2016 is done and dusted and it's been a busy one. Google boasted not one, but two algorithm updates, rolled out the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, changed the layout of its results display and started experiments with a mobile-first index. (Interesting stuff... well for us at least!)
They have kept us on our toes as we continue to make sure our customers keep up and stay ahead of competitors.
So what’s to come in 2017?
SEO and digital marketing changes quickly (so quickly that part of our daily routine is checking!), so it’s important that we all stay ahead to remain competitive. We have done some research, had a good think, and talked to our SEO partners and here are the resulting five SEO trends that we agree will have a major impact on the SEO landscape in 2017. (As Advised)
1. Conversational and Voice Search
Voice search and digital assistants (Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc.)are hot hot hot. Statistics show increasing usage of these tools for both teenagers and adults. The majority of people who use voice search do so for efficiency. Voice search is getting more effective (Have you tried it... I love it!): and word recognition error rates are dropping so it's only going to GROW!
Conversational search has a major impact on the way people search for things, and interact with those search results. That’s because it recognizes the context in which the search is made: previous searches, location, mobile apps you’re using, current on-screen content and information about the user.
So how would we optimize your site and content for something like this?
- Focus keyword research on conversational queries and an increased focus on long tail keywords. The plus side is that while these long tail conversational queries might have low search volume, they should convert as fasts as a melting trumpet in our Hawkes Bay offices this week. (33 Degrees..so also HOT HOT HOT)
- Add pages that answer questions: Voice searchers ask a lot of questions, and questions typically start with "who", “what”, “when”, “where” or “why”. We will build your pages around questions that start with these adverbs and answer them using conversational language. FAQ and about pages are natural places to put this content.
- Use schema markup to help search engines: Schema markup is an HTML add-on that provides semantic meaning behind your page content. This allows Google to better understand what your pages are talking about, which means they’ll better connect them to conversational voice searches. (We already do, but more...)
- Make sure the answers to questions are findable: An important part of helping search engines understand your content is helping them crawl your site more efficiently. That means making sure your robots.txt file and XML sitemap can be accessed by search engines and don’t contain any errors that are blocking the spiders from accessing your pages. We use the Sitemaps test tool and robots.txt Tester to validate your sitemap and robots.txt file.
2. Accelerated Mobile Pages
The Accelerated Mobile Pages initiative, or just AMP, is an open source standard to create web pages that load quickly (nearly instantly) and provide a user experience optimized for mobile devices. Basically it's a really really fast version of your webpages.
Im always banging on about micro-moments moments and they scream mobile. Micro-moments are the times at which someone turns to a device, often a phone or tablet but not necessarily, looking to fulfill an immediate need. There are different types of micro-moments, but what’s important is that the user expects their need to be fulfilled directly on the landing page.
Thanks to the mobile friendliness Google update (AKA "Mobilegeddon"), your site’s mobile friendliness is incredibly important if you rely on traffic from mobile devices for conversions or branding. Mobile SEO has been increasingly important, but going forward it’s going to become more critical.
I've got more to share, check back in next week and I will have loaded up the rest!