SEO is forever changing. That’s one thing many marketers seem to forget. What you knew to be true in 2007 doesn’t necessarily apply to 2017, or any of the years in between. For example, stuffing a site with keywords was once acceptable and widely practiced, but today it can lead to a penalty from Google and other search engines. It can also send anyone who is using that website off to check out your competition. Stop making the same old mistakes. Here are seven SEO trends that you need to start thinking about, because they are expected to be hot this year:
1. Voice search is becoming a big deal.
Products like Google Home and Amazon Echo are becoming more and more popular. As a matter of fact, VoiceLabs predicted in its 2017 Voice Report that, by the end of the year, Google and Amazon will sell over 24 million of the smart speaker devices. The growing popularity of these devices is encouraging users to forego typing and use voice search instead. Make sure your site is optimized for this by paying close attention to longtail searches.
2. If you aren’t mobile-ready, hurry up and get there.
You can do pretty much anything with your smartphone these days. Thankfully, most businesses have caught on and have created mobile-friendly websites. If your site isn’t there yet, now is the time to make that leap. This is the year that Google introduces its mobile-first index, and it has the potential to make or break your traffic.
3. Become familiar with AMP.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is sort of a lighter form of HTML that helps mobile sites load almost instantly. In a world of shortened attention spans, it is important to become familiar with it. Many marketers are already reporting an increase in traffic after using it.
4. Take notice of local search SEO.
Once upon a time, when a user wanted to find a Chinese restaurant in his area, he typed in “Chinese restaurant in West Hollywood” or “Chinese restaurant near Mulholland.” Today, “Chinese restaurant near me” is the phrase on the rise. If and how you can influence your ranking this way is somewhat debatable, but you can start by making sure your business name and address is mentioned frequently on your site, encouraging your customers to leave you positive reviews online, and setting up a Google My Business listing for your location(s).
5. Focus on search intent.
So many SEO strategists get wrapped up in trying to figure out algorithms that they forget all about search intent. In short, think about why a person is arriving on a page on your website and how you can get both what they want and what you want as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of that person searching for the same thing elsewhere. To optimize for search intent, focus on existing pages. Also, focus on trustworthy information that will appeal to your customers rather than search engines. Finally, be flexible enough to make adjustments after regular reviews of your analytics.
6. You need fresh, current content.
Speaking of trustworthy information, people are looking for content that is fresh, current, and not available anywhere else online. Update your content regularly, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. Be sure it is helpful, informative, and unique. As a matter of fact, some experts predict that long form content is also making a comeback. Users are growing tired of repetitive, bite-sized fluff that you can find on practically any site in that niche.
7. Know that Google is favoring a positive user experience.
When thinking about SEO, don’t forget to incorporate the overall user experience. Google hasn’t. It actually favors sites that provide a better user experience, such as sites that load quickly or sites that users spend a long time viewing. Some say this focus on the user experience will grow in 2017 as more and more users take to their smartphones and other mobile devices.