From Google's reliance on artificial intelligence to the much-awaited final update for Google Penguin, the SEO landscape has seen a lot of developments in 2016. But overall, it has been a fascinating year for most SEO practitioners who could cope with the changes in the Search engine area.
And as the year 2017 rapidly approaches and changes in customer's search behaviors and Google's algorithm updates continues to flock in, now is the perfect time for you to plan your working strategy for your SEO success in 2017.
SCHEMA MARKUP WILL GAIN MORE IMPORTANCE
Schema has always been a part of effective SEO since theception of semantic search, but with the changing search environment and user trends, the schema is becoming increasingly important to rank well in the SERP's nowdays.
For uninitiated, Schema Markup is a type code (semantic vocabulary) added on a website that allows the search engine to understand the website, which then ensures that it is displayed in the SERP properly.
And in line with Google's objective of "providing the best user experience", Google has also been increasing its usage of rich snippets Quick Answers, increasing from 22% in 2014 to over 40% by the beginning of 2016, per Search Engine Watch.
Using schema can improve and simplify the purpose and content of your site, so the text on snippet boxes will be more appealing for readers.
This is further reinforced by Google's machine learning Al RankBrain. Said to be the third most important ranking factor, the schema can help SEO ensure that website can easily be interpreted by RankBrain.
And as Google continues to expand their search engine department towards artificial intelligence, using schema can help your site ready for whatever Google brings in the future.
CHANGES IN SERP
Google has been experimenting with SERP this year, specifically changing its layout and making the snippet width longer.
Although promising, Google has not roled this out to all websites, nor they have confirmed that they are permanent, which makes it difficult for for SEO to take advantage of it.
As of now, sites who have luckily received extra number of characters in the snippet box can now include more words to make their site description more enticing for search users.
INCREASE ADOPTION OF GOOGLE AMP
Initiated February this year, Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is one of the major projects that Google aims to utilize to improve the performance of the mobile web- which historically did not offer a satisfying experience to many users.
And since its implementation, many SEO have started giving more effort to improve their site's loading speed on mobile devices.
Google uses a streamlined version of HTML, CSS, as well as a Google-cached version of the website to make a page load 30 times faster and use 8 times fewer data than non-AMP pages (which takes an average loading time of 22 seconds ).
Google has already favored sites who have opted AMP by giving them visibility in a carousel and a small "lightning bolt" icon to let the user know is a page is AMP or not.
And as people want their content delivered in a lightning speed nowdays, AMP will certainly gain more importance this coming 2017 and beyond.
DENSER QUALITY CONTENT
People, as well as search engines, have witnessed a lot of content in the web that keeps talking about the same topic repeatedly by changing some of the words and structure used in the previous articles.
Many content marketers have then produced thousand-word articles and guide to make their content more reliable to read, but forcing people to read it thoroughly to understand the topic very well.
Because of this problem, many SEO experts says that content density will become a major standard among content marketers this coming year.
Instead of using the amount of words used, "per word value" will gain more transaction as the key metric for measuring the actual value of the content.
This is critical driving traffic to the site since a lot of people now have a shorter attention span today than the last decade.
THE UNION OF PERSONAL BRANDING AND SEO
True enough, pitching your content guest post is a tough job, not without you already have a well-established image to your audience.
Personal branding, once limited to Youtubers, will gain more traction in SEO landscape this year 2017 to help digital marketers to secure guest post, establish a trust to readers, and drive more traffic to the website.
And although only a few websites are taking advantage of personal branding, it will also come handy next year since social media sites like Facebook continue to refine their algorithm to favor individual posts over post created by business pages.
USER EXPERIENCE OPTIMIZATION
This coming year, we are likely to see the user experience to gain more importance in the SEO landscape. As people are increasingly becoming more demanding in terms of the navigability of the website- especially on mobile, user experience optimization is going to be an integral part of the overall SEO strategy.
A satisfying user experience can immensely increase the time a user will spend on the website before they go back to the search results – called homework time – which is one important metric that impacts SEO.
This may either require few tweaks or total overhaul in the website, but overall, a website optimized for maximum user experience is one of the best ways to secure a decent spot in SERPs nowdays.
THE RISE OF VOICE SEARCH
The above mentioned quick answers will pave the way for the voice search this coming 2017.
According to link-Assistant, voice queries are more likely to show 43.3% rich answers to the user, compared to 40.6% for text queries.
This year, Google reported that over 20% made on its mobile app are voice searches, and as more and more people are conducting a search for their mobile devices, we are likely to witness an increased usage in voice search this 2017.
MACHINE LEARNING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The entrance of Google RankBrain in the search engine arena last year signifies a new age in SEO. Currently holding the 3rd spot for the most important signal I ranking. RankBrain serves as an extension of the Google Hummingbird to refine unconventional search queries.
And because it's been over a year since we've seen an update like RankBrain, it's possible that Google will release more machine learning updates, or may even incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence in other areas such data interpretation and marketing automation.
These are the trends that are likely to gain prominence in the SEO scene this coming 2017. If the year 2016 has not been a positively significant year for your SEO efforts, learning how you can take advantage of these coming trends will help you maximize your efforts And increase your chances to rank up on the first page.