As 2016 comes to an end, let’s review the year’s top trends in SEO and see what 2017 has in store
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has been an indispensable strategy used by business and website owners ever since search engines dominated the worldwide web. As the years passed by, more and more developments are introduced to the industry in response to the rapidly advancing technology.
Before we enter the new year, let’s take a look back at 2016 on its major SEO trends. And, as we welcome the year 2017, we’ve listed down some predictions for the future of SEO.
5 Major SEO Developments and Trends in 2016
2016 has been a fruitful year for SEO, bringing about significant changes to its industry and focusing more on increasing user experience. Here are the top SEO trends in 2016:
- Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) Major players in the technology industry like Google and Apple have been actively developing and using Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) this year. Among the top smart tools is Voice Search. Google also introduced RankBrain, an ANI system that helps deliver better search results, especially with unique never-been-searched queries.
- Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Boost Earlier in 2015, Google released a game-changing algorithm update that favored mobile-friendly websites. Mobile-responsiveness has now been used as a ranking signal for search engine results. This year, Google released yet again another algorithm update of the same league, but not as huge as the first update: the mobile-friendly algorithm boost. This update introduced minor tweaks to the existing algorithm to increase its effects and further benefit mobile-responsive sites on mobile search.
- Google Penguin 4.0 Penguin is a filter designed by Google to capture and penalize “spammy sites” or sites with bad links. The previous update back in 2014 operates periodically; therefore, affected sites remain penalized until the filter is run again, which usually takes months. However, with the latest Penguin algorithm update this year, websites with bad links are simply devalued instead of being penalized. The recrawling and reindexing is also done in real-time so recovery for affected sites are faster and easier, given that a link clean-up was done.
- Google Possum The Possum update significantly affected local search results, resulting to a rising demand for local SEO. This means that the writing’s on the wall for local businesses without an optimized local SEO campaign. Essentially, the update makes local search results dependent on the searcher’s location, as well as being more sensitive to keyword changes.
- Mobile-First Index The mobile-first index update is pretty straightforward: the mobile version of websites will be used as the default version for mobile searches. The update further emphasizes the large role of mobile-responsiveness to search rankings, on top of the Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Boost.
3 Predictions on SEO Trends in 2017
2017 is another year to look forward to, with all the major SEO updates this year. Here are 3 things that might be the new trends in SEO next year:
- Schema Markup will have more importance Schema is a type of semantic vocabulary code that allows search engines to better understand the website. Emphasis on the use of the schema markup boosts search engine performance by improving and simplifying the decoding of content from a website; therefore snippet boxes, or Google Quick Answers, used in search results are more relevant.
- Google AMP will be adapted on a larger scale Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) have been initiated by Google early in 2016, which instantly became the benchmark in searches. AMP sites are essentially websites with fast loading speed on mobile devices. Shortly after Google AMP was introduced, sites significantly improved their mobile versions’ page load times, accelerating to 30 times faster and using 8 times fewer data. In the following year, we can expect that Google will push through more updates on Google AMP.
- More emphasis on content quality With Google’s inception of the Quick Answers snippets, we foresee that keyword search and overall content quality will be further emphasized in the coming year. Instead of using the amount of words used, “per word value” will be used more as a key metric for content quality and value.
All in all, user experience is the primary goal of all the SEO updates in 2016. We can expect to have more and more trends to be introduced in 2017 that highlights user experience optimization, especially that the attention span of the general user population is getting shorter as technology continually advances at lightning speed.