap up the year this Q4, don’t forget to start planning ahead so you can hit the ground running in Q1 of 2017. This is the best time to start strategizing your website so you can improve your results in 2017. While it’s impossible to predict all the algorithm changes Google can throw out there within the next 12 or so months, you can still anticipate several ways to improve your customers’ experience and improve your SEO strategy.

Mark your webpages so Google knows what you’re talking about

This is such a simple, but often overlooked, element of ranking higher in SERPs, especially for newer websites. If you aren’t already using Schema to mark your website, you are missing out on a major opportunity to make your website easier to find.

Schema.org marks up your content and the specific elements within it with code, which makes it easy for Google to identify the type of content it is. For instance, Schema can identify images and pictures as such, separating these types of elements from the rest of your content. Getting started with Schema is easy, and with only a small fraction of websites using it, you’ll be jumping ahead of the competition with this simple switch.

SEO changes

You should already know by now that when it comes to SEO, Google is looking for more than just keyword stuffing. If you are still keyword stuffing, you need to stop. Now. If you aren’t sure, then consider whether or not you are flooding your content with keywords. If you are, then you’re keyword stuffing.

Instead, focus on creating useful content, since this is the main thing users look for. Google’s quality raters (real people who rate websites based on their usefulness for site visitors) will rate your website highest when it provides information that has practical usefulness for your readers. Focusing on giving readers the best information is the best way to raise your SERPS ranking in 2017.

Make the most of meta descriptions

As part of an experiment with their algorithm and search rankings, Google is giving some websites more space for their meta descriptions. The tricky thing here is that Google isn’t revealing the rhyme or reason for which lucky websites get this additional real estate.

Even if you aren’t one of the lucky few who can use extra characters in meta descriptions, you can still improve yours. Here are some ways to make the most of meta descriptions:

  • Use your main keyword first: Whether or not you have additional characters, always put your main keyword early on in your meta description. This way, searchers will be able to tell immediately what your content is about and they’ll be more likely to click on your link instead of moving on to the next search result.
  • Use all characters available: Normal meta descriptions have up to 150 characters to use. Make sure you are using all (or at least most) characters available to you to ensure your meta descriptions don’t get lost and buried among those with higher limits. Aim to use at least 100 characters, although 130-150 is optimal.
  • Expand description: If you do wind up with extra space, use it to expand your description. Don’t waste the extra space with fluff words or by repeating yourself.

Bottom line

There’s no way to predict exactly what Google will do in 2017 to mess up your existing SEO strategy. The key is to deliver quality content with enough code and descriptors to make sure Google knows what you are delivering. These elements will increase your SERPs ranking and help drive more traffic to your site.

For more ideas on what to do now to prepare for 2017, contact us today.
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