In business and in life, it’s always smart to be planning ahead. So, let’s start with looking at the current search engine marketing developments and what’s likely to be trending in 2017. What will we see, and what will be more effective? We look at five of the most emerging search engine trends.
2017 will see voice search become more popular and more widely used as it has become more accurate and sales of smartphones and devices that have digital assistants and better natural language queries are gaining popularity. Since 2008, Google voice queries have increased more than 35-fold and been captured by Google Trends. Common phrases live “navigate home” and “call Mom” have become the most used voice searches, unexpectedly.
We can expect even faster growth of voice search in the near future with the advent of smart home hub Amazon Echo and competing devices from Google and Microsoft among others, and the rise in use of text to speech mode. This is especially true of Chinese search engine Baidu, as Chinese is even more difficult to type on a smartphone keyboard than English.
Local search will be the focus of future SEO in a much bigger way than ever before. Organic SEO is becoming more locally focused and more competitive, from both rival businesses and major brands that are attempting to gain attention from location-based search.
For locally focused search, we’ll need to utilize more content-led efforts to drive awareness and provide information, bringing organic search more solidly to the top of the search engine funnel strategy than before.
Keyword research will be paramount to success, and used in titles, headers and footers according to best Google practices. This means being sure your Google directory listings are complete and accurate and you are represented in Google+ as well, keeping in mind the importance of consistent Name, Address and Place to search results. And also use schema.
Google’s rankings are powered by machines so it’s important to feed them the data they need to produce high quality results. Schema markup language is one way to do that. It makes it easier for search engines to interpret your site and display results. Schema is especially important with showing customer reviews, local business information, images, video, and showing answers to questions.
Google Mobile First Index
With Google’s impending change to Mobile First, they’ve signaled loud and clear that the future of SEO is mobile. Not that desktop computers will be abandoned in the near future, but one of Google’s top analysts, Gary Illyes noted that the separate mobile index would be its focus and become its primary Google index.
Illyes also noted that it will be kept more up-to-date than the standard search index. This will will fresher results using mobile devices and certainly drive further adoption of the devices, in keeping with user behaviors and preferences.
Unifying Digital Channels
Digital marketing has historically been a bit divided. There was SEO, social media, websites, mobile sites, apps, email and much more, each with different and often separate tactics. 2017 will continue to bring digital channels closer together, making it increasing important to unify channels and provide a great user experience to get better results.
For example, use AdWords keyword data to help your SEO. Use your site’s user experience in live chat to advertise in AdWords. Have a smartphone experience on your website as great as it is on desktop. Consistency, accessibility, and visibility and interaction across channels is increasingly important with hybrid marketing campaigns.
Stay Up to Date
The world of search continues to rapidly evolve and 2017 will be an exciting year of change, just as 2016 was. The customer experience on your digital channels and Google’s algorithm updates are critical to follow to make adjustments to your marketing tactics. Old, outdated methods and complacency are a dangerous approach.
Are you ready? Step up your game now and reap the rewards of being prepared for the changes and capture emerging trends in search.