Every year, the basic requirements for great search engine traffic are changing. From “lots of pages!” to “lots of links!” to “lots of keywords!”, the SEO ranking factors that Google values are, in general, entirely about user experience.
This year, two major changes happened to what Google and other search engines consider the basic qualities of a website:
- • Websites should be mobile-friendly – even prioritize mobile user experience over desktop user experience.
- • Websites should be secure, with verified ownership.
As a quick recap, Google uses a secret checklist of criteria to determine where a web page should rank in a search engine results page. Then, it has computers crawl website pages, comparing them to the checklist. The higher your score, the better your pages will rank. The art and science of SEO is figuring out what matters to this checklist, and testing your ideas by adjusting and improving site content.
When Google says jump, businesses who want to build a strong base of search traffic have to ask, how high? The benefit of Google’s website standards is that, generally, they improve the experience of website visitors, as is the case with their 2017 expectations for SEO.
1. Your Site Needs Responsive Design and AMPs
In 2017, search optimization is going to favor indexing and ranking the content on your website based on mobile user experience. This means that when Google crawls your site, it will give the most credit to the way it sees the mobile version of your website.
If your website is already responsive, your keyword positions won’t take a hit. But, if your website is desktop-only, and doesn’t offer a responsive experience to mobile users, you could find yourself in trouble. It’s critical to put a responsive website design at the top of your 2017 business checklist!
If you have a responsive website, but aren’t seeing the share of search engine traffic that you’d like to be getting, then you’ve got some work to do. If you’re short on time, there’s a wordpress plugin that makes it easy to boost your mobile search traffic with Accelerated Mobile Pages, a new super-fast mobile search feature. Get the plugin here.
2. SSL Enabled – Really Simple SSL
The second major shift in basic website SEO for 2017 is a focus on SSL certified websites. An SSL certificate is a way of confirming that your website is owned and controlled by you. You can get this from your hosting provider, and install it with a plugin like Really Simple SSL. For most websites, that should fix everything at once, but you might need your website developer to help you with more customized fixes.
This extra layer of security will have you a step ahead of everyone else as SSL becomes the Google standard for website security in 2017.
If your website doesn’t have these things, you’re going to experience a drop in your organic search traffic over the next 6 months, unless you are a truly strange outlier case! If your business relies on search traffic for leads, it’s time for your website to get SSL and mobile friendly.
What you can do for more search traffic this year:
- 1. Contact your website hosting company about purchasing an SSL certificate. In most cases, this should cost you less than $100.00.
- 2. Contact your web developer about implementing AMPs for your website, and suggest this plugin if you have a wordpress website.
- 3. Visit your website on your phone. If it’s not a responsive design, this should be your first digital marketing priority in 2017.
Still not sure who to call? Our website and marketing team is ready to help. Every day, ATAK Interactive helps businesses with responsive ecommerce website customization, development, and updates. Leave us a message in the chat box or drop a line to our downtown LA headquarters.