SEO Trends 2017, Are You Ready?

What’s great about our industry is that there are so many known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, to paraphrase a former U.S. defense secretary. Will this be the year we get the SEO basics right? Will this be the year of voice search? Will this be the year machine learning and AI forever changes SEO as we’ve known it?

Google Update

Will this be the year your digital strategies always put the audience/customer first? Will this be the year companies really diversify their traffic sources as part of a holistic digital strategy? And how will technologies such as assistants and the Internet of Things change SEO? So what SEO trends do you need to know in 2017 if you want to generate more traffic and leads while staying ahead of your competition?

Google was very smart to launch AMP and prevent a huge switch away from mobile web browsing towards native apps. AMP keeps users engaged with Google search on mobile devices. I expect Google will keep throwing a lot of weight behind AMP, and 2017 is the year that decides if AMP has a long shelf-life or if it’ll end up as another one of Google’s doomed projects. The adoption of AMP beyond static news stories will be key to this; both in terms of the functionality AMP offers for interactive experiences, and the ease with which websites can implement these features. Keep a sharp eye on AMP for ecommerce and the way AMP results will be highlighted in SERPs. Already we see Google highlighting the advantages of AMP to its users – if this takes a stronger hold, AMP could well become the new de facto standard for mobile web pages.

SEO community is going to learn a lot more interesting stuff from the emergent behavior of RankBrain in 2017.

AI powered rankings are going to lead to a highly customized set of ranking signals at a query level, that might seem to massively complicate the workload for the general SEO practitioner. But, I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised to find that the generalized list of factors that make an impact are actually going to be easier to understand than they have been for the last 10 years. Put another way, I think we’re going to see a much more malleable algorithm that is simultaneously more punishing and more rewarding.

So, my money is on really basic tactics like natural/organic link building working better than ever in 2017. I think that will prove to be because RankBrain can actually test ranking your site against way more user queries than was previously possible, computationally.

Artificial intelligence solutions tend towards aggregation of concepts, performing entity recognition calculations at hitherto unknown scale, so I agree with people who say that topical relevance is still more important than individual keyword relevance. Nonetheless, fundamentally RankBrain still runs the same math as the core algorithm always did, and links have always been the strongest signal, so I think they will remain so.

However, under RankBrain, the reward of an earned organic link could cause a break out moment of visibility across a clutch of broadly matching yet different terms which will yield a goldmine of relevant keyword data in Google Search Console. The similar yet different terms that RankBrain will have tried to rank you for, even in completely unseen positions at the back of the index will be useful enough to plan the next phase in your strategy to compete for topical relevance. Due to the sociological theory of ‘weak ties‘ (which has made it’s way into search engines), I believe that you won’t need to earn that many organic links to see movements in the right direction.

Thats the “good” news for “white hats.” And the “bad” news, is that I think in 2017 we’ll see the re-emergence of really sophisticated “black hat” strategies.

Basically, if it’s not already invented, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that we’ll see competing AIs developed by the black hat community to compete with RankBrain. But hey, the funnest part of SEO has always been debating the different shades of gray anyway.

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What’s Trick Will Be Trend on SEO 2017?

It feels like only yesterday we were making our bets on what was awaiting SEO in 2016. Then boom, and it’s almost 2017 — the time for planning, budgeting, and strategizing for your SEO success in 2017 has come. And if you need some inspiration or some help setting up the priorities, I’ve got a handful of useful tips to share!

Just back from one of the largest (and most trusted) SEO events in USA, the SMX East conference, I’ve carefully documented the most important takeaways for you. Some of them are quite logical and expected, but others are true game changers!

SEO 2017

Google’s AMP- just another fad or the future of mobile?

Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP for short) is a new Google initiative to build a better, more user friendly mobile Web by introducing a new “standard” for building web content for mobile devices. Basically, this new standard is a set of rules that form a simple, lighter version of HTML. And pages built in compliance with AMP are sure to load super-quick on all mobile devices.

Ever since its launch in search results in February 2016, AMP has been in the SEO news. However, despite all the buzz around the project, SEOs and webmasters keep treating it quite warily. Is AMP yet another Google fad to come and go within a few months like many of them did before? Or is the project here to stay and form the future of mobile?

301 redirects can prevent your pages from passing topical relevance

If you are in SEO for quite some time, you definitely remember the golden rule: don’t overdo with redirects — they are a PageRank leak.

However two months ago Google turned the SEO world upside down, announcing that redirects no longer result in losing PageRank and you are free to use any type of 3xx redirection without the fear to lose your rankings.

Well, I hope you haven’t got accustomed to this idea over the past two months, because according to Christoph C. Cemper of LinkResearchTools, 301 redirects might actually harm your SEO by intervening in how pages pass their topical relevance via anchor texts.

HTTPS is eating up your referral data. Any ways to fix that?

It’s been two years since Google started its active campaign for Web security and announced HTTP to be a ranking factor in its algos. The Web blew up with the idea of switching to HTTPS to improve rankings.

