2016 saw some big changes on the SEO front and we foresee these continuing into 2017. As we head into a new year of possibilities, Google is sure to keep SEO experts on their toes with their constantly changing algorithms. Mobile First, Voice Search have been few of the buzzwords floating around in the organic search arena.
Here we summarise a few trends in SEO that we think will play a major role in 2017. Some of them may or may not be new but these are definitely the trends to watch out for this year.
In 2015, Google announced that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches for the first time ever. However, this has only kept improving and mobile is heading towards being the clear winner.
Google has been heavily betting on mobile search in the recent years and has only reiterated this in its recent update where it says that “pages, where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results, may not rank as highly.”
If your web page is not mobile friendly, be prepared to take a hit on your organic rankings. Google wants searchers to have a seamless mobile experience across devices and has recently announced its mobile first index. This means that Google will crawl the mobile version of your site before the desktop version, and use that content to place you in the search results.
To help you identify mobile usability issues, you can log into your Search Console account and check the Mobile Usability Report where google will highlight mobile issues related to your website. Make sure to resolve these issues.
On a related note, it has also been observed by various experts in the industry that Google favours websites with AMPs. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a protocol which lets webmasters make some structural changes on pages so that they load very fast on mobile devices. Currently, this is being heavily used by news websites. However, it benefits to other websites is still open to debate and is receiving mixed reviews from the search industry.
In recent times, voice search is slowly but surely making its presence felt. Personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search have undergone tremendous improvements to make voice search as close to human interaction as possible.
With the growth in mobile searches, voice searches are only going to increase as we move forward with more and more adults and teens happy to use this mode of search on mobile devices because of the convenience (as opposed to typing search queries) it offers.
The challenge for those working on SEO will be the transition from optimising for typed searches to the spoken word. The words and phrases one uses while typing a search will vastly differ from the key phrases and words used when someone uses the voice search. The key will be to use question words like where, what, how, etc. and have a voice search strategy based on this to make sure you understand the searchers intent and market to that.
Schema / Markup / Structured Data
Structured data makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website and if implemented correctly, helps in improving organic rankings. It also plays a role in improving click-through rate and traffic based on the information from your website that is marked up for search engines and shown in search results.
Although webmasters have been using schema data for quite some time, Google has recently started to use this to crawl websites and display rich snippets.
This is only going to play a bigger and more crucial part in search results in 2017 and beyond.
Make sure you optimise your SEO strategy to account for these changes. Are there any other trends you think will make it big in 2017 for SEO? Please feel free to share your thoughts in our comments section below.