Guest post by Nathan Elly.
The new year is well underway.
As we reflect on the major events in the world of SEO in 2016, web marketers need to evaluate how the changes will impact the SEO strategy through the rest of 2017. The biggest news in 2017 has so far been the Penguin 4.0 algorithm update, however there were also several other changes that had caused a stir in the SEO world as well. Specialist SEO agency Digital Next has seen the impact first hand and share their predictions for the future of SEO in 2017.
The key trend that came out of all of the updates in 2016 is the influence on relevance over authority. Previously, SEOs had focused more on the authority of sites to improve the amount of pagerank that would help to rank the site for its desired keyword. Now we are seeing improvements in site’s rankings if they receive links from more relevant sites, even if the authority of their site isn’t as high.
SEOs should look at the keyword relevancy of the linking site’s page and overall web theme to predict the positive impact that it will have on the site’s rankings.
Guest blogging is not dead.
Contrary to what many are claiming, guest blogging will not die in 2017.
Matt Cutts posted his thoughts about the decay of guest blogging, but it is still an effective promotional SEO tactic. In fact, marketing using this tactic strategically have seen benefits in terms of rankings and traffic from well-executed guest blogging strategies.
The days when people used to do guest blogging on irrelevant sites that were built solely for search engines are over. However, what many in the marketing world have found is that by contributing guest posts to highly relevant and authoritative sites, companies have gained a significant boost in SEO rankings.
Any content that is published needs to be treated as a valuable asset.
Many content marketers fail to treat content like a valuable asset. Instead of creating content that will help educate the web visitor or motivate them to follow the sales funnel, content is created more like a personal blog or is purely promotional.
When content is treated as an asset, it creates opportunities for your site to acquire natural links. It makes it easier to pitch your site’s content to potential webmasters who are likely to link back to your site, simply because they value your site’s content and trust it will be seen as an asset to their audience.
Link building won’t just be about sending emails, it will force people to build relationships.
SEO will become more integrated with PR.
Prior to the Penguin algorithm, people would get links simply by asking for them from webmasters, engaging in reciprocal link exchanges or paying webmasters to feature those links on their site. Webmasters understand the impact of outbound links from their website and it is forcing SEO specialists to focus on delivering value to the webmaster rather than seeking a link for their own benefit.
SEO practitioners need to learn how to build and forge relationships that will allow them to pitch and earn links organically. Instead of being able to acquire a link instantaneously, it may take a few weeks or months to forge a valuable relationship with the webmaster before asking for a link in return.
Some ways to do this include:
- Helping the webmaster with troubleshooting issues on their website, such as grammar or spelling mistakes or site coding issues.
- Notifying webmasters of outbound or internal linking errors and proposing a solution.
- Engaging in mutually fascinating discussions. The SEO pro can then invite the webmaster to participate or contribute to other relevant discussions.
- Meeting webmasters face-to-face by inviting them out to coffee or hosting a social event.
You can see more tips from Dmitry Dragilev from Criminally Prolific.
Based on what we saw during 2016, anyone implementing an SEO strategy campaign in 2017 should take note of these suggestions. At the end of the day, it is about rewarding your site’s visitors with a positive user experience. As long as you focus on delivering value and relevance to your audience, Google is likely to reward your site with positive search rankings in 2017.
Nathan Elly is the branch manager at Digital Next, a full-service digital agency based in South Melbourne specializing in responsive Web design, SEO, PPC and social media marketing. He is a passionate digital marketer specialising in business development and long-term strategy, with experience from a multitude of SEO disciplines combined into a role which supports and progresses online businesses.