2016 is, finally, close to its end.
It is acknowledged that 2016 was an intense year in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and particularly Google. Numerous developments in SEO have marked the evolution of Google, Bing, and other major search engines. Meanwhile, a lot of prominent trends of 2016 are universally convinced to continue and grow in 2017.
1. The shift from desktop –first to mobile-first
The SEO world has been reshaped by mobile accessibility over the past few years and the major search engine giants, for instance, Google, are steadily moving to a mobile-only world.
Google reported in May 2015 that mobile searches had exceeded desktop searches on its search engine. Then in October 2015, Google announced a project of Accelerated Mobile Pages, a new open source initiative, which is designed to remarkably improve the performance of the mobile web. The company hopes the open nature of AMP can help webpages with animations, video, graphics and other webpage content to work well with smart ads and load as fast as possible, while the same code being able to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear on PC, tablet, and mobile device instantly.
With the announcement of Google’s mobile-first indexing last November 4th, it’s almost sure that the search engine will switch to mobile-first in 2017. Though the company said to continue building a great search experience for users from both mobile and desktop devices, its algorithms will rank pages from a site, understand structured data, as well as show snippets from the pages in the final search results using the mobile version of the site’s content.
2. Voice search is becoming the next frontier of search.
Voice search is made possible by speech recognition technology. Engines like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana can understand what you’re asking for and search the internet for the information you’re looking for, eliminating the need to type search quarries into search engines like Google or Bing. Many of these voice recognition systems also use text-to-speech technology to read aloud the results of the search.
Advances in speed recognition technology have made voice search more reliable and usable, leading to voice search one of the biggest trends of the digital age. For SEO marketers, closely examining voice innovation and thinking beyond text-based queries could be the key factor to their success in search results for the upcoming year.
3. Cross-channel marketing significantly boosts conversion rates.
According to the Cross-Channel Marketing Report made by Econsultancy, an impressive 73 percent of the survey responders claimed that conversion rate can be dramatically increased by cross-channel interactions. No wonder why cross-channel marketing becomes a key component of customer experience and is expected to be in high demand throughout in 2017.
Different from multi-marketing that establish a presence on multiple platforms, cross-channel marketing refers to marketing your brand using several channels like mobile apps, email, or social media and in an integrated way. However, multi-channel marketing is not always effective unless you know very well about your target audience. Even if you have the knowledge of what right message is, you may get disappointed with the final result if you fail to use the correct channel or release it at wrong time.
4. HTTPS is eating up referral data
To move towards a more secure web, Google has declared that it will mark HTTP pages with reference to passwords or credit cards collecting as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. With firmly believing HTTPS can better assure people that the website is safe, Google will give all HTTPS websites a pat on the back. In other words, compared to sites without HTTPS, HTTPS websites will dominate search engine rankings.
Even worse, along with the shift from HTTP to HTTPS, a lot of referral data has been eaten up by HTTPS. More than that, you need not only spend time on having the referral data coming from HTTPS websites restored to your HTTP website, but also ensure referral data to HTTP sites has been passed by your HTTPS website. All these will inevitably increase your risk to lose out on search engine ranking, going into 2017.
5. Leverage schema markup/structured data
Schema markup has been highly important to help increase search engines’ understanding of your site’s content, plus enhance search visibility through feature-rich snippets and Knowledge Graph results. While structured data is greatly helpful for creating more search engine-friendly signals, which has a critical impact on search rankings in an indirect way.
If you haven’t dealt with these before, you can get it started with Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and its Featured Snippet Box to organize your webpage content to answer contextual questions and incorporate ample information via schema markup. Your SEO ranking will be naturally improved when your webpages are chosen as the best answers to users’ queries.