In The Know – The Shape of SEO to Come

Written by - 22/12/2016

As the online landscape changes, so too do the efforts of SEO specialists everywhere in order to keep up. Google’s ever-shifting algorithm does its best to keep business owners on their toes as it stands, but with some fresh innovations set to break ground in 2017, you might want to get a jump ahead of the curve. Join us as we take you through how and when you can expect things to change.

Mobile-First Search

As Google take every effort to shift their focus towards mobile accessibility, (as suggested in our last In The Know), this means that those of us looking to hit the SERP big time should be focusing on mobile optimisation as an absolute imperative in 2017. With the evolution of the mobile internet, mobile searches have long since surpassed those on desktop, suggesting that those who aren’t yet mobile-ready need to step their game up heading into the new year. In spite of this, the mobile user experience isn’t yet the default, but, looking at more recent changes, it may only be a matter of time.

Cross-Channel Expansion

Whilst cross-channel marketing might not be news to everyone, the idea of getting your name out there in as many ways as possible certainly isn’t. That’s just good old fashioned common sense. 2016’s user has connected seamlessly between any number of devices and locations. Hitting people where they already are is tricky enough, but hitting people where they’re going to be is a marketer’s great white whale. From the inbox, to the web, to any number of new and innovative social media platforms on any number of different devices, making sure you nail every last one means putting in some serious legwork, and this doesn’t look to get any easier in 2017.

Whilst scale and demand may be higher, the key to success in this field remains very much the same. By understanding the right message and releasing it at the right time in the right way, you stand to reap the rewards of your efforts. But therein also lie the challenges. Spend some time in early 2017 learning to better understand your own message, as well as your audience, before putting a plan into place about where you want to put that message out, and when. Cross-channel marketing is effectively making sure that all your ducks are in a row. As we enter 2017 it just means there are going to be a whole load more ducks, some vastly bigger than others.

Rich Answers

Google’s ‘Rich Answer’ responses or ‘Snippets’ are taken from what it deems as the best response to a user’s query so that it can show the right answer at the top of the page. Rich Answers take priority over just about anything else on an SERP, making them solid gold for websites looking to be seen as holding the right answers. The simple way to get ahead of the game in 2017 is adding structured data markup (also known as ‘schema markup’) to your website. What this does is essentially shines a spotlight on the information that you want Google to recognise as relevant, so that users are more likely to return it in response to specific queries. Not only can structured data markup increase your odds of showing up as a Rich Answer, but also giving yourself a nice healthy boost of SEO juice. In the case of branded searches it can also help your chances of having your results appear as a Knowledge Panel.

“Hey Google, how do I improve my SEO?”

Voice search is here. In reality it’s been here for a little while, but 2017 is set to mark its meteoric rise, with the introduction of home assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home into more and more homes across the UK. As the technology develops across the year, you can expect that getting your website in front of users is only going to become more and more of a challenge. But there are ways of optimising your website for voice search. Standard SEO protocols remain intact, and, if anything, are more relevant, as making sure that your results stand first and foremost means that you’re in with a better shot of having your information read aloud. According to Google data, Google Home is powered by the same Google Assistant as all of their other voice activated platforms, including mobile and wearables. This means that search data comes directly from what Google ‘thinks’ is going to be the most fruitful response, and in most instances will look to the aforementioned snippets as a priority. As we move forward it may be down to you to input content with voice results in mind. If somebody is likely to ask the question “where can I find a Giant Duck in the UK” you might want to consider stating that you “are the largest UK supplier of Giant Ducks” as soon as possible. The SEOer Mantra ‘Content is King’ still stands, but you can bet that it’s only going to become more and more important.

2017 is going to be a tough year for those wanting to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. But shaping your website in the right way using the SEO tools already on offer will have a significant impact on boosting your New Years’ numbers.