To achieve the best rankings possible for your website, it’s vital to stay on the ball with the latest SEO trends.

And now that we’ve hit 2017, it’s time to look at some of the latest discoveries and strategies we think will make big waves for SEO this year.

1. Make Sure You Have a High-Quality, Mobile-Friendly Site that Offers a Great User Experience

Google is continuing its move toward mobile users, and it’s no wonder with mobile use continuing its trend upwards (by approximately 1-2% per year). While the rate of growth has slowed overall, as with most big trends hitting a peak and then gradually levelling out, this is to be expected and still represents steady growth.

Mobile research is also growing. More and more people are researching products and services on their mobile device before purchasing, which makes it more critical than ever for e-commerce sites to be mobile-friendly.

The strength of mobile has now grown so much that mobile sites are starting to be prioritised over desktop sites in search results. So if you don’t currently have a fully functional and visually appealing mobile site, you need to get one.

2. Accelerated Mobile Pages Are Taking on More Prominence

An Accelerated Mobile Page – or ‘AMP’ for short – is a super lightweight HTML page that’s designed to deliver really fast load times for mobile pages. With mobile becoming increasingly important, this option is well worth investigating for your business.

Essentially, AMP uses tricks to make it feel like the web page is loading instantly on mobile. Everything above the fold loads immediately while everything below the fold processes more slowly, thus providing the illusion of a web page that loads right away.

Although Accelerated Mobile Pages are not considered a ranking factor according to Google, there are many other advantages such as a better user experience and higher engagement.

Depending on the industry you’re in, the extra speed provided by AMPs could give you the edge you need over the competition, especially if you have an e-commerce or news website. Despite AMPs not being widely used currently, many news sites and some blogs are already beginning to take advantage of this.

Here MOZ provides even further insights into the benefits and opportunities offered by AMPs.

3. Even More of a Shift in the Content Quality vs Quantity Dilemma

Previously, ‘quite good’ content at around 1500 words seemed to produce the best results, whereas now, 1000 words (or less) of ‘great’ content is seeing a much better response.

At KDM, we have been testing this with a number of own clients and 100% of the time, rankings have improved a few spots when content was removed to include only the most valuable information.

4. Less Keyword-Centric and More Real User Focused

There continues to be a movement away from keyword-centric content, headings and page titles and a lean more strongly toward logical and well-written content for real users.

Machine learning has meant it’s now much more important to make sites for people, not search engines. That means there’s less of a concern about where keywords go.

Having exact match is good, but it’s far better to have the words near each other in a way that makes sense and doesn’t sound clunky.

5. Greater Importance on Your Site’s Internal Link Structure

The websites you link to the most internally will define the hierarchy of your pages, and pages that are linked to more from external sources will be seen as more important.

It’s vital that links are gained authentically and are not spammy. The website linking to your page must also be relevant to the page or industry you’re in.

6. Schema Markup Now Valuable in Image Search

With Google image search now supporting product schema markup in mobile image search results, it is more important than ever to tag products in your pictures.

This means that images will now show up in image search with price, reviews and ratings displayed in rich snippets. This also hints that image search optimisation may be making a comeback.