Google is well known to periodically change its search ranking algorithms and 2016, well, proved to be no exception.

But search ranking is something that most marketers pay close attention to (it’s often a major source of visitors) and adhering to Google’s continued nudges certainly makes a difference in the long run, if not overnight.

If Google says I have to jump to reach the top of my SERP, I MOST CERTAINLY WILL! Fun aside, the next year is just around the corner and a new google algorithm must be waiting for us as usual, maybe.

To get ready for the battle with Google to reach the top of your search rankings like every new year. Here are the top 3 factors that will most probably effect your search engine rankings in 2017 —

3. Website’s Mobile Friendliness

Google’s latest(August) nudge came as a blow to those marketers who relied heavily on on-site Advertisements(interstitial) for monetization, especially on mobile sites as Google made a call that websites that use pop-ups and interstitials are worse search results and will rank them lower because of it.

Later, Google revealed that the number of mobile searches has overtaken those from desktops.

If history is of any evidence, prioritizing mobile users is something Google has increasingly been doing with its search algorithm. Last year it began boosting the rank of “mobile friendly” websites, and in 2014, it boosted the rank of sites with encryption as well.

And why not, Google knows that we are getting more familiar and habitual with using the smaller screen for everyday activities and they have been focusing on creating a smoother experience for their ever increasing mobile users.

Well, they are a firm after all and searchers are their customers. Advertisements, Interstitials or Pop-ups — whatever you choose to call it — are annoying as they block content and are hard to get rid of.
So, it should be of no surprise that causing hindrance in viewing the content on a mobile site through a pop-up or interstitial will drag you lower in your search results and will surely effect your conversions.

While there are “hundreds of factors” that go into Google’s search result rankings, it’s not like every website that uses these ads will feel pressured to remove them overnight. If a site with a pop-up still has the best information, it’s still likely to appear first. But this change ought to benefit one site over another when those two sites appear roughly equal.

These new changes will go into effect next year, beginning on January 10th. From that point on Google will start lowering the rank of sites “where content is not easily accessible” and/or on-site advertisement that covers a “reasonable amount of screen space.”

A backlink, or inbound link, is a link coming from another site to your own website.

The formula is that the more relevant and authoritative links refer to your website, the higher your site will rank in its SERP.
Backlinks or Inbound links are different from Outbound links i.e. links from your website to another website and Internal links i.e. links from one website to another page of the same website.

Right now, building backlinks is one of the most powerful factor for upping your organic rankings(unpaid) and they are very likely to provide the same effect on your rankings in the coming future.
Note that manipulative directory submitting link building strategies will completely fail in the coming future. They will not even provide the short term benefit that they give now.
And marketers must look for opportunities within networks, provide brand recognition content, tap social signals, and do some content research to build juicy backlinks that have the power to take them to the top of their SERPs.

Here is a list of ways to build authoritative, high quality backlinks

1. Content

I am sure you must have guessed it by now.
While Social Media may have a completely different story, Content is and will be the King for Google!

Somewhere around this time last year, Google’s AI RankBrain was introduced to the world which eliminated the idea of keyword density, because its challenge was to understand each content and to rank it according to the value it provided to search engine users.
Keyword stuffing and irrelevant content went useless after the introduction of RankBrain.

Relevant, clear cut content that fulfills user expectations is going to take center stage in 2017. As it was in 2016 or 2015…..

While RankBrain fouses on providing relevant content, it’s still Content that prevails.
There hasn’t been much from Google in 2016 apart from the Mobile friendly update in August.

The Penguin 4.0 update was scheduled to be released in March of this year, but nothing happened and we have been waiting nervously ever since.

Why worry about something that is yet to be released? Or maybe not. Right!
Still, one of the best things you can do to improve your SEO is to invest in having quality content created for your website on a consistent basis; this becomes more effective if this content is published on a blog associated with your domain name.

So at the moment and in the near future, yes it’s mobile friendliness, links and content that are keeping your webpages at the top of the SERPs, but with machine learning quickly developing and figuring out the best way to serve results as naturally as possible, surely it won’t be long before relevance will be everything.