2017: Guide to Search Optimization

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 13, 2017
Change continues to be the only constant in SEO (and very rapid change at that). As customer’s expectations and internet usage, not to mention Google’s algorithms—continue to change, marketers continue the challenge of staying on their toes SEO-wise.
Seeing as 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, implementing SEO best practices is critical if you want to win at online marketing. Here’s what to focus on in 2017.

Schema

If you’re not familiar with Schema, it’s a markup that makes it easier for search engines to explore your website. This ensures that it gets seen the way the site was meant to be seen. Sometimes Google displays rich content such as rich cards and quick answers (those large-text answers at the top of the search results page), so a schema comes in particularly handy in this case.

Google’s aim has always been to display the search results that are most useful to searchers. As of now, the search engine displays rich snippets for local businesses, articles, video, recipes, reviews, music, and movies & TV. This may change later on down the line, it’s good to use schema to make your site SEO ready in any case. Google likes to display answers that make it easier for users to find what they are looking for. Google has been increasing its use of quick answers, over the past few months, so stay on top of this trend!

Greater Collaboration

As digital marketing demands encourage professionals to combine their skills and internet users become more and more sophisticated, the modern marketing department has become less siloed and more collaborative. There are now more ways than ever before to interact with marketing messages, including emailing from a PC, scanning codes with a mobile phone, or checking out a PPC ad from a tablet. Yet users expect a UX that stays consistent with what they encountered when they first found you via organic outreach. Running hybrid marketing campaigns will be vital in the coming year.

To prepare your team for it:

  • Hold sessions where various teams can introduce their strategies and goals to each other.
  • Organize collaborations between different teams for them to work together or common goals.
  • Put in writing the common language, roles, and expectations to encourage effective communication.

Speed and Mobile

Speed, especially on mobile devices, has become more important since the introduction of Google’s AMP project at the end of 2015. AMP is a technology that was originally intended for news sites. It strips away all of a website’s unnecessary content to improve on a page’s load time. It’s well known that slow loading times hurt the user experience, and can even hurt conversion rates. Google claims that AMP can improve page loading speed from 15 to 85%.

The mobile experience has also become more dependent on micro moments. These are the impulse that drives people to turn to their mobile devices for something they need in the moment. Brands that can successfully meet these needs will thrive in 2017. What they need falls into one of four categories:

  • I-want-to-know,
  • I-want-to-go,
  • I-want-to-do,
  • I-want-to-buy

AMP was originally designed to address the I-want-to-know moments. However, Google is expanding AMP to I-want-to-buy territory, with eBay already having optimized millions of pages.

One thing is for sure about SEO in the coming year: it’s sure to continue in the dynamic evolution that began at its inception. To succeed in 2017, it’s best for brands to start now when it comes to strengthening their online presence to best take advantage of the coming trends.