Search engine optimization is evolving at lightning speed. As 2016 begins to wind down, it is time to examine the digital marketing landscape for the upcoming year.
There have been numerous developments in SEO over the past 10 months. A lot of the prominent trends of 2016 will continue and grow in 2017. As Google’s algorithm updates constantly keep business owners on their toes, several other trends are expected to take shape in 2017.
Here are a few things look out for in the ensuing months:
Optimization for user intent
Although keywords are still important, typing in simple words yields simple results. Consumers today know exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines are getting much better at identifying user intent. Therefore, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines, which gather data and heuristics to provide results more effectively.
In 2017, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. For your SEO strategy, it will be critical to:
Investigate. What are users searching for that brings them to your page? What questions do they want your content to answer?
Optimize. Once you have gathered your research data and found areas that need work, make the changes needed to boost ratings. Based on your research, tell the consumer’s story by altering content to reflect the reader’s experience.
Adjust. Keep up with analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can update accordingly.
More rich answers and snippets
We all turn to Google for answers. In response to our queries, Google will often display the required information directly in search results, along with other helpful websites, videos, movie or event information, reviews or specific dates.
Structured data markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) can help website owners achieve these enhanced listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This markup works to assist search engines in understanding website content, allowing them to display that information in a way that is helpful for users.
For example, let’s say you ask Google for instructions for cooking meatloaf. The SERP features a rich answer (also known as a “direct answer” or “featured snippet”), followed by search listings that contain rich snippets relevant to recipes, such as reviews, ratings, cook time and calorie information:
Read more: SEO trends to prepare for in 2017