Before starting the conversation about preparing for Search Engine Optimization in 2017, you must understand a simple truth about SEO. The way many entrepreneurs and businesses perceive Search Engine Optimization is just plain wrong. People want the biggest return on their investment. Consequently, many have the idea that SEO will push weak, ineffective content into a high position on search engine results pages. While Search Engine Optimization is one of the most valuable online marketing investments, it works best when combined with high-quality content and website design.
Every change that Google has made to their algorithms is because their business relies on serving relevant, valuable, and trustworthy results. Consequently, Google will start their relationship with your website without a lot of trust. It is a rare thing for any website to find themselves on the first page of a search engine results page. You need to work at building your domain authority and prove yourself. Search Engine Optimization, quality content, and having a website design focused on user experience will work together to help you to rank high.
With all that said, Search Engine Optimization in 2016 has moved at an extremely fast pace. As we now prepare for 2017, you must look back, measuring and evaluating the trends from 2016. Google’s algorithm updates are continually forcing entrepreneurs and businesses to focus their attention on SEO. Looking into the future, there are several trends from 2016 that will stay and continue to grow, and various others expected to take shape.
Search Engine Optimization in 2017
1. Optimizing for Intent-Focused Searches – Yes, keywords are still important. However, Google is focused on providing users with a reliable answer to their queries, not just matching words. Therefore, search engines attempt to discern user intent from the search request. Your content must be designed to answer the search requests of your target audience.
2. Rich Answers and Snippets – Many have quickly become accustomed to this newer search engine feature. Ask just about any question on Google, and at the top of the page is a short snippet of the answer, provided from an authoritative website. This recognition is invaluable to your business and website. However, they only way to possibly have an answer featured is by adding structured data markup to your website.
3. Mobile Friendliness – Google’s most recent research shows that only 14 percent of internet users are computer-only. Moreover, not only are 80 percent of people using smartphones, the majority is seamlessly moving back and forth between devices. Search engines are now placing mobile-friendliness and user experience as a major factor in determining placement within their results. You can expect this to continue, and for it to be given greater weight in 2017.
4. Voice Search – How many times have you said, “Ok Google” since getting your latest smartphone? Whether it is Google Now, Siri, or Cortana, voice search is quickly becoming the next big thing. Moreover, 2016 saw the introduction of home automation devices, like Amazon Tap and Google Home, that empower users to use voice search. Marketers will need to place close attention to this and start thinking beyond text-based search.
What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to prepare for Search Engine Optimization in 2017, or need more information, please contact us.