Posted by Vikram Rathore
December 12, 2016
Business is a game, and as a business owner or marketer, your role in this game is using various tools and implementing strategies to stand out in this tough competition. One of the most effective tool to execute this role is Search Engine Optimization(SEO).
No doubt, SEO is the lifeblood of any online business. While it might seem simple to master the theory, the fact is that the search patterns and algorithms that apprise your SEO efforts are constantly altered, fluctuating and becoming more complex like a giant Rubik’s cube.
SEO world is always moving, so it pays to be aware of these evolution. The most important way to keep a competitive advantage within your industry is to carefully watch the astute changes in SEO trends and implement the right strategy at the right time.
So, as we gear up for 2017, let’s take a look at the SEO trends which will be ruling in the coming year and alter the campaigns to match the new realities of the online world.
Following trends will dominate the SEO industry in 2017
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are open-source and these protocols allow webmasters to develop pages which are capable of loading almost instantly on any mobile device. Google’s idea behind AMP is making a few, simple structural changes to let your site load up to 4x faster and use 8x fewer data.
Moreover, Google has already made it’s move towards favouring the websites that have switched over to AMPs, giving them visibility in a carousel and a small icon which indicates their AMP status. In 2017, we anticipate seeing more favouritism for AMPs in the search results, with more brands taking advantage of the option.
Today, the audience is sick of reading the same content over and over again, fluffed in different words. Earlier, content marketing efforts were focused on producing as much bite-sized content as possible, but since the past few years, we’ve seen a boost in “epic” content; lengthy pieces of content that cover a specific topic comprehensively.
As the market’s been flooded with both types of content, we feel a new trend may ignore the length entirely, focusing on providing as much information as possible in the smallest possible space—dense content—to appeal to readers.
With the increasing size and variety of data, the algorithms keep getting better and bring more accurate results. Google RankBrain was launched last year which opened the door to the possibility of algorithmic machine learning. Google Hummingbird’s extension is programmed to function gradually to learn more about what are users searching and how do they phrase conversational queries – and update its algorithm automatically accordingly.
In the coming year, Google will probably start releasing more machine learning updates and we may even see machine learning in other areas, such as marketing automation or data interpretation as well.
User experience is the factor which has always been important to SEO. Google favours the websites that load quickly, that are properly optimized for mobile devices, and ones where the users spend prolonged time on the web page and enjoy their experience.
But in 2017, we may see an increased emphasis on user experience—especially as it relates to mobile devices. As mentioned earlier, AMPs could be the first sign of this, but there will be other ways that Google will favour pages which offer better user experiences overall.
Many changes have been experimented by Google in this past year with the SERPs. Specifically, they have been increasing the number of characters allowed in some of the meta descriptions and titles.
This change can prove to be a challenge for the marketers to grab the advantage of; because they have not been rolled out to all the websites, and Google has not yet announced that they are permanent. Include more keywords and compelling meta descriptions that attract people to your website.
Consider the following, to reap maximum advantage of these developments:
– Using the main keyword at the beginning of your meta description and the title if you are restricted to the original character limits
– Using the extra space to expand your description
– To avoid having your description get buried with the new longer limits, increase them to more than 100 characters.
Since Google has first introduced the AMPs at the end of 2015, the importance of speed, specifically on mobile devices, has grown.
Google always favours the websites loading fast, because slow loading times hurt the user experience, which is why a one second delay may result in a 8% reduction in conversions. With AMPs , Google can amplify the importance of speed.
AMP was basically created for news sites as the format strips away all the extras of a website, helping the pages load faster. According to Google, using AMP can improve the page loading speeds by 15 to 85%.
User experience has always been an important aspect in SEO. Google favours the websites which load quickly, that are properly optimized for mobile devices, and ones where the users spend prolonged time on pages and enjoy their web experience.
But in the coming year, we may see an increased emphasis on user experience; especially with the mobile devices. As mentioned earlier, AMPs could be the first sign of this, but there will also be other ways that Google will favour pages which offer better user experiences overall.
This is a featured snippet which is also known as a “rich answer”, a summary answer to a user’s question that Google shows in a special block at the top of its SERP:
As you can see in the screen shot above, a featured snippet usually includes a link to the page from where the data was taken. And thus it has a great traffic-attracting potential you can utilize.
Is there any other reason to target featured snippets in your campaign?
Well yes, our featured snippet listings have even greater potential for voice search. In other words, every time a user makes a voice search for a keyword where your website ranks in a featured snippet… Google particularly references your brand, giving you an extra branding opportunity.
And the fact is that voice search is growing at a supersonic speed (over half of US teens & 41% of US adults use voice search on a daily basis), and boosting your branding opportunities might be just the right push you needed to add to your 2017 SEO plan.
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