2016’s been great. But now that it’s almost gone, we should start looking to the future. Catching up to Google is not going to be easy this time around. First Penguin, then Hummingbird and now RankBrain – Google’s on an unstoppable rampage. But hopefully, with the right amount of planning, we might just be able to conceive a sure-fire search engine optimization strategy.
By learning more about the SEO trends that will be dominating 2017. Here are a few trends that could potentially dominate the SEO sector next year.
Machine Learning May Present New Opportunities
We saw how Google used RankBrain to combine webpage indexing and machine learning. This certainly opens up a lot of SEO opportunities. Users search using keywords right? So if your webpage has that keyword and relevant content related to that keyword and the search, then the chances of your page showing up in the user’s search results is quite high.
However, now that machine learning is on the scene, there is still a chance that your webpage might end up in a user’s search results even if your page doesn’t have the searched keyword. Google tends to bet on new technologies like this. So it’s safe to assume that there will be updates in 2017 which will give more significance to using machine learning to rank a page.
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a protocol which basically lets webmasters make some structural changes on pages so that they load very fast on mobile devices. AMPs, despite loading 4 times faster than normal pages, also use very less data. Experts have already confirmed that Google favors websites with AMPs, and has also given AMPs a small lightning bolt icon in the search results.
The increasing use of mobile devices over desktops for internet searches have been emphasized last year. 2016 brought AMPs into the picture. So it’s quite possible that Google may release AMP related updates in 2017 encouraging its use in web sites, which of course influences search engine rankings as well.
Voice Search has been Getting a Lot of Attention
This year, we saw quite a lot of promotion for voice searches. Personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana have undergone a lot of improvements, and are now more human like. Google’s voice search isn’t far behind either. In fact, Google Voice Search now efficiently takes relevant snippets into account to answer users’ questions.
This essentially means keywords have become more conversational. If your webpage content can answer user queries related to your niche, you can consider your webpage ‘voice search optimized’. At the moment, this is just hypothesis. But voice search is a rising trend. So 2017 may hold some SEO-friendly surprises which will have something to do with voice search.
Schema to Organize Content
Schema markup has always been very important in website ranking as it helps convey the purpose of a website to a search engine. It plays a role in improving click-through rate and traffic.
You may have noticed rich snippets being used to display AMPs, movies, reviews, recipes etc. That’s schema in action right there. Your webpage can also appear similarly appealing. With RankBrain on the scene, search engines require a clear understanding of what a particular website holds and how it is useful. This makes schema more important, especially in the coming year.
Do some research on schema types, and markup as much content as you can. That should give you a good head start in 2017.
Google already declared that they would appreciate it if websites have an ‘https’ beside the domain names. They believe https assures people that the website is safe. And it’s true. Google will give HTTPS websites a pat on the back, which translates to ‘They will dominate search engine rankings compared to sites without HTTPS’.
Even if a website is packed with great content, a lack of HTTPS will place it behind even mediocre websites.
One last thing. Make sure your SEO strategy for 2017 doesn’t degrade the loading speed of your website. Fast loading webpages, data-driven content etc. are still critical factors regardless of those SEO variables that keep changing.