20th December 2016
SEO In 2017: What’s Next?
1. Quality Of Content
We all now know that creating consistent quality content is THE one piece of advice that every SEO pundit is expressing in some way or other in light of Google’s ever more critical eye and that hasn’t changed. Thought leadership and going the extra mile for good content, valuable backlinks, really will define the winners in the SEO battleground more than ever next year in a deep and wide sea of blogs, news and features.
2. Extreme Customer Focus
Marketers are increasingly trying to find micro-moments to sell the products to the right customer at the right time, by promoting and providing relevant content as early as possible in the decision-making process. If someone is comparing products online, they need influencing on that first search.
Detailed user analytics and understanding user behavior intimately will increasingly provide the right moments to sell when someone is online. Device usage is a major analytical focus too, as if someone is on a mobile they might be near or in a store for instance, and have GPS that can be tracked. Offers can be personalised and offered at the optimum time. This is especially true if the Internet of Things develops further, where the environment itself, like shops, cars etc. will communicate data to marketers about customers in the moment.
3. YouTube Advertising
There are big plans and changes ahead for YouTube in 2017 and beyond, currently linked to Google via parent company Alphabet. Next year, for instance, it is said plans are afoot to stream major networks with a subscription package. With it’s all pervasive growth, however, comes great marketing value.
YouTube, at present is the largest Ad-supported video website in the world. YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds on mobile devices than any other TV network. It has enormous reach and is easy to participate in. EMarketer expects digital advertising to surpass TV advertising for the first time in 2017 – accounting for 38% of spend against 36% for traditional TV. Expect YouTube to be an even more influential giant in the coming year with significant implications when searching for content.
4. Voice Search
Here’s some stats to think about: 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day according to Google. Anyone who uses Cortana, Siri or Google Now might already have given up typing to just ask with their voice to find out things on their search engine and this is a trend that’s only going to grow next year as word gets around that computers can now understand natural language a lot better than they used to. Error rate is as low as 8%, which is awesome.
Research indicates we ask our computers and smart phones everything from ‘what’s on at the movies’ to help with homework. What’s more, voice allows us to multitask, so we can be in the bath, cooking or exercising without having to stop to fiddle with a qwerty keyboard.
How does this affect search and your SEO in 2017? Well, we tend to ask questions when we speak rather than just type in keywords, which is what a lot of us do on a computer. Instead of ‘Lasagna Recipe’ you might ask when speaking, ‘How do I cook a Lasagna?’ There are usually more words in a different order with speech. When you are creating your page copy, try to reflect the natural rhythm of speech and asked questions in the word content and you may get matches from spoken search requests. By creating ‘How to’ style guides in your copy, this could be a perfect way to reflect questions asked from real speech input.
5. Schema Markup
Schema Markup is the quick answer to a query and favoured by Google. Research has shown that these handy snippets of information that appear at the top of search like a card with a description, have increased dramatically in searches recently. This instant info is something that seems to be on Google’s radar. Google’s so called Rich Answers – also known as Direct Answers – nearly doubled in search from 2015 to 2016.
6. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Also known as AMP, this is about the speed of search on mobile devices – making loading instant and therefore improving the quality of the search. Many companies are integrating AMP on their websites. This is a Google backed concept and Google has integrated AMP listings into its mobile search results. The AMP Project is open source, so readily available for publishers to use.
7. Mobile Ranking Index
Currently there is one index for search but very soon Google will have a separate index for mobile, which could change the SERPS for mobile with a different search algorithm. This is nothing to panic about but it will be worth revisiting your mobile site for feel, speed, links and content. Mobile certainly has the upper hand in terms of numbers of people searching on the smart devices compared to desktop, so always think of mobile as a priority, if you are not already.
For help and advice for making your website perform better for SEO in 2017, contact the team at Varn.