As we enter 2017 our minds again wonder what major changes will take place in the world of online search, what factors are becoming increasingly popular and how we can adapt our digital marketing campaigns to facilitate such changes.

Major Shift in Search

Without doubt one of the biggest factors moving forward in 2017 is that mobile has now overtaken desktop as the most common format for browsing the web.  This consequently strengthens the statistics that show that search is now primarily conducted on mobile devices.

 

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image taken from Google “testmysite” resource.

 

So what does this mean to us?

Are you responsive?

We believe that possibly THE major change in 2017 will be Google’s shift to Mobile First Indexing.  As of today, January 10th 2017, Google SERPs will be ranking how your site is seen on a mobile device rather than the desktop view.

In Google’s own words from their webmasters blog……

Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

Therefore with mobile first indexing taking precedence over desktop, it is surely now more important than ever that your website is fully responsive if you want to avoid seeing detrimental changes in your rankings.  Remember, if your competitors are not already addressing this, they soon will be!

Again from the Google Webmasters blog…

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Be mobile friendly

With this huge shift towards mobile devices, you really need to consider the mobile friendliness of your site as a whole.  User experience is key.  People visiting your site will want to achieve their goal as quickly and smoothly as possible.  This therefore encapsulates many factors, such as;

  • Site Speed – It’s a generally well held belief that people will now leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load (remember that bounce rate is an element within the algorithm)
  • Text – Text needs to be easily readable, and not too small.
  • Forms – need to be simple and easy to use, with touch elements well spaced apart.

These are just a selection of elements worth considering, amongst many more.

 

Google provides a simple to use tool to test the mobile-friendliness of your site at…..

https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/

You can also read more on Mobile First Indexing from the google blog at;

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html

 If you want to discuss a responsive redesign of your website please call us on 01690 760 328 or email Jon on jon@janklin.com and we’ll be happy to help.

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HTTPS

Another element which has been a hot topic for some time now is the move to Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS).  Google have long since hinted that this would become a determining ranking factor (see Google blog post from August 2014)

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We believe that we are now really starting to see the beneficial effect of having a HTTPS site within SERP rankings.  Although not moving to HTTPS may not directly have an adverse affect on your own site’s performance, your competitors’ moving to HTTPS will have a positive affect on theirs and, consequently, may push you down the rankings.

 Please feel free to contact us with any queries you may have on this topic.

 

 Voice Search

Going forward the use of voice search is predicted to grow at a rapid rate.

With the advent of the personal assistant, such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana, the technology around voice recognition, and perhaps more importantly “voice understanding”, is developing very quickly.

Coupled with the fact that a whole younger generation will soon see this as the most natural form of human to A.I. communication, means we may have to rethink our strategy.

The effect of voice search could be very similar to the introduction of Google’s RankBrain machine learning artificial intelligence system into it’s algorithm.

Both of these factors mean that the level of understanding of far more specific searches is likely to be enhanced.

What does this mean to us?

Firstly, this means that it is vitally important to continue to produce good quality, and relevant content on your website.  Throwing together articles stuffed with keywords, with the sole aim of improving rankings will just not cut it!!

Content will need to be fresh and written in a more natural/colloquial way and based around what is of value to the user.

Video content is also likely to be an area with huge potential from the perspective above.  Being able to supply relevant content in a natural and narrative manner, fits in very nicely with the growth of Artificial Intelligence recognition systems.

Local SEO will remain of prime importance, if not increased importance!  A strong local presence with correct and up-to-date information will be critical as people search “on the go”.

e.g. Spoken searches such as “Find me an Italian restaurant near here” whilst out and about are likely to become commonplace, and you will want to be appearing at the top of the returned results.

 

 

Backlinks

The dreaded topic of backlinks!  For many years we’ve heard that backlinks are dead etc. etc.  This is simply not the case, and we don’t foresee it being so for quite some time.

HOWEVER, good quality and relevant backlinks are key.  As link building tactics are under the spotlight, intelligence towards it will continue to evolve and backlinks to your site will really need to be earned.  This will obviously come from creating good quality content, which people want to link to, and from building valuable relationships within your industry sector.

It will also become increasingly important to “weed out” poor or undesirable links to your site, making regular audits increasingly important.

If you would like to discuss links audits and link building in more detail, please call us on 01690 760 328 or email Jon on jon@janklin.com and we’ll be happy to help.

 

There will undoubtedly be many many other facets which we will be watching very closely as we move through 2017. e.g;

  • AMP – Mobile pages stored on Google servers for more specific searches. Such as news items, recipes etc.
  • PWA – Progressive Web Apps, particularly as we move further away from desktop
  • Schema Markup – Enhancing the rich snippets of information on your search results, enhancing user experience.

Along with many many others.

 

Search Engines

And finally, remember that it’s not all about Google!  It was reported in 2016 that Bing’s market share is rising whilst Google’s was declining, which may be down to integration with Windows 10 and also voice searches.  We can also expect developments at Yahoo, who are currently being taken over by communications giants Verizon.

Above all else, the key to your digital marketing strategy is to keep abreast of the latest industry developments in order to stay one step ahead of your competition.

 

If you found the above useful, interesting or intriguing, would like to discuss further or would like to find out how we can help with your digital marketing in 2017 – Please feel free to call: 01690 760 328, or email jon@janklin.com