8 SEO Trends Every CMO Should Know For 2017
The online world has become highly competitive and unpredictable space. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an indispensable function for marketers to make their online presence felt and more importantly, rank on the first page of the search results. So, the only key to survival in this online world is to constantly follow the SEO trends. Google keeps on updating its search algorithms on a regular basis, and every digital marketer must follow those updates if he wants to stay on the top the search results page.
Here are 8 SEO trends every CMO and marketer must know about, to incorporate in their marketing strategy”
1. Marching towards Mobile-only world
The increased usage of mobiles has changed the face of SEO over the past few years. Mobile search has not overtaken desktop search, but it will surely do so in the future. The majority of website traffic comes from mobile instead of a desktop, for many of the companies.
In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches have surpassed desktop on its search engine. Since then, it has taken many steps to give an indication of business that it is a must for them to create a mobile-friendly site. In fact, Google had also announced that it has been conducting experiments to make its index mobile-first, i.e., it would primarily consider a site’s mobile content, rather than its desktop while determining how to rank it in the results page.
Google had also introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP’s) in the market, which allows faster loading of web pages on the mobile devices. This allows 4 times faster loading speed of the page with 10 times less data. Hence, if your site receives a heavy volume of traffic from mobile searches, it may be a time you created an AMP version of your web page. Although it is still not considered to be a ranking factor by Google’s algorithm.
2. Voice Search has become more important than ever
Because of an ever increasing usage of mobiles, voice search has become all the more important. With the endeavor to constantly improve it, is becoming one of the fastest growing search options. Its appeal is undeniable since it is hand’s free and futuristic.As technology improves with each update, the error rate is only decreasing. In this front, it would be wise for companies to look beyond Google, since Bing may pose to be a big competitor in this arena since it is heavily fuelling its search through Siri and Alexa.
3. Optimize for user intent
Users now- a-days know what they want, and hence type full-phrase queries in the search engines. In its endeavor to provide better answers to users queries, Google introduced Google RankBrain late in the last year, widening the avenues of algorithmic machine learning. It is an extension of Google’s Hummingbird, which tries to learn the user’s natural language and how they phrase conversational queries. It tries to understand the context of the user’s search and shows up only those results on the top which matches with the user’s context and intent of the search.
Hence, when it comes to optimising for natural language, voice search and intelligent voice search (such as Siri or Cortana), the SEO experts need to concentrate more on optimizing their content based on intent rather than keywords.
4. Local Search Optimization
With advancement towards a mobile-only world, the importance of local search optimization has increased even more. In a competition to rank on the first page of the SERP, companies having a local listing find themselves on the top of the SERP. This helps users looking for a local business to easily distinguish them from the other organic results. Having physical address and proximity to a user gives a local business an advantage of attracting local customers to their business.
But all is not good as it looks like! Recently, Google reduced the number of local business listings in its SERP to only 3. But it is still a very important way for local businesses to rank at the top of the page and attract more customers. In 2016, there was as much fierce competition for local search results as organic or paid results.
5. More Rich Answers and Snippets
In its endeavor to provide better content to users, Google has come up with rich answers and snippets in its SERP. The users find it relevant since they feature on the top of the results page, and give a rich summary to the user about the content.
To achieve these enhanced results, a website can add a code called Structured Data Markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) directly to your site’s HTML markup. This markup helps search engines understand a website’s content better, and to show information which is the most relevant the user.
According to a study by Stone Temple Consulting, the volume of rich snippets appearing in search results has nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016. Going by this trend it is only going to rise further in 2017 and in the future.
Adding structured data on your website can enhance your chances of having an enhanced SERP listing, your content being featured as a rich answer, or in case of branded searches, having a knowledge panel appear. Also, users prefer to have quick content which is relevant to them. So, in order to stay ahead of your competitors, you must consider implementing schema markup for your website, if you haven’t already.
6. Personalization as an SEO strategy
Earlier, everyone used to see the same search results. Nowadays, every search engine shows different search results for every individual. Search engines personalize results on three criteria, i.e., country, location and personal history.
With Google enhancing its entity search and context, personalization has become more important than ever before. It means that Google would more often present from websites that are already in our search history, or through search entities, linked from websites already present in our search history.
This would mean that brands should focus more on making their brands synonymous with their products in the long run.
7. Engage in intentional link building
Links have always been one of the most important factors for ranking in search. According to a report by Search Engine Land, Google has confirmed it to be one of the top three ranking factors (along with content and RankBrain). Also, several ranking factor studies have confirmed this.
A recent study by Stone Temple has indicated that links are more powerful than we thought earlier. However, they emphasized that building links alone would not help to rank low-quality content. Hence, you need to also emphasize on quality of your content, apart from building high-quality links.
8. Focus on enhancing user experience
We know that improving user experience has remained a key ranking factor for many years now. However, you need to concentrate more on the relationship between user experience, click-through rates, and bounce rates. A recent study published by Moz blog shows that there is a direct connection between high rankings and beating out the expected CTR of the other pages in the SERP’s. In other words, if your content stays at the top of the SERP, but doesn;t outperform in other results in terms of clicks, you may not be able to remain in the top position for long.
These are the 8 most important SEO trends for 2017 which every CMO and digital marketer must know about, and implement in order to rank at the top of the SERP and outperform their competitors.