For better or worse, 2017 has been a year of change. We have a new president in The White House, Fidget spinners (briefly) swept the nation, and (most importantly) Beyoncé gave birth to twins.
But don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about politics, strange toy fads, or future royalty Sir and Rumi Carter.
I’m here to talk about SEO. So let’s begin by looking back to some of the biggest SEO trends of 2017.
1. Reviews Dubbed Most Prominent Local SEO Ranking Factor
Having a significant amount of reviews has been highly correlated with ranking in organic search, even if the website in question has a poor “link profile.” Beyond the amount of reviews the business has, the quality of those reviews will affect ranking. If a review is rich with keywords, such as city names and practices, then it is more likely to have a positive impact on ranking.
To digital marketers the importance of reviews in ranking comes as no surprise. At the end of the day, Google wants to provide users with the best possible experience from start to finish. That means providing information that will help consumers choose the best product or service possible.
It is highly unlikely that reviews will lose their value in 2018, so if you are interested in improving your organic ranking, ask your happy clients if they might be willing to write you a review.
2. The Roll Out of Google’s Mobile-First Search Index
In 2017, Google began rolling out their new mobile-first search index, meaning that Google will now use the mobile version of a website’s content to determine page ranking in search results. This change was made in order to keep up with users and how they are accessing the web, which today is primarily through mobile devices.
If you are curious whether your website passes Google’s mobile-friendliness standards, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, along with the help of the Mockingbird’s simple mobile-testing guide to find out.
3. Ad Extensions (& More Ad Extensions)
In 2017 Google gave ad extensions, and more ad extensions and more ad extensions. The list includes:
- Sitelink Extensions
- Call Extensions
- Location Extensions
- Callout Extensions
- Structured Snippet Extensions
- Review Extensions
- Message Extensions
- Affiliate Location Extensions
- Price Extensions
- App Extensions
Ad extensions are beneficial for both users and businesses alike. They allow users to quickly and efficiently interact with ads, and they allow businesses to serve users useful information while taking up more space on the search engine results page…space that would have otherwise been occupied by another website.
If you want to know more about these extensions, you can read more about what ad extensions are and how to utilize ad extensions in the legal industry.
The SEO trends we’ve seen in 2017 have only confirmed what we already knew: Google puts users first. Every algorithmic change is made in order to improve user experience in the long run. Google is smart (like scary smart), and spammy marketing tactics that don’t benefit the user will eventually result in a bump down in ranking, hence Mockingbird’s 5th commandment:
White Hat to a Fault – “Don’t engage in unethical marketing – we are in business for the long term, as are our clients.”