Last week, Forbes caught our eye with this article considering the ‘7 SEO Trends that Will Dominate 2017’. After spending a little time chewing it over, our SEO team have had time to think about what these trends could mean for the industry – and what small businesses need to know about them.
So, with this post we’re busting through the jargon to explain what changes to SEO will mean for the average business professional, as well as how big we think the impact will be…
AMPs: The New Answer to Responsive Design?
Accelerated Mobile Pages are the latest in responsive design: web pages that are designed with a structure that will cut the load time significantly for mobile devices. In Forbes’ article, they mention that ‘Google is starting to favor sites that have switched over to AMPs’; great news, but we do recommend exercising a little bit of caution. That’s because these AMP results are given prominence in a carousel at the top of the page – displaying more like paid promotions than natural results (despite the fact that they’re not!). This can put some users off clicking, so it’s worth considering the psychology as well as the technicalities.
Short, Sweet Content
First , content was short and shallow. Then it was long and packed full of juicy information. This prediction suggests that next, it’s going to become dense… which is to say short but full of info. We love this idea, because it seems to capture what content marketing is all about: giving people content that is easy to digest but also worth their time.
That said, this is no more than speculation. It’s difficult to say whether or not Google will recognise that people don’t necessarily want large articles and relax their emphasis on length. If they do, this will be great for small businesses who can focus on giving their customers short but sweet snippets of expert info.
Customer Experience Will Become a Fundamental Factor
Whether you call it User Experience Optimisation, Search Experience Optimisation or even Conversion Optimisation, it all means the same thing: focussing on how the customer actually experiences the site, not just how the bots interact with it. This has been a big part of the conversation for a while now, and we think that – insofar as Google builds its algorithm around ranking the pages that best serve their readers – it’s fair to say that User Experience Optimisation has already blurred the line with SEO.
What does this mean for the business professional? Well, it means that it’s time to ensure you’re working with white hat companies who will make the genuine changes that your site needs, not black-hat firms who try to dazzle you with quick fixes that turn into long-term penalties.
Digital Assistants Will Change the Way We Search the Web
This is a biggie, because it’s about the very nature of internet search changing – and it will inevitably have a huge impact on how search engines rank pages, even if we don’t know what they’re going to be looking for yet. Whether you’re talking to Siri or Cortana, when you use these assistants to make a query it is shaped by their features, as well as by the fact that it’s a verbal medium, not a written one.
The Focus Will Shift to People, Not Brands
This works in a couple of ways. On the one hand, it means making use of the personal experience and expertise of people in your companies: think LinkedIn articles that demonstrate knowledge, a strong personal presence on Twitter, guest blog posts from the Director. For a small company this is absolutely ideal, as you’re well placed to make that personal connection.
On the other hand, it means working with marketing professionals who have also built this sort of personal brand for themselves: people who have connections to other sites, experience promoting themselves throughout the SEO and marketing industry and a good reputation.
At JamRock, we provide this by working with experienced professionals, and by training our new employees to get stuck in and start seeing themselves as part of a wider network of design and SEO experts. Today, we wanted to give you just a small glimpse of this expertise, courtesy of our SEO team (who are always busy crunching the latest trends!).