Search Engine Optimization is an ever-changing aspect of marketing. The coming year will see quite a few changes, from Google’s shifting algorithms to marketing strategies trying to adapt to different technological advances and connect to consumers in a variety of ways. Digital marketing will be more important than ever as consumers will be spending a huge amount of time browsing and shopping on the web. With only a few weeks left in 2016, it’s time to start rethinking your SEO strategy for the coming year.
A great way to make your website stand out in 2017 is by tapping into the resource of structured data. Structured data makes web pages more easily understood by search engines by giving the search engines context and other meaningful information. Ratings, hours of operation, and images pulled up in a search are all a part of this. Schema.org contains helpful codes which you can add to your webpage, allowing search engines to interpret your site more thoroughly. Less than 1% of websites use structured data lexicon, so using them will be an automatic advantage.
2. Google Quick Answers
Structured data also enables your content to show up on Google Quick Answers, giving your page an obvious competitive edge when compared to other search engine results. Google has almost doubled its Quick Answers usage in the last two years, and you can expect the trend to increase in 2017.
3. Expand Meta Descriptions
Search engine users can now be more specific than ever before, and you need to accommodate this. With many search engines, searchers are allowed more than 100 characters, meaning they can be more detailed in their questions, asking them with more descriptions. You need to expand your meta descriptions to prevent your content being lost in a sea of search results. Remember to keep your most important words at the beginning, however.
4. Change Terms to Find Organic Search Results
Finding search results that don’t have pay per click (PPC) advertisements at the beginning can be tough. Pay per click results typically receive more traffic than organic search results. If you are not investing in PPC content, you have to change your keywords in a way that makes fewer PPC results show up. If you are investing in PPC content, you need to have a separate set of keywords for your organic content so the organic content and PPC content show up in different searches.
5. Semantic SEO
Search Engine Optimization is about to get a whole lot more complex with semantic SEO. Random words and phrases will be less impactful in the future, since semantic SEO will be able to find relationships between words and infer meaning from entire sentences. This will take the focus away from keywords (although they will still be important), giving searchers results that will fit into a bigger picture better.
6. Gear towards Mobile
Mobile is the future in many areas of digital marketing, and SEO strategy is no exception. In 2017, the internet will be adapted to mobile more than ever. Not only will this affect hybrid campaigns and website formats, it will also affect speed. With the advent of Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages), mobile results are faster than ever. Search engine optimizations plays into this speed as well. Searchers tend to abandon results if they take too long to load; therefore you can increase the effectiveness of your search engine results by formatting them for AMP.
7. Answer Queries from Voice Recognition
Longer meta descriptions mean more exact forms of asking questions. For example, instead of searching “how to dance,” searchers are now more likely to type, “Please tell me how I can learn to dance,” which will end with different results. Many of these queries are more fully expanded because of voice recognition software, where searchers are simply dictating their questions into search engines. The savvy SEO specialist will tweak SEO for this as well.