Search Engine Optimization – Looking Forward To 2017

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With the ever-changing environment of search engine algorithms, it is important to stay ahead of the trends. Today’s best practices could change tomorrow. Such was the case with the release of Google’s Hummingbird search engine algorithm back in 2013. Its shift away from keywords toward conversational text created a major change in how we optimize websites. Hummingbird was an incredible evolution and now we could not imagine reverting back to the days of keyword stuffing.

There have been several changes to the various search engine algorithms since Google’s catalyzing release in 2013, including an emphasis on user experience, mobile optimization, legitimacy of content, and a focus on accessibility to name a few. As marketers, we can often predict the trends and adapt our practices on the fly. However, with 2017 around the corner, it is important not to get too comfortable with our current practices and strive to stay ahead of the curve.

According to the popular blog Search Engine Watch, schema markup will become increasingly important to maintain a top rank. With the emergence of rich snippets in recent years, implementing well-defined, structured data will likely be the difference between being listed on the first versus the second page of search engine results.

We will also likely see a change in search results listings. Google has already been experimenting with an increased character allowance. During this transition, marketers will want to maintain the most relevant information at the traditional character limit, but also expand their descriptions in case their site is provided the opportunity to use the newly expanded character limit. This valuable SERP real estate will be a game changer for marketers and make the coveted first page result even harder to achieve, thus creating an even more competitive environment.

The New Year will also bring an even greater emphasis on the hybridized relationships between social channels, paid advertising, and other digital spaces, with an increased ability to track ROI across multiple platforms. This trend will likely build relationships between typically siloed markets, increasing the need to share information share as a long-term – and mutually beneficial – strategy.

With the development of Google’s RankBrain this past year, AI will likely play a factor in how marketers craft content and structure data. Though there is nothing definitive in the market buzz to suggest a major evolution in 2017, we have our suspicions that a move to AI-catered SEO will be on the rise in the years to come.

Search engine optimization and the emergence of new technology has always been a fun challenge for developers and marketers alike, as we constantly work to stay on top of industry changes and evolve our knowledge and skills to better work for our clients and ourselves. We look forward to the years ahead and greet 2017 with enthusiasm because as the industry evolves, so will we.

-Trista Banfield, Technical Director

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If you are interested in discussing what Morvil can do to enhance your SEO and web presence, please give us a call at the office – 910.342.0100.