The New Year is upon us and we have been thinking long and hard about what SEO trends are going to have the most impact in SEO for 2017. We have narrowed it down to the following shortlist. This is where we will be focusing much of our attention.
Additional SERP Features
New SERP Features – We are predicting a huge rise in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features. This means that Google is showing many more types of information and markup in the search results. Moz recorded 17 of these feature in late 2016. We predict another 7 or 8 for 2017. Initially these will only be seen in between 1% and 2% of queries.
These feature will be similar to Instant answers, which we also expect to be on the rise.
A rise in instant answers, particularly on mobile. Google is trying to answer more and more of our queries themselves. This can mean that they are taking away traffic from sites. While this can be frustrating there is a great opportunity to prove that your site has great authority.
Greater Focus on Intent
It has been the case for some time that we need to step away from targeting pages to one specific keyword. The question you really need to be asking is, “what is the user’s intent?” Google is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and understands that queries like “good restaurants hull” and “best restaurants hull” serve the same intent. We don’t need two pages for this.
This trend that started with Hummingbird and now continues with RankBrain.
The searchers intent is more important than the keywords in how we target our content. This does not mean that you should ignore keywords and phrases entirely. You have to understand what the searcher has typed into the engine before you can serve their intent, and very small variations in keyword structure can mean real changes in searcher intent.
Speed and UX
Google’s been harping on this for several years. We have seen them trial several site speed programmes in recent years, such as marking mobile friendly and fast loading sites in SERPs. None have these have found a home in the SERP full time, but it is obvious that Google want us to pay attention.
Historically, most of the focus has been on speed, but that is not the only user experience element. Google has taken action against overlays and pop-ups. As they have taken action, that clearly suggests that there are some engagement metrics that are being used. Most test show that sites with have better user experience and better engagement are doing better in the search results.
Machine Learning and Deep Learning
We have written about these before at Mobius, you can read about them here. In the last 18 months there has been evidence of a shift towards deep learning. We’re seeing its affect the search results, specifically in terms of how they’re links are being considered.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
AMP has been around for about a year. This time has mainly seen major browsers introducing support. Towards the end of 2016 we saw large publishers like The Guardian introduce AMP properly.
In short, AMP is diet markup for basic, fast mobile friendly pages. Now cached versions of these pages can even be served on Google domains in order to ensure fast load times. AMP now supports most basic analytics pages and even advertising.