There is method to the madness. In the world of search engine optimization (SEO) where algorithms and search patterns are in constant flux, the rules of the game are ever changing. As the New Year dawns on us, it is time for some crystal gazing. What does 2017 have in store for SEO? Here are the trends that can change the way you do business:
More information, less space
It is time we stop judging content by the number of words. What really counts is the value per word. As the user gets smarter and their attention span shorter, it becomes vital to provide dense content. Maximum information in minimum space.
Gone are the days when you could recycle the same fluff in the name of content creation and marketing. In 2017, SEO strategies need to focus on providing fresh content that is relevant to the readers.
All about the experience
What do users want? Good speeds and easily navigable sites, of course! However, that is not enough. Users today want to enjoy their overall experience. Google is showing a clear preference for sites where users appreciate their online experience. Low bounce rates and high average time on a page are considered as sound indicators.
In 2017, to retain a competitive edge, invest in a responsive design that facilitates better user experience.
AMP takes center stage
A great way to ensure better user experience is switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), the preferred standard for building web content for mobile devices. Interestingly, sites that have switched over to AMP are given more visibility with a special icon in Google searches.
The rationale is simple: given that AMP uses a simpler and lighter version of HTML. The AMP content is cloud-cached and delivered from the Google-hosted cached version. So, AMP pages load much faster. According to Google, the median load time is 0.7 seconds for AMP, while for non-AMP it is 22 seconds.
Branding gets personal
There is no denying the power of personal branding. If used strategically, it can be a powerful tool in ensuring the success of your SEO campaigns. In case you have not noticed yet, social media platforms like Facebook refine their algorithms to favor individual posts over branded posts. Also, once you have a personal brand in place, it gets much easier to boost user trust and engagement. This, in turn, will up the traffic to your site.
This is the year to take the leap and work on your personal branding. Your business will thank you.
Looking for ‘rich’ answers
Everybody loves a good branding opportunity. I’m sure you have noticed the featured snippet (aka ‘rich answer’) that Google shows in a special block at the top of its search engine results pages. It can drive more traffic to your website, as a featured snippet usually includes a link to the page from where the data was taken.
All you need to do is add structured data markup to your website. This helps search engines in understanding your web content, thereby permitting them to display relevant information for users. In case you haven’t done it already, 2017 is the time to jump on the bandwagon.
Saying it out loud
The very nature of online queries has changed, courtesy voice search. Personal digital assistants like Siri, Google Now and Cortana have brought with them an ease and sophistication that will only get better in time.
This year, voice search will become more popular, as voice recognition evolves into voice understanding. Brace yourself for innovative forms of conversational queries and new marketing opportunities.
Lights, camera, action
If a picture says a thousand words, a video can easily convey a million. Clearly, the future of content marketing is video-driven. Online videos offer an engaging and easy to comprehend tool that holds the promise of wide reach. Why wouldn’t search engines and social media platforms want to lap it up?
This year, as you plan your SEO strategy, don’t underestimate the value of a relevant video on your website. Thanks to technological advancements in the field, even small businesses can afford to make the basic investment.
Over the last couple of years, desktops have been making way for mobile devices in terms of increased user traffic. With Google announcing work on its mobile-first index, mobile optimization will be the buzzword this year.
For enterprises, the need of the hour is to rethink SEO strategy and focus on their mobile presence. Also, the need for sound cross-channel marketing will continue to grow.
The fact remains that business is better when you can see what lies ahead. Experts predict that machine learning will help businesses interpret whether their content can actually satisfy the user needs. In 2017, focusing on specific keywords alone won’t suffice. Digital content will need to be based on user intent. Because the user today demands nothing less than the best online experience. So, are you ready to face the SEO challenges of 2017? Share your comments.
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