Search engine optimization is evolving at lightning speed and it is time to examine the digital marketing landscape for the 2017.
There have been numerous developments in SEO over the past 12 months. A lot of the prominent trends of 2016 will continue and grow in 2017. As Google’s algorithm updates constantly keep business owners on their toes, several other trends are expected to take shape in 2017.
Here are a few things look out for in the ensuing months:
Optimization for user intent
Although keywords are still important, typing in simple words yields simple results. Consumers today know exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines are getting much better at identifying user intent. Therefore, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines, which gather data and heuristics to provide results more effectively.
In 2017, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. For your SEO strategy, it will be critical to:
Investigate. What are users searching for that brings them to your page? What questions do they want your content to answer?
Optimize. Once you have gathered your research data and found areas that need work, make the changes needed to boost ratings. Based on your research, tell the consumer’s story by altering content to reflect the reader’s experience.
Adjust. Keep up with analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can update accordingly
More rich answers and snippets
We all turn to Google for answers. In response to our queries, Google will often display the required information directly in search results, along with other helpful websites, videos, movie or event information, reviews or specific dates.
Structured data markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) can help website owners achieve these enhanced listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This markup works to assist search engines in understanding website content, allowing them to display that information in a way that is helpful for users.
Adding structured data markup to your website can increase your chances of having an enhanced SERP listing, being featured in a rich answer, or (in the case of branded searches) having a knowledge panel appear, this works really well if you are an eCom shop or have product info on your site.
Users love quick access to useful information like this, so do yourself a favor and consider implementing schema markup for your website in 2017, if you haven’t already.
Increased mobile growth
Mobile accessibility has reshaped SEO over the past few years, especially in the MENA region. Mobile search is growing at a rapid pace and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in the future. Traffic distribution has been shifting away from desktop and moving towards mobile devices, and many websites are already getting the majority of their traffic from mobile devices, again this is especially prevalent here in MENA.
In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine. Since then, the company has taken many steps which signal that mobile, not desktop, should be considered as the default user experience. In fact, Google recently announced that it has begun experiments to make its index mobile first.
Mobile optimization is already extremely important in SEO strategies. However, it will prove to be mandatory in 2017.
Voice search is the next big thing
Ok so I consider myself to a be a digital native yet I don’t even know how to use Siri. However, voice search has been an ongoing project in the tech industry for a few years now.
In the process of working out the kinks, it has become one of the fastest-growing search options. The appeal is undeniable. It’s hands-free, fast and futuristic.
As technology improves with each update, the error rate of voice search plummets.
The goal for voice search in 2017 is to go above and beyond voice recognition and evolve into voice understanding. This involves several changes with respect to:
context based on frequently used apps
keyword research based on spoken queries
There’s no denying that voice search is a one of the biggest trends of the digital age. With massive improvements to Siri, Google Now and Cortana, SEO marketers would be wise to closely examine voice innovation and think beyond text-based queries in 2017.
2016 wasn’t a great year but 2017 for me has all the making of a big year. Users are becoming increasingly connected and engaged with the ever changing content they consume. It is very important for SEO marketers to factor these upcoming trends into the bigger picture in order to be prepared to take on future challenges and be number one!