Of all the digital strategies available to marketing leaders in recent years, SEO is undoubtedly among the most complex and enduring. It’s also one of the most potentially lucrative, so it pays to stay on top of any trends that please search engines and web users alike.
2017 comes with a host of new SEO staffing trends and opportunities to take advantage of. They are numerous, and often difficult to exploit. But with creative execution and talent acquisition, almost any organization has the potential to use changes in technology, search algorithms, and the way consumers use the web to their advantage.
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These “quick wins” won’t happen overnight. At best they will take weeks or months to execute and produce results. But they are short-term projects when compared to other ongoing SEO initiatives, and will deliver significant results once completed.
1. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Early last year Google announced an open-source initiative that allows site managers to serve super-light versions of web pages on mobile devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) use about 1/8th the data of their full desktop counterparts, which not only makes them kinder to those with limited cell plans, but also helps them load much faster. That provides a better user experience for mobile customers and favorable positions in the SERPs.
Google Labs Breaks Down AMPs
Unfortunately, implementing AMPs (especially on a broad scale) is no simple task. Enabling it on a page-by-page basis is tedious and not a viable solution for organizations with massive websites. But there’s no magic template or CMS plugins yet that will reliably convert pages without interfering with the UI (and those WordPress plugins that do exist tend to result in markup errors in Search Console).
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AMP adoption is an excellent project for SEO staffing. Instead of dumping this project on an your unprepared SEO or digital marketing team, you can bring in an expert (or several) to help you get up to speed. Once you have a reliable AMP conversion system set up, it should be scalable and available for use well into the future.
2. Epic Content
Content has been on the forefront of marketers’ minds for a few years now. It has evolved from a trendy buzzword to a mainstream strategy, with obvious applications for inbound marketing, SEO, lead nurturing, branding and more.
The initial wave of content marketing was largely focused on creating a broad offering of flexible, digestible pieces; clever graphics, short keyword-centric blog posts, listicles, entertaining video clips, etc. The market has become saturated with “fluffy” content.
At the same time, search engines have begun to more heavily favor a concentration of elaborate, in-depth content over a broad, shallow offering. As a result, many successful SEO and content teams have been busy developing extremely comprehensive, dense content: complete guides, wiki-style encyclopedic pages, video tutorials, etc.
They’re usually well-rewarded for their efforts. Even just a few cornerstone pieces of this “epic” content can serve as an SEO anchor for an entire website and draw huge amounts of traffic. But brainstorming, developing, editing and promoting this kind of large-scale, information-packed content is extremely labor-intensive.
If your current team is already stretched thin (hint: it probably is), then turning to content marketing staffing to build these huge content pillars is a great way to start your library. You’ll get the extra capacity you need to take on a few epic projects without sacrificing your current content initiatives.
3. Site Security
Google began encouraging and preferring secure websites a while ago. Starting this month, its Chrome web browser will begin marking websites that use insecure HTTP connections to transmit passwords and credit card data as insecure.
Given that, you’d think everyone would have moved over to SSL-secured sites by now, both to please search engines and protect the security of themselves and their customers. However, that’s not the case at all. A report from last year showed that 79 of the web’s top 100 non-Google websites don’t offer securely served content by default. There are many organizations–even many large businesses and publications–that are lagging behind. For instance, the New York Times only started enabling HTTPS on all of its web properties earlier this month.
Moving to a secure website usually isn’t the most complicated web master task, though it can be time-intensive and requires a particular skillset. The good news is that once your site has moved to HTTPS, it should require minimal certificate maintenance. This kind of project is ideal for specialized SEO staffing. You can bring in a few SSL experts on a contract basis for however many weeks are needed to make the shift. Once the change has been made, you’re free to move on to other challenges.