Could we still hope to see a ranking boost thanks to the switch? Nope. Truth be told, it’s highly unlikely that HTTPS can help you up with Google rankings. On the contrary, there are countless examples of how the switch can go terribly wrong.

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SEO trends 2017

SEO world is evolving at super speed. As 2016 begins to going down, it is time to examine the digital marketing landscape for the upcoming year 2017.

There have been some developments in SEO over the past 11 months. A lot of the old trends of 2016 will continue and bigger in 2017. As Penguin Google Algorithm updates constantly keep business owners on their toes, several other trends are expected to take shape in 2017.

Here are a few things look out for in the ensuing months:

Optimization For User Intent

Although keywords are still important, typing in simple words yields simple results. Consumers today know exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines are getting much better at identifying user intent. Therefore, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines, which gather data and heuristics to provide results more effectively.

In 2017, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. For your SEO strategy, it will be critical to :

Investigate. What are users searching for that brings them to your page? What questions do they want your content to answer?

Optimize. Once you have gathered your research data and found areas that need work, make the changes needed to boost ratings. Based on your research, tell the consumer’s story by altering content to reflect the reader’s experience.
Adjust. Keep up with analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can update accordingly.

More Rich Answers & Snippets

We all turn to Google for answers. In response to our queries, Google will often display the required information directly in search results, along with other helpful websites, videos, movie or event information, reviews or specific dates.

Structured data markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) can help website owners achieve these enhanced listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This markup works to assist search engines in understanding website content, allowing them to display that information in a way that is helpful for users.

For example, let’s say you ask Google for instructions for cooking meatloaf. The SERP features a rich answer (also known as a “direct answer” or “featured snippet”), followed by search listings that contain rich snippets relevant to recipes, such as reviews, ratings, cook time and calorie information :

According to a study by Stone Temple Consulting, the volume of rich answers appearing in search results has nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016. If this trend continues, we’re likely to see an even greater number in the coming years.

Adding structured data markup to your website can increase your chances of having an enhanced SERP listing, being featured in a rich answer, or (in the case of branded searches) having a knowledge panel appear.

Users love quick access to useful information like this, so do yourself a favor and consider implementing schema markup for your website in 2017, if you haven’t already.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel and multi-channel marketing sound similar, but in actuality, they are very different. Multi-channel simply means establishing a presence on more than one platform. Cross-channel means you are using several channels to market your brand in an integrated way. For example, if users are browsing products on a mobile app but decide not to buy, you can send them targeted ads based on their searches via email or social media.

Multi-channel marketing is by no means a new phenomenon. Cross-channel marketing, however, is like an extension of it. The primary goal of cross-channel marketing is to create a consistent brand presence across multiple channels so that users can move seamlessly between devices and platforms to make a purchase.

According to Econsultancy’s fourth annual Cross-Channel Marketing Report, 73 percent of respondents claimed that cross-channel marketing had a significant impact on increased conversion rates. However, it is only effective if you know your target audience and their consumption habits. The big challenges that businesses face in this process include:

  • knowing what the right message is
  • finding the right time to release it
  • using the correct channel

Although there are several tools and resources to help, cross-channel marketing is still in the infancy stages, even with the widespread adoption of mobile devices. Consumers today are more connected than ever, and the need for quality cross-channel marketing will continue to be in high demand throughout 2017.

Increased Mobile Growth

Mobile accessibility has reshaped SEO over the past few years. Mobile search is growing at a rapid pace and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in the future. Traffic distribution has been shifting away from desktop and moving towards mobile devices, and many websites are already getting the majority of their traffic from mobile devices.

In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine. Since then, the company has taken many steps which signal that mobile, not desktop, should be considered as the default user experience. In fact, Google recently announced that it has begun experiments to make its index mobile-first.

Mobile optimization is already extremely important in SEO strategies. However, it will prove to be mandatory in 2017.

Voice Search is The Next Big Thing

Voice search has been an ongoing project in the tech industry for a few years now. In the process of working out the kinks, it has become one of the fastest-growing search options. The appeal is undeniable. It’s hands-free, fast and futuristic.

As technology improves with each update, the error rate of voice search plummets. In his keynote speech at SMX West 2016, Google’s director of conversational search, Behshad Behzadi, noted that the speech recognition error rate has been reduced from around 25 percent two years ago to just 8 percent today.

The goal for voice search in 2017 is to go above and beyond voice recognition and evolve into voice understanding.

This involves several changes with respect to:

  • previous searches
  • location-based context
  • context based on frequently used apps
  • personalized information
  • keyword research based on spoken queries

There’s no denying that voice search is a one of the biggest trends of the digital age. With massive improvements to Siri, Google Now and Cortana, SEO marketers would be wise to closely examine voice innovation and think beyond text-based queries in 2017.

Closing Thoughts

The year 2017 will be a big year all around. Users are becoming increasingly connected and engaged with the content they consume. It is very important for SEO marketers to factor these upcoming trends into the bigger picture in order to be prepared to take on future challenges.

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