4 Raging Controversies in Search Engine Optimization for 2017

The need for effective search engine optimization never ends for website managers. That’s especially true when you’re using your website for your business. With SEO you get more website visitors, which leads to more customers and greater profits. The problem is that some issues don’t really have clear-cut solutions that everyone can agree on.

For 2017, here are some of the most controversial issues in the SEO industry:

  1. The Google Mobile Index. Google has long admitted that most people who use their search service do so on mobile. Yet they’re still showing a desktop index for their results.

However, that may be about to change, as Google is testing out a mobile index. This means that Google will now check the mobile version of your website for its rankings. They’ll only check your desktop version if you don’t have a mobile version.

So first, this means that you need a mobile website that has all the SEO tactics already in place on it. If you haven’t optimized your mobile site, you’ll lose your previous ranking and level of visibility. You’ll end up with less organic generated traffic, which will then affect your conversions.

You can’t now just have a desktop version that’s optimized, and a mobile version that’s an afterthought. And you can’t go without a mobile version—you’ll just alienate a big part of your potential customer base!

  1. Switching to HTTPS. On your browser, you see a green “secure” lock icon on your address bar when you’re on an HTTPS website. This means that, indeed, the site is secure for credit cards and passwords. You have security and privacy, and generally the web pages load faster too. Nowadays, a lot more of the usual HTTP sites are rendered as “insecure” by browsers, and that’s a turn-off for potential customers.

The problem is that it isn’t all that simple to make a switch to HTTPS. It can be technically complicated, and you’ll need a pro. What’s more, once you make this switch there’s no going back. You will then have this permanent responsibility of maintaining an HTTPS version of your site.

  1. Speeding up your webpage loading with AMP. Everyone knows that most people (especially mobile users) have no patience for slow loading web pages. That’s why Google and Twitter launched the project called AMP, for Accelerated Mobile Pages. You can then avoid those annoying buffering issues because you’re using a more bare-bones version of HTML.

Case studies showed more mobile users returning when AMP web pages are used. There’s an increase in monthly unique visitors. Ads have higher viewability rates, and the CTRs are higher too.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that you may end up taking out a lot of crucial content and functionality from your webpages, simply because they’re not crucial for SEO. You may end up with a site that’s not really great in terms of user experience, because you may lose sticky elements and main site navigational links due to the stripped down HTML.

  1. Getting rid of interstitials. Interstitials are the terms used for web pages that appear before (or sometimes after) the web page the visitor is expecting. This may be to confirm the visitor’s age for age-restricted materials like alcohol websites. Often though, it shows an ad.

Yes they’re annoying for a lot of users, and now the use of these things can have SEO ranking penalties. On the other hand, these things are a lot more effective than banner ads. They also engage the user visually, while the expected page is loading. So you will have to weigh the advertising benefits of these things against the Google penalties you may receive as a consequence of using them.

There are plenty more issues about SEO that the industry is grappling with these days. These issues do tend to emphasize a specific point—sometimes it’s best to leave SEO to the pros while you run your business!

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