SEO Trends in 2017
There are around 200 major and 1000 significant factors in Google search engine rankings, and most of them are not known publically.
In 2017, no new factor has been added to the list. However, for couple of them, the weightage is increased or decreased. Let’s have a quick look on them.
Factors gained weightage:
1. Mobile Friendliness: Mobile friendliness of sites has emerged as one of the most important factors for search engine rankings in 2017. The importance of this factor can be understood from the fact that Google is going for completely ‘mobile first indexing’ even for desktop users in early 2017. Currently, more than 50 percent of the searches are made from mobile devices on Google.
2. Site Speed: Site speed has also emerged as one of the most important factors in 2017. Even, it is so important to Google that last year Google pushed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and there are vast number of well-known sites, which have adopted the format and ebay is one of them. AMP is a major facor in search engine rankings in 2017.
3. Featured Snippets: Both Google and Bing are emphasising on direct answers to cater the search queries of users. That’s why, Google launched Featured Snippets last year, which provide direct answers to a users' search queries and appear at the top of organic search results. However, some publishers consider it harmful, as users can see the direct answers of their search queries on search engines itself and don’t need to go on sites' links. However, for some, this feature is a jackpot, as they still drive traffic to their sites from this search spot without being appeared at rank one in organic search results. Featured Snippet is definitely a mojor feature introduced by Google. Read how to rank for featured snippets.
Factors lost weightage:
1. Site History: Site’s age and history were once very important factors in search engine rankings, but not anymore. They are not dropped completely, but significantly.
2. Personal Search History: Personal search history used to play an important role in showing search results to an individual until this year, but it seems that Google has reduced the weightage for this in 2017.
3. Site Identity: Google had stopped the support for Google Authorship in 2015, and is an indication that site identity isn't that significant anymore.
4. Personal Sharing: Google+ used to be one of the primary sources for Google to influence someone’s search results, but it doesn’t seem an impact anymore and we know why.
Unchanged Search Engine Ranking Factors: There are other factors, which are unchanged in regards to SEO weightage and are following:
Most Important Factors:
1. Content is king - not only for the users, but for search engine rankings as well. It plays most important role in search engine rankings. Good engagement comes from the great content, and engagement is one of the biggest factors in rankings, which is measured by dwell rate.
2. Titles - are still key success factors for search engine rankings.
3. Meta Descriptions - are not considered to influence search engine rankings. However, I have noticed personally that they have a big impact. So, it's always important to optimise them.
3. Site & Page Authority - show the trustworthiness of a site and page. The weightage for these have only increased in recent years.
4. Country and locality - from where the users search has a mojor impact on the search results shown. That's, why it's always important to optimise the site and content from country, city or locality perspective.
Other Important Factors are:
Alt Img tags - for Google's understanding.
HTML tags - as, Google bots read them better.
HTTPS - Google prefers a safe and secure site.
Number of links - to show the authority of content from other sites perspective.
Social Sharing - has both direct and indirect impact on search engine rankings.
However, the publishers also need to avoid the following violations:
Piracy - usage of pirated or copyright infringing content has big penalty and even google can remove the sites from its search indexing.
Paid Links - is a big 'NO' from search engines like Google, and shouldn't be used as a mean for getting links.
Heavy Ads - on the pages are always discouraged by Google.
Google and other search engines have been making big changes in their search algorithms since last couple of years and are expected to continue so. So, it's always necessary to be updated always to stay in the market.
Good luck with your search engine rankings!