It’s early in the year to start waxing lyrical about what algorithm changes and, subsequently, ranking factors may be the most important for 2017. But some of last year’s updates, combined with input from the experts, can help give us a picture for what we might expect.

Ranking factors are important in online reputation management for the same reason as all SEO. If your online assets optimise by prioritising ranking factors, they stand a much better chance of outranking negative content. Especially if it’s not be up-to-date or even very relevant.

Here’s our rundown of the ranking factors most likely to play a large role in how you’re perceived online.

The need for speed

Page load speed, especially on mobile, has become a very important ranking factor in recent years. As Google moves ever closer to placing mobile at the front of its indexing practices, there’s less and less room for webmasters to neglect their mobile offering every year – especially when it comes to speed.

Mobile vs. desktop

This might seem concerning, but it’s worth remembering that, the ‘responsive grid’ method of website building is now becoming the norm among web developers – Evan Bailyn of First Page Sage confirms this in his post about ranking factors for 2017.

With this in mind, a good webmaster regularly runs page speed tests and examine issues that slow a site down. These could include overly large images or disruptive JavaScript and CSS.

It’s all in the detail

At Igniyte, we’ve been looking into the best practices for achieving placement of the much-revered ‘Featured Snippets’ section of the search engine result pages (SERPs) for our clients. It looks like everyone else is too!

Right now, there’s a sense of great competition across all sectors and business sizes for those juicy featured snippets. This is thanks to their inherently democratic nature. All you need, it seems, is good content structured properly that answers the searcher’s question. See below for a great example:

Google search

The increase in these snippets tells us something important too . Users don’t just need info, they need quick info. Especially if the task is simple enough to break down into content worthy of a snippet.

Considering this, it’d be wise for a webmaster to ask their client “what questions can you answer quickly and simply?” – there may be a great result around the corner!

Don’t forget the obvious ones still count

Now, we’ve covered off two contemporarily important factors – speed and quick access to useful information. However, it’s worth remembering that, even if you’ve structured your content properly and made your site as quick as possible, you must remember to hit the key SEO factors to rank, even in 2017.

What are they? Simple – they’re your classic mark-ups such as main headers (what we in the business call H1s), and sub headings (or H2s), metadata (this is information that describes other information, in essence an underlying definition or description, such as author, date created and date modified and file size), and of course, links.

It’s easy to get distracted by new-fangled features such as Structured Data, Amplified Mobile Pages and so on. But always remember, until Google does away with meta descriptions and title tags, keep using them!

If you’d like to know more about our thoughts on ranking factors in 2017 and how they can impact your online reputation, get in touch with the team at Igniyte to help improve your reputation management.

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