If you’re not at the top of SERPs, your hard work is for naught. All the best content in the world can’t create customer conversions when no one can find it. The bad news is that figuring out the ever-elusive Google algorithm can be a lot like herding cats, but the good news is that there are methods that can reliably boost your site ranking. Here are 10 tips for improving your SERP rank in 2017 and beyond.

1. Using a Natural Voice

Users are more likely to search Google using their voice assistant, and that trend will only continue as AI improves. As a result, it’s important to use long-tail and semantically natural keywords so your site will rank higher for Alexa, Siri and other virtual assistant queries.

2. Q&A Format

Earning featured Google snippets is the new “position 0” at the top of a SERP. Using Q&A format on pages with charts and graphs increases your chances of earning a place in the coveted position of snippet or quick answer.

3. More Visual Content

Search engines are becoming more and more attuned to the subject matter of images and videos. As Google goes beyond text to figure out what is on the page, it’s incumbent upon businesses to use more visual content that is extremely relevant to the subject matter.

“The success of a page should be measured by one criteria: does the visitor do what you want them to do?” – Aaron Wall

4. Emphasizing Title Quality

Google continues to use the title of your page as one of the strongest indicators of the page’s content matter. Optimize your title tags at all levels to have relevant keywords and clue search engines into what your page is about.

5. Comprehensive Content

RankBrain was released as a part of the Hummingbird update in 2015. This feature scans your website and looks for indicators that you fully cover the topics at hand. If you’re writing about tourism in New York, you may earn points for mentioning not only major attractions, but also bagels and cream cheese. In other words, comprehensive content is king.

6. No Spammy Comments

Writing meaningful comments on an industry article adds value to the conversation and can build your reputation online. If you go around posting clearly promotional comments on articles, however, you may be in trouble. Starting in 2018, some SEO experts predict that these spam links on quality articles could ding your site’s Google ranking. Only add a backlink to your website in a comment if it’s truly useful and accompanied by a thoughtful response.

7. Quality Backlinks From Different Sources

In March 2017, an unconfirmed Google update called Fred hit websites with low-quality backlinks and low-value content. While backlinks have long been a lifeblood for building rank, moving forward users should be more selective. The only way to build site rank using a link strategy should include backlinks from a variety of high-domain sites, included naturally in rich content.

8. Fast Loading Pages

Perhaps because of the emphasis on mobile, website page loading speed is more important than ever. Not only will page speed improve rank and keep users happy, but other quality sites are more likely to link to you and improve your domain authority.

9. Optimized Schema Code

Google continues to put more focus on local content, particularly because mobile users often want to see results within a short geographic distance — particularly for e-commerce sites. Update your schema code to include address and other local indicators.

10. Moving to All-Https

In mid-2017, Google started warning users about the security of websites without https. If you’re not already on an all-https site, it’s time to do it now.

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