Google updates its search algorithm one or two times every day (around 500-600 times each year). While most of these updates are minor, occasionally it rolls out some "major" algorithmic updates like Penguin update and Possum update, rolled out in September this year.
Apart from these changes, this year Google made some major changes to Adwords as well, which removed the entire right-column of ads and rolled out 4 ads on the top.
As a result of these changes, we observed a lowered CTR for both paid and the organic results, especially on commercial searches.
The SEO community had their eyes on these recent SEO enhancements and evolved accordingly. Many experts who practiced new SEO techniques to counter the effects, have also shared their real-world case studies for others to learn from.
However, since Google penalizes websites retroactively, it is not worth using such SEO tactics to recover from the lost rankings. Rather, we believe it will be more productive to be aware of how search engine changes are evolving and adjust your content/SEO strategy in advance.
The more you are aware of search engine algorithmic behavior and the better you anticipate changes in the future, the more likely you are to rank well.
So, here are the Top SEO Trends for 2017 to watch, and best optimize a website:
Optimizing for Mobile
Smart phones have become ubiquitous at a person level. In the past, with wireline phones each home would have one or maybe two phone lines to serve entire families. Today it is not unusual for a family of five to have five phones often with each member representing a different target market. In 2017, SEO professionals have tremendous opportunities to tap this large base of their targeted users by optimizing websites for mobile.
For example: creating Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) – a mobile phone compatible version of the website that loads up to four times faster and uses eight times less data. Google has already started to favor AMP sites, by giving them visibility in a carousel.
In 2017, we anticipate Google to favor AMPs in search results on greater level.
Targeting Voice Search
Personal digital assistants like ‘Siri and Cortana’ along with the simple Google voice search tool and home digital assistants like Echo and Google Home are changing the way users are performing online searches. In 2017, we see voice search gaining more popularity and within a few years it may become as mainstream as text search.
A typical example would be user doing a voice search for ‘find a salon near me,’ will get the business directory listings of many salons in their immediate vicinity. Therefore, it would be important for service providers to focus on promoting their website and business listings for such a search by building content that answers frequently asked questions, by earning Featured Snippets and by leveraging SDML (Structured Data Markup Language…more about this in an upcoming blog).
Creating Valuable, Dense Content
Web is now flooded with ‘epic’ content. Every possible topic under the sun has been discussed here comprehensively, multiple times and at various instances. People are now tired of reading same stuff in the similar fashion ‘again and again’. They are increasingly using small screen portable devices to explore the internet on the go, so they do not have the flexibility of going through unnecessary details.
We believe in 2017, Search Engines may start favoring websites that ignore lengthy web content and focus on providing precise information that appeal to the readers. This could be another SEO trend 2017 to write short and dense content aimed at providing useful information to users in shortest reading time possible.
Conclusion: It is hard to offer the best SEO tips for 2017 without knowing what search engines have in their store for us. We do not recommend immediately changing your SEO strategy based on these inputs. But it is always helpful to be aware of how users’ search patterns are changing and what preventive measures you can take.