In 2016, we saw considerable developments in the way Google’s algorithms returned search results. These tweaks have implications for how you should be implementing SEO on your website.
As consumers change the way they search online, SEO specialists need to continually adapt and modify the way they optimise websites.
So, with 2016 well and truly behind us, what developments in SEO can we expect for 2017? There are three key factors website owners need to be aware of:
- Being mobile-friendly will be more important than ever, with Google’s upcoming mobile-first index launching this year;
- Voice search is becoming the next SEO frontier, with large increases in popularity across multiple search engines; and
- The increase in localised searches will have a significant impact on businesses.
Over the last few years, Google has put a lot of emphasis on the importance of websites being mobile-friendly, and that is set to continue in a big way. After 18 years of prioritising desktop in results, Google’s new mobile-first index will prioritise mobile content in search results, even in desktop searches.
With the number of searches conducted on a mobile now surpassing that of desktop, Google’s decision to make the switch was simple; they want their search results to represent and be useful to the majority of its users.
But there’s no need to panic just yet if your site is not mobile-friendly. Google has said:
‘If you only have a desktop site, we'll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we're using a mobile user agent to view your site.’
However, with the continuing shift towards mobile across the entire digital space, prioritising mobile in your SEO and online marketing endeavours should be a key factor.
In 2016 we also saw the introduction of voice search across search engines. This trend will revolutionise the way we search online and in turn, how SEO specialists will optimise websites.
Rand Fishkin, founder of leading SEO specialist company Moz, says voice search is the first true high-risk technology shift ever faced by the SEO world.
So what does this mean for 2017?
Google has long been seen as only place that matters when it comes to SEO. However with the advancement of voice search, SEO teams must now also consider another search engine along with them; Bing.
Bing is the default search engine for many popular virtual assistant Smartphone apps, such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana. So as the adoption of virtual assistants grows, so will the importance of Bing in SEO.
The rise in voice searches also means a new strategy is required for keyword research that addresses both desktop, mobile and voice queries.
Is there really that much of a difference you ask? Absolutely. Google commissioned a study into just that, which revealed that voice searches tend be more conversational-style and longer than typically typed in desktop or mobile. Accordingly, seeking a direct answer that virtual assistants can quickly provide.
Source: Google Official Blog
The growing use of virtual assistants in 2017 and beyond means SEO teams now need to factor in a website’s performance in Bing and broaden the scope of their keyword research when developing their on-page optimisation strategies to address voice, keyboard and Smartphone searches.
Local Search SEO
The pages listed in Google results are not only ranked by their relevance to a search query and their amount of authority, but also by the proximity of the user’s location to the physical address of the business.
And in 2017 year, we can expect to see continued growth in local search SEO.
People are now using search engines with an understanding that their search results are being localised, leading to complex search queries, such as ‘mechanic near me’ and ‘restaurants near me’, are becoming increasingly more popular. What makes these search queries tricky is that they don’t include a geographical qualifier, which mean the days of ‘mechanic perth’ style keyword optimisation is slowly on the way out.
This, as with voice searches, makes optimising your website to reflect these intricate, localised searches a necessity – particularly for small local businesses.
So for 2017, SEO specialists should ensure they continuously review their website’s keyword targeting to respond to changes in market trends and the way search engines index their sites.
2017 is well underway, so it is important to keep up with changes in the way users search online. This means it’s time to start making sure your website is mobile friendly, takes voice search into consideration and is on top of the new variations local search patterns and behaviour.
Want to get the best results from your SEO? Get in touch with experts at Alyka:
P: (08) 9200 442
Bernard Chia is the Managing Director of Alyka, Perth’s dominant digital marketing agency. The team of passionate digital marketing transformation specialists offer bespoke solutions to meet client needs and deliver results. Find out more: https://www.alyka.com.au/