Understanding the big-picture search trends and aligning that with your companies SEO goals is key. SEO is a always changing game, 2017 might include some of the biggest changes we’ve seen yet! Some times its easy to overthink SEO. Lets take a look at Google’s original (still number one) mission statement.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” – Google

Okay, so I think most of us understand that Google organizes all of the Internets information into one accessible location. The part I strongly believe is over looked again and again is the word useful!

Useful = Relevancy

In 2017 I recommend focusing on relevancy above all. Future proofing for SEO typically does not exist but in this case I believe if we keep relevancy at the fore front of our planning it can exist. Okay now lets get to the good stuff… Whiteboard Strategy.

Understanding the search trends:

Massive rise in SERP features, Google is showing many more data types and markup’s in the search results. There are 18 major markup records and many more are being added all of the time. This trend is expected to continue.

Instant answers could be King. Especially true on mobile! It’s also true on desktop as well. Google is trying to answer a lot of the queries themselves. That can mean they’re taking away traffic from you! Or it can mean there is opportunity to start answering common questions.

Intent > keywords: We’re also seeing this trend that started with Hummingbird and now, obviously, continued with RankBrain around intent, searcher intent being more important than keywords in how we target our content. This does not mean keywords are not important, actually there more important! The searchers intent is key so the slightest change in keywords can have major results. We need to understand the searcher even more in 2017.

The value of comprehensiveness has clearly been on the rise. That’s been true for a couple of years, but it definitely is a trend that continued in 2016 and we expect to continue into 2017. Google continues to improve its comprehensive algorithm allowing it to better understand our websites and the content on them.

Multi-device speed and user experience, Google’s been telling us this for several years now, and I think what we are observing is that speed is not the only user experience element. Google has taken action against large website’s with overlays and pop-ups. They’ve taken action, clearly. There are some engagement metrics that are going on there, and that sites that have better user experience and that focus on better engagement are doing better in the search results.

Unreliability of Google data? What’s New… That includes search volume data and data in AdWords. It includes inaccuracies in Google Search Console, Google’s new version of Webmaster Tools, around rankings.

Voice search is on the rise! Voice searching will impact your results in the future. The types of content you might want to produce to be in front of voice searchers is location data and answers to common questions. Your google maps listing is included in this data. For example if someone asks their phone for the best Mexican restaurant in Oakland County, Michigan, Google will search maps for the highest rated Mexican restaurant.

Machine learning and deep learning, we’re seeing it affect the search results in terms of how they’re considering links, how they’re looking at keyword searches, and how they’re looking at content. This is why keeping relevancy at your core strategy is key!

Multi-visit buyer journeys have always been important. All marketers are starting to realize this, and a lot of us are optimizing for it, which means that the competitive landscape now demands it.

Bias to brands, it’s still a thing even in 2017. We’re still seeing it, and we’re seeing it even more so. We seeing it even when those brands do not have a ton of links, which used to be the big dominating factor.

Undiminished value of links. If you’ve built an SEO presents, you’ve done a lot of these things successfully, links are certainly how you can stand out in the search results. That’s pretty much as true in 2016 and 2017 as it was in 2011 and 2012. The only caveat here is that the quality of links matters a lot more, like a lot, a lot more!

Map your organization’s top-level SEO goals JUST DO IT!

 

Here’s how Marketing Booker does it. Marketing Booker’s big three for 2017, grow revenue with new partnership’s, MB wants to lower costs to get more profitable and improve the upsell to existing customers. So SEO can help with these things by increasing relevancy on the things that your organization wants to accomplish, and you want to show that SEO is actually doing those things, not just that you’re trying to rank for keywords or bring more traffic, but that you’ve mapped your priorities in this way.

So we could say SEO can help by identifying searchers that partnership’s targets and influencers perform and then ranking for those. We can lower our costs to get more profitable by reducing the cost per acquisition. We’ll drive more traffic with organic search, thus reducing our dependency on Paid Advertising and other forms of marketing that cost a lot more. Those types of things are important wouldn’t ya say?

Sorry, I could not help myself!

Build a keyword content map

The basic concept is to have a list of terms and phrases that come out of your tactics and your goals, that you build a map for.

Example: “All right, here’s how we’re ranking today. Here’s the URL which we’re ranking with,” or, “We don’t yet have a URL that’s targeting this keyword phrase, and thus, we need to build it,” and then the action required there and what the priority is.

Project Management: Break down SEO into individual projects and order by expected ROI

Break down all the SEO efforts that you’re going to do to hit all these goals into discrete projects with a few things — an estimated time of delivery, the people who are assigned to it, and an ordering based on the expected return on investment. You can be wrong about this. It’s fine to be like, “Hey, we’re taking our best guess, thumb in the air. We don’t really know for sure, but we’re going to try. Here’s what we got. It’s link building for the home page. It’s our number-one priority. The value estimate is high because we currently rank number two or three for our own brand name. It’s assigned to this person, and the ETA is March 30th.” Let relevancy tie your SEO goals and Content together.

Build a reporting system that measures results and define clear metrics

Build a reporting and measurement system that’s going to show progress!  Anyone should be able to look at this and say, “Ah! This is where they’re going with this. This is how they’ve done so far.” Every project is different there are many platforms that can do this reporting for you. We recommend Dash Booker for obvious reasons. You can learn more here. Dashbooker.com

2017 is going to be one of the most interesting years for SEO and our team here at Marketing Booker wishes you the best!

If all of this sounds confusing please consider contacting us for a free evaluation!