SEO Resolutions – #3 Learning new skills
Welcome to our SEO Resolutions series. In this series of blog posts, we’re saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming 2017 with some SEO resolutions for the new year. Here we’re looking at how the resolution to learn new skills is relevant to your SEO strategy.
SEO is an ever-evolving digital marketing discipline; with Google making over 500 changes every year. Amidst these many changes often an algorithm or a search feature stands out and brings with it opportunities for long term SEO benefits. In this blog we’re discussing three features that should feature in your resolutions to master, for your SEO this year.
New skill #1 Learn how to write for featured snippets
Google has started to display featured snippets or answer boxes for a variety of search queries. According to this study by STAT, featured snippets appeared almost for 10% of nearly a millions searches researched. This is a significant figure and we expect this number to continue to rise in 2017.
Featured snippets occupy the prime position 1 spot on Google. In fact, if your website was the source of the content on the snippet box, then it is highly likely that the second ranked website will be yours too. Therefore, if you can implement featured snippets, you have an opportunity to have two listings right on top of Google’s first page.
So can you influence Google so that it uses your content in a featured snippet?
The simple answer is ‘yes’. But before that, it is important to remember that becoming an authority is still important. Google will not rank a web page highly just because it’s written in a certain way. Therefore, make sure that your SEO team continues working on building high quality links, writing authoritative and useful content and having a technically sound, mobile-friendly site.
Once you’ve got your basic SEO strategy in place, your content team can focus on adjusting the landing page copy for it to appear relevant for the featured snippet box. In terms of the content, Google tends to use a content in the featured snippet box if it is:-
- a paragraph directly answering a long tail query
- a list (numbered and bulleted) or,
- a table
New skill #2 Learn to tag your content for rich snippets
Just like writing content in a certain format can influence featured snippets, you can add few extra lines of codes to trigger rich snippets on the search pages. Remember not all your pages will rank on position 1 or will be picked up for featured snippet box. A rich snippet can therefore help your webpages stand out with star ratings, reviews, discount or availability information etc.
Search engines are increasingly returning results with rich cards instead of those simple blue links. Google is taking into account the data supplied through the rich snippets tags to create these rich cards. Lastly, rich snippets tags will help you to structure your content in a clearer format. This can mean that Google adds your site to its ever expanding knowledge graph.
One of your key SEO resolutions for 2017 should be to increase the use of these rich snippets tags. For websites managed through a popular CMS like WordPress there are plugin based, ready-made solutions available. For others, it is definitely worth discussing with your CMS vendors and web development teams on how adding structured data tags can be made easy.
New skill #3 Learn to use machine learning algorithms
Google’s RankBrain, the third most important ranking signal, has brought machine learning at the forefront of all marketing strategies. Adoption of machine learning is still in its very early stages, however we believe its use will explode in 2017. The good news is that the industry is still getting up to speed on the nuances of machine learning which means you have the opportunity to take the lead ahead of your competitors. The big players in the market such as IBM with their Watson Analytics have already entered the market with their easy to use machine learning offering. Exploring these simple to use tools and software should be the number one resolution of your analytics team. Also, ensure that marketing teams are involved in learnings as ultimately the findings and insights are for them to use.
Mastering all three ‘new skills’ this year will future-proof your search strategies to stay ahead of the curve, and your competitors. If you’d like some expert help with your featured snippets, rich snippets and machine learning, then speak to the technical SEO team at Tamar .We’d be delighted to help you reach your 2017 SEO goals.