SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2017
by Dan Radak
In the booming digital era, SEO and digital marketing tower over the traditional marketing tools. They are highly dynamic fields where the only constant thing is change. Google still represents the supreme internet deity and will have a decisive influence on shaping the SEO ecosystem. The first few pages of the SERP are the digital Promised Land and in order to get there, one must keep up the pace with the emerging developments. Here are some trends that are expected to rock the world of SEO in 2017.
Google is actively working on filtering out the immense amount of written content. The goal is to minimize the number of copied and irrelevant articles. Hence, the search engine behemoth is using machine learning to improve the search experience, which always sits on top of the agenda. There is a clear shift from quantity towards quality and website owners will have to step up their game in order to survive and thrive. Note that banishing junk content goes along with blacklisting of its publishers. Also, it is worth mentioning that long-form content continues to perform well in search results.
Need for speed
The majority of internet users do not tolerate sluggish websites. In fact, if the page does not load within 3 seconds, they tend to move on. So, it is as clear as day that fast loading time is the essential part of user experience. The good news is that image optimization and structuring of content go a long way in making this happen. Likewise, it is a good idea not to over-saturate your website with videos and opt for posting on YouTube instead. I have also made an effort to assess internet providers near me and make the most of the available offers.
Optimization for user intent
Keywords are still the mainspring of many SEO strategies, but the problem is that simple words bring simple results. Consequently, search engines have developed an ability to guess user intent behind those words. The users have recognized this opportunity and do not shy away from entering longer, full phrases in queries. Brands will have to adapt to this trend in 2017 and optimize the content according to the real intent, not just specific keywords. This suggests that thorough research has never been more important a tool for keeping the fingers on the pulse of user’s wants and needs.
Google’s Quick Answers
Next, we come across an incredibly handy tool in an SEO arsenal. Google’s Quick Answers are designed to provide snippets of information to users in order to make the search process run more smoothly. In 2016, the number of search queries that returned quick answers has increased by 10%, and the upward trend is set to continue in 2017 and beyond. Therefore, Quick Answers pose a valuable asset for businesses that aspire to find new ways of reaching customers. They will try to figure out how to rank both their off-page and on-page content in these answers.
We are steadily moving to a mobile-only world. Mobile searches have already surpassed the desktop ones, and this marks a seismic shift. This was only cemented with the announcement of mobile-first indexing and Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP). For now, this overhaul is still in the stage of experimentation and there is enough time for website owners to carry out mobile optimization. They will also have to implement structured data in mobile versions of sites and rethink the user experience and conversion strategies.
In the wake of the mobile revolution, the local dimension of SEO gained importance. Namely, targeting local audiences is associated with great conversion and customer acquisition opportunities. Some strategies like citation building, though, are turning out to be overrated in terms of the impact on local rankings. On-site and off-site SEO, as well as link-building, seem to do their trick much better. Local relevance has a big role to play, which is to say, for instance, that one should strive to build exclusively high-quality backlinks.
This practice is not to be confused with multi-channel marketing, which revolves around establishing an online presence on more than one platform. Cross-channel marketing, on the other hand, is like an extension of it, as it uses multiple channels, but in an integrated way. The logic behind this innovative concept is that a consistent brand image yields the best possible results across various channels. This accounts for shifting habits of users, who like to move from device to device over the course of a single day or buyer’s journey. The trick is to identify the channels that are promising in terms of capturing a certain target audience.
The final trend on our list, voice search, is seen as a next big thing in SEO. It is already one of the fastest-growing search options, one which is hands-free, effortless, and rather futuristic. The hurdle on the road to that future comes in the form of speech recognition error rates, but a slew of updates should fix the issue. And this is only the beginning as voice recognition technology will soon evolve into voice understanding. This new concept will factor in previous searches, location-based context, personalized information, spoken queries, and frequently used apps.
SEO is the name of the game in the today’s internet realm. The rules are changing constantly, and what worked yesterday may prove to be futile today. This year will be the big one all around. Users are becoming increasingly connected and engaged with the content they consume.
They crave rich, relevant, and attention-grabbing content, and Google is determined to provide them with just that. There is no other way to hit it big than to update SEO strategies on a regular basis and keep your eyes open for what is around the corner. That way, you can boost the visibility in the crowded online arena, take on future challenges, and drive more internet traffic your way.
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