While the last quarter of the year draws to a close, companies scour and review their marketing efforts. Website audits, marketing campaigns, and SEO are some of the important factors top companies around the world are seeking to improve.
Here is a list of the top five SEO predictions I have for 2017.
1) AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
We all know that we are living in the era of the smartphones. Walk down the street, and nearly 60%-70% of the people we see will be holding some sort of mobile device. This increase in device availability and use has had substantial effects on search trends.
Let’s set the scene; you’re at Christmas dinner and your uncle says that Usain Bolt is the faster sprinter in the world. If you're unsure, the first thing you will probably do is to pull out your smartphone and type that query into the Google search bar.
In this situation, you want to find a website that loads quickly and provides all the information you need about the world's fastest sprinters. If a website takes too long to load, chances are you will exit that site and click on another one until you find one that loads the fastest with your mobile data and speed limits.
AMP promotes this improved loading of web pages, using 8x less data and 4x faster than regular pages.
Even Google has begun to favor AMPs, providing top visibility on their search results page and even placing a lightning bolt symbol to signify AMP use. More and more people want “insta-answers” – instant answers to any and all queries, via mobile devices, and this result had led to AMP popularity, now and in the coming year.
2) Content Delivery Networks
Content delivery networks have grown in popularity over the past 2-3 years. Large-scale websites such as online e-commerce retailers and news/media sites have found CDNs to improve user engagement and overall conversions.
CDNs help serve static files at a much faster rate by loading files from the nearest data center closest to the end-user. This helps avoid unnecessary long round-trips and ultimately works to serve the user with content faster.
Similarly to AMPs, the purpose of a CDN is to load web pages faster, while improving SEO and user experience factors simultaneously. 2017 will continue to see more and more websites leveraging the advantages of content delivery networks.
3) Schema Markup
Schema markups are fast becoming the top trend for companies to stand out from the crowd and receive higher rankings than competitors. What do schema markups do? Essentially, they make it easier for the web browser to understand content on any given website. Schemas also make rich snippets possible by providing Google with the information it needs to display these rich snippets or quick answers.
Rich snippets and quick answers are showing 22% of the time in Google search results, which makes schema.org crucial for companies.
Rich snippets, or quick answers, are at the top of a results page and usually contain all the information we may be searching for with no requirement to view the link/website. This is immensely beneficial for people looking for the quick answer to something.
Taking advantage of schema markups will be the new skill to implement for both SEOs and all around marketers alike.
4) Voice Searches/Personal Data Assistants
When Siri, Cortana and Ok Google cropped up in marketing ads and internet memes, they were interesting but dismissed. This was years ago. Now? Text-based searches on mobile devices are experiencing a decline.
In fact, 20% of searches are now made using vocal recognition software. ComScore, a global media and analytics company, even predicts that by the year 2020, 50% of all searches will be vocal. This increased use of voice technology has resulted in more accuracy of search.
In 2013, Google had less than 80% accuracy in its voice recognition. Now the accuracy is over 90%, and even better in other voice recognition software such as Baidu.
What does all this mean for SEO? Well, the difference is small but notable. Typing a search query will be different than how we say it – when we use speech recognition, our searches tend to be more conversational. So in order to optimize searches, websites need to think in terms of conversational tones.
5) Machine Learning
Machine learning is important because it provides real-time updates, learning how users phrase conversational queries and adapting according to that. This self-updating artificial intelligence will show real-time changes that will reflect in the ranking of the website in moments.
Data interpretation and marketing automation are also going to rely on this machine learning, for quick results. RankBrain is a machine learning AI that Google has integrated into its search algorithm. RankBrain interprets website content to provide relevant web pages, rather than just searching for exact words that may or may not be part of the relevant web pages.
SEO is a waiting game, and it is all about quality and relevance. For maximizing your chances to rank on the first page, you need the right SEO marketing strategies.
If you pay attention to these predictions, you will definitely have a successful year in online marketing.
What's one prediction you have about SEO in 2017? Share with SEMrush below, and we may quote you in an upcoming article